9Connected Speech

GHINWA ALAMEEN AND JOHN M. LEVIS

Introduction

Words spoken in context (in connected speech) often sound quite different from those same words when they are spoken in isolation (in their citation forms or dictionary pronunciations). The pronunciation of words in connected speech may leave vowel and consonant sounds relatively intact, as in some types of linking, or connected speech may result in modifications to pronunciation that are quite dramatic, including deletions, additions, or changes of sounds into other sounds, or combinations of all three in a given word in context. These kinds of connected speech processes (CSPs) are important in a number of areas, including speech recognition software, text-to-speech systems, and in teaching English to second language learners. Nonetheless, connected speech, in which segmental and suprasegmental features interact strongly, lags far behind work in other areas of segmentals and suprasegmentals in second language research and teaching. Some researchers have argued that understanding CSPs may be particularly important for the development of listening skills (Field 2008; Jenkins 2000; Walker 2010), while others see CSPs’ production as being particularly important for more intelligible pronunciation (Celce-Murcia et al. 2010; Reed and Michaud 2005).

Once a word is spoken next to other words, the way it is pronounced is subject to a wide variety of processes. The changes may derive from linguistic context (e.g., can be ...

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