‘what can I do to sound more fluent?’,
‘how do I improve my English fluency?’
If this is the case, look no further.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to immediately polish your English speaking clarity and confidence by simply incorporating linking as a strategy.
FYILinking is the secret ingredient that gels the sounds and words together to make your speaking as smooth as butter 🧈. You’ll be impressed by the BIG difference it can make in your personal and professional speaking.
That’s why linking goals should be at the top of the list to improve your command of English pronunciation. Let’s talk about 6 simple linking strategies that’ll make a big difference starting NOW!
Connect your words in sentences
Be a copycat linker
Carefully observe the speech patterns of native speakers and try to copy them. Listen and repeat in connected phrases and sentences instead of individual words. You’ll quickly notice that these speakers habitually link their words together in sentences – often without realising it too! The more you practice it, the easier it is for you to internalise it so that when you’re in the next presentation or team meeting, you’ll know that your message can be smoothly and confidently delivered.
If you find it challenging to copy how English native speakers link words, we’ll show you the patterns and rules to follow and you’ll soon hear everything in a new dimension!
if in doubt, use the IPA
Bonus: this strategy also prevents any confusion in spelling.
If you pronounce the two words separately, this is how it sounds:
Queue /kjuː/ + Up /ʌp/.
But… when we connect the two words together, the phrase ‘queue up’ actually sounds like this according to the IPA:
Notice the sneaky /w/ sound that snuck in to help us link this phrase together!
Our team will train you to use phonetics to clarify your English pronunciation sounds and implement new fluency features by connecting words.
Use linking sounds to connect words
English speakers insert extra sounds between words to help with their linking, and most of the time, they’re not even aware of it.
Like the example above, a linking /w/ sound is used to help transition between vowels
‘I can do it,’ tends to be pronounced as
You’ll find that this linking sound (among other linking sounds such as the linking /j/.
The linking /j/ ( ‘y’ sound) will also help you move easily from one word to the next without interrupting the flow of your speech.
Try to de-stress... like the schwa /ə/
The Schwa /ə/ is often the missing link that your English linking needs!
So if you’ve not learnt how to produce this sound and integrate it- keep reading.
See, the Schwa is a uniquely unstressed sound that is the 💎 hidden gem of linking. Many words that serve a grammatical function tend to be reduced to a schwa (e.g., a, for). By now, you might’ve noticed some of these schwas making their appearances in previous examples already (don’t worry if you need to scroll back up – we’ll happily wait 😉 )
This allows speakers to pronounce these quickly and easily without paying much attention.
Try to say this sentence out loud and compare the way ‘to’ is pronounced when we say the words in isolation versus in connected speech:
‘Go. To. The. Shops’
When you use the Schwa you also then have the chance to showcase the stressed words more effectively!
Why is this important?
Using accurate emphasis takes the burden off your listener- when the right words are pronounced between Schwa and linked sounds, your colleague can pinpoint the keywords of your message with less effort. After all, we speak for our listeners- if you get the Schwa going more in your speaking, your colleagues will pick up your key points faster.
|Words||Without schwa||With schwa|
|Bonus points: grenade||–||/ɡrəˈneɪd/
(first part typically produced with a schwa!)
Full IPA transcription:
‘I’d catch a grenade for ya…’ /aɪd kætʃ ə ɡrəˈneɪd fə jə/
Beware of twinned sounds!
The next time you try to join your words together in sentences, keep your eyes out for the sneaky twins!
*But, as always, there are always exceptions to these rules – ‘h’, ‘y’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘q’, ‘dg’, ‘ch’.
Creating lasting changes with your pronunciation
This is why we love linking words at Voice Science, and we believe that you will too!
If you need more support and feedback for your speaking? No worries – our team is here to help! At Voice Science, we provide personalised, evidence-based strategies to bolster your command of English pronunciation and linking.
Take the first step today by checking out our Personalised Pronunciation Audit – we provide tailored and comprehensive audits into every single sound of English, speech intonation factors, and speaking fluency. This will help you identify the main bottlenecks that are impacting your speaking. Knowing the importance of linking, we’ll carefully examine your link and flow of phrases and sentences, the process of merging multiple words into single units, and last but not least, the balance between clarity versus linking. We’ve got you covered!
The Aussie Accent is not the only way to speak English.
In fact, in Australia, we have numerous different forms of English pronunciation, and I’d argue that all of them are as legitimate and official as each other.
Your speaking is not inferior if you live in Australia but don’t have an Aussie accent.
Currently, there are more non-native speakers of English than native, so no one can tell you that using a mainstream Aussie accent is the only correct way to speak if you live in Australia.
get your pronunciation assessed by our teamA Complete Audit that you Can Start in 5 minutes from now!
If you want to get some feedback on your English pronunciation, you’ve got to see Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit.
When you enrol you’ll score yourself a total audit into every single sound of English so that you learn which sounds need more work. We’ll also do a fun vocal health survey and spot check aspects of your social communication to make sure you are speaking as comfortably and as confidently as you can.