In an earlier post, I covered the topic of vowel to vowel linking. Today I’d like to introduce another form of linking: consonant to vowel.
When a word ends in a consonant sound and is followed by a word starting with a vowel sound, the final consonant links onto the front of the vowel sound.
For example (with dashes indicating consonant-vowel links):
The black-and white house-is-an-example-of colonial-architecture.
In speech, this sentence sounds a bit more like:
The bla-k-and white hou-s-i-s-a-n-examp-l-of colonia-l-architecture.
where the dashes indicate the connection of sound between the two words. Wherever there is a dash, you want to run the words together, linking the sounds. You shouldn’t take a breath or stop between these words.
In international environments, it has been argued that linking does not improve intelligibility, but could in fact, make you harder to understand. I don’t always agree with this argument.
If you are speaking to a non-native English speaker with less than advanced fluency, and you mumble your words together, yes, linking could be a problem.
But for people who have a tendency to drop word endings and have trouble pronouncing final consonant sounds, consonant to vowel linking basically solves this problem.
Instead of seeing the sounds as the word endings you have trouble with, you can turn them into word beginnings. This makes final consonant sounds easier to pronounce, and it ensures that you don’t lose these sounds which play a huge role in whether others understand you.
To hear some examples of linking, listen to Part 5 of the Pronunciation Short Course.