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Hi there.
My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to teach you about pronunciation, specifically
how to pronounce front vowels.
So, you might be wondering: "What is a vowel?" first question, and: "What is a front vowel?"
So these are very good questions.
So let me show you first what a vowel is.
So we have here: "a", "e", "i", "o", "u", and "y".
In English, these are our vowels.
So, they're different from consonants.
What a consonant is is a consonant is a sound such as: "t", "d", "r", "s".
So, these are vowels in green, and what you see in purple, there's a lot more of them,
they're consonants.
So anything that is not one of these is called a consonant.
Okay, so first thing I want to look at is: Where are the vowels in these words, and which
are the consonants?
We have the word: "king", so where is the vowel here?
If we look up here at our list, we have "i" here, "i" here.
So this is the vowel, whereas "k", "n", and "g" are consonants.
If we look at our next word: "cake", what is the vowel in this word?
If you said the "a", you're correct.
Now, the "e" in "cake" we don't pronounce, so it's not a vowel because we don't actually
pronounce the sound.
We have here the word: "sheet".
What's the vowel in "sheet"?
You said an "e", you're correct.
Whereas "s", "h", and "t" are all consonant sounds.
Okay, we also have the word here: "ship".
Here is the vowel, the "i".
And again, "s", "h", and "p" are consonants.
What about "happy"?
What's the vowel in "happy"?
If you said the "a" and the "y", you're correct.
These are the vowels.
Whereas "h", "p", and "p" are consonants.
So in English, we have: "a", "e", "i", "o", "u", and "y" are the way we spell vowels.
But here's the problem or here's the thing that's really difficult for a lot of people:
If you look at these two words, we have "a" here and "a" here, both vowels.
These a's, even though they're spelt the same way, they have the same spelling, we pronounce
them differently.
So for example, this, I would say: "Mat", "mat", just like the word "at", "mat".
Whereas this word is actually: "Mate", "mate".
So, "mat" and "mate".
So they have different sounds even though they have the same "a" in the spelling.
So what does this mean?
This means that for each of these symbols they have multiple sounds.
There are different vowel sounds for each of these.
So, this, for example, is an "a", it can be pronounced: "awh", it can be pronounced: "ah".
There's different pronunciations for it.
So, in today's lesson I'm going to explain some of these different pronunciations.
So before we begin, I want to talk about how to pronounce vowels.
What you should be really thinking about when you're pronouncing these sounds.
The first thing you really should be thinking about is what your lips are doing.
Okay? So these are your lips.
So when you make a sound, you need to think: Are your lips spread like this, are they very...?
Like, for example: "e", you see it's very big and spread, or is it like this, round,
like a circle?
"O". Okay?
"E", "o".
Do you see the difference in what my lips are doing?
So that's one thing to really think about when you're pronouncing vowels.
You also need to think about how big your mouth is.
Is it very small, the hole in your mouth?
For example: "Oo", there's not a big hole, there's a small hole.
Or is it really big, like: "Ah"?
So think about: How big is the opening of your mouth?
Is it big or small?
Okay, this...
I don't know if you can tell what this is...
These are your lips, your teeth, and your tongue.
You need to know what your tongue is doing in order to pronounce vowels correctly.
So is your tongue at the very front of your mouth, close to your teeth?
Like, for example, in an "e" sound?
Or is your tongue far away from your teeth, is it more towards the back of your mouth?
In today's lesson we are only going to be looking at front vowels, vowels which are
close to the front...
Where your tongue is close to the front of your mouth.
So you need to know where your tongue is.
For what we are learning today, your tongue is going to be close to the front of your mouth.
The last thing that's very important that you need to know when you're pronouncing vowels
is: Is it a long sound or a short sound?
So, for example, we have the sound "e", like: "sheet", it's long.
Now, compare this to another word, like: "bit".
You see, "bit".
"Beat", "bit".
So, one difference is in the length of the sound.
This is very long, whereas this is a very short sound.
So now let's learn about the five different front vowel pronunciations.
Okay, so the very first sound we're going to make today is the "e" sound.
So you might be wondering: "Oh, why is this an 'i' if it's an 'e' sound?"
Well, I have here different characters from the IPA,
which stands for International Phonetic Alphabet.
So there are different types of alphabets.
We have the alphabet we spell with and we have the alphabet of sound.
So, I'm going to teach you some of the alphabet of sound today.
