Secret to Speaking American English More Naturally: Linking

Beyond Major Pronunciation Components

One of the challenges that our clients often encounter is how to make their American English accent sound natural. Once they master the major pronunciation components, their next step is to master the flow-the smoothness, which makes the speech sound more natural.


How do our clients at Master Your Accent do this?  They learn to master the rule of linking. Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker & Lynda Katz-Wilner, authors of  Rules for Using Linguistic Elements of Speech: A Resource and Interactive Workbook, provide straightforward information and exercises for mastering linking.

Steps to Linking

  1. First identify whether the word ends with a consonant.
  2. If it ends with a consonant identify whether the next word begins with a vowel.
  3. If both number one and number two above occur, pronounce the ending consonant sound at the beginning of the next word to help link.

Linking Examples

There are many different sound combination Rules of linking.  Let’s look at one rule.

Final T+ consonant

If you are knowledgeable about T variations, you are aware that when T comes at the end of a word, it is considered unreleased and is barely heard.  However, when an unreleased T is followed by a word with a vowel, the T is linked and pronounced as a flap.  By flap, we mean that  it sounds almost like a D.  In the following examples the “_”symbol means to connect the sounds on either side.  Remember in this case to pronounce the T almost like a D.  Don’t release the D Sound. Rather, connect it to the following vowel sound.  Think about placing the flap T at the beginning of the next word.

Final T+Vowel Examples

*Note that the “s” is pronounced as a “z”

*Note that the “f” is pronounced as a “v”

*Note that “a” is pronounced as a long “a”

It_is                                          I diz
Put_it_in                                Pu  di   din
That_is                                    Tha diz*
Fit_in                                       Fi din
Ate_out                                  Ae* dout
Caught_it                               Caugh dit
Eight_of them                      Eigh duv them
Bat_an eye                             Ba dan eye
Let_it                                       Le dit
Meet_at_eight_o’clock    Mee da deigh do’clock

Linking Rule Summary

When one word ends with a consonant in the next begins with a vowel, put the ending consonant sounds at the beginning of the next word to to help link.  This will make your American English speech sound more connected and natural.

Helpful Resources

If you enjoyed this list and benefited from it, and want to feel even more supported to shape your American accent, we hope you find value in:

 Common English Vowel Sound: Repair Communication and Limit Frustration

How the Dalai Lama’s Accent Caused him Embarrassment

The Letter T: A Trick for American English Accent

How to Ease into Accent Modification: Part 1

How to Ease into Accent Modification: Part 2

Pronouncing English Words as they are Spelled Causes Problems

How to Repair Communication Breakdown & Limit Frustration Caused by English Vowel Sound

3 Steps to Finding your Challenge Sounds

Share your Experiences, Comment, or Ask Questions

We hope this blog was valuable to you.  Click on the comments section at the end of this article, scroll to the bottom, and leave a comment and/or question.  We’ll be happy to respond.  Let me know if you can hear the difference when your practice the examples for this rule.  Ask any questions about this rule. If you have examples that you want me to look at to see if they fit this rule, go ahead and post them.

Here’s to you linking your way to a natural American accent!

Source: Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker & Lynda Katz-Wilner.  Rules for Using Linguistic Elements of Speech. Owings Mills: Successfully Speaking, 2006, 2007, 2nd Edition. Print.


Joshua OkechApril 5th, 2015 at 3:12 am

Quite helpful. But I really need more of this.

Cher GundersonNovember 11th, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Joshua, I’m glad you found this information helpful.

Mfon EyakenyiApril 29th, 2016 at 2:06 am

I really admire everything here you know.
It is very helpful thanks a lot.

ParvaneAugust 27th, 2016 at 11:39 am

Thanks, so useful
Please feed us more with this isuue.
Thank you very much Madam.

Leave a comment

Your comment

Site designed by: Webstylings