Connected speech processess

Connected speech processes in English

On this page you can find a brief explanation and some real examples of the most common phonetic processes that lead to allophonic variation in English, with special emphasis on Standard Southern British English (SSBE).
Background information about connected speech processes by Peter Roach.

Variants of /t/

T-Glottaling

T-glottalling is a process by which the phoneme /t/ is realised as a glottal stop [ʔ] in coda position, and it is a widely explored variable in all accents of English, including SSBE. Its occurrence depends  mainly on educational level, speech style and, also, phonetic context. In SSBE, t-glottaling appears mainly:
– before another consonant, e.g. football [ˈfʊʔbɔːl], white ball  [ˈwaɪʔ ˈbɔːl]
– in absolute final position, e.g. Sit! [ˈsɪʔ]
And it is increasingly heard:
– prevocalically across word boundaries, e.g. what is this? [ˈwɒʔ ɪz ðɪs]
– before a syllabic /n/, e.g. Britain [ˈbrɪʔn̩]

Further information on t-glottaling here.

These are some examples of t-glottaling in SSBE, estuary English and cockney (Adele).

 

Well… it’s really… I think, I think there’s a huge par[ʔ] of me tha[ʔ] still doesn’t qui[ʔ]e see tha[ɾ] i[ʔ] is… It’s just one of those things that are sor[ɾ] of on in i[ʔ].

 

 

Well, actually tha[ʔ] came a little bi[ʔ] la[t]er, bu[ʔ]yeah, I was… I was… plucked ou[ʔ]of my dance school, and… er… I me[ʔ]someone who became my agent, and she said tha[ʔ] I should star[ʔ] acting, I’d done a li[ʔ]le bi[ʔ] of improvisation, which I really enjoyed, and erm… yeah, my second audition was actually game of thrones, and then I learned everything on tha[ʔ] show…

  • I’m loving this bob
  • Oh thanks, thanks very much. Oh my god the other day I went for dinner with one of my best friends, ’cause I’m not gonna see him before Christmas, so we me[ʔ] out and (gave?) him his Christmas present, ge[ʔ] there at seven for[ʔ]y five,  and then I’m si[ʔ]ing there, it’s like, eigh[ʔ] o’clock, I’m thinking, where is he, he’s normally really punctual… I call him, where are you, oh, you said eigh[ʔ] for[ʔ]y five, so I’m si[ʔ]ing in this restaurant for an hour on my own, looking like such a loser…so I order a glass of wine, and then I have another glass of wine, and then I spo[ʔ] a family, I went over, a bi[ʔ] drunk, I was… did you call my name earlier… sorry, I have my securi[ʔ]y with me, and I was like sorry, he was being very protective or wha[ʔ]ever… did you hear i’ts your birthday? Le[ʔ] me ge[ʔ] your meal for you, so I paid for their meal, and then I had another glass of wine, and then my friend arrived and I had two more glasses of wine, bearing in mind I hadn’t had a drink in like eigh[ʔ] months, 

So I see up in our school there was a sign, they needed a live model for the ar[ʔ] class, you know, where you’re basically naked, and I though[ʔ]… tha[ʔ]’s a good idea… so that’s exactly wha[ʔ] I did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • But look, listen, I am… I loved i[ʔ], i[ʔ] was an amazing experience, seeing him, and kind of being in… we had to go to Vancouver, I had literally like eigh[ʔ] hours to shoo[ʔ] it…
  • How long does it take, does it take eight hours to shoot a video?
  • Well no[ʔ] really, when you know what you’re doing i[ʔ] takes eigh[ʔ] hours, but [dʒ]u know wha[ʔ], i[ʔ] was amazing, because we just really did a bish, bash, bosh, go[ʔ] there, go[ʔ] in, go[ʔ] out, no[ʔ] in tha[ʔ] physical way, and we just..

I’m just a big kid now, i[ʔ] isn’t just, i[ʔ] isnt’ just that[ʔ], i[ʔ]’s like… I went to buy my goddaughter a ninja tur[ʔ]le toy for her birthday, and I was in the ninja tur[ʔ]le section and there was this huge ninja tur[ʔ]le truck, and I was looking at this small toy that I go[ʔ] for her and the big truck, and I was like, I’ll be ge[ʔ]ing tha[ʔ] for me. 

Actually, I remember I once wen[ʔ] on a da[ʔ]e and brough[ʔ] a lego se[ʔ] and made the lego se[ʔ] and then left. 

I go[ʔ] cu[ʔ] up, I go[ʔ] cu[ʔ] up…

T-Tapping

The process of t-tapping, also known as t-voicing, is an allophonic process by which a /t/ is realised as a voiced alveolar tap [ɾ]. It is mostly associated with accents such as American and Canadian English, as well as Australian and New Zealand English. However, it is a common feature of other accents of English from England, including SSBE, especially of younger generations. It occurs intervocalically in words like British [brɪɾɪʃ], getting [geɾɪŋ], and across word boundaries as in that is [ðæɾɪz], what if [wɒɾɪf]

More on t-tapping here.

These are some examples of t-tapping in SSBE (left) and Australian English (right).

 

Yeah, pre[ɾ]y much, there’s a lo[ɾ] of green… a lo[ɾ] of green, yes, a lo[ɾ] of green screen.

 

 

And she’s an architect in New York Ci[ɾ]i… if you wear a li[ɾ]le bit of red you are gonna get lucky on a da[ʔ]e. It’s pre[ɾ]i interesting to be a ca[ɾ] al day, doing a lo[ɾ] of like… I mean it’s cool, they have a li[ɾ]le box on the side…

 

Frication of /t/ ()

Frication of /t/ is a phenomenon that has traditionally been more associated with accents of English such as Southern Irish English, Liverpool English and Australian English. But it is heard in the speech of SSBE speakers, especially female speakers. The resulting sound is similar to a Catalan /s/ (apico-alveolar fricative).

Here’s an example of some female speakers producing a fricated /t/. ​

 

My family was the most impor[t̞]ant thing to me, my parents taught me the impor[t̞]ance of quali[t̞]ies like kindness, just how important these things are as they grow up.

John was wri[t̞]ing “Quiet place” while I was shoo[t̞]ing this beau[t̞]iful magical film… so I was shoo[t]ing… (compare the first instance of the word shooting with a fricative and the second one with a stop.

I was erm… I was at some sor[ʔ] of par[t̞]y thing.

You’re very pre[t̞]i, to be fair…. I love the twi[t̞]er.

Processes of assimilation

 Coalescent assimilation (yod coalescence)

The process of yod coalescence 18 is a process of reciprocal assimilation by which the alveolar plosives and fricatives /t,d,s,z/ coalesce with a contiguous /j/ to form the sounds /tʃ, dʒ, ʃ, ʒ/ respectively. This process can happen at a historical level, by which the only possible pronunciation of words such as soldieror nature is with the coalesced form [səʊldʒə] and [neɪtʃə], and also at a contextual level, where it is a source of variation. Yod coalescence at a contextual level can take place within the word, in words such as duty [djuːti – dʒuːti] and tune [tjuːn – tʃuːn], and also across word boundaries, especially with phrases involving you, as in told you [təʊld ju – təʊldʒu] and let you [ let ju -letʃu].

More information and examples of yod coalescence here.

 

  • Hey mate, you lef[tʃ]our guitar in my house last night so, I’ve got it here, but I’m gonna be late for work, now…Woul[]ou? Oh, are you serious? Yes, it’s righthere, I’m outside now.
  • Are you still on your “no phone, no internet”?
  • Well, becau[ʒj]ou were were telling me that this is something that I should do in my life… I got my firs(t) phone when I was nineteen twen(t)y…            
  • Can I say, I was feeling so nervous about coming on this show, because, like, I couldn’t see what was funny about me singing my songs in a car.
  • But you’re great!
  • No, I know but, … brining out a guitar and it’s a lot more comfortable… but I was definitely like…
  • Why d[]ou think that is, that you feel in your most comfortable with you guitar…

So, I guess thi[ʃj]ear, yeah, everyone gets their trials and everyone gets their…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your [getʃɔː] melons, get your [getʃɔː] eggplants… do you [dʒu] know that Harry Style song…                                                         

Compare the two instances of the sentence “I just haven’t met you yet. The first one is [metju] and the second one is [metʃu].

Processes of insertion

T- epenthesis

T epenthesis is the insertion of [t] between a homorganic nasal [n] and a voiceless fricative [s] in words like since [sɪnts] and once [wʌnts]. This process may be regarded as part of a wider phonetic process of oral stop epenthesis (also known as “intrusive stop formation” (Mora 2006), by which an oral stop can be inserted between a preceding homorganic sonorant (usually a nasal or a lateral approximant) and a following voiceless fricative which agrees in voicing with the stop (Mora 2002: 22).

 

Intrusive r

Linking /r/ is a kind of r-liaison, or r-sandhi, that takes place in nonrhotic accents of English. It is a hiatus-breaking mechanism, which implies the insertion of a historical /r/ –historical in that it was once pronounced, as is indicated by the <r> that remains in the spelling– in coda position when there is a vowel following. Thus, the word far is pronounced /fɑː/ in non-rhotic accents, but far away is pronounced / fɑːrəweɪ/. Linking /r/ happens both across word boundaries, as in the previous example, or across morphemes, as in fear /fɪə/ fearing /fɪərɪŋ/.

There is another type of r-sandhi, intrusive /r/, by which an unetymological /r/ is inserted in the same contexts as linking /r/ takes place, i.e.after the vowels /ɑː, ɔː, ɜː, ɪə, eə, ʊə, ə/, as in the phrase the idea is /ði aɪˈdɪərɪz/.

More information on linking and intrusive r here and here.

Contrary to what is sometimes taught, intrusive /r/ is a widespread phenomenon and it appears in the speech of the highest classes. Proof of this is this production of prince William’s “Kenia [r] and“. Here you have some more examples of intrusive /r/:

 

I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya[r] and I proposed.

In those days… the Bafta[r] awards…

He didn’t draw[r] a flattering picture of me.                               

Somebody told me that I looked a bit like Kenneth Branagh, but Kenneth Branagh[r] is Henry V.  

Other processes

Smoothing

A process by which some triphthongs such as /aɪǝ/, as in higher, and /aʊə/, as in tower, may lose their second vowel quality and their pronunciation becomes more similar to a long monophthong such as [ɑː].
Very interesting blog entry on smoothing here.

 

Corks with silver tops, Bible and prayer [preə] book.

 

In all the movies I’ve made, you’re constantly being asked to elevate the material, expand it, fill it, create layers [leəz], find a calibration in i[ʔ]. 

Firstly, I totally accept that the higher [haə] and higher [haə] it goes, the less it helps, you know, the poor. 

A tower [taə] of strength.                                                               

 

Th-fronting

 

Oh [f]anks, but no, they did. 

We talk [f]rough cer[ʔ]ain things wi[v]… wi[v] some of the kids…

More information on Th-fronting here and here.

You can find exercises to practice connected speech processes (assimilation, juncture, linking and h-dropping) on the AngloTIC website.