Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard some things in conversation in English that don’t make sense?

Do you ever hear words that are connected and sound like one word when you know they really aren’t?

This is a perfect example of connected speech and the way that we talk being different than the way that we learn in a textbook.

We’re going to look at the next aspects of connected speech in English, catenation and instrusion, and how we tend to combine sounds and almost create new words in our conversations.

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Sounding Natural In Conversation

We want to sound natural when we’re talking, that’s an important goal in English and overall.

We want to hang on, and listen, and get some traction in a conversation.

The rules you are learning are like rungs of a ladder, and you have to keep up with them to master this.

This is the next step in learning through connected speech, and so it all works together.

You are probably already speaking this way in everyday conversations, but you don’t even realize it.

This is an aspect of learning English that is important, because it has to do with how you speak everyday and not just a lesson in a textbook.

Taking Connected Speech A Step Further

You previously learned about two aspects of connected speech in Episode 1233, and now we’re going to take it a step further.

This helps you to understand why we talk the way we do in English, even though it may not make sense in a textbook.

This has to do with what sounds natural, and that’s what you want to always strive for.

Here are two more aspects of connected speech that you can likely relate to.

  • Catenation: When one word ends in a consonant and the other ends in a vowel, they combine together. They join together and sound like one word. If you were to say something like “an apple,” you would say this quickly and it sounds like one word. The popular phrase “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” comes together and mushes into one thing. It can be confusing because you aren’t sounding out and saying each word and sound separately. This happens in songs often too because you don’t pronounce every single sound.
  • Intrusion: If there are two vowels next to each other, we tend to make a consonant sound naturally. If you were to say something like “I agree,” you wouldn’t pronounce each word. You would add in a “ya” sound to make this flow easier. If you were to say something like “go on,” you wouldn’t sound each word out. You would add in a “wa” sound here to make it flow as it should.

These two aspects of connected speech are something that we all do to make our speech sound more natural and to speak quickly enough to keep up with the pace of the conversation.

Dialect Can Be Confusing Sometimes Too

There are certain parts of the country where people change the actual pronunciation based on their dialect.

In Boston, people may add an “r” when they don’t need to or take it out when it should be there–such as in the word “Harvard.”

In more rural areas, people may add in an “r” where it doesn’t belong.

If you were to say the word “wash,” in smaller towns they may add in an “r” sound in there because that’s how they say it there.

These are examples of how dialect or where you live in the country may affect the way that you speak.

This may be confusing when you hear it at first in English, but you will learn to recognize it and identify it in conversation.

Taking This and Making It Your Own

How can you take this and take action with your own language?

To cement this knowledge, you may find that using real time transcripts to help you.

You can get access to our real time transcripts on your phone in our iOS app or from your computer by email subscription if you don’t have an iOS device, which will really help you to take it further.

This works well for a more advanced English learner, and it helps you to really learn and use these pronunciation skills.

You will find that you can even catch some of the things that we’re talking about in conversations in English.

This will help you to take your pronunciation and your English skills in another direction.


The way that we speak can sometimes be quite different from what we learn in a textbook.

Connected speech is a perfect example of this and so you can start to see how we say things that feel natural to us.

You may not pronounce every single sound in a word or phrase, because you want to sound natural in your conversations.

Start to really listen to the way that people talk, and then practice on your own to master this.

This is a great example of taking your English learning to another level and becoming more advanced in your practice.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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