| Why do some words roll off the tongue, whereas others cause breaks in speech?



For example:

Roll-Off: LMNOP

You can say “LMNOP” much faster, because it “rolls off the tongue”. This is the first example I could think of.

Why does this happen?

In: Other

I think it just has to do with enunciation and emphasis.

Kind of like how if you repeat “left, right” or “right left” they sound different even though its the same words and after the first word they are effectively the same sentence.

Another example when I say the alphabet I stop at G, and “HIJKLMNOP” flow together.

Maybe it’s because of how easy it is to pronounce, kind of like the other comment said. For the second one it’s almost like you’re saying a word called ‘elemenope’, which has a lot of vowels mixed in with consonants making it easier to say. The first one is mainly just a bunch of consonants which you kind of have to say separately if that makes sense, so maybe that’s why it takes more time. They don’t flow together like the other one with a lot of vowels in it’s pronunciation does.

Some letters are more complicated to say. For example, the vowel sound for A. It’s not just a single sound. If you focus on what you’re doing, you’ll realise your tongue starts low and towards the back of your mouth, but it ends forward and higher. It starts sounding like the vowel in “bass” and ends like the the vowel in “key,” for example. This takes time.

Others, like H, require a break before you start them. H is called the aspirant, because it starts by just breathing out. F also needs a bit of a break after the E.

B, C, and D make your bottom lip do a bit of gymnastics. B and D start with your lip in one spot, but C starts with is further forward. So it kinda has to jump back and forth.

Meanwhile, LMN has a sort of constant vowel sound, and just uses a flick of the tongue or a quick pinch of the lips to break it up.

I’m sure these comments are going to make it into r/badlinguistics .

A short answer has to do with how sounds are articulated and something called sonority. As some commenters have pointed out, different sounds are produced differently in the mouth in terms of place and manner.

Try googling or looking on Wikipedia for introductory phonetics and “articulation”.