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When we speak American English we link our words together, similar to singing a song. Our pitch rises and falls as we speak, changing for different sentence patterns and words we stress. We naturally pause or stop after saying a series of words in a sentence. If you stop after each word or at inappropriate times, those pauses will sound different from the typical smooth flow of American English.This section will teach you how to speak smoothly and connect your words together like Americans do. Click on the skill you would like to practice from the drop-down menu on the left.
Word connections refer to the ways we link same and different sounds to each other to create words that can be said without interruption. They can occur when connecting:
Vowels to vowels
Vowels to consonants
consonants to vowels
Consonants to consonants
Word Connections with Stop Sounds Many word connections occur on one group of sounds in American English called, the “stop sounds”. These sounds include: /d/ as in “do” /g/ as in “go” /t/ as in “too” /k/ as in “kite ”/p/ as in “pen ”/b/ as in “boy”
Stop sounds don’t naturally link easily to other sounds because of the way they are formed. Let’s take a look at how we form stop sounds, so that you can better understand why they are difficult to connect to many other consonant sounds.
To make these sounds, we first have to hold our breath for an instant before we say them. We then force the sound out with a sudden burst or explosion. This little explosion creates an interruption in our voice, which means we have to stop our speech after we make the sound. If this break or pause occurs at an inappropriate place in the sentence, our speech will sound choppy and disconnected. Because of this, we need a way we can change the stop sounds so that we can keep the flow of speech smooth and uninterrupted. These “word connections” allow us to continue speaking without stopping in between words or at inappropriate places.