When speakers speak too quickly, often sounds or syllables are deleted creating speech sounding unpolished or similar to street language. Speech is connected and all sounds require articulation. These speech errors are detrimental during professional speaking engagements and can significantly impair credibility. Listed below are common words speaker’s use that get chopped, or deleted reducing diction and intelligibility.
Often speakers will delete the final /d/ sound blending words and phrases such as: “Peanut Butter ‘an Jelly” or “Saturday ‘n Sunday”. Transitioning the tongue from the /n/ position to formulate the /d/ sound is a specific movement and voicing is also required. Omitting the /d/ sound is easy to do however, compromises diction in conversational speech.
Often the vowel sound /a/ is omitted causing, “I cn do it later.”
Again the vowel sound /a/ becomes deleted creating statements such as: “She wz tryin’ ta help.”
Often this becomes WT or WD creating, “WTime do we leave?” or “Wd do you think?”
This becomes a different sound, “er”. For example, “What er ya doin?” This error type does not reflect well in professional speech.
This also becomes a new sound “er” as in, “This er that one”
The letter O + R is a fine oral motor movement and it is easier to substitute it with another sound. Often “for” becomes “fer” as in, “This is fer you.” Again, this error type does not represent well in professional settings.
Often the sound /n/ is the only sound produced resulting in, “I walked ‘n at 5:00.”
Real World Practice
1. Say Every Sound in Every Word
When speaking concentrate on producing every sound in every word. Using this technique will assist you with being aware of your articulators (lips, tongue and jaw) moving at a controlled rate so they do not trip over one another during conversational speech. This strategy will assist you in two ways by decreasing your rate of speech while improving articulation.
2. Midsection Breathing
Use your midsection breathing strategy. Incorporating proper breathing techniques will prompt you to decrease your rate of speech allowing you to produce all sounds and words.
3. Feel Your Articulators Touch
Control your rate of speech where you can feel your articulators touch. Feel your lips and jaw move as well as your tongue contacting your teeth and jaw. Visualize your articulators working together and making light contact. This will help you to produce perfect articulation.
The Rules for “A, An, The and Thee”
These terms are often used interchangeably however; specific rules are applied with how they are utilized. To be considered an articulate speaker it is important to use these terms correctly.
“A and An” “A” is used when the next sound in the word begins with a consonant such as “a boy”, “a cat”, “a restaurant”. “An” is used when the next sound in the word begins with a vowel such as, “an apple”, “an elephant” or “an accident”.
“The” is used before a consonant for example, “The cat” or “The boy”. The word “thee” is technically used before a vowel however is rarely used in American standard speech anymore. Examples include, Thee other day. The colors of thee American flag are red white and blue.
To be perceived as articulate and well spoken, it is necessary to pronounce all sounds and words used during speech. When speaking consider your rate of speech, the movement of your articulators and producing all sounds in every word to avoid these speech errors and present with excellent diction skills. The provided strategies will assist you with producing perfect articulation and diction.