Ok, see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq3yfQnllfQ

At 0.:16, you will hear "A for apple" /eɪ fɔː ˈræp.l̩/ --> clearly the speaker linked /r/ & /æ/.

At 0.:18, you will hear "A for ant" /eɪ fɔːr ænt/ --> clearly the speaker did not link /r/ & /æ/.

At 0.:18, you will hear "E for egg" /iː fɔːr eɡ/ & "E for elephant" /ˈel.ɪ.fənt/--> clearly the speaker did not link /r/ & /e/.

SO, why sometimes we do link the last consonant of before word & the first vowel of after word & sometimes we don't?

Or is that because the English ability of the Kid in the video (even though she is a native) has some limits & that is why she didn't know how to link?

  • I'm not sure she is a native speaker. It is hard to tell, because she's singing, not speaking. She rolled her "r" in "oar" quite a lot. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 8 '15 at 14:32

The short answer to your question: proper pronunciation of English does not use connection at all. In formal English even contractions are frowned upon. As a result, connection only occurs in a manner consistent with dialect; and since dialect is not universal, its connection rules will not be universal either.

This is also the reason that you have seen inconsistency in its application; a dialect from Boston, Massachusetts may not be too different from a Chicago, Illinois dialect, but they are different enough that they connect words differently. This being said, there are generally two ways native English speakers use connected speech:

  • Shifting forward pronunciation of the consonant of the previous word when the next word begins with a vowel as you have noted. For example:
    "A for apple" becomes /ey fa rap ul/ (IPA /eɪ fɔ ræp əl/)
  • Meshing similar (or the same) consonant sounds at the end of one word and the beginning of the following word into a single lengthened or held sound. A few examples:
    "For writing" becomes /fa rahy ting/ (IPA /fɔ raɪ tɪŋ/)
    "Book club" becomes /boo kluhb/ (IPA /bʊ klʌb/)
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  • Interesting! but do you have any legitimate source saying that. Most pronunciation courses teach connection speech and contraction? – Tom Dec 18 '15 at 2:34
  • also, you have not answer why sometimes we use connected speech & sometimes we don't? – Tom Dec 18 '15 at 2:37
  • With respect to formal English shunning even contractions in formal English, both American Psychological Association and Modern Language Association resources agree on this point (two of the most popular formats used in Academic Writing in the United States). Here's an answer directly from writer on the APA site: APA Style Blog. She explicitly states that contractions are a part of informal writing. This doesn't mean they aren't part of the language, @Tom. Informal language has its place. – Omnidisciplinarianist Dec 21 '15 at 23:19

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