Word Linking in English: linking /r/


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Rule 1: Is the accent is rhotic or not? A rhotic accent pronounces every /r/ in the spelling, and in a non-rhotic accent /r/ is only pronounced before a vowel sound. So in a non-rhotic accent the final ‘r’ in the first word links to the next word only if the word starts with a vowel sound, however in a rhotic accent an /r/ at the end of a word will always be pronounced regardless. The RHOTIC ACCENTS below are marked *RH.

Examples (listen below):

were all,  were there,  more apples,  more people,  better spaghetti,  better oranges,  tour China,  tour England,  tour Egypt,  or else,  or walk,  four phones,  four envelopes,  four cafes,  four avenues.

Rule 2: Sometimes called the ‘intrusive r’; when the final sound of the first word is the schwa vowel, such as at the end of the word ‘China’, or is the sound ‘aw’ as in British English ‘law”, and the second word starts with a vowel, sometimes the words will link with an ‘r’.  Some accents use this a lot, such as British R.P., where as others hardly at all, such as speakers of American and Scottish English, who pronounce the first vowel with the tongue at a lower height. Whether an ‘r’ is used to link two vowels depends on the height of the tongue in the first vowel sound, however not all accents will use an ‘r’ to link them.

Examples (listen below): 

vanilla ice,  Anna agreed,  India again,  China instead,  alpha eight,  law overruled,  thaw out,  paw in,  raw avocado,  saw eighteen.

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