So this is just an alphabet that actually shows how to pronounce a word.
If you've ever looked in the dictionary and beside the word you have...
Usually you see...
You see brackets, and you have another word in here, that can actually show the IPA or
how to pronounce the word.
So, I'm going to teach you about the IPA, which shows you how to pronounce a word.
I also have here the spelling, which is, you know, if you look in the dictionary is also there.
I have examples of the word, and then I have what your mouth should be doing to pronounce the word.
So let's get started.
Okay, so the first sound, this is in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
If you see this in the dictionary in terms of the pronunciation of the word, this is
an "e" sound.
So if you've ever had your picture taken and you had to say: "Cheese", this is the sound
you're making.
So here are some other spellings.
Okay? Sometimes when you see this, it is an "e" sound, sometimes if you have a "y" as in "happy",
it's an "e" sound.
We can spell the sound with two e's, "ie", like in "believe", sometimes it's just with
an "i", and sometimes it's with an "ey".
So this is why if you're looking in the dictionary sometimes the IPA can be helpful, because
all of these can be an "e" sound, but sometimes they're other sounds also, so that can get
a little bit confusing.
Okay, so let's look at some examples.
We have the word here: "meet", "eat", "believe", "ski", "tea".
So all of these, even though the vowel is spelt differently, they all have an "e" sound
to them.
So let's talk about how to make this "e" sound, and then we're going to do some practice.
Okay, so I want you to look at my lips.
When I make the "e" sound, are my lips more spread like this-"e"-or are they small and
in a circle like this?
"E", "e".
So which one does it look more like?
If you said this, you're correct. Okay?
To make the "e" sound, my mouth has to go very much...
It's almost like you're forcing your mouth open.
It's not really the most comfortable or relaxed feeling; your mouth is really stretched.
Okay, now, how big is my mouth when I say this?
Is it very...?
Is it small where you just see some teeth, or is it really big?
So watch my mouth: "e", "e".
Does it look more like this or like this?
It actually looks more like this.
Okay? So it's spread, and there's not too much of a hole here.
If you want, you can compare this to "ah".
You see, that would be more like this, "ah" versus "e". Okay?
So your mouth, not very much open.
You can probably see your...
Some teeth, but your mouth is still quite small.
Okay, now, is this sound...?
Is it a long sound or a short sound?
"E", "speech", "teach", "e".
It's actually quite a long sound.
So now let's do some words that have this sound in them.
And remember, focus on your mouth: Is it wide, is it small, and is it a long sound?
"Meet", "meet".
"Eat", "eat".
"Believe", "believe".
So in this word, this is where the "e" sound is.
"Ski", "ski".
In this case, "e" is represented by an "i".
"Tea", "tea".
Okay. Excellent.
So as you can see, it's really important to realize that in English sometimes the spelling
does not represent the sound, because here we have "e" with "ee", "ea", "ie", "i", and
"ea", and they all have the exact same pronunciation, even though they're spelt differently.
So if you're confused, look in the dictionary for this, and that can tell you if this...
This sound exists in it.
Okay, so now let's look at another very common sound that's a front vowel that many students
make mistakes with.
This sound in IPA, so in the International Phonetic Alphabet, if you look in your dictionary
to see how this word is pronounced, you'll see a symbol like this.
This sound is: "i", "i".
So compare: "i" to "e".
Okay? So quite different.
Usually we spell this with sometimes an "i", sometimes a "y", and sometimes "ui", so there's
multiple spellings to get to this vowel sound.
So some examples of it are in the words: "hit", "kick", "build", "it", "chicken".
And we'll practice those in a moment.
So I want you to think about: How do you make this "i" sound? Okay?
So look at my mouth when I make it.
I want you to think: Is my mouth very wide like "e", or is it very small?
"i", "i".
Which does it look like?
It looks more like this.
It's not very wide.
It's actually your mouth is kind of smaller.
You're not smiling when you make this sound.
How open is your mouth when you make this sound?
Is it really big, or is it small?
So watch my mouth.
"i", "i".
Okay, so which one?
Do you see a huge hole here or a small hole?
It's actually quite small. "i".
I'm not saying: "Aih".
No, no, no. "i", so it's a small...
So, this one.
Okay? So we have a very small mouth for this sound.
Okay, now is it long, like "e", or is it a short sound?
"i", "i".
It's actually a very short sound.
