Linking Vowel, Diagram and Explanation

Linking Vowels

In standard American English, the vowel sounds are generally large, broad sounds. This is different from British English in which the vowels are equal to the consonants. But that’s not all. In standard American English, we create soft transitions when two vowel sounds are beside each other. The transitional sounds are W and Y.

Using W as a transition: If there is a Long O or a Long U followed by a second vowel sound, the lips are already rounded, so that W is a natural bridge to the next sound. 

Examplescoincidence, nuance

Using Y as a transition: If there is a Long I or a Long E followed by a second vowel sound, the tongue is already near to a Y position, so Y is a natural bridge to the next sound. Remember that the Long I ends with a quick Long E sound.

Examplesprior, reinvent

OW, AY, EY and UY Endings: Many small words end in these letters such as how, now, pay, play, they and buy. In these words, the W’s and Y’s are silent–they indicate the sound of the vowel, such as the ăō sound or the Long A sound. However, in short phrases in which the next word starts with a vowel, the W or Y can be heard. Once again, these sounds create soft transitions.

Overall, just remember that standard American vowels are not precise. Be comfortable shifting from one vowel to another in a relaxed, open, smooth way.
750 Business WordsLinking Vowels Main Page
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