Tuesday, 8 February 2011

feel for English sound sequences

credit: Evelyn Gonzalez
I asked my students (with 7 to 9 years of EFL at a German secondary school) where in the phrase wet blanket they would expect assimilation to occur. The overwhelming majority correctly spotted the word boundary. Additionally I made them guess what kind of change was likely to take place. To my disappointment many of them opted for /wed blæŋkɪt/. Definitely not a native speaker's first choice, is it?
Next they had to classify the change from /wet blæŋkɪt/ to /wep blæŋkɪt/ according to the criteria I had introduced before:
  1. direction
  2. extent
  3. distance
  4. parameter
  5. obligatoriness
Congratulations to those who came up with this answer:
Optional total regressive contact assimilation of place of articulation.


  1. >>Definitely not a native speaker's first choice, is it?

    It depends on how...er...blau the native speaker happens to be at the time.

  2. LOL! If the NS's first choice is being inebriated ...

  3. On second thought: Someone's got to write a textbook on English Spoken in a State of Inebriety.