Vowel Sounds – Phonemes – Post 16


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English spelling is not phonetic. It means that the symbols you read do not match the actual sounds of words. So, unless you live in an English speaking country, you need to know the phonemes in order to discover how to pronounce every single word correctly.

There are five types of English phonemes—short vowels, long vowels, voiced consonants, unvoiced consonants, and diphthongs—and now we are going to see the first two categories.

Short and Long Vowel Sounds

æ – Act /ækt/ – Banister /ˈbænɪstəʳ/ – International /ɪntəˈnæʃnəɫ/

ʌ – Other /ʌðəʳ/ – Rugby /ˈrʌgbi/ – Butter /ˈbʌtəʳ/

ɑː – Smart /smɑːʳt/ – Ask /ɑːsk/ – Fast /fɑːst/

e – Correct /kəˈrekt/ – Exit /ˈeksɪt/ – Set /set/

ə – Afford /əˈfɔːʳd/ – Adapt /əˈdæpt/ Affair /əˈfeəʳ/ (“ə” is called the “schwa sound”, and it is a weak sound, meaning that you will never find it as part of a stressed syllable.)

ɜː – Her /hɜːʳ/ – Sir /sɜːʳ/ – Fur /fɜːʳ/

ɪ – Sick /sɪk/ – Thick /θɪk/ – Brick /brɪk/

i – Silly /ˈsɪli/ – Harmony /ˈhɑːʳməni/ – Funky /ˈfʌŋki/ (commonly used as the final sound of “ly” adverbs.)

– Week /wiːk/ – Peak /piːk/ – Bleak /bliːk/

ɒ – Not /nɒt/ – Pot /pɒt/ – Lot /lɒt/

ɔː – Thought /θɔːt/ – Core /kɔːʳ/ – More /mɔːʳ/

ʊ – Foot /fʊt/ – Put /pʊt/ – Wood /wʊd/

u – Do /du/ – You /ju/ – To /tu/ (“u” is a weak sound, you’ll find it in weak forms and weak syllables.)

– Food /fuːd/ – Cool /kuːɫ/ – Super /ˈsjuːpəʳ/


Consonant SoundsDiphthongsConnected Speech


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Thanks for visiting YouGrammar.com – By Marco Cossu