Version for non-linguists
Speech delivered in a natural, fast way is full of reduction. Contrary to a widely held belief, not only do sentences and words get reduced but also the sounds of speech, which are subject to various reduction processes. Reduction of sounds may be exemplified as follows:
Linguists have been studying reduction of sounds for some time, yet there is still a lot to be discovered. For instance, the frequency of reduction processes, the relation of reduction in a dialect (Lancashire) to the standard (RP), the factors triggering reduction or understanding reduction by learners of a second language.
Quite frankly, being a fast talker myself, I am most curious if the rate of speech promotes reduction.
To sum up, the aim of my project is to treat reduction like any other linguistic phenomenon, not as a deviation or accidental sloppiness. I hope that the results of my project will
a) uncover the regularities governing reduction
b) help second language learners to understand fast speech
c) serve to compare reduction produced by normal, healthy speakers to those suffering from various speech pathologies
For more information, visit the Casual Speech section.