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2.4.2 辅音 + 元音(Consonant + Vowel)

在词汇内部,“辅音 + 元音” 当然可以构成一个音节;在同一个意群(thought group)中,如果以辅音结尾的词汇遇到以元音开头的词汇的话,那么前一个词末尾的辅音和后一个词开头的元音很可能会连起来读,听起来构成一个音节,这种方式叫做连读

A syllable can be formed by a "consonant + vowel" combination within a word. Within the same thought group, if a word ending in a consonant meets a word beginning with a vowel, the final consonant of the first word and the initial vowel of the second word may well blend together when spoken, sounding as if they form a single syllable, which is often referred to as linking.

比如在 People's opinions vary from individual to individual. 在这句话中,People's 末尾的 zopinions 开头的 ə 会连在一起,piː·pəl·zə·ˈpɪ·njənz —— 感觉上是在读一整个由 5 个音节构成的词汇一样……

For instance, when saying People's opinions vary from individual to individual, the s at the end of People's and the ə at the start of opinions seamlessly connect, making it sound like a five-syllable word: /pi-pəl-zə-ˈpɪ-njənz/. It feels as if you're pronouncing a single, lengthy word.

这类连读中有相当难度乃至于必须刻意练习的其实只有两种,tl 构成的连读。

There are two particular types which are quite challenging and require deliberate practice. These involve the use of t and l, respectively.

之前提到过,在美式英语里,t 有个特殊的现象,它夹在两个元音之间的时候会被浊化,被读成弹舌音,用 表示,听起来接近 d…… 比如,在 city ˈsɪt̬i 这个词汇里, t 就夹在两个元音之间。

It is previously mentioned that in American English, the t sound has a unique characteristic. When it's sandwiched between two vowels, it's often voiced with an alveolar flapping, creating a sound very close to d. This is represented as . For example, in the word city /ˈsɪt̬i/, the t is between two vowels.

在自然语流里,同一个意群中,经常会出现以 t 结尾的词汇后面跟着一个以元音开头的词汇,并且,t 的前面是元音的概率也很高,所以,词汇之间出现 t 的浊化弹舌音 的情况非常普遍。比如,Get it done. ɡet̬ ɪt dʌn

In natural speech flow, it's common to find a word ending with t closely followed by a word beginning with a vowel within the same thought group. Furthermore, there's a high possibility that the t is preceded by a vowel. Therefore, the occurrence of the flapped between words is incredibly prevalent. For example: Get it done. ɡet̬ ɪt dʌn

l 构成的连读,对绝大多数人来说,难点在于,如果前一个单词末尾的 l 舌尖动作不够完整的话(即,结束的时候舌尖没有贴到龈脊)那么,l 这个弹舌音就发不出来,无法与后面的元音连上…… 尤其是在没有纠正掉用嘴唇动作替代舌尖动作的错误(乃至于有 ʊ 的音色)的情况下。

The challenge of linked speech involving l lies in the tongue's movement. If the tip of the tongue does not make complete contact with the roof of the mouth at the end of a word ending in l, it's difficult to produce the appropriate sound for the subsequent flapping l with the following vowel. This is especially true if the habit of substituting the movement of the lips for the action of the tongue hasn't been corrected, leading to a sound colored by ʊ.

请仔细听一遍以下的录音,注意所有以 l 作为末尾的音节:

Please listen carefully to the following recording, pay special attention to words ending with l:

Whether the goal of an insurgency has been to establish the Christian religion in the days of the Roman Empire, to create an interstate commerce commission in nineteenth-century America, or to promote civil rights for minorities in the twentieth century, what a successful insurgency does in institutional or process terms is to change the incentives and constraints facing others, as well as the incentives and constraints facing themselves and their successors.[1]

在以上这段录音中,goal~of, successful~insurgency, as well~as, 都有前一个单词末尾的 l 与后一个单词开头的元音之间轻微的连读。但,institutional or 之间却没有 —— 因为这两个词汇实际上分别属于前后不同的意群。

In the audio clip above, the phrase goal~of, successful~insurgency, and as well~as all exhibit slight linking between the ending l of the first word and the vowel at the beginning of the following word. However, there's no such linking between institutional and or. That's because these two words belong to separate thought groups.

初学者容易矫枉过正,想把一切自己遇到的词汇间 “辅音 + 元音” 的组合连起来读…… 请注意,是很可能连起来读,但并不一定。首先,这多少与个人讲话的习惯有关。更为重要的是,讲话的时候要划分意群,意群之间要有暂停pause)—— 前一个意群末尾的辅音和下一个意群开头的元音,不应该连读。

Beginners often overcorrect when learning English, trying to merge all "consonant + vowel" combinations they encounter. Remember, it's possible to connect sounds, but it's not always necessary. This largely depends on personal speaking habits. More importantly, when speaking, one should divide their speech into thought groups, pausing between each group. Do not blend the ending consonant of one thought group with the beginning vowel of the next.

NOTE

目前(2024.03) OpenAI 的 TTS 引擎生成的语音中,l + vowels 的组合总是没有连读效果 —— 也许将来的版本会改进?

As of now (March 2024), the TTS engine from OpenAI doesn't seem to blend the sound of ending l with following vowels smoothly. But who knows? Future versions might just improve on this.


  1. This audio clip is extracted from the Audible edition of Knowledge and Decisions by Thomas Sowell. ↩︎