Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Speech Training: Linking words

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream!

The fun in this old rhyme is due to what's called linking in English. One of the greatest challenges to understanding any language is to know where one word ends and the next begins. And linking makes things even more difficult because it's the process of joining our words together.

There are two ways we link words in English.

1. Vowel to vowel
When one word ends in a vowel sound and the next word starts with a vowel sound, we insert a /w/ or /y/ sound to link the words together.

For example:
Why are you always doing that? = Why-y-are you-w-always doing that?
How about three of them? = How-w-about three-y-of them?
Did you throw away all the garbage? = Did you throw-w-away-y-all the garbage?

2. Consonant to vowel
When a word ends in a consonant and the next word starts with a vowel, the consonant sound will link to the vowel in the next word.

For example:
I'd like a glass of red wine. = I'd lie-ka gla-sof red wine.
I jumped in the pool on a hot and sunny day. = I jump-tin the pool-lon-na hot and sunny day.

And you thought English was difficult enough! Actually, if you begin paying attention to how words link together, it will be easier to understand the language and your own English will sound more like a native speaker's. Give it a try!

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