[3.2] Connected Speech

A typical feature of English is final-initial vowel-consonant linking. For example, American English is actually pronounced “America Ninglish”, “and over”as “an dover”.

Without having to learn IPA, you can connect your speech by:
1) linking end and initial vowels and consonants; and
2) weakening non-stressed vowels to schwa (pronounced ‘uh’).

In this song, “Equestrienne”, by Rachel Field, sung by Nathalie Merchant (General American), the feature of connected speech is particulary pronounced. As you listen, notice the linked vowels and consonants.

See, they are clearing the sawdust course
For the girl in pink on the milk-white horse.
Her spangles twinkle; his pale flanks shine,
Every hair of his tail is fine
And bright as a comet’s; his mane blows free,
And she points a toe and bends a knee,
And while his hoofbeats fall like rain
Over and over and over again.
And nothing that moves on land or sea
Will seem so beautiful to me
As the girl in pink on the milk-white horse
Cantering over the sawdust course.

Many such commonly linked words are presented as such in written form, most famously, GOING TO as “gonna”. Below are further examples (commonly associated with GA):

Come on! = c’mon
Damn it! = dammit!
a lot of = a lotta
Don’t you? = Don’t cha?
want to = wanna
what do you = whadaya…?
give me = gimme