14: Linking consonant sounds

Learn how linking from word to word increases spoken English fluency


Hi again everyone. This is Mandy, and this is Seattle Learning Academy's American English Pronunciation Podcast. This is podcast number 14, and the beginning of a couple of podcasts about linking.

Last week I talked about informal contractions, words like wanna and gonna and lemme. The purpose of informal contractions is to help with the rhythm of English. By combining some words that occur frequently together into a single word, we can easily reduce those words and stress the words surrounding them.

Linking two words together also helps us control pauses between words and use rhythm to its fullest. Some other teachers use the word "blending" in the same way that I use the word linking. Not all links words blend together, though, so I find linking to be a more accurate term.

Linking, in its simplest terms, is joining one word into the next with no pause between them. We aren't creating a contraction, because we aren't removing sounds or parts of words, we are just linking the final sound of one word to the beginning sound of the next word. We use different strategies to link different sounds together. Native speakers do this intuitively, but it must be taught to many non-native speakers. We usually link words all in a row until we come to a reason to pause. That might be because it is where we would have punctuation in written English, or we are pausing for emphasis of a word.

Today I am only going to talk about linking a consonant sound to a vowel sound. If you are a new listener and aren't clear which sounds are consonants and which are vowels, it would be a good idea to go back and listen to some of the previous podcasts.

For today I am just going to practice linking two or three words together. When practicing linking, always think about sounds that are next to each other, but not in the same word. To link a consonant to a vowel, share the consonant sound with both words, so it sounds like the end of one word and the beginning of the next word, with no pause between the sounds. I'm going to say that again, because it is very important. You want to share the consonant sound with both words, so it sounds like the end of one word and the beginning of the next word, with no pause between the sounds. Here is an example:




The final d sound of the word good also sounds like it is the first sound in the word idea. Listen again:




Here is another:




Wake_up could easily sound like the words wake and cup, if those two words made sense together. Listen again:




Listen to a few more examples:

can_I, can_I
some_old_animals, some_old_animals
upset_about_it, upset_about_it
click_on_it, click_on_it
because_it_is, because_it_is

That is your simple introduction to linking. If you are a current student at Seattle Learning Academy or if you have purchased a book and have full access to the site, you will find more lessons on this material in the linking section of the website. Click on a lesson and at the bottom of the lesson you will find links to additional exercises.

This transcript is available online at www.pronuncian.com. If you are finding these podcasts helpful or if you have suggestions for pronunciation issues you would like me to talk about, email me at podcast@pronunican.com.

This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. Thanks for listening everyone.