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Linking in English

30 Apr

When we say a sentence in English, we join or “link” words to each other. Because of this linking, the words in a sentence do not always sound the same as when we say them individually. Linking is very important in English. If you recognize and use linking, two things will happen:

  1. you will understand other people more easily
  2. other people will understand you more easily

There are basically two types of linking:

  • consonant > vowel
    We link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound
  • vowel > vowel
    We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound

Understanding Vowels & Consonants for Linking

To understand linking, it is important to know the difference between vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Here is a table of English vowels and consonants:

vowels a e i o u
consonants b c d f g h j k l m n p q r s t v w x y z

The table shows the letters that are vowels and consonants. But the important thing in linking is thesound, not the letter. Often the letter and the sound are the same, but not always.

For example, the word “pay” ends with:

  • the consonant letter “y”
  • the vowel sound “a”

Here are some more examples:

though know
ends with the letter h w
ends with the sound o o
uniform honest
begins with the letter u h
begins with the sound y o

Linking Consonant to Vowel

When a word ends in a consonant sound, we often move the consonant sound to the beginning of the next word if it starts with a vowel sound.

For example, in the phrase “turn off”:

We write it like this: turn off
We say it like this: tur noff

Remember that it’s the sound that matters. In the next example, “have” ends with:

  • the letter “e” (vowel)
  • the sound “v” (consonant)

So we link “have” to the next word “a” which begins with a vowel sound:

We write it like this: Can I have a bit of egg?
We say it like this: Ca-nI-ha-va-bi-to-fegg?

Linking Vowel to Vowel

When one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound.

If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:

oo
|
o
We write it like this: too often who is so I do all
We say it like this: tooWoften whoWis soWI doWall

If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:

oo
|
We write it like this: Kay is I am the end she asked
We say it like this: KayYis IYam theYend sheYasked
 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Pronunciation

 

Tags: ,

2 responses to “Linking in English

  1. Roberto

    June 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I really like reading through an article that will make men and women think.

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