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  1. #1
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    Default pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    Hi all,

    Iīm not an excellent English speaker, but I do my best achieving good pronunciation since Iīve studied phonetic symbols and I know how to, almost most of the time, apply their sounds successfully. However, Iīm aware my main problem is when dealing with oral speach, interacting with others, even reading at a certain speed, where I find difficulties.
    Iīve heard something about assimilation, the linking r, etc... but I havenīt studied it deeply, and the consequence of it is that I produce certain sounds in a very forced way.

    Do you know any book, course book, web or something dealing with it?
    Can you give some advice if you are aware of such a subject matter?

    Thanks a lot,
    Magg

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    Linking sounds are often added when we have two vowel sounds together, like the '4r' sound we add in 'law and order' (lorandorder). When similar sounds are close together, we blend or merge them, so that 'good girl' runs together.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    well, my suggestion would be "listening", because I believe that it really helps the pronunciation although you do not realize it. It just helps progress. visit that site: http://www.esl-lab.com/. This was one of my favorites and it was very useful for me.. I hope it also works for you..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    Tdol -- and what happens with little words such as of, to, etc..., which sometimes I hardly hear in speech, so I donīt know if you pronounce them, or just donīt.

    For example:
    - 'a couple of years' --> I get 'couple years'
    - 'in the middle of the street' --> what is the result of of + the? My pronunciation doesnīt sound natural.
    - can it be that to sounds sometimes like /ta/ and sometimes like /a/ (with a schwa sound). When does it happen? Whenever I want, or are there rules?


    Hayriye -- Thanks for your post, I already knew that web.

    Magg

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    A couple of years- this is usually 'couplayears', though some will say add a tiny 'v' sound. In then second it becomes the schwa is reduced to almost nothing so we can change from the 'v' sound to the 'th' sound with minimum effort. We drag 'of the' into a single word, so that the sound blend and slide into each other- there's no pause.
    To- this loses the 't' in a number of verbs- gonna, wanna. You can't just do this when you want- if you started saying 'havva' for 'have to', say, it could be confused with 'have a'. While this could also be said of 'wanna', 'wanna' is so widely used that we all understand. I'd say the rule here is just custom.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: pronunciation: linking in oral speech

    Magg,
    Here are a few thoughts and suggestions:

    #1 The problem with basing your pronunciation on IPA symbols is that we never speak in one sound. Oral speech is a string of sounds and when you put them together they influence each other. One cause of a accent of perceptually non-fluent speech is that fact that non-native speakers often produce words in isolation, finishing one completely before starting the next. This is a problem because it, as you realize, makes linking impossible.

    #2 Some of what you are desiring in your speech is what in linguistics is called ligatures and blends. Here are some tips:

    Link consonant-vowel-consonant - It's tenOclock; turnitoff => so when a word ends in a consonant and the next words is a vowel connect the sounds.
    Blend vowels with Y or W - I am => Iyam; Do it=> dowit; So I => SowI

    #3 Beyond connections, what might also help your speech is speaking in "thought-groups" or phrases. Instead of: I * am * an * English teacher *living * in * Spain. You could say /I'manEnglishteacherinSpain/withaquestion aboutlinking/. It's hard to write but the idea is to put pauses between longer phrases (or clauses)not words. By saying the phrase with the words smashed together like on word (you'll have to let one sound glide into the next sound) it will be more equivalent to what native speakers naturally do.

    Good luck!

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