Accent Reduction for Chinese Speakers

One accent reduction technique that Chinese speakers can use to improve their American English pronunciation is to use linking.

American English speakers link or join words together so that they are easy to say and flow together smoothly. It often sounds like native speakers are saying one long word since they don’t leave spaces between each word.

Chinese speakers don’t usually use linking effectively when they speak American English. This makes their speech sound choppy and difficult to understand.

Here are 2 common types of linking that we use in spoken American English.

Consonant to vowel linking

When words that end in a consonant sound are adjacent to words that begin with a vowel sound, we hold the consonant sound of the first word until we say the vowel sound of the second word.

Here are some examples:
1. likes it = likes-sit
2. laughed at = laught-tat
3. explain it = explain-nit
4. wake up = wak-kup

In each of the phrases above the final consonant in the first word links to the vowel sound in the next word.

Vowel to vowel linking

When words that end in a vowel sound are located next to words that begin with a vowel sound we add a /y/ or /w/ sound to link the words together.

Here are some examples:
1. too + early = toowearly
2. who + is + it = whowizit
3. I + am = Iyam
4. do + it =dowit

Many Chinese speakers pause between words instead of linking or blending the sounds together. This creates speech that sounds very choppy and accented to American listeners.

If you can use linking when you are speaking with Americans your accent will improve and people will understand you more easily!