Juncture is another element of intonation in English speech, and so is important for English accent reduction. As you will see from the examples below, it’s really important because if you don’t use it properly the meaning of what you are saying changes.

Juncture is a¬†kind of transition and pause between utterances or within an utterance. It’s a combination of pitch and pause.

A more formal definition is – a pause or slight delay in a continuous flow of speech. A type of sound transition characterizing the movement from sound to sound within a word or phrase. “The relationship between one sound and the sounds that immediately precede and follow it” (Roach 1991: 129)

There are 2 main types of juncture:

Close Juncture – is a movement from sound to sound which has no intervening pauses or delay. For example, ‘my train’.

Open Juncture – is a movement from sound to sound which is not continuous. There is a slight stoppage of the last sound till it blends with the next. The stoppage may vary from short to slightly longer depending on the context, meaning and punctuation. For example, ‘might rain’.

Sound Natural In English – Use Juncture




Examples of Close and Open Juncture

Close Juncture                                      Open Juncture (with the stoppage/pause)

my train                                                          might rain

that’s tough¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†that stuff

ice cream                                                         I scream

nitrate                                                              night rate

an aim                                                              a name

shore train                                                      short rain

new deal                                                          nude eel

it swings                                                          its wings

come and eat Grandma                                Come and eat, Grandma

My teacher said, the Dr is pregnant.          My teacher, said the Dr, is pregnant.

(the Dr is pregnant)                                          (the teacher is pregnant)

                                                         We have two options here: stay and fight, or run like the wind.


Best wishes, Esther

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