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Connective speech in English pronunciation

When you speak English, or any language, think about phrases and not individual words. Pay attention to the rising and falling tones and the ways in which sounds change to help join words together.

Sound links

When we speak naturally each word effects the next word. Fluent speech flows. To make speech flow we change the end and beginning of some words depending on the sounds. In English there are different ways that words change when they join together in a sentence.

Consonant to vowel linking

when the first word ends with a consonant sound and the second word begins with a vowel sound.

  1. An egg
  2. A noise annoys an oister

Vowel to vowel linking

when certain vowels come next to each other an extra sound is added to make the link smooth.

  1. two /w/ eggs
  2. three /j/ eggs

The linking 'r'

In standard British English (Rp) the letter 'r' after a vowel sound at the end of words is often not pronounced. However, when the following word begins with a vowel the /r/ sound is pronounced to make a smooth link.

  1. Four /r/ apples
  2. four bananas

Sounds disappear

When the sounds /t/ or /d/ occur between two consonant sounds, they will often disappear completely from the pronunciation.

Connective -r- examples

  1. Car engine
  2. Transister radio
  3. Beer bottle
  4. Motor bike
  5. Motoring
  6. My fair lady
  7. Center of town
  8. Town centre
  9. After all
  10. After listening
  11. Ruler of the world
  12. For all - For us - For me
  13. far away - Far from here

Sounds join together

When a word ends in a consonant sound and the following word begins with the same consonant sound, we don't pronounce two sounds - both sounds are pronounced together as one

  1. Don't talk to strangers on the way
  2. Find Dave

Sounds change

When a word ends in a consonant sound and the following word begins with a consonant sound, depending on the particular sounds, the last sound of the first word or both the last sound and the first sound of the next word can change

  1. Good girl. She's a good girl. (goog girl)
  2. Good boy. He's a good boy. (goob boy)
  3. White paper. I only use white paper. (whipe paper)
  4. Speed boat. I've never been in speed boat. (speeb boat)

Sounds twinning (gemination)

When a word ends in a consonant sound and the following word begins with the same consonant sound, we don't pronounce two sounds - both sounds are pronounced together as one.

  1. I'm a bit tired
  2. We have a lot to do
  3. Tell me what to say
  4. She's slept for three hours
  5. I've finished




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