Stops and affricates are types of blocked consonants. When linking to or from these consonants, all three parts of the sounds are important to understand.

The three elements of blocked consonants are:

  1. the vocal tract shape as it moves into the sound
  2. the blocking, or stopping of air
  3. the release, or aspiration of the sound

Additionally, it is important to understand that stops and affricates occur in voiced/unvoiced pairs. In these pairs, the articulation of the sound is the same except for the vibration of the vocal cords (voiced sound) or lack of vibration (unvoiced sound).

Linking Same Stops


To link from a stop sound into the same sound, the sounds merge. It is pronounced as a single sound except that the stopped portion of the sound is held longer than if the sound is representing only one sound.

Practice linking the same stop sounds:

1. flat‿tire: She was late because she had a flat‿tire.

2. limit‿to: There is a limit‿to Matt's patience.

3. black‿car: That black‿car just drove past again.

4. antique‿clocks: Nellie repairs antique‿clocks.

5. hundred‿dollars/big‿gift: A hundred‿dollars is a big‿gift.

Linking Same Affricates

If linking to and from the same affricate, the sound will be produced twice.

Practice linking the same affricate sounds.

1. orange‿juice: I'll have some orange‿juice, please.

2. which‿chair: Which‿chair would you like to sit in?

Linking Voiced/Unvoiced Pairs of Stops


When linking between stops that are voiced/unvoiced pairs, the sounds are also both articulated as a single sound with an extended hold. The first sound will have no audible release. When the air is released, or aspirated, the aspiration will be that of the second sound. Therefore, if the second sound is unvoiced, the combined sound is released with greater aspiration than if the second sound is voiced.

Practice linking voiced and unvoiced pairs of stops:

1. limited‿to: You're limited‿to five items.

2. help‿button: Press the red help‿button to ask for assistance.

3. antique‿glass: Antique‿glass shatters easily.

4. date‿do: What date‿do you want the report submitted by?

5. tulip‿bulbs: Plant tulip‿bulbs in the fall before the ground freezes.