Okay? So this is the one we want, short.
Okay, so now pay attention to what your lips are doing and how big your mouth is, and I
want you to repeat these sounds after me and these words.
"i", okay, good.
Now say: "hit", "hit".
"Kick", "build", "it", "it",
"chick", "chick", "chicken", "chicken".
Okay, now, these two sounds students really confuse a lot.
A lot of the times students make an "e" sound when they see this.
Instead of saying: "hit", they'll actually say: "heat", which is a totally different sound.
So for these, any time you see "i" or a word with an "i" sound in it, you do not smile.
For "e" sounds, you make a big smile.
For "i" sounds, no smile. "i".
Okay, so we have three more front vowels to go, so let's look at those.
Okay, so, so far we've covered "e", which is like our smile sound and "i", which is
a bit... Your face is a little bit more serious.
So now the next front vowel we're going to cover is "a", "a".
Okay? So we've already done: "e", "i", "a".
Notice the difference in my mouth?
One way to really get good with vowels is to compare them to other vowels and see what
your mouth is doing for each of them.
So this is the symbol of "a".
Okay? So I know it's an "e", but in the International Phonetic Alphabet, if you're looking in the
dictionary for how to pronounce the word, this is the symbol you will see.
In English spelling, there are many different spellings of this sound.
We have: "ay", "eh" with "e-h", "ei" can also be "a",
"ai" can be "a", and "et" can be "a",
which is why you can't really trust spelling when it comes to pronunciation, because as
you can see, there's many ways to spell this sound.
So let's look at some examples.
We have the letter A. If you're doing A, B, C: "A".
"Pay", "eight", "play", "crazy".
Okay? So, these all have the same sound.
Okay, so now let's think about the shape of the mouth.
So, I want you to look at what my mouth is doing.
"A", "a".
Okay, is it very, like "oo" or is it more spread like that?
"A", "a".
So, in this case, the mouth is actually quite spread.
Okay? It's not small, it's actually a spread...
Spread sound.
Okay, now. compared to the other sounds we did, we did: "e", and we did "i",
"a" is actually a bigger mouth.
Okay? So you're letting more air in.
So compared to what we've already done, your mouth is actually a little bit bigger.
"A", "a".
Okay? The sound, also, long or short: "Play", "a", it's a longer sound.
Okay, now compare this to "ea", the next sound we're going to do.
"A", "ea", so my mouth actually kind of moves inward for this sound.
So we have multiple spellings with this one: "e", "ea", "a", "ai".
So, what are some words that have this sound in it?
"Yes", "get", "ready".
I know a lot of students want to say: "reety", but no, we say: "ready".
"Said", "met", "ea".
So, compare...
Just because it's really good to compare: "a", "ea", "a", "ea".
Okay? So you can feel the difference in what your mouth is doing for these sounds.
Okay, "ea", "ea".
So, my mouth with this, it's...
It's not really that spread.
"Mea", "ea".
It's not like "e" where you feel a huge spread, no.
"Ea", so it's more smaller in terms of the spread.
It's less wide.
In terms of how much air is coming in, "ea", "ea", it's quite open. Okay?
So you're going to notice that we've gone from "e", which your mouth is not open;
"ea", which your mouth is a lot more open.
Okay? So at the beginning of this video our mouths weren't open much.
With each...
Each time we moved down, we actually open our mouths more.
So now let's do some practice with this sound. "Yes", "yes".
"Get", "get", "ea", "get".
"Red", "ready".
And this actually is a good word because we have the "e" sound here, so this word you
can actually really compare the sounds.
"Ready", "said", "ea", "said".
"Met", "met".
Okay, great. Now, we have one more sound I'm going to teach you today which is also a front vowel, but
is a little bit different than the ones we've just learned.
Okay, so the last front vowel we're going to do today is this one, this is the IPA form,
and this is the "ah" sound.
So, what you've noticed maybe is a pattern.
"e", "i", "a", "ea", "ah".
So notice your mouth, for each of these front vowel sounds, the main difference is actually
your mouth is starting out small, and then it opens up, up, up, until you get to this
sound which is quite a big...
Your mouth is quite big in this.
So let's look at some examples of spelling.
Usually "ah" is spelt with just an "a", although there are some words where you might see "a"
and "i" together, or "a" and "u" together, for example: "laugh". Okay?
So this is, again, why sometimