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Upping the Articulation Challenge

lettersMany of you liked the last month’s articulation challenge so I’m giving you one a bit harder.

This challenge attacks some sloppiness that has become okay in conversation, but it’s often not acceptable for professional work.  You’ll have to decide if your work needs this articulation clean-up or not.

In conversation we’re a bit lazy, and one way we’re lazy is dropping an ending plosive consonant if the next word starts with a plosive consonant.  (As a reminder, plosive consonants are /t/ /d/, /p/ /b/, and /k/ /g/.)

Take these two words:  “it can.” In conversation we usually say, “i can.” We drop the /t/ on “it.” To have really crisp articulation we need to hit that /t/.

As I pointed out, this can make you sound very precise, which is not always what you want as a broadcaster or voiceover artist. The advantage of learning to do this correctly is that it gives you the option for very precise speech whenever you feel you need it.

So how do you master this skill? In a word, practice. You have to challenge your articulators to work harder.

The first challenge is to be sure you can make plosives easily. Check out this post of mine that gives you drills to help you improve plosive pronunciation.

Once you have mastered the plosives alone, you must practice two words together that present a challenge.

Begin by allowing all the space you need between the words to make the plosive on the first word correctly. Next, close up that space making sure you’re not losing the plosive on the first word.

Here are some words to practice (taken from Hilda B. Fisher’s, Improving Voice and Articulation):

that proves               hot potato                last call

it can                           light brown             that cat

that book                   had taught               past due

street cleaner           dad bought              that bottle


Working on these endings is just one of the things I cover in my Articulation mp3. Buy my 10-minute Articulation mp3 for only $9.99 many more exercises on all aspects of articulation.




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