Sound Assimilation

Sound Assimilation
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Understanding Connected Speech and Sound Assimilation 

Connected speech is a continuous sequence of sounds forming utterances or conversations in spoken language. It’s an essential concept in English language learning, especially for ESL (English as a Second Language) students. One of the fascinating aspects of connected speech is sound assimilation. 

Sound Assimilation 

Sound assimilation is a phonological process where a sound changes to become more like a neighboring sound. It’s a common occurrence in everyday speech and often goes unnoticed by native speakers. However, for ESL students, understanding this concept can significantly improve both their listening comprehension and pronunciation skills. 

Example: “Input” 

Take the word “input” as an example. When pronounced in isolation, the /n/ sound is clear. However, in connected speech, especially when spoken quickly, the /n/ sound often changes to an /m/ to match the bilabial /p/ sound that follows it. So, “input” may sound more like “imput”. 

More Examples 

Here are more examples of sound assimilation in English: 

  1. “Handbag”: The /d/ in “hand” often assimilates to the /b/ in “bag”, resulting in the pronunciation “hambag”. 
  2. “Green Park”: The /n/ in “green” can assimilate to the /p/ in “park”, leading to “greem park”. 
  3. “Ten boys”: The /n/ in “ten” can assimilate to the /b/ in “boys”, sounding like “tem boys”. 
  4. “Good day”: The /d/ in “good” often assimilates to the /d/ in “day”, resulting in “guday”. 

Informal Writing and Sound Assimilation 

Sound assimilation is so common in English that it has even influenced informal writing. For instance, “going to” is often pronounced as “gonna”, and “want to” as “wanna” in casual speech. These pronunciations have found their way into informal writing contexts, such as texting and social media. 


Sound assimilation is a natural part of spoken English. While it can pose challenges for ESL students, understanding this concept can lead to significant improvements in their English proficiency. Remember, language is not just a collection of individual sounds but a flowing, connected sequence of sounds. Happy learning! 


Lingthusiasm - Lingthusiasm Episode 92: Brunch, gonna, and fozzle...
Lingthusiasm Episode 92: Brunch, gonna, and fozzle - The smooshing episode Sometimes two words are smooshed together in a single act of creativity to fill a lexical gap, like making “brunch” from breakfast+lunch. Other times, words are smooshed together gradually, over a long period of speakers or signers discovering more efficient ways to position their mouth or hands, such as pronouncing “handbag” being pronounced more like “hambag”. In this episode, your hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne get enthusiastic about smooshing words together. We talk about the history of portmanteau words like motel and chortle, the poem Jabberwocky, and why some portmanteaus, like Kenergy from Ken + energy, sound really satisfying, while others (wonut??) just don’t catch on at all. We also talk about words becoming more efficient to produce over time, like how a path can be gradually created through many people choosing the same route through a field, such as “going to” becoming “gonna” or the historical forms of ASL “remember” and French “aujourd’hui”. Read the transcript here. Announcements: In this month’s bonus episode we get enthusiastic about secret codes and the word games we create based on them!! We talk about using alternate symbols to encode messages like in semaphore, Morse code, as well as repurposing existing symbols like the Caesar cipher, ROT13, and cryptoquote puzzles. We also talk about cryptic crosswords, which aren’t technically a kind of cryptography but were used to recruit codebreakers for Bletchley Park in World War II, as well as Navajo, Choctaw, and other Native American code talkers who used their language skills to transmit messages in both world wars that were much harder to crack than a mere cipher. Join us on Patreon now to get access to this and 80+ other bonus episodes. You’ll also get access to the Lingthusiasm Discord server where you can chat with other language nerds. Here are the links mentioned in the episode: Lingthusiasm episode ‘When Nothing means Something’ Wikipedia list of portmanteaus OED entry for ‘frenemy’ Examples of Spanish portmanteaus - post by Reddit post by user ExtraSquats4dathots More examples of Spanish portmanteaus Wikipedia entry for ‘Blend Words’ ‘BroT3’ - post by All Things Linguistic ‘Quantifying cronuts: Predicting the quality of blends’, by Constantine Lignos and Hilary Prichard ‘Frankenwords: they’re alive! But for how long?’ by Andy Bodle ’#portmantfail’ - post by Superlinguo ‘The Fandom Pairing Name: Blends and the Phonology-Orthography Interface’ post by All Things Linguistic ‘The Fandom Pairing Name: Blends and the Phonology-Orthography Interface’ paper by Cara M. DiGirolamo Wikipedia entry for ‘Jabberwocky’ ‘An Open Letter To The Red Squiggles Under “Imput”’ post by All Things Linguistic ‘Homorganic Nasal Assimilation in Arsi-Bale Afan Oromo: A Non-Linear Phonology’ by Tilahun Negash ‘Nasal assimilation in Jakarta Indonesian’ by Ferdinan Okki Kurniawan ‘Nasalisation and nasal assimilation in Akan’ by John Odoom and Kwasi Adomako Lingthusiasm episode ‘What visualizing our vowels tells us about who we are’ Assimilation processes in sign language You can listen to this episode via, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list. You can help keep Lingthusiasm ad-free, get access to bonus content, and more perks by supporting us on Patreon. Lingthusiasm is on Bluesky, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mastodon, and Tumblr. Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com Gretchen is on Bluesky as @GretchenMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic. Lauren is on Bluesky as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo. Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our production editor is Sarah Dopierala, our production assistant is Martha Tsutsui Billins, and our editorial assistant is Jon Kruk. Our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles. This episode of Lingthusiasm is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (CC 4.0 BY-NC-SA).
Phonetic Assimilation: Types and Examples | StudySmarter
Phonetic Assimilation: ✓ Definition ✓ Degree ✓ Types ✓ Examples ✓StudySmarter Original