Vowel Sequences 2


Vowel sequences are two vowels next to each other in a word, that belong to separate syllables, and each one makes its own sound. In Vowel Sequences 1, we learned that the first vowel of a sequence uses its Long-vowel sound, and we need to use the ending part of the first vowel to help establish a boundary between the two vowel sounds.

Examples:

science — The first vowel is Long-I (/ay/), so we need to use the /y/ part of that vowel as a link to the second vowel, so that it sounds like {sci-yence}.

coerces — The first vowel is Long-O (/ow/), so we use the /w/ part as the link to the second vowel, and it sounds like {co-wer-ces}.

Using the /y/ or /w/ part of the first vowel has two main advantages:

  1. It creates a boundary between the two vowels, so that the two syllables can be clearly heard.
  2. The vowel sequence is much easier to pronounce because the /y/ or /w/ is like a bridge for your tongue.

By the way, don’t be afraid to exaggerate the “bridge” a little bit!

In these words, the first vowel of the sequence is a Long-A, Long-E, or Long-I sound, so the bridge sound is /y/:
area / aorta / client / idea / diet / giant / medium / museum / period / piano

(They sound like: {A-re-ya}, {a-YOR-ta}, {CLI-yent}, {i-DE-ya}, {DI-yet}, {GI-yant}, {ME-di-yum}, {mu-SE-yum}, {PE-ri-yod}, {pi-YA-no}. The capitalized letters show the stressed syllable.)

In these words, the first vowel of the sequence is Long-O or Long-U, so the bridge sound is /w/:
cooperate / doing / fluid / fuel / oasis / ruin / situation / usual

(They sound like: {co-WO-per-ate}, {DO-wing}, {FLU-wid}, {o-WA-sis}, {RU-win}, {si-tu-WA-tion}, {U-su-wal}.)

Finally, here is an extra tricky word: “bioethics”. It has a sequence of three vowels! The first vowel is Long-I, so the /y/ part is used, and the second vowel is Long-O, so the /w/ part is used, and the word sounds like {bi-yo-WE-thics}.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s