English Communication Confidence Blog

Stop Enunciating Every Word And Start Linking

Sep 07, 2023

The Diamond Method™️ is comprised of 6 speech frameworks and today we'll be looking at The Flow Framework today with specific attention to linking. If you are an advanced speaker of English as a second language, but you still struggle with your speech fluency, keep reading to learn some simple techniques for getting the stress-timed language right.


Stop Enunciating Every Word And Start Linking

You must have heard someone talking like this,  "Wa'da'ya think?" or "You'd better talk to'w'im?"

You might currently find yourself puzzled, wondering why the text is structured in this way. Well, you're not alone. It might be strange and unusual in written English but it is how it is in spoken English.

These seemingly awkward phrases are actually a vital part of speaking English fluently and understanding them is key to mastering the flow of the English language. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of connected speech and how this technique could help you enhance and master the American accent. 

Let’s start with this: What is connected speech? Connected speech is a technique wherein you link words together in a way that creates a native-like rhythm. It is how native speakers of English make their sound smooth and effortless.

In my online communication classes and American accent training courses, I've worked with individuals from around the world who aspire to communicate effectively in English, acquire an American accent, and/or improve their communication skills. Working with them all, I've noticed a tendency to enunciate every word separately, believing that that will lead to better comprehension and clarity. But the truth is that this approach can make your speech sound unnatural,  disjointed, and quite choppy. While it might seem counterintuitive, correct pronunciation in English often involves not pronouncing every word meticulously but rather getting the flow.

The Power of Connected Speech 

If you need a ticket to sound more natural and acquire smooth English, you can count on connected speech to do the trick. Once you’ve properly utilized linking words, it will help you to seamlessly convey your thoughts and ideas effectively, making your communication clearer and more engaging.

Consider the phrase, "What is it that you really want to convey?" If you were to pronounce each word meticulously, it would sound robotic and flat. You'd be using equal stress on syllables which isn't how English is spoken. However, with connected speech, this sentence flows smoothly: "Wa'di'zit that you really wanna convey?" 

Do you see how those first few words get reduced and linked together? What-is-it becomes Wa'di'zit. And then want to becomes wanna. Just those few connections make your speech sound more powerful!

Try repeating it five times, emphasizing the linking, and you'll instantly notice the difference it makes.

Here are Some Tips for Mastering Connected Speech
Connected Speech sounds like an intricate puzzle, and you might be wondering when to link, which words to link, and how to do it seamlessly.

Well, don’t worry because today, I’m sharing with you some tips for mastering connected speech. 
Within a thought chunk, look for linking opportunities. This could be when a word ends in a consonant sound and is followed by a vowel sound.

  • “For example” becomes forrr_example. First, hold the /r/ and then go right into the vowel in the word example. 
  • “I love it” becomes I lovvvv_it. The same thing applies here. First, hold the /v/ and then go right into the vowel in the word it. 

Here's another way to link. Two words that have the same consonant sounds can be connected. In this case, instead of pronouncing the consonant sound twice, you could pronounce it once. 

  • “John never thinks twice before speaking” becomes John_never... 
  • “Have a good day” becomes Have a good_day.

Aside from knowing and mastering the rules on linking, you can also grasp the concept of liking like this: 

  • Listen to English Speakers: Pay attention to how native English speakers enunciate words and try to identify when and where they usually link words. Listen to podcasts or interviews in English, or movies. These are good resources you can use to watch for connected speech.
  • Imitation is also a great tool that can help you shadow native English speakers and adopt their speaking style. Check this out if this sounds interesting.
  • Practice Regularly. Check for common phrases that you usually use and practice saying them until you are comfortable with the connection techniques.
  • Record yourself. Go one step further with your practice and take those phrases and monitor your progress by recording and listening back to your speech. 

Practicing linking could be daunting and intimidating at times, but it is a skill that you must develop as it helps you unlock the true flow of English.

As you persistently work on linking, you will definitely experience a transformation in your spoken English. Sentences that once sounded fragmented and awkward, will now flow more naturally and smoothly. And then, you'll become more engaging in your speech, presentations, or even while having a casual conversation with your friends and colleagues. 

With these flow techniques, you will convey your true intentions which are often lost when you pronounce each word too carefully. Remember that English is a stress-timed language and without using linking, you may always be one step behind in your English fluency. 

So, get cracking with the flow techniques and you'll find yourself speaking with more clarity and confidence.

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