Linking Consonant to Consonant — American English Pronunciation


In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over linking consonant to consonant. Linking is an important part of American English. If we break between each word, it sounds very choppy. But in American English, we like to link words together for a smooth sound. I’ve already made videos on linking Vowel to Vowel and Consonant to Vowel. Linking Consonant to Consonant happens all the time in American English. In that sentence right there it happened four times: ng-kk, nt-tt, nt-hh, and ll-th. We can’t cover every example of linking consonant to consonant as there are simply too many combinations for this video, but I will give you some examples. First let’s talk about linking the same consonant. Take the example ‘gas station’. It’s not ‘gas station’, with two separate S’s, it’s ‘gas station’: one S, connecting the two words. I’m going to the gas station. I already used this example last year when I took a road trip. Click here to see that video, or go to the video description. Another example: some might, some might. Again, not some might, but some might, connected with one M. Some might think so. The rule gets a little complicated when we bring in Stop Consonants. The six stop consonants are t, d, p, b, k, and g. When these meet in between two words, like ‘hot today’, you have to stop the air to signify the first consonant, then release the sound into the next word. So, it’s not ‘hahtoday’, but ‘hot today’, with a stop. So to make that stop, I’m just holding the air in my throat, for a fraction of a second. Another example, ‘bad dog’. It’s not ‘baadog’, but bad dog, with a stop. This is true in general when we’re linking a stop consonant to any other consonant. For example, peanut butter – stopped T, released B, peanut butter. Not ‘peanuh butter’, with no stop, but also not ‘peanut butter’ with a released T, but peanut butter. Flip phone. Here we stop the sound with the lips in position for the P, then go straight into the F consonant without releasing the P. Flip phone, flip phone. It’s not ‘flip phone’, with a full release, and it’s not flihphone, with no stop of air. We have to stop the air. Flip phone, flip phone. This way of linking ending stop consonants to words that begin with another consonant is a great trick to add to your English if you haven’t already. Some students have trouble with this, and add an additional schwa sound between words in order to link in these situations. So ‘hot sauce’ becomes something more like ‘hot-uh-sauce’. So remember, don’t release that ending stop consonant, just stop the air. For all other cases, you’ll just need to isolate the two sounds in question and practice. Let’s take for example ‘It’s a tough one’. Here we’re linking the F and W sounds. Practice them separately, ff, ww, ff, ww. Now practice them together, sliding slowly from one sound to the other ff-ww, ff-ww. Really think about what you’re moving to transition in-between these two sounds. In this case, my bottom lip was touching the bottom of the top front teeth, ff, and then the lips round out. My tongue doesn’t have to move. Ff-ww, ff-ww, tough one, tough one. Tough one. It’s a tough one. So, isolate the sounds, practice them separately, practice them together slowly, speed them up and put them back into the context of the words and eventually the sentence. Let’s look at one more example. We’ll link the N sound to the R sound: On Rachel’s desk. Here, my lips and tongue have to move. Nn, rr, nn, rr. Now link them together slowly: nn, rr. You may see my lips are rounding a little bit as I’m making the N, that’s in preparation for the R. The tongue goes from having the top part of the front of the tongue at the roof of the mouth here, NN, to having the front part of the tongue touching nothing. As the tongue pulls back for the R So for the R, the middle part of the tongue is touching the roof of the mouth, or maybe the insides of the teeth, about here. Nn-rr. Onn-Rr, Onn-Rrachel’s. I’m really feeling the tongue move up and then back, on Rachel’s, on Rachel’s. On Rachel’s desk. Check out the other videos that I’ve made, that address some consonant to consonant linking. Take any short text and look for words that should link consonant to consonant. For each case, think about what kind of linking it is. Is the consonant the same? Is the first consonant a stop consonant? Practice it slowly. Linking is a crucial part of smoothing out speech, sounding American. Put an example of a simple sentence where you would need to link consonant to consonant below in the comments. Practice with the sentences that everyone else puts! That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

99 thoughts on “Linking Consonant to Consonant — American English Pronunciation

  1. Wowww! That's cool! It's nice amazing video Rachel, I love it! But I've to say that's too hard to use it, I'm keeping listen to how americans linking the words but it's really fast; therefore, I guess that your videos will help us so much to increase our level of american accent. Thank you so much for this great job.

  2. Thanks Rachel. I'm a big fan of yours. Just want to say that your videos are great help and the core material in my open ended program of improving my pronunciation of English language. After that, comes the listening to the NPR radio.

