Welcome to Daily Tips on Learning English. Today’s tip is on sound linking.
When 2 identical or similar consonants are in a row, most sounds are not pronounced. For example, stop Peter. “stop” ends in the sound “p”, and “Peter” begins in the same sound. Together the words are linked as “sto-peter”. The words aren’t pronounced stop Peter. To pronounce two identical sounds one after another, would sound like someone stuttering. English words are always linked smoothly. Similar but not identical sounds such as voiced and voiceless pairs of consonants are also linked in this way. For example, it’s a big cake. “big” begins in the sound “g”, cake begins with the sound “k”. “k” and “g” differ only in that “k” is voiceless and “g” is voiced. When they are next to each other in a phrase they’re linked smoothly by not aspirating or pronouncing fully the first of the 2 sounds. Listen carefully as I read the example again. It’s a big cake. Notice how the first sound “g” is not released. If the pair of sounds is reversed, like in “I like goats.” it is the “k” sound which is not pronounced. Listen closely. I like goats. I like goats.
There’re 8 pairs of consonants that differ only in the presence or lack of vocal cord vibration. Listen as I give one example of sound linking for each pair.
v, f : I love France.
δ,θ: Let’s bathe three times.
z, s : She is Susan.
з,∫: The garage should be cleaned.
dз,t∫: He has a huge chin.
b, p : Put the cap back on.
d, t : Dad told me.
k, g : I like Gavin. (? )
It is important to include this type of sound linking in your speech if you want to achieve fluency. It is also important to be aware of how this linking affects how spoken English sounds. Otherwise you may not understand native speaker’s speech. This has been today’s daily tip. Tune in tomorrow for another on learning English.