Sblended

sblended_logoThe name of Sblended, a British chain of milkshake bars, is a very nice pun. On the one hand, it’s short for ‘it’s blended’. It’s can be shortened to ts or just s, as in the title of the famous Gershwin song ’S Wonderful (the song begins one minute into the clip).

On the other hand, the name sounds just like the adjective splendid. If you remove the s from a recording of the word splendid, the remainder sounds like blended – beginning with a b, and not with a p as in plenty. Here are recordings of blended and splendid, some of which have been made by removing s from splendid or by adding s to blended:

This is not just a fact about the words blended and splendid. It applies to all syllables which begin with s followed by a ‘plosive’ consonant, ie one written with p, t, or k/c.

So speech sounds like s + beach, not like s + peach; stuck sounds like s + duck, not like s + tuck; and Scott sounds like s + got, not like s + cot.

Words like peach, tuck and cot begin with aspirated consonants. (I explain aspiration here.) Many non-native speakers of English correctly use aspirated consonants in such words, but unfortunately use the same aspirated p, t, k in s-words like speech, stuck, Scott (and splendid). This is wrong. Here I am saying Scott correctly, and repeated with a gap after the s to show that the remainder sounds like got:

And here I am saying Scott incorrectly, with aspirated k as in cot:

I explore the topic in more technical detail in my Speech Talk blog.


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