    Thanks and regards from the Arab world.

  3. You really want everything to link together for a smooth sound. However, if you're giving a talk to a lot of people, or speaking for a video or audio recording, you will probably take more time and enunciate a little more. In these cases, many native speakers will do things like fully release stop consonants.

  4. rachel, please make a video on how to reduce the word "already", I see you reduce it on this video, it sounds really fast, haha

  5. Hey Rachel you forgot to talk about linking D_T letters, for example, I have difficulty speaking "used_to" or "kind_to" words with connection between D and T
    Could you explain that?
    Thanks and sorry my english mistakes.

  6. This is the video I was waiting for! I have trouble saying "She helped me". It's difficult for me. I would be glad if you made a video including that example. Thanks for the video.

  7. thanks for your videos…
    I'm Arabic native speaker.. I find it hard for me to pronounce the letter D softly. I've always pronounced it hard. for example if I want to say peanut butter. I say peanut budder. with the strengthened D. i've tried many times to spell it correctly but I couldn't. so I wish you could help me with that.

  8. Very wonderful video. Here is one thing I feel is important, that is, stop consonants in words look like the same as connection two words. For example, permanently, and the previous word of the week, definitely. I was having trouble pronouncing these words because I spoke out the stop consonants, which are supposed to be just a hold of breath.

  9. Rachel, I think I can't even say to you how much you're great and helpful! I just had been having this doubt about stop consonants linking for a while and coincidentally you've just explained it so clear and confirmed what I was thinking on it! so, the only difference between 'I play to' and 'I played to' is the stop in the second sentence before 'to'? I see it! now I just have to practice and improve it! thank you!

  10. ps: I hope I've correctly spelled the past perfect continuous down there! (and the present perfect in this previous!) 😀

  11. Hi teacher, I like American accent so much and still follow your videos but I wonder " Is it the matter if I prepare for an Ielts exam while learning American pronunciation?"

  12. Thanks ! I have a question :
    Does Linking Consonant to Consonant — American English Pronunciation look like in British English Pronunciation ?

  13. so how to distinguish the stop consonant t from d? are they the same when we do them a stop? bad dog sounds no different than bat dog ??

  14. yeah. linking conso. to conso. 's helpfull. it helps improve your smooth speech. But when native english use this technique…. the non-native english have many problems. eg. difficult to listen

  15. hey, Rachel, thank you again for another awesome video!
    I have a question about the stopping sounds, like t, d, p, b, k, g. 
    I read once on a website something about debuccalization (I'm not sure about the spelling), that when we have a final T plus a word beginning by a consonant, in fast speech the T will become a glottal stop, not touching anything, just making a pause, like: it was = ɪʔ wəz. and that boy = ðæʔ bɔɪ. Is it correct to pronounce these T's like a glottal stop?
    Thank you very much! 

  16. Rachel, I have heard the 'rule' (which I am not sure) that the middle consonant in between two consonants is omitted in a connected speech. Is it always the case or simply not true? Like linking poached potato? Will the t sound in (ch)(t)(p) be omitted. I think there are many combinations like this in English (I mean the linking the end of a word and start of another word). As an non-native speaker, I feel three consonants in a row like poached potato (or mashed potato) is clumsy to pronounce.

  17. and why do you raise your eye brow ?! 🙂 I'm kidding>  thanks Rachel I've learned a lot from you. you;re a good teacher 

  18. Rachel's English : I want to ask you how to link first word ending with a consonant sound  with second word starting with j consonant is. thank you very much

  19. Hi Rachel, your series quite help a lot. I have got a question relating this topic: "this is the BEST STORY I've ever heard." Does it sound like "be | sdory" or "bes | dory"? Thank you!!

  20. As soon as you'd ~ arrived ~ in the city, I went to pick you up. First, an irrelevant question perhaps, would people say "you 'had' arrived" (by saying 'had' specifically) or simply you'd arrived? Next, would you blend the 'd' and the 'a' here? And, I guess it's only natural to blend the 'd' and the 'i' in "arrived in." BTW, I put tildas to signify the positions with the blendings I'm focusing on.

  21. Hello teacher. Do the american people reduce the 'in' ? because i've heard them saying like a schwa sound + n.

  22. Hi. Miss Rachel, congratulations for your newborn. I wanted to ask you if you could make a video of the ING linking like doing it, taking it, running in ect … thank you ^^

  23. can I put a stop T here in this phrase, at the end of the word 'most'?
    "the most simple way"
    then I have to make 2 's' sounds (of 'most' and 'simple'), don't I?

  24. I adore your videos! You've done so many useful things. Your old videos are as interesting and useful as your new. And… well… I'm not sure I wrote last phrase correctly 🙂

  25. thank you for giving us some lessons to improve our English. I'm from Perú, anf I'm studying English..but it's quite common not to know anything about linking..consonants to vowel or consonants to consonans…and you try to watch a program…it gets difficult…and even if you read the subtitles in English…you wonder…when they said that…I have some problems with listening…and one of the biggest problems is linking by the way…again thanks a lot Rachel…

  26. Now I realize why it is hard to link consonant to consonant in the case of adding 'ed' after an unvoiced consonant. like walked, talked, stopped… I cannot say both consonants at the end really fast, and have the first one clearly pronounced. The correct way to say is to stop and not release the first one!!! WOW.

  27. Been following your videos for months now, Rachel. Really good stuff. Hispanic guy here, 53. But I moved to the mainland U.S. when I was 14 1/2. Linking was the one thing I had not learned before in any other videos. I can't believe I never came across it before! It is great to explore the American dialect with drills on video. These videos are all really good.

  28. Is there a difference in pronunciation between these two sentences? "I watch tv" and "I watched tv". If there is one, it must be very subtle because I can't notice the difference.

  29. I have been learning English at a learning center for 5.5 years. Native teachers never taught us anything about how to sound like an native speaker. I'am going to watch all your footages

  30. Do british people also contract and link words together as americans do ? Or is it just something that is peculiar to americans?

  31. how about linking three consonants…. example: iT'S Been a while since I've visited you last time ……..
    in that example there is T + S + B separated in two words…. how would you actually pronounce that!? thank you, your videos are great and I'm sharing with the people I care to learn English

  32. To me it sounds like Australians make only one "d" sound instead of making a stop sound + a true d soound when they say "good day mate!".

  33. Does the same rule apply in consonant clusters? For example should I make a "stop t" at first before the "true t" when I say "Just try", " Best traits of my girlfriend…" etc.?

  34. Hi Rachel! I'M CLÁUDIO FROM BRAZIL AND I'D LIKE TO KNOW THAT when we have Ed ending verbs sounding like T before a vowel ,we link them as in ''walked in the park'' / wɔtin / but when we have Ed ending verbs sounding like T before a consonant as in ''I COOKED THE POTATO/ I COOKED CHICKEN '' DO I PRONOUNCE OR NOT THE ED ENDING BEFORE A CONSONANT?

  35. 5:02 Ma'am, I noticed that this time when you said the word "sentence", you made the T sound, but in some others of your videos, you dropped the T in the word "sentence". Similar cases like "button", "Britain", "mountain", "garden", "kindergarten", etc; they have one thing in common, a T consonant followed by a schwa + N consonant. Like many Americans including you, I used to leave out the T sound when pronouncing this kind of words, eg. I say "bʌt n"(a stop instead of releasing the T sound) instead of "bʌ tən"(with a T and a schwa, I don't know if it's true T or flap one here), however, some Americans and especially Britons doesn't drop the T in the case so that they say "tən" instead of "n". Is there any rules for this?

  36. Could you make a video about how to linking t d z s+y,such as
    what's -your is that-your(t+y)
    did -you (d+y)
    how's -your who's -your (z+y)
    miss -you (s+y)

  37. How should linking of stops with consonants l and n be interpreted? As a "no audible release" or "lateral and nasal release"?

  38. Hi Rachel, in connected speech how would you link the s to z sound or vice versa? For example, "has stopped" would it sound "haztopped", "hastopped" or clearly separating both sounds like "haz-stopped"? Also in cases like "It's zero" would it be pronounced as "Itzero", "Itsero" or "Its-zero"? Thanks a lot!

  39. Hi

    When a d sound comes after a T sound , it'll be hard to say especially in the fast speech . for example :
    I need to..

    I wanted to ..

    I needed to ..

    I had to ..
    How can I say them? Do I need to drop the D?

  40. Why does the sentence '' I have two choices " sound like I haf two choices when said fast ?

    I think that the same thing happens to the sentence " I have time" , right ?

  41. "I walked towards her".
    Rachael, how can I link ed (t) with the consonant T from the next word without missing its tense as a past ?

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