Assimilation Microphone

These Rules Will Improve Your English Pronunciation (Assimilation)

Today we’re looking at a feature of connected speech called assimilation. This is where the sound in a word might change because of what comes after it. For example, “Handbag” is often pronounced “hambag”. Have you come across this before?

The reason this is done is simply because it’s easier to say. Moving from the “M” sound to the “B” sound is much easier than “D” to “B”. Try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean. This is common in all dialects of English, but it’s not always consistent. Let’s look at a few common rules and see if you can try them too.

/t/ → /p/

When followed by /p/, /b/ or /m/)

  • get bored – will sound like ‘gep bored”
  • that person – thap person
  • it blew – ip blew
  • that before – thap before

/t/ → /k/

When followed by /k/ or /g/

  • that clear – thak clear
  • credit card – credik card
  • lost gun – losk gun

/d/ → /b/

When followed by /p/, /b/ or /m/

  • could be – coub be
  • would park – woub park
  • should meet – shoub meet

/d/ → /g/

When followed by /k/ or /g/

  • could clear – coug clear
  • should go – shoug go

/n/ → /m/

When followed by /p/, /b/ or /m/

  • ten pears – tem pears
  • fan boy – fam boy
  • in my – im my

/n/ → /ŋ/

When followed by /k/ or /g/

  • ten cars – teng cars
  • then go – theng go

/n/ → /ʃ/

When followed by /ʃ/ or /j/

  • miss you – mish you
  • miss shoe – mish you

Any more examples you can share in the comments?

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