In this week's podcast, we're going to learn a techinque for sounding more fluent in English.
You may have noticed that when Americans speak they often connect many words together.
This is known as linking or connected speech.
If you want to speak English with an American accent, it's important to learn how Americans connect the sounds of English. Speaking with connected speech will make your speech smooth, flowing and more natural sounding.
The focus of this week's podcast is:
Learning how to connect certain vowels of English together just like an native speaker would.
Practicing this linking technique in some key American phrases and idioms.
Listen to the following phrase:
Be on time.
Notice how all three words are connected. Native speakers of English connect words which make up a
complete thought. We usually pause only at commas, periods or the at the end of a grammatical unit such as
a phrase or clause. "Be on time" is a complete thought; it is known as a thought group so I connect all the sounds within it.
If English is not your first language, you may be breaking in between the words "be" and "on". Be on connects the vowel sound /i/ to /a/. The air flows continuously. I do not break my air flow and say: be on time. Rather, one sound flows into the next one. The vowel sound /i/ in the word "be" connects directly to the vowel sound /a/ in "on". How do I achieve this connection? I use a special linking technique.
In order to connect the vowel sounds /i/, /aI/ or /eI/ to another vowel sound we use a /j/ sound as a bridge.*
*/j/ is the IPA transcription for the sound spelled <y>as in the word '"yes."
So in the the previous example, in order to connect the /i/ of "be" to the /a/ of "on", I used a /j/ sound to get from one to the other. We use /j/ to connect these two vowel sounds.
I glide my tongue forward into /a/.
Let's try that gliding sound /j/.
Exercise: Please llisten and repeat :
Here's another basic example:
A non- native speaker might make the mistake of saying :
This sounds choppy . We can make that sound smoother and more fluent by using a /j/ sound in between the /aI/ and /æ/ sound of "am"
Exercise: Please listen and repeat:
So again, in order to link the sounds /i/, /aI/ or /eI/ to another vowel sound, we use the /j/ sound as a bridge in between.
Let's practice this linking technique in some key American expressions and idioms.
2. They always pay on time.
3. She's easy on the eyes
4. Don't cry over spilled milk.
Today's podcast covers just one of several important linking techniques for clear English pronunciation. If you want more practice exercises and are interested in learning all of the techniques for linking the sounds of English, I recommend that you try my full English pronunciation course in mp3-Best Accent Training mp3s!
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