Another process that arises as a consequence of rapidly articulated speech and which also operates at word boundaries is elision. Elision is the removal or deletion of a sound, or sounds. It can occur across word boundaries in connected speech.
A frequent elision is the deletion of /h/ when it appears in word-initial position after a word boundary, e.g.
|she lives in Hull||/ʃi lɪvz ɪn hʌl/||→||[ʃɪ lɪvz ɪ̃n ʌ̃ɫ]|
|he’s very happy||/hiz vɛrɪ hæpɪ /||→||[(h)iːz vɛɹɪ æpʰɪ]|
The elision of word-initial /h/ is not especially predictable. However, unstressed pronouns beginning with /h/ appear to be susceptible, i.e. he, him, her, his, hers, himself, herself. Here are three examples:
|he went there||/hi wɛnt ðɛə/||→||[ɪ wɛn̪t̪̚ ðɛəː]|
|give him it||/gɪv hɪm ɪt/||→||[g̟ɪv ɪm ɪʔ]|
|give her it||/gɪv hɜ ðɛm/||→||[g̟ɪv ɜː ðəm]|
In addition, forms of the auxiliary verb have also appear to be susceptible to so-called h-dropping, e.g.
|would have||/wʊd hæv/||→||[ɪ wʊd əv̥]|
|could have||/kʊd hæv/||→||[k̠ʰʊd əv̥]|
|might have||/maɪt hæv /||→||[mãɪt əv̥]|
In addition to these features that frequently appear in rapidly articulated standard British English, h-dropping is also a feature of several accents, including Yorkshire, Cumbrian and Cockney. We can summarize this simply as follows.
Word-initial /h/ is frequently omitted.
The alveolar plosives /t/ and /d/ are particularly susceptible to elision when they appear in word-final position if they are (1) preceded by a consonant and, (2) followed by a consonant which is in word-initial position of the immediately following word. This can be summarized as follows.
Predominantly, the consonants that combine with /t/ to create two-member clusters in word-final position are voiceless consonants, i.e. the voicing of the preceding consonant and the following /t/ is voiceless. In contrast, the consonants that combine with /d/ to create two-member clusters in word-final position are voiced consonants, i.e. the voicing of the preceding consonant and the following /d/ is voiced. This gives rise to many possible clusters (Table 1).
Table 1. Matrix of two-member word-final clusters with /t/ and /d/.
Some two-member clusters do not appear in any English words in word-final position. These are the clusters presented in Table 1 with strikeout, i.e. /tt, θt, ht, dd, wd, rd, jd/. The remaining clusters can be found with different frequencies in English words. The following examples show how a ‘voiceless consonant plus /t/’ cluster in word-final position elides the /t/ when the cluster appears before another consonant.
|/-pt/||kept quiet||/kɛpt kwaɪət/||→||[k̟ʰɛp̚ kʰwaɪːəʔ]|
|/-kt/||licked two||/lɪkt tu/||→||[lɪk̚ tuː]|
|/-ft/||left luggage||/lɛft lʌgɪʤ/||→||[lɛf lʌg̠ɪʤ̊]|
|/-st/||last man||/lɑst mæn/||→||[lɑs mæ̃n]|
|/-ʃt/||mashed potato||/mæʃt pəteɪtəʊ/||→||[mæ̃ʃ pʰətʰeɪtʰəʊ]|
|/-ʧt/||beached whale||/biʧt weɪl/||→||[biʧ weɪːɫ]|
The following demonstrate how a ‘voiced consonant plus /d/’ cluster in word-final position elides the /d/ when the cluster appears before another consonant.
|/-bd/||mobbed team||/mɒbd tim/||→||[mɒ̃b̚ tʰĩːm]|
|/-gd/||lagged tank||/lægd tæŋk/||→||[læg̚ tʰæ̃ŋkʰ]|
|/-md/||roamed far||/rəʊmd fɑ/||→||[ɹəʊ̃ːm fɑː]|
|/-nd/||hand cart||/hænd kɑt/||→||[hæ̃ŋ k̠ʰɑːʔ]|
|/-ŋd/||winged bird||/wɪŋd bɜd/||→||[wɪ̃ŋ bɜːd̥]|
|/-vd/||loved dog||/lʌvd bɔɪ/||→||[lʌv bɔɪː]|
|/-ðd/||bathed quickly||/beɪðd kwɪklɪ/||→||[beɪːð kʰwɪkʰlɪ]|
|/-zd/||used car||/juzd kɑ/||→||[juːz̥ k̠ʰɑː]|
|/-ʒd/||garaged car||/gærɑʒd kɑ/||→||[g̟æɹɑːʒ̊ k̠ʰɑː]|
|/-ʤd/||changed places||/ʧeɪnʤd pleɪsɪz/||→||[ʧeɪ̃ːnʤ̊ pʰl̥eɪsɪz̥]|
|/-ld/||bold font||/bəʊld fɒnt/||→||[bəʊːɫ fɒ̃nʔ]|
The consonant cluster /nt/ differs from those discussed above in that the voicing of the two members is not matched. In an /nt/cluster the first consonant is voiced whilst the second consonant is voiceless. It can occur in words such as haven’t /hævnt/ and hint /hɪnt/. The /t/ in these clusters can also be omitted when they occur before a word-initial consonant across a word boundary, e.g.
|/-nt/||she didn’t do it||/ʃi dɪdnt du ɪt/||→||[ʃi dɪdn duː ɪʔ]|
|a hint of mint||/eɪ hɪnt ɒv lɛmən/||→||[ə hɪ̃n əv lɛ̃mə̃n]|
The elision of /t/ and /d/ in word-final clusters, as discussed in this subsection, can be summarized as follows.
Word-final /t, d/ preceded by a consonant and followed by a consonant in word-initial position are omitted.
The many examples of this process presented here demonstrate the pervasiveness of elision in connected speech. These examples, together with the numerous examples of de-alveolar assimilations, convincingly show that alveolars are especially susceptible to alteration in connected speech.
 An elision of a single consonant within a word is known as consonant deletion, e.g. dog /dɒɡ/ → /dɒ/; back /bæk/ → /æk/. An elision of more than one consonant in a sequence is known as cluster reduction, e.g. flower /flaʊə/ → /faʊə/; last /lɑst/ → /lɑs/. These are examples of so-called phonological simplifying processes.