Connected Speech

 

Connected Speech (Linking)

In English, words are not usually spoken individually, but are connected.
The end of one word links to the beginning of the next word.
Connected Speech used in this way, can make the sentence
sound very different from the way it looks.

For example:

They tell me that I’m easier to understand. / They tell me the time easier to understand.

These two sentences are pronounced exactly the same, even though they are written differently.

Try saying it yourself:
  • They tell me that I’m easier to understand.
  • Tell me that I’m… (pronounced as thǝ t’aim ) – (Note the phonetics.)
  • That I’m easier… (pronounced as thǝ tai-m’i:siǝ )
  • They tell me that I’m easier to understand.

 

CONSONANT plus VOWEL

Words are connected when one word ends in a consonant sound and the next word starts with a vowel sound.

  • Peter is in his office this afternoon.
  • P‘i:tǝ –> r –> is… (the r sound links to the next word)
  • P‘i:tǝ –> ris-in –> hi –> z’office this afternoon (the z sound also links to the next word)
  • P‘i:tǝ –> ris-in –> hi –> z’office thi –> s’a:fternʊ:n (the z sound also links to the next word)

 

  • Anna earned lots of money
  • Anna –> r –> earned lot s –> of money (the r sound and the s sound again)
  • Annǝ –> r’ǝ:nd ‘lɔt –> sov m’ʌni.

More examples:

SPELLING PRONUNCIATION
My name is Ann. my nei mi zæn.
American Accent amerikǝ næksǝnt
This is an apple Thi–> siz–> ǝnappǝl. ( z sound)
He took off his old hat He tʊ–> kof–> hizold–> hat.

You should also link sounds with numbers and when spelling:

SPELLING PRONUNCIATION
L.A. e lei
909-5068 nai nǝu nain, fai vo sik seit

 

VOWEL plus VOWEL

When a word ending in a vowel sound is followed by a word beginning with a vowel sound, they connect by using a consonant sound to slide from one vowel to the other, (usually a w or a y sound).

SPELLING PRONUNCIATION
Go away. Go–> w away
I also want the orange. I–> y also want the–> y orange.

 

How do you know which one to use? The position of your lips will automatically form a y or a w .

For example:

  • If a word ends in o, your lips are going to be in the forward position, so a w will form easily and take you into the next vowel sound. (Go-w-away).
  • After a long e sound, your lips will be pulled back and easily form a y sound. (I-y-also want the-y-orange).

 

Practise writing phrases in phonetics, then pronounce each phrase using the linking that you have learned here. This will help both your understanding and your pronunciation.

 

Related Content:

Pronunciation Tips – BBC Learning English
Connected Speech 2 from the British Council.
Linking Phonetics – Universidad UCINF
Connected Speech from Kaycontinental (Learn English Now).

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