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Unit 3:Linking

Section 1: Focus 

Section 2: From Listening To Pronunciation
Section 3: Pronunciation Drills
Section 4: Variety Show

Section 5: Listen And Check


Section 1: Focus

Introduction of Linking:

  There are commonly used supra-segmental features in everyday American English conversation, which makes the target language fast and fluent. And we are going to introduce four kinds of linking of the supra-segmental features in this unit.

Linking1. Consonants linked with vowels

  When a word begins with a vowel, the final consonant(s) of the word before it can link with the vowel and they combine to become a new syllable. For example: Take_it easy. Native speakers do not pronounce this sentence Take it easy. in three separate words; instead, they say it in two words, like: Tagit easy. The /t/ sound in it also disappear to form a quicker and shorter sentence. The following sentences will display this type of linking more distinctively.

1. Here it_is.

2. So, whats_up?

3. How was_your vacation?

4. I bought_it here yesterday afternoon.

5. We can go then, if_you like.

6. Yes, I didnt give_it to you yesterday.

7. Did Pierre leave_a telephone number?

8. Ill be right back with_your salad.

9. Uh, do you have_an appointment?

10. We took_off and circled around the lake three times.

Linking2.  Linking identical or similar consonants

When two identical or similar consonants meet in one sentence, the first consonant disappears, and only the latter one is pronounced, which combines the two words making them sound like one word. In the following sentences, the first consonant is in grey to indicate this feature. However, as in sentence 10, there is sometimes exceptions. Both sounds are pronounced so quickly merged together.

1.     Right first_time.

2.     Is_this your first_trip to Alaska?

3.     Im always so nervous.

4.     It was_so quite, and the air was_so clean!

5.     Yes. Do you have any vacancies_starting tonight?

6.     I just want_to check something else.

7.     We have at least_three vegetarian dishes on the menu every day.

8.     Chinese is_so very different from the languages Ive studied.

9.     Then I taught high school physical education, and Ive been a guidance_counselor in the Seattle public school system for the last three years.

10. Has she_studied her music_class?

Linking3.  Linking consonant with "of"

When of follows a consonant of the proceeding word, the /f/ sound disappears and the vowel // moves over to the consonant before it and makes a new syllable. The f is in grey so as to indicate its absence.

1.     I was out_of town for a few days.

2.     Ah, wait up, there are a couple_of messages for you.

3.     OK, let me introduce you to some_of the crew, then.

4.     Im in charge_of North American sales.

5.     Yes. Do you have an itemized list_of content?

6.     I had to use a lot_of gestures and sign languages.

7.     In fact, Ive always dreamed_of doing that-writing a soap opera and telling stories_of everyday people.

8.     Most of the Martins children are married and none_of their grandchildren are over ten years old.

9.     Why are you thinking_of leaving your present job?

10. This job would give me a chance to do both_of them.

Linking4.  Linking vowel with "of"

   When of is linked with a vowel sound, the /f/ sound changes into /v/ sound and combines with the following vowel to make a new syllable. Another case is that if /f/ is followed with /h/, the /h/ sound disappear, but the vowel after /h/ will move over to link with /v/ (originally /f/); number 9 sentence below serves as a good example. Listen to the change of the /f/ sound in the following sentences:

1.     What do you think of_it so far?

2.     Its in honor of_your new job.

3.     I dont know if_I have similar market value elsewhere.

4.     Well, some of_us are getting together, and I thought you might want to come too.

5.     If_your boss submits annual bugets in September, request an appointment in July.

6.     If you want to get the attention of_a waiter or a salesperson, put your hand out in front of_you, palm down

7.     Take off_your hat and coat as soon as you enter someones home.

8.     If_youd like a second helping of something, you should go ahead and accept the first time it is offered.

9.     Weve seen so little of_him this trip.

10. What are the cuases of homelessness? For some, it is simply a lack_of_affordable housing.




Section 2: From Listening To Pronunciation


    Closely observe dialogues or reading passages, one can easily find various supra-segmental features prevail everywhere. The following dialogue and reading passage contain various supra-segmental features. Please listen as many times as you would like, and observe the features as presented.


   Listen while observing the words and sentences in a dialogue or a reading passage, and you will get a clear picture of how reductions are spoken.

Now listen to Conversation 3 of the elementary level from the following site:


Reading Passage:

   Now, listen to reading passage 3.1, and you will find the reductions we mentioned above are very common in the reading passage; which is spoken in the form of report English, similar to news reports we hear everyday.




Section 3: Pronunciation Drills

    After you observed the dialogue and reading passage from the previous section, you have probably had a thorough understanding of how supra-segmental features work in American English. The following practices are sentence exercises for each reduction feature we introduce in this unit. Practice them, and you will find becoming fluent like a native speaker is not hard.

Linking 1-4



Section 4: Variety Show


English learning is not just hard work. Here we have some interesting activities for you to learn and have fun! You can invite some of your friends to practice the following tongue twisters and compete with one another; or even challenge the teacher!

Tongue Twister

  Supra-segmental features exist everywhere. Tongue twister is another example. We often hear people say tongue twisters with extraordinary speed, which actually is a dramatized presentation of supra-segmental features. In this section, we provide you with interesting tongue twisters, of which red feature marks are indicated in the tongue twisters for you to say them quickly. Practice it and enjoy the play!

Please read aloud number 1-10 tongue twisters on the following page:


There are also problems that commonly occur among non-native speakers. The following page offers you something to reflect on.

Nursery Rhyme: May I switch off the light?

           May I turndown the air conditioning?

           Do_you mind_if I lower the blind?

           Is_it all right if_I put_away these files?

           I dont mind! I dont mind! I dont mind!


           Is_it all right if_I switch_off the light?

           Do_you mind if_I close the door?

           May I switch_on the fan?

           Sure! Sure! Sure!

(Source: Sound Check 3, p. 90, Get Real 3, by Angela Buckingham and Miles Craven, 2002, Oxford: Macmillan Education, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.)


Section 5: Listen And Check


    No learning is completed without a quiz to check your comprehension. The following quiz is designed for you to check whether you can identify the supra-segmental features introduced in this unit. They ARE in the sentences.

Listening Quiz

    The following sentences were originally spoken as a dialogue. Please listen and mark a hook under the words when you identify it is linked.

Check-in at a Hotel

 Front Desk: Heres your credit card. Ms. Rodriguez, and your room key.

Rodriguez:  Thank you.

Front Desk: This is your room charge card. Youll need this if you charge anything in the restaurant or lobby shops. Could you sign it here?

Rodriguez:  OK.

Front Desk: Right. Your room is on the seventh floor. The bell captain will take your bags up to your room.

Rodriguez: Thank you. Oh, is the restaurant still serving lunch?

Front Desk: Our main restaurant closes at two-thirty, but you can get something to eat in the All-Day Coffee Shop. Its located across the lobby.

Rodriguez: Thank you very much.

Front Desk: youre very welcome. Enjoy your stay with us.

Check out the answers here. :)



(Source: Unit 8, Survival English, by Peter Viney & John Curtin, 1994, Oxford: Heinemann English Language Teaching, A division of Heinemann Publishers Ltd.)