Keywords: English, Linking, Connect Words in Spoken English

Linking Pattern

Pattern 1: Unvoiced Consonant -> Voiced Consonant

Sometimes a word ends in t, but is actually pronounced d, same as s and f:

  • t -> d
  • s -> z
  • f -> v

Rule 1: TT becomes DD in the middle of a word, unless the vowel before the TT is schwa([ə]).
Examples: Better, butter, shatter, batter, mutter, mettle.
Exceptions: Mattel, attest, attack.

Rule 2: S becomes Z when preceded by a voiced syllable or the word is made plural using es.
Examples: Rides, ladies, bridges, bugs, angels, misses.
Words ending with the ts sound are always unvoiced. Examples: Hats, hates.

Rule 3: T becomes a tap in the middle of a word.
Examples: Gated, lateral, notable, water.

Rule 4: Of is pronounced [ov] or [uh].
Examples: Game of Thrones, Bottle of water, Cup of tea,

Pattern 2: Consonant + Vowel

If the first word ends in a consonant, and the second word begins with a vowel, the consonant will generally blend into the vowel of the second word. This process is called blending. And is an extremely fundamental concept in linking.

Examples:

Formal Linking
Can I have this? Ca(n)I have this?
And I think you're right. An(d)I think you'(r)ight.
How's it going? How(z)it going?
Can a cat climb trees? Ca(n)a cat climb treez?
Pattern 3: Consonant + Consonant

Rule 1: When the consonants are the same, hold the sound slightly longer(Applies to S, L, F, M, N, D, J, W, H, V, Z).
Examples: This Saturday, Until later, Half finished.

Rule 2: When the consonants are the same, break very briefly between the two sounds(Applies to T, P, K, B, G, C).
Examples: Wet towel, Big game, Gag gift, Black cat.

Pattern 4: Linking “the”

Rule 1: The + consonant. When the is followed by a word that begins with a consonant, it’s pronounced the(schwa [ə]).
Examples: The dog, the cat, the woman.

Rule 2: The + vowel(except long e). When the is followed by a word that begins with a vowel that is not long E, it can be pronounced either the(schwa) or the([ee]).
Examples: The otter, the interesting things, the apple.

Rule 3: The + vowel(long e). When the is followed by a word that begins with a long E vowel, it’s pronounced the([ee]).
Examples: The election, the evil spirit, the eagle.

Note that the is NEVER pronounced [ze] or [le], these’re both common mistakes made by non-native speakers.

Pattern 5: Vowel + vowel

When two vowels come together in linking, sometimes the sparks fly, and they create an entirely new sound between them.

Rule 1: [ee], [ih], [ay], [aye], [oi] + vowel = [y] sound in the middle. When the vowels [ee], [ih], [ay], [aye], [oi] are followed by a vowel in the second word, a [y] sound is inserted in order to smooth over the transition.
Examples:

  • He is happy. = He(y)iz happy.
  • She ate a burger. = She(y)ate a burger.
  • That boy is hungry. = That bo(y)is hungry.
  • I ate lunch. = I(y)ate lunch.

Rule 2: [ooh], [oh], [ow] + vowel. When the vowels [ooh], [oh] and [ow] are followed by a vowel in the second word. a w sound is inserted in order to link them.
Examples:

  • Go in = Go(w)in.
  • Do it = Do(w)it.
  • You are = You(w)are.
  • Go out = Go(w)out.
  • How are you? = Ho(w)are you?
Pattern 6: Deletion

Rule 1: H-deletion. Example: Did he get it?[DI-diy GE-dit].
Examples:

  • he -> [iy]
  • him -> [lm]
  • his -> [lz]
  • her -> [ɜr]
  • has -> [æz]
  • have -> [æv]

Rule 2: Whenever [t] or [d] comes between consonants, the get deleted.
Examples:

  • Old man -> Ol man.
  • Gold ring -> Gol ring.
  • Most famous -> Mos’ famous.
  • Hand bag -> Han’ bag.
  • Next day -> Nex’ day.
  • World religion -> Worl’ religion.
Pattern 7: Transformation (assimilation)

Rule 1: When [t] is followed by [j], it becomes [tj].
Example: What do you want -> watchu want?

Note:Talking in this way will sound more native, but also slightly uneducated.

Rule 2: When [d] is followed by [j], it becomes [dj].
Example: Would you -> Wouldju.

Origin:
WBD OPEN: 7 rules you should know in Linking
https://www.bilibili.com/video/av5243511

Tutorials

Video Tutorials

WBD OPEN: 7 rules you should know in Linking
https://www.bilibili.com/video/av5243511

How to Improve Spoken American English - Sound like a Native Speaker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3g51xfopIE

Sound more FLUENT and NATURAL with LINKING: How to Connect Words in Spoken English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYcbugrzKSA

American English Pronunciation eBook
https://gumroad.com/l/pronunciation


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