Connected speech is a natural and common feature of spoken English, and it has several features that make it distinct from isolated words or sounds. Some of the key features of connected speech in English language are:
1. Catenation: Catenation occurs when a final consonant sound in one word combines with the initial vowel sound in the following word. For example, “big apple” is pronounced as /bɪg ˈæpəl/.
2. Assimilation: Assimilation happens when a sound in one word changes to be more similar to the sound in the following or preceding word. For example, “green pen” becomes /griːm pen/ where the /n/ from green changes to /m/ to become a bilabial sound like the /p/ in pen.
3. Elision: Elision occurs when a sound or part of a word is eliminated in connected speech. For example, “going to” is often pronounced as “gonna” and “want to” as “wanna”.
4. Intrusion: Intrusion takes place when an extra sound is added between two words starting with vowels to make them easier to pronounce together. For example, “saw a film” is pronounced as /sɔː r ə fɪlm/.
5. Weak forms: Some English words that are usually stressed in isolation, such as “to” and “a,” have weak forms in connected speech. In weak forms, they are pronounced with reduced vowel sounds and are often difficult to hear.
Overall, connected speech aims to produce smooth and natural speech that is easier to produce and more comfortable to listen to, making it a vital feature of spoken English.