PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Red dye or red eye?

This past Thursday, students in English for lunch had a look at connected speech. Sometimes English learners can understand all the words in a spoken sentence and still not understand what the sentence means. Why is that? The answer is: Connected speech. Written language is different from spoken language and even in spoken language, there are differences depending on if we say isolated words or if we link all together in a stream of speech.

For example, ‘What do you do?’, a question which most lower-level students understand easily on paper, becomes a fast, incomprehensible blurt with a /ʤu:/ (imagine the word juice without the /s/ sound) at the beginning. What are (as in What are the numbers?) becomes /wɒ-də/ and what have (as in What have you done?) becomes /wɒ-dəv/.

Red dye
Red eye

There are several types of changes that happen in a stream of English speech. The title of this article is an example of Delayed plosion. To quote ‘To articulate “red dye”, we must take a very short pause before the /d/ sound. The /d/ is an example of a plosive, consonant sounds where the vocal tract stops all airflow. Other examples are /b/,/d/, /g/, /p/, /t/ and /k/. This pause before the plosive gives us the name of this feature, delayed plosion. Another example: the right tie (delay) – the right eye (no delay)’

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Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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