Recently however, there has been a shift of focus towards the other systems operating within phonology, which may be more important in terms of overall intelligibility.
What connected speech is How this affects native and non-native speakers Aspects of connected speech Working on weak forms Conclusion
What connected speech is
“English people speak so fast” is a complaint I often hear from my students, and often from those at an advanced level, where ignorance of the vocabulary used is not the reason for their lack of comprehension.
The reason, it seems, is that speech is a continuous stream of sounds, without clear-cut borderlines between each word. In spoken discourse, we adapt our pronunciation to our audience and articulate with maximal
economy of movement rather than maximal clarity. Thus, certain words are lost, and certain phonemes linked together as we attempt to get our message across.
How this affects native and non-native speakers
As native speakers, we have various devices for dealing with indistinct utterances caused by connected speech. We take account of the context, we assume we hear words with which we are familiar within that context.
In real-life interaction, phonetically ambiguous pairs like " a new display" / " a nudist play", are rarely a problem as we are actively making predictions about which syntactic forms and lexical items are likely to occur in a given situation.