Continuous consonants are types of sounds in which air flows continuously through a constricted area of the vocal tract. When pronouncing continuous consonants, the air is never completely blocked by any part of the vocal tract.

To link from one continuous consonant into the same continuous consonant, the linked consonant sound is extended, or pronounced for a slightly longer amount of time than a normal, single sound. For example, /r/ is a continuous consonant. When /r/ is linked into another /r/, it's pronounced for more time than if it is linked to a different sound.

Compare the phrase 'more rice' (linking /r/ to /r/) to the phrase 'more ice' (linking /r/ to vowel sound). The /r/ of the phrase 'more rice' is said for a longer duration. To show this using symbols, we must understand broad and narrow transcription.


Broad and Narrow Transcription

Broad transcription is the version of the International Phonetic Alphabet used to discern one sound from another. It is the version most dictionaries use (if they use the International Phonetic Alphabet at all). Broad transcription doesn't provide precise details about how a specific sound alters based on the context of its use, i.e. it doesn't convey allophones—slight variations—of a sound.

Using narrow transcription, we can show the longer duration /r/ by adding the symbol [ː] after the sound. Note the use of brackets [ ] instead of dashes / / in narrow transcription.


more‿ice, [mɔrɑɪs] (less duration /r/)

more‿rice, [mɔrːɑɪs] (less duration /r/)


Practice linking the same continuous consonant:

1. phone‿number:  Could I get his phone‿number?

2. cancer‿research:  They specialize in cancer‿research.

3. feel‿like:  I feel‿like having pizza for lunch.

4. enough‿for:  That's enough‿for now.

5. path‿through:  There's a nice path‿through the park.