Good evening

Can you tell me how to name different pronunciations these forms (the picture below) in British English? I would like to know more about those forms. How and when to use them. Our teacher has told us something as assimilation but I'm not sure and I'm not sure which one it is.

The same style of pronunciation as in the 1st column is orange juice.

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Thanks for help.

  • 2
    Questions of pronunciation may be closed as off-topic, but also are difficult to answer because there are many pronunciations. If I recall, "want to" can be pronounced "wont to" in some dialects, and "wonna" or "wanna" in others.
    – Andrew
    Dec 8 '16 at 20:32
  • 5
    Pronunciation is most certainly on-topic on ELL. Questions about pronunciation are usually answerable, and it's one of the most important problems facing learners of English. I think we should welcome questions about pronunciation on our site.
    – user230
    Dec 8 '16 at 20:37
  • And what about verbs or forms? Can you suggest me some source? Thanks. Dec 8 '16 at 20:38
  • 2
    These are often called "fast speech variants" in linguistics. Notice that the amount of overlap is not binary -- uniform spaces do not occur in real speech, and individuals vary in their pronunciation, as well as their perception of the situation and how fast they should talk. In other words, there aren't just two pronunciations; there are thousands, and they can't all have special names. Dec 9 '16 at 3:56

Ages ago I was taught Russian at the behest of my then-employer. Gaining the skill to switch accents to meet our immediate needs was very important, so we spent a lot of class time on it.

Running two words together, which is what's happening in the second version of each example, is the mark of a fluent (it means "flowing", and might be the word you want as a general descriptor) speaker. All native speakers do it, and it makes some languages very hard to parse for the listening learner. One word flows into the next seamlessly, audible pauses only occurring where they must.

There is also a social-class difference, however. People of higher social classes generally speak more slowly and distinctly, running their words together more subtly. Vowels are "rounder" (fewer schwas), consonants more defined (fewer glottal stops).

So "want to", "orange juice", and "is she" are more likely to be clear when spoken by someone of a higher social class, or someone trying to emulate a person of that class (that's the other meaning of "assimilation": social assimilation.

If you hear "wanna", "oranjoos", and "ishy", you may be listening to a native speaker from the working class, someone who, in most countries, gets little or no decent education (because someone whose life is going to be spent digging tatties or hauling away rubbish to the tip isn't worth spending money on, if you're a certain kind of government spender).

  • 4
    This is dreadfully snobbish! All social classes use these assimilations. Nobody pronounces two separate /t/ sounds in "want to", not even Prince Charles.
    – TonyK
    Dec 8 '16 at 23:04
  • Is there really a clear connection between how people of higher social classes speak, and how middle-class people trying to emulate upper class people speak? I thought middle-class people often "overcompensate" so to speak, giving us distinctions like the infamous supposed "U and non-U" lexical differences (or to give an even more old-fashioned example, upper-class "shootin, huntin and fishin" or "gel" for "girl").
    – sumelic
    Dec 8 '16 at 23:23
  • 1
    @sumelic It's a clear-enough distinction that native speakers pick up on it, even when not consciously. Crossing class boundaries via adopted accent, vocabulary, and tastes is still a theme in English (cultural) literature.
    – MMacD
    Dec 9 '16 at 2:37
  • 1
    @TonyK Quite right, pronouncing words with complete distinction is the mark of the educated non-native speaker who doesn't speak the language often, and thus sounds mechanical. Charles (and others of similar class) put just a little distinction in. They definitely do not slur the words together, though.
    – MMacD
    Dec 9 '16 at 2:39

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