Linking and Connected Speech

Linking in English, means that words are not spoken individually,
but run together.

Linking means that the end of one word joins the beginning of the next word. This happens especially when one word ends with a consonant and the following word begins with a vowel. (See below.)

For example: They tell me that I’m easier to understand.
Sounds the same as: They tell me the time (easier to understand).

When linking in this way, the sentence can sound very different from the way it looks. These two sentences are pronounced in exactly the same way, no matter how they are written. It is the sound that is important, not the spelling. (To learn Pronunciation, see Lesson A0.01)

Try saying it yourself:
  • They tell me that I’m easier to understand.
  • That I’m (pronounced as thə taim ) – Note the phonetics.
  • That I’m easier (pronounced as thə tai mi:siə )
  • They tell me that I’m easier to understand.



Words are almost always joined together (linking) when one word ends in a consonant sound and the next word starts with a vowel sound.

  • Peter is in the office this afternoon.
  • Petə –> r –> is… (the r sound links to the next word)
  • Petə –> ris-in –> the office thi –> safternoon (the s 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)
  • Annə –> rə:nd lot –>sov mʌni.

More examples:

My name is Ann. my nei mi zAnn.
American Accent amerikə n’aksənt
This is an apple Thi–> siz–> ənappəl. ( z sound)
He took off his old hat He tu–> kof–> hizold–> hat.

You should also link sounds with numbers and when spelling:

L.A. e lei
909-5068 nai nəu nain, fai vo sik seit



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).

Go away. Go–> w-əway
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-əway).
  • 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:

Thoughtco – What is connected speech.

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