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