This lesson is for students who speak English too slowly. I will teach you how to speak faster in English by using connected speech.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Speak English Too Slowly
When somebody speaks English too slowly, it can be annoying or boring for the listener. It also creates a negative impression of you. For example, people may assume that you don’t speak much English or that you are mentally slow.
Speak English Faster: Like a Native Speaker
Native English speakers give the impression of speaking very fast English, which is what makes their speech difficult for students of English to understand. In truth, however, native speakers do not have an especially fast pace of speech. They only appear to be speaking fast because their words flow together much more smoothly. We could even say that their words flow together lazily, which results in small changes of sound.
The umbrella term for the different ways that words flow together when people are speaking English is called ‘connected speech’. By learning connected speech tips and tricks, the flow and speed of your English speech will increase and you will sound more like a native English speaker.
You Speak English Too Slowly Because You’re Trying Too Hard!
Many students of English speak English too perfectly because they pronounce words according to their spellings. This often leads to inaccurate pronunciation because English isn’t a phonetic language, which means the spelling and pronunciation of words often doesn’t match.
Most students of English learn the language backwards. As babies, native speakers hear English being spoken before they learn the spellings of words. In contrast, most students of English learn to read in English before their listening skills have developed to an equal level. This results in students guessing how to pronounce English words, based on the way they are spelt.
Students Speak English Too Slowly Because They Don’t Connect Words
Trying too hard with your English pronunciation can result in slow and unnatural English speech. Many students of English focus too much on attempting to speak accurate English by saying every word perfectly. The problem with this is that it can lead to unnatural and robotic speech. To counteract this problem, you must learn to connect your words.
How Connected Speech Influences Pronunciation
There are three main changes of pronunciation that occur in connected speech which alter the way words and sentences sound. When these occur in speech, it makes your pronunciation sound lazier. These sound changes may appear to be inaccurate or sloppy, but in fact, they are correct.
The three main types of connected speech are:
- Elision: individual sounds or even whole syllables in a word disappear
- Assimilation: individual sounds change because they are influenced by the sounds next to them.
- Intrusion: a completely new sound that is not in the spelling appears.
Learn Connected Speech to Speak Faster English
A good starting point for learning connected speech is to learn how to say question phrases. In the video below, you will learn to say question phrases with ‘do’ and ‘did’ in a natural and flowing way.
Connected Speech Example Question Phrases
Read the example connected speech phrases below. Notice that the IPA transcription on the right is different to the spelling of the phrases.
How’s it going? → /ˈhaʊ.zɪt ˈgəʊ.ɪn/
How’s your mum? → /haʊz jə mʌm/
How’s Tom? → /haʊz tɒm/
How did you get there? → /haʊ ʤuː get ðeə/
How did it go? → /haʊ dɪt gəʊ/
How did you do it? → /haʊ ʤə ˈduː.ɪt/ or /haʊd jə ˈduː.ɪt/
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