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2. The syllabic function of the sonants in English

When [m, n, l] are preceded or surrounded by consonants in the word final position they become syllabic.

e.g.

rhythm, blossom, reason, beetle, absent, puzzled

3. Devoicing of the sonants.

The sonants become devoiced after voiceless consonants (progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords).

e.g.

smoke, snake, fly, twice, dry, plosive, cjure

4. [t, d, s, z] + [j]

In contemporary English the clusters [tj], [dj], [sj], [zj] can be pronounced as [t4, d4, 4, 5] respectively either within words or at word boundaries. English pronouncing dictionaries register two fixed forms:

tune [tju:n]/[t4u:n];

situation [s$tju`e$49n]/[s$t4u`e$49n];

gradual ['gr#d5u9l]/['gr#dju9l];

issue [`$4u:]/[`$sju:];

visual ['v$5u9l]/['v$zju9l];

educate ['ed53ke$t]/['edj3ke$t];

[t + j] not yet ['n&t4`et]; didn’t you [`d$dnt43]

[d + j] would you [`w3d53]; could your son [k3d5@:s2n]

[s + j] kiss your mum ['k$4@:`m2m]

[z + j]as yet[9'5et]; has your son come ['h#5@:s2nk2m]

At the junction of words this phenomenon most frequently occurs in question tags.

Consonant sounds that link words.

When a word that ends in a vowel is followed by a word that begins with a vowel, English speakers will often insert an extra sound in order to link the vowels together to make the flow of speech more smooth and to avoid the ‘gap’ between the words (either a pause or unnecessary glottal stop).

Linking [r]

When a word ending in [9], [$9], [e9], [39], [6:], [@:], [7:] is immediately followed by a word beginning with a vowel, the sound [r] is pronounced at the end of the first word joining it to the next one. When words end in the letters ‘r’ or ‘re’, the revived r-sound is called the linking [r].

e.g.

far away

[f6:r 9we$]

here and there

[h$9r 9nd 8e9]

If there is no ‘r’ in spelling, the inserted r-sound is called the inrusive [r].

e.g.

the idea of the book

[8$ a$d$9r 9v 89 b3k]

Asia and Africa

[e$49r 9nd #fr$k9]

Learners of English are not recommended to use the intrusive [r] as it is generally disapproved of by many RP speakers (although it may be useful to be aware of this phenomenon).

As for the linking [r] it is recognised as a typical feature of the English Standard pronunciation. Notice, however, the absence of linking [r] in such ‘inconvenient’ word sequences as ‘a roar of laughter’ [9 r@: 9v l6:ft9], ‘an error of judgement’ [9n er9 9v d52d5ment].

Consonantal glides [w] and [j]

When two vowels meet at word-boundaries and there is no [r] available, English speakers insert very short, never articulated fully [w] or [j]. The choice of either [w] or [j] depends on the vowel that ends the first word. If the word final vowel is of u-type – [u:], [a3], [93] – then the linking glide will be [w]. If the word final vowel is of i-type – [i:], [e$], [a$], [@$] – the linking glide [j] is inserted.

e.g.

how often

[ha3w &f9n]

they are

[8e$j 6:]

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