No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then your English won't be much good as a means of communication. You might be good at grammar, have a broad vocabulary, and be able to explain all the aspects and tenses of English, but it's not much good if you can't be understood when you speak. I have designed these Activities to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.
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The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation that was devised in the 19th century as a standardised way of representing the sounds of speech in written form. The British English IPA chart consists of 44 symbols representing the pure vowels (monophthongs), the gliding vowels (diphthongs), and the consonant sounds of spoken British English. The Britlish Library contains a wealth of Activities to help you to learn, remember, and use the British English IPA symbols efficiently whether you are a student or a teacher.
Say the words soft and drinks in isolation and we hear the /t/ at the end of soft. We rarely hear the two words in isolation, however, and when we bring them together as soft drinks, we no longer hear the /t/ sound. This is an example of elision, or deletion of sounds at word boundaries. This lesson will help you to use this elision to sound more natural when you speak English. By understanding elision, your listening skills will improve as well as your general pronunciation.
soft / sɒft / drinks / drɪŋks /
Say these two words in isolation like this and they each have the sounds you might expect.
But you will rarely hear these words in isolation.
Put them together and we can hear that the /t/ in soft has gone!
This is because it is impossible to say the /t/ sound followed by a /d/ sound without a gap.
Try it if you don’t believe me.
What happens to the T in soft drinks?
That’s the letter T, not tea, because there is no tea in soft drinks, unless it’s iced tea, of course.
But maybe iced tea is not classed as a soft drink?
Did you notice that the /t/ sound in iced is also missing?
What’s going on here?
Connected Sounds - Elision
What’s going on is elision, or the deletion of sounds at word boundaries.
Word boundaries come where one word follows another word without a gap in a speech segment.
Certain sounds mean that we have to drop the /t/ at the end of some words.
Let’s see which sounds force us to drop the /t/, shall we?
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