Linking words together
AIM: To understand and practise how to link words together.
INTRODUCTION: Fluent speakers of English don’t pronounce each word separately in a phrase; instead, they link their words together. Linking is a way of connecting the pronunciation of two words so that they flow together smoothly. There are different ways that this happens in English:
- Consonant to vowel linking
- This occurs when the final consonant of a word links to the beginning of a following word that begins with a vowel
e.g. an operation -> ‘anoperation’, spinal injury -> ‘spinalinjury’
- Vowel to vowel linking
- When a word ends in a vowel and the next word starts with another vowel, a consonant sound (usually /w/, /y/ or /r/) is inserted to make the transition
e.g. two hours -> two(w)hours, we all -> we(y)all, yeah I -> yeah(r)I
- Sounds disappearing
- When the sounds ‘t’ or ‘d’ occur between two consonant sounds, they will often disappear completely from the pronunciation, e.g. just wondering -> juswondering, appointment -> appoinment, hands and feet -> hansanfeet
- Sounds lengthening
- When the last consonant of one word is the same as the first of the following word, instead of separating the two sounds, the consonant can be lengthened
e.g. hip pain -> hippain, I’ve taken Nurofen -> I’ve takennurofen
INSTRUCTIONS: Choose the correct answer for each of the following questions (it may help you to say the options aloud).
1. Which phrase doesn't contain linking?
2. Which phrase contains linking?
3. Which sound links the words “two eggs”?
4. Which sound links the words “the edge”?
5. Which sound can be deleted in the phrase “next week”?
6. Which sound can be deleted in the phrase “behind the screen”?
7. Which phrase doesn't contain lengthening?
8. Which phrase contains lengthening?
Please answer every question before continuing.
Linking words together becomes an unconscious process as you get more familiar with speaking English. Recognising linking in other people’s speech may also help you understand fast spoken language.
FOLLOW-UP: Watch the other videos and identify when the speakers link words together. Practise doing it in your own speaking.