Connected Speech in English - Adding a /w/ Sound
When we have an a/e/i/o/u sound on the end of a word in English, and then an a/e/i/o/u sound at the beginning of the next word, it is difficult to say the two words together.
For example, if you try to say the words 'to organise' together, you will find that you have to stop inbetween the words.
In order to avoid stopping, and to keep the speech nice and fluent, we add in sounds between words that end in a vowel sound and the next word which begins with a vowel sound.
When a word ends with an 'o' or 'u' sound, we use a 'w' sound to link it to the next word:
Word ending in an /o/ or /u/ sound
Word beginning with an /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ or /u/ sound
As you can see in the diagram, and as I will show in many examples further down the page, if the word ends in a /o/ or /u/ sound, it does not matter what vowel sound the next word begins with, we always use a /w/ to link them.
'go /w/ out'
'go /w/ in'
Of course, most words that end with an /o/ or /u/ sound also end with an 'o' or 'u' letter. There are not many words in English which end with an /o/ or /u/ sound.
To show this in action, here are the most useful English word combinations where we use the /w/ to link the words together. The most common word where we need this is the word 'to'..
a - (e.g. accept, arrange)
e - (e.g. explain, edit)
i - (implement, introduce)
o - (organise, open)
u - (understand)
"We need to [..w..] accept that we are going to miss the deadline"
"I don't want to [..w..] explain it to him again!"
"We have decided to [..w..] implement the new measures"
"We are going to [..w..] organise an event"
"It is difficult to [..w..] understand"
The other main important words ending in 'o' include...
a - (e.g. at, all, always)
e - (e.g. easy)
i - (I, in, introduce)
o - (on, organise)
u - (under, understand)
"We don't want to go [..w..] over budget"
"I told him to do [..w..] it again"
"I think that the design looks so [..w..] ugly"
"There were limited opportunities for progression in my old position, so [..w..] I decided to look for a new role"
"I also [..w..] explained it very clearly"
There are a few important business words which have an 'o' sound at the end of the word, but they are not spelt with an 'o'. These ones look a bit strange!
a - (e.g. all, analysis)
e - (e.g. every, each)
i - (I, it)
o - (only)
u - (understanding)
"I am going to go through [..w..] all of the topics we covered in the meeting"
"Even though [..w..] our budget is low, I think this project is feasible"
"We need to carry out a thorough [..w..] analysis"
"I will not say anything, although [..w..] I am quite angry"
The other main sound that we add between words to link them together in connected sppech is a 'y' sound. Check out how to use it right here!