Phonology and the Teaching of Pronunciation

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Many people are complaining that English people talk very rapidly (Roach, 2004:1; Steele, 2005). It is because of the fact that speech is a continuous stream of sounds without specific constraints between them (Steele, 2005). This speech is called connected speech where a natural, smooth-flowing manner of speaking is used.


In English, most connected speech processes are unimportant when distinguishing between speakers of all accents (Roach, 2004:1). Native speakers have many tools for dealing with unclear words and sounds that are caused by connected speech for they are already familiar within that context. But native speakers also experience stumbling over their words because of their lack of awareness of the little tricks or the rules in avoiding the difficulties in speech.
Studying connected speech is important because of two essential factors (Basquille, n.d.:4). First, native speakers of the English language do not pause between each sound or word, as already mentioned, but they move effortlessly from one sound or word to the next. Second, English is considered as a malleable language, meaning not all syllables within a word are equal. There are weak syllables that disappear or not heard at all and strong syllables that are stressed and lengthened. An example is the question: "How long have you been living here" where the "how" is hardly pronounced, "have you been" contracts, and "long" and "living" expand.
Because English has been described as "stress-timed as opposed to a syllable-timed language", meaning stressed and unstressed syllables may extremely vary at irregular intervals of time, sentences are quite elastic (Basquille, n.d.:4). ...
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