Reduced speech: All is variability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Humans often communicate through reduced speech, where many sounds are altered or deleted. Even whole syllables or occasionally whole words can be deleted, as in the production [thjythɛ̃m] for do you have time shown in the visual abstract. Such reduction is more common in spontaneous, casual, conversational speech, but it occurs in connected speech in formal settings, and rarely even in careful word-list reading. Such speech poses challenges for phonetic transcription, since it contains many sounds that do not seem to be any particular sound of the language and that are difficult to classify into categories. I argue this is because reduction operates largely outside the phonological system of the language. Reduced speech also poses questions about how listeners recognize the many possible forms of words, since speech seems to be made up entirely of variability. This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Linguistic Theory Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1496
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • phonetic transcription
  • reduced speech
  • speech perception
  • spoken word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduced speech: All is variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this