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sounds in combination

There are several major problem areas for learners of English. These are:

1. weakening - words such as prepositions, articles & auxiliary verbs are in their unstressed form, they are softer & shorter. The schwa sound vowel sound  (the most common)  & the sounds vowel sound  &  vowel sound are reduced forms.

Here are the weak forms of 'him', 'she', 'does', 'some', 'them', 'was', 'that'.


2. catenation/linking
- a consonant at the end of one word is carried over to connect with a vowel at the beginning of the next word. This causes learners to misinterpret word boundaries. The two words 'he's in' are linked with the 's' & the 'i' - learners can hear this as one word.


The same linkage with 'an apple'


3. intrusion
- an extra sound is introduced to lubricate the flow of one vowel to another. The utterance 'we are leaving' needs the /j/ sound between the 'we & the 'are'. Other common intrusive sounds are the /r/ & /w/

The /w/ sound is needed between 'go' & 'off'.


4. elision
- a sound is missed out e.g. for 'correct' -

The /t/ sound is dropped in 'next door'.



5. assimilation - a sound changes because it is affected by the sound that follows it e.g. for 'sandwich' & 'light blue' -


As with all areas of phonology it is a good idea to introduce these gradually. I would introduce them in the order given above. This is based on frequency & the amount of interference they cause.
Any listening activity can be exploited for a focus on these areas. After the listening skills development, focus on a short extract with the script & ask the stds to find examples of one or two of the features.

Look at the following & decide which of the features above are present.

a. go away
g. waste paper
b. acts
h. ten pounds
c. three onions
i. bright colour
d. scripts
j. I am
e. quite good
k. go away
f. ask them
l. two hours

Back to the phonemic chart page

An introduction to sounds & the phonemic chart

Back to the sounds activities 1 page

To the phonology index

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