I've noticed that this phenomenon is common in fast speech. I have searched and searched on the internet for the official name for this, but I cannot seem to find it. Here are some examples:

  • With this (pronounced withis).
  • Watch Changes (pronounced Watchanges).

These seem to me to be almost like portmanteaus, but they're not. Is this just lazy speech? Does anybody know what this phenomenon is called; I'm just curious.

Thank You.

  • 7
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 18:28
  • 1
    geminate. Degemination is then the opposite as @King_Kangaroo stated. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 20:07
  • @MikeJRamsey56: Your own link states that gemination is doubling. OP's focus is on omitting the repeated sound, therefore "undoubling".
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 10:29
  • 3
    I haven't ever encountered anyone who would combine "watch" and "changes" in that way. It may sound difficult, but it's always a distinct "ch ch."
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    @MikeJRamsey56: From the same link, it is even explained more explicitly: "If gemination is the process of creating geminates, than degemination is just the opposite... It is the simplification of a geminate into a single consonant." Therefore, Greg Lee's argument that the contracted pronunciation is correctly called degemination, not gemination as you've claimed.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


I can't imagine any other way to say "With this ring, I thee wed" other than withis. On the other hand, "my watch changes every time I look at it" would definitely include two ch sounds. Trying to think of other cases: Where do we wash shirts? Might be said with one prolonged sh sound. I think ch doesn't work because ch includes two sounds (t-sh) How about "Don't talk so loud"? or "I can't tell." There's only one release of the t sound. Calling it "lazy speech" reveals a misunderstanding about how speech and linguistics works. There's no place for pejorative language in describing how people speak. But if you're deeply interested in language, you might want to learn about the standard use of who/whom in your further comment: "I don't of anybody whom would combine those specific words together either." "Whom" is not just an upscale version of "who." It is objective case, while your sentence calls for subjective case. But I hesitate to go pejorative on you.

Here's a link that shows the various things that naturally happen when English is spoken: The particular example of linking that you give seems to be called geminates. https://pronuncian.com/introduction-to-linking/

  • 1
    Of course it's lazy speech—like most other sound changes that occur, it is occasioned by the natural and universal laziness of human beings when speaking. Reducing the amount of effort required to produce sounds is a feature of all human speech. There's nothing pejorative about it; that's just how humans work. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 21:06
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Or maybe it’s efficient speech...
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 21:20
  • @Jim When it comes to sound change, those are two sides of the same coin. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 21:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Yes, my point exactly.
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 21:24
  • The word "lazy" is inherently pejorative. The questioner asks what this phenomenon is, or is it "just lazy,' implying that maybe it's not "a real thing," but just somehow defective. Instead it is, as you indicate, how languages work. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 5:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.