Speaking in English is not the same as writing

Speaking in English is not the same as writing


If you don't know how to pronounce and yet you pronounce your own way at the beginning of your learning, then you are building your habits in the wrong way. Learning words without pronunciation in the first lesson is damaging.

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There are two possibilities that are recommended:

1. learn pronunciation from the beginning and speak from the beginning.
2. learn without pronunciation, but do not speak (you will start speaking at a later stage - after learning pronunciation).

The idea is not to have 'perfect' pronunciation from the beginning but 'correct' - understood in the following sense:

1. Use the right sounds - perhaps your own versions of the English sounds, but make sure that there is a clear correspondence between your own sounds and the English sounds.

2. Always stress the right syllable.

What is good pronunciation?

1. it should be understood easily by users of English,
2. pleasant to hear for advanced users of English,
3. easy to pronounce for oneself

Don't worry about fluency - speaking slowly is OK!

English learners are often worried about their lack of fluency. They need much time to build sentences and this worries them. They would like to speak as fast as in their native language.

Please notice that building sentences in a foreign language is a real challenge for the brain. There are chemical processes that take place in the brain before a sentence can be built in a foreign language. Those processes take more time than building sentences in one's native language. At least in the beginning. Fluency comes with time and practice and it should not be expected at the beginning of learning.

If you are an English learner who worries about lack of fluency, please remember these words: When you speak too fast, your brain does not have the time to build correct sentences. You have to speak so slowly that your brain has the time to think about building sentences in English.

It's a general opinion that it is a good habit to speak slowly and carefully in a foreign language.

Learners should accept the fact that speaking in a foreign language is more difficult than speaking in one's native language. There is no need to worry about this. There is little fluency in the beginning and this is okay. Don't worry about lack of fluency.

Linking in English 

When we say a sentence in English, we join or 'link' words to each other. Because of this linking, the words in a sentence do not always sound the same as when we say them individually. Linking is very important in English. If you recognize and use linking, two things will happen:

1. you will understand other people more easily
2. other people will understand you more easily

Types of Linking

1. consonant > vowel

We link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound.

2. vowel > vowel

We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound.

Understanding Vowels and Consonants for linking

To understand linking, it is important to know the difference between vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Given below is a list of English vowels and consonants:

Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
Consonants: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, 1, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

The list shows the letters that are vowels and consonants. But the important thing in linking is the sound, not the letter. Often the letter and the sound are the same, but not always.

For example,

Ending letters and sounds:
1. the word 'PAY' ends with the letter 'Y', but the sound is 'A'.
2. the word 'THOUGH' ends with the letter 'H', but the final sound is 'O'
3. the word 'KNOW' ends with the letter 'W', but the final sound is 'O'

Beginning letters and sounds:
1. the word 'UNIFORM' begins with the letter 'U', but the initial sound is 'Y'.
2. the word 'HONEST' begins with the letter 'H', but the initial sound is 'O'.

You may also like:
Learn how to pronounce 44 Sounds of English - with Phonetic Symbols and Keywords. {alertInfo}

Linking Consonant to Vowel

When a word ends in a consonant sound, we often move the consonant sound to the beginning of the next word if it starts with a vowel sound.

For example, in the phrase 'Turn Off'', we say like this: 'tur-noff'

Keep in mind that it's the sound that matters. In the below example, 'HAVE' ends with:
  • the letter 'E' (vowel)
  • the sound 'V' (consonant)
So we link 'have' to the next word 'a', which begins with a vowel sound:

We write it like this: Can I have a bit of egg?
We say it like this: Ca-nI-ha-va-bi-to-fegg?

Linking Vowel to Vowel

When one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound. 

If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:

For example:

We write like this

We say like this

too often


Who is


so I


do all


If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:

For example:

We write like this

We say like this

I am


She is


The end


She asked



Hope this article is useful to you in the understanding of the sounds of English on how actually we use them in Spoken English. Understanding the sounds of English is very important to gain fluency. Speaking is not the same as writing - this mantra must be kept in mind to learn to speak in English fluently.

Don't worry about fluency, speaking slowly is perfectly OKAY!

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