What is connected speech?
When we speak naturally we do not pronounce a word, stop, then say the next word in the sentence. Fluent speech flows with a rhythm and the words bump into each other. To make speech flow smoothly the way we pronounce the end and beginning of some words can change depending on the sounds at the beginning and end of those words.

These changes are described as features of connected speech.

Sounds link
Linking is a way of joining the pronunciation of two words so that they are easy to say and flow together smoothly. In English there are different ways that this happens.

Consonant to vowel linking – when the first word ends with a consonant sound and the second word begins with a vowel sound.

Vowel to vowel linking – when certain vowels come next to each other an extra sound is added to make the link smooth.

Linking ‘r’
In standard British English (RP) the letter ‘r’ after a vowel sound at the end of word is often not pronounced. However, when the following word begins with a vowel the /r/ sound is pronounced to make a smooth link.

Sounds disappear
When the sounds /t/ or /d/ occur between two consonant sounds, they will often disappear completely from the pronunciation.

Sounds join together
When a word ends in a consonant sound and the following word begins with the same consonant sound, we don’t pronounce two sounds – both sounds are pronounced together as one.

Sounds change
When a word ends in a consonant sound and the following word begins with a consonant sound, depending on the particular sounds, the last sound of the first word or both the last sound and the first sound of the next word can change.

9 thoughts on “CONNECTED SPEECH

  1. Great post, Aniya – I like these informative and educative pieces, more…more… ;-) will link for my students.


  2. Ah, this takes me back … I love this stuff. I’ll be teaching it again next year, apparently, and can’t wait. I’ve missed it this year.

  3. I’m just going over it both online and off. Students feel they’ve really accomplished something when they realize how words change in sound when linked etc.,

  4. It’s interesting to note that the British not only drop “r” at ends of words, but for medial “r” sounds, produce more of a “d” sound, called in RP a “tapped” “r.”

  5. Aniya really a very informative post read in recent time about Pronunciation. I have been planning a lesson on this aspect but for one reason or other i had to stop. Great that i read this article from you. Hope you will continue and come up with more such posts in future to complement this series.

    Pronunciation is really a very essential element of English language, specially speaking. Good pronunciation fosters good communication and bad one mars. English is full of homonyms and if words are not pronounced correctly certainly the flow of speaking is broken and it is again back to square one. Pronounce rightly, foster communication and win hearts. LOl

    Excellent post and a supplement to my reading and knowledge. Thanks

  6. This is a great post!^^It will really be helpful especially for non-native speakers of English because I think this is one of the main reasons why non-native speakers of English find it hard to understand native speakers.

  7. Hey Aniya,

    Nice post, doing a DELTA at the mo so helped me out a bit. Do you know any good websites that teach connected speech via songs? Have you tried it?

    Great blog.



  8. Hi Barry, glad you found the post useful.Regarding websites not off-hand plus I’ve become a little rusty just like my blog lol but if I stumble upon something I’ll update you. :)

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