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Unit 26. One Evening, Stop Now, Go Away. etc.

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Linking Sounds

Unit 26; Part A

 
idea.jpgImportant for listening!
ln fluent speech, words within a speech unit are usually said without a break. The sound at the end of one word is linked to the sound at the beginning of the next so that there is a smooth connection between them.
 

 A consonant sound at the end of a word is linked smoothly to a vowel sound at the beginning of the next:
        one evening           a serious accident             the exact opposite

Unit 26; Part B

When a word ending with a consonant sound is followed by a word beginning with another consonant sound there is no break between them, although the first consonant sound may change its pronunciation a little to make it easier to move to the next consonant sound:
            a warm breeze        I've seen it       starting tomorrow

Notice also that when a word ending with one of the consonants
/p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, is followed by a word beginning with a different one of these (or /m/ or /n/), no air is released at the end of the first consonant and there is a smooth change to the second:
            stop now                   heard tell          make bread

Unit 26; Part C

When a word ending with a consonant sound is followed by a word beginning with the same consonant sound, one lengthened consonant sound is made:
             some milk               glorious sunshine             it's half full

Unit 26; Part D

A vowel sound at the end of a word is linked to a vowel sound at the beginning of the next by an inserted /w/ or /j/ ('y') sound:
              who is it?       go away   can you see it?     it's completely empty
                  /w/               /w/                          /j/                             /j/

The choice of either
/w/ or /j/ depends on the vowel sound that ends the first word. If the vowel is produced with the highest part of the tongue close to the front of the mouth (/i:/, /eι/, /aι/, /oι/) then the linking sound will be /j/. If the vowel is produced with the highest part of the tongue close to the back of the mouth (/u:/, /aυ/, /∂υ/) then the linking sound will be /w/.

Unit 26; Part E

Words ending with the letters -r or -re have a fnal vowel sound: e.g. car /ka:/, more /mo:/, fir /fз:/, other /'Λð∂/, fear /fι∂/, hair /hе∂/, pure /pju∂/. When a word like this is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, a /r/ sound is inserted:
    car engine    my other uncle    pure oxygen
        /r/                          /r/                /r/

In some dictionaries this
/r/ before a vowel is shown with the symbol r.
For example: /ka:r/ (car)    /'Λð∂r/ (other)    /pju∂r/ (pure)

note.jpgNote: In many other accents of English (e.g. Scottish, Irish and most North American accents) words ending in -r or -re always have a final /r/ sound: car /ka:r/, more /m'o:r/, etc.

Less commonly, a /r/ sound is inserted when the word ends in one of the vowels /а:/, /о:/, /з:/, /∂/, /ι∂/, /е∂/ or /υ∂/ but is not spelt with the letters -r or -re:

    China and Japan    the area is fooded
            /r/                             /r/

However, some native speakers of British English think this is incorrect pronunciation.

When sounds merge or a sound changes at the end of a word, it may sound like another word, but usually any misunderstanding is resolved by context. For example, 'talk Danish' might sound like 'taught Danish', but these are unlikely to be confused in context.

 



Exercises

flag.jpgFirst match A's questions with B's answers in this conversation. Then look at the B parts and decide whether the links marked are /w/ links (write  /w/) or /j/ links (write /j/).
Key.26.5.jpg 

1    A: Where are you going?
2    A: When? 
3    A: Why?    
4    A: Who is he?  
5    A: Have you got cousins there, too?
6    A: How will you get there?
7    A: How long will it take?
8    A: Have you been there before?
9    A: How long will you be there? 
10  A: Why don't you stay longer?  
11  A: Will you take Adam a present? 
12  A: Why an umbrella? 
  
___ B: By air.
___ B: Yes, I grew up there.
___ B: Yes, a new  umbrella.
___ B: He asked me for one.
___ B: Tomorrow afternoon.
___ B: I'll stay a week.
  1  B: To Austria.     /w/
___ B: No, they all live in France.
___ B: It's too expensive.
___ B: To see Adam.
___ B: A few  hours.
___ B: My  uncle.


Now listen and check your answers. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows. 
flag.jpgMark all the possible /r/ links in these sentences containing idiomatic phrases. Say the sentences aloud and then listen and check your answers. (Check any idioms you don't know in a dictionary or in the Key.)
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Example:I bought it on the spur of the moment.

1    He's got a fnger in every pie. 
2    It's in the nature of things. 
3    She's without a care in the world.  
4    It's as clear as mud.  
5    It's the law of the jungle. 
6    Let's focus on the matter in hand.  
7    Is that your idea of a joke? 
8    He's a creature of habit.
9    Pride comes before a fall.
10  Get your act together! 

flag.jpgListen and underline which of the words you hear in each sentence. As the pairs of words could be pronounced in a similar way in the sentences, you will need to use the context to help you choose.
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Example:  held / helped    let / led
                 (She held my hand as she led me up the hill.)
1    lock / lot
2    play / played          
3    hit / hid  
4    like / light 
5    right / ride  
 back / bat
 park / part
 trick / trip
 planned / plan
 road / robe

Now check your answers in the Key. Then listen again and repeat the sentences.

Follow up: My old English teacher, Mr Brookes, didn't like us to use /r/ links except after words spelt with -r or -re. Which of the links you have marked in exercise 2 would Mr Brookes have disapproved of? Do you think Mr Brookes was right in his view of the use of /r/ links?

 
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