Knowing how the English vowel system works, with Long-vowels and Short-vowels, can help train your brain to work with English in a way that is similar to how native-speakers process the language. It can help you be better with spelling, and with being more confident in figuring out how to say new words. At the… Read More Short-vowel IPA Symbols
Do you know the total number of different vowel sounds in English? Beginners often think the answer is “five”, because there are five vowel letters in the alphabet. Of course, anyone familiar with this blog already knows that each vowel letter has at least one Long-vowel and one Short-vowel sound. So is it ten vowels… Read More Overview of Vowels
The vowel system is the most complicated part of the pronunciation-spelling system of English, because each vowel letter represents three or four different vowel sounds. The letter “U” has three different sounds, but one thing that is unique about “U” is that it has two Long-vowel sounds. The basic sounds of the English letter “U”… Read More The Sounds of U
I have found that 80% to 90% of students do not know that the English letter “O” has more than one sound! The letter “O” regularly uses three different sounds, but a lot of students pronounce many words wrong because they use just one “O” sound all the time. The basic sounds are: Long-O, Short-o,… Read More The Sounds of O
Tongue tension is important for pronouncing English short vowels well. All of the short vowels in American English need a relaxed tongue. In fact, some books and dictionaries call these vowels “lax vowels”. THE SECRET KEY for lax vowels Most students of English do not seem to know about tongue tension. Many of my students… Read More Tongue tension – a secret key
Do those two words sound the same to you? If so, you’re not alone. Many students of English have trouble with the difference between Short-o and Short-u. These two vowel sounds are similar in some ways, but in English they are definitely different. The difference between them may seem small to the ear of a… Read More Boss or bus?
Schwa is the name for the most frequently used vowel sound in English. It is used for Short-u, the alternate Short-o, and reduced vowels. Short-u The Short-u sound is in many words that are spelled with a “U”, such as: fun, up, just, much, under, bug, shut, must, such, us, but, luck, mud, number, rush,… Read More What is Schwa?