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Aaaa, Eeee, Iiii, Ooooo… Oh! Um… well this is a little awkward. I was warming up
for my vowel sounds…Practicing my vowels.
Aaaa, Eeee, Iiii, Ooooo, Uuuu….
If you want to speak English well, you have to pronounce your vowels correctly. Aaaa,
Vowels. You know, they’re.A E I O and U, but what are they really? And how are they
different from consonants? Listen to the sound of a vowel: Aaaaaaaaaa. Now listen to some
consonants. T T T... K K K ... Hear how the tongue gets in the way of the flow of air?
Listen to an M. M is a consonant. To make an M, the lips touch…. not, like that. Like
this. My two lips touch and interrupt the flow of air. Mmmmm… With vowels, nothing
stops the flow of air. Aaaa... Oooo
So there are 5 main vowels…..and Y sometimes acts as a vowel, but let’s put that aside
for now. There are 5 vowels, so that means there are 5 vowel sounds in English, right?
Each vowel makes 2 sounds, a *long* sound and a *short* sound. Let’s look at the letter
A. What does the *long A* sound like? The long vowel sound is the same sound as the
name of the letter. The Long A sounds like... A. Like the A in cake, or the A in ape. Hear
the A? Ape. Ok. So “A” is the long A sound, what’s the short A sound? It’s aaaa. Like
in can, hand, Africa, fan, sack…or like the a in Tandoori. Oh man. I could go for
some tandoori.
Look at these two words: Ape... and App. Which has the long A sound?
The name of the letter is A. A sound… ape… Ape has the long sound. aaaa… app has the
short sound.
You don’t want to mix these up, because it would sound silly to tell your friend that
you got a new ape for your phone.
Ahhh.., no. Words with the long A are sometimes written with an A… then a consonant… then
the letter E at the end, like in the word ape. There are lots and lots of words that
follow this pattern....fade... plane... made... and shake, for example
The E is silent – we don’t hear it - but it makes a big difference. It makes the letter
A into a long A. Take off the E and look what happens. We get fad... plan... mad... shak…
Oops… This works for all the vowels. Pete has an E on the end. That means it’s a long
E. E…. p..e..t..e. No E? Now the word is pet – short E. Let’s try it with I. Bite…
long I sound… and bit. i. short I sound. Does it work with the letter O? Let’s see!
O…note. And now it’s not. OOOO ooooo see the difference?
Now let’s do the same for U. The long U sound is U, like in "Use". And magically,
now the sound is uh as in "us"
So let me show you some words you don’t know... well, I hope you don’t know - and
let’s see if you can figure out how to pronounce them. Ready? jute – did you get it right?
Here’s the next one. hem (pause) tome (pause) drab (pause)
Of course, that isn’t the whole story. Sure, we make the A sound when there’s an e on
the end, but also with combinations of letters. We’ll learn more about that another time.
So, what did we learn today? Every vowel makes a long and short sound. The long sound is
the same as the name of the vowel. The same vowel sound can be written many different
So there you have it: the wonderful world of vowels. Vowels can be tricky, but if you
want to sound like a native speaker you have to practice. Are there words you have trouble
pronouncing? Tell us in the comment section below.


English Lesson #3: How to Sound Like a Native Speaker: Part 1 - Vowels

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Hou HsiaoMou 2015 年 9 月 22 日 に公開
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