When I am learning about pronunciation of English, I found a word called linking. The word seems about pronunciation.

What is linking? And how can I learn correct linking in pronunciation?

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    I added the last question to make it relevant to learning (and on-topic for this site) :-) – Tsundoku Jan 7 '17 at 20:03

In the context of pronunciation, linking refers to joining words together so that they sound like a single word. In speech, words are usually not separated by pauses or breaks but are pronounced as a continuous stream of sounds. This is also known as connected speech and does not only exist in spoken English.

When two words are pronounced together, they can get "linked" or joined by certain changes in pronunciation.

  • Sounds can change, especially in the pronuncation of "to". For example, in "I'm going to buy some milk", the 'o' in 'to' will sounds as a schwa (/ə/).
  • Two sounds can be pronounced as just one sound. For example, in "He's slept for 10 hours", you will hear only one 's' in the first part of the sentence.
  • Sounds can disappear. For example, "next month" can sound like "nex month" (without the 't' in 'next').
  • A sound may be shared between two words. For example, "this afternoon" will sound more link "thizafternoon".
  • A linking /j/ may be added between two vowels, as in "play out" (/pleɪjaʊt/).
  • A linking /w/ may be added between two vowels, as in "so exciting" (/səʊwɪkˈsaɪtɪŋ/).
  • In some varieties of English, a linking 'r' may be introduced. For example, the 'r' in 'car' is not pronounced in British English (when the word is spoken in isolation), but the 'r' is pronounced when it is followed by a vowel: "The car is coming."

There are many resources available to help you learn or improve linking or connected speech. Since there are pronunciation differences between American English and British English (and other varieties of English), you should use resources that cover the variety of English you want to learn.

American English:

British English:

Australian English:

Other relevant links:

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