Linking with the G /g/ Consonant

Feb 15, 2021

Linking with the G /g/ Consonant

2/15/2021

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What's the best way to improve the rhythm of your spoken English? Linking! Linking is how words (and syllables) connect to each other in spoken English. And once you know how to use linking effectively, your speech will sound smooth and rhythmic, with each word almost blending into the next. This video will show you how to link words together using the stop consonant G /g/, and you'll have a chance to practice with me at the end!

(Video Transcript)

 

Hi, I’m Julie with San Diego Voice and Accent, and in this video you’ll learn how to link words together using the G consonant.



Linking in American English

I’ve had a lot of requests from viewers and my accent clients, to make more videos about linking, and specifically about linking using stop consonants, like the G consonant.

 

I love talking about linking - it is one of my favorite pronunciation topics to discuss - because linking is not always taught in English courses at school, so for many of my clients, linking is a totally new concept. But linking is so important to sounding natural to a native speaker, and it can improve the rhythm of your spoken English immediately. 

 

This video is going to discuss how you can link words using the G consonant, like in the phrase big branch.

 

Stop consonant: G /g/

The G consonant is called a stop consonant. This means that the airflow is stopped somewhere along the vocal tract - somewhere between the vocal cords and the lips. For the G consonant, the airflow is stopped in the back of the mouth, and specifically at the soft palate. This is where the back of the tongue makes contact when you say the G consonant. 

 

G

 

G

 

G

 

When native speakers say a word that ends in a stop consonant by itself, like the word big, they are likely to pronounce it very clearly, and they are also likely to release the stop consonant that comes at the end of the word. 

 

Big

 

Did you hear that little guh sound at the end? That came from the back of my tongue as it moved away from the back of my mouth. That is a released G consonant.

 

Big



However, the G consonant is not always fully released, especially when it comes at the end of a word and the next word begins with a consonant, and especially when it’s a stop consonant. 

 

Unreleased G /g/ consonant

In this case, two things can happen. First, the G sound can be unreleased. This means the back of the tongue makes contact with the soft palate, and then it stays there - there isn’t a release of the tongue. The tongue remains in that position, and then you would transition immediately to the next word.

 

Here’s what an unreleased G consonant sounds like in the phrase big branch:

 

Big branch

 

Big branch

 

I’ll say it slowly so you can hear how the G sound is unreleased - my tongue remains pulled back and in contact with the soft palate as I transition to the B consonant in boy.

 

Big branch

 

GG

GG

GG



That’s what the G sounds like in this context. 

 

G

 

G



Big branch



Mini-released G /g/ consonant

The second thing that can happen is the G consonant may have a mini-release of the tongue. This means the tongue moves away from the soft palate at the end of the G sound, but just a little bit.

 

Here’s what a mini-released G consonant sounds like:

 

Big branch

 

Big branch

 

G

G

G

G

G

 

That’s what the G sounds like in this context.

 

G

G

G

 

Big branch



I’ll demonstrate an unreleased G consonant, a mini-released G consonant, and a fully released G consonant. Listen closely to the G sound and see if you can hear the difference.

 

Big branch (unreleased)

 

Big branch (mini-release)

 

Big branch (fully released)



Either the unreleased G or the mini-released G would be acceptable for linking; but the fully released G is too much of a release, and it disrupts the fluency of the phrase.



Linking with an unreleased G /g/

Let’s practice using an unreleased G to link two words together, and in these examples, the next word will begin with a consonant.

 

I’ll say each phrase three times, and I want you to repeat in the pauses. 

 

Pigpen

 

Big business

 

Bog down

 

Linking with a mini-released G /g/

Now let’s practice the same phrases, and I’ll use a mini-released G consonant. I’ll say each phrase three times, and I want you to repeat in the pauses. 

 

Pigpen

 

Big business

 

Bog down



I hope this video helped you learn how to link words together using the G consonant. Thanks for watching, and let me know how I can help you master the American accent!