Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Elision with Ed Sheeran

Final part of the song "Photograph", by Ed Sheeran.

In rapid, everyday, connected speech, English speakers tend to simplify long/complex consonant clusters. This feature, called Elision or Dissimilation, may occur in a few different contexts, and Ed Sheeran illustrates one of them very clearly: when two words meet creating a 3-consonant cluster or when there is a non-initial 3-consonant cluster within a word, the consonant in the middle of the cluster might not be pronounced. This is why you might find the renditions in brackets of the phrases/words below in connected speech:

'next day' [nɛks dej]
'reached Paris' [riːtʃ pærɪs]
'blind man' [blajn mən]
'acts' [æks]
'texts' [tɛks]
'postman' [pows mən]

Now watch the video and check out the word in which a consonant is clearly not pronounced:

Yes, it's the word 'sixth', rendered by Ed Sheeran as [sɪkθ].

Stay tuned for more videos, and if you have a suggestion of a video clip I could use to illustrate a feature of English or Portuguese phonetics, please send it to me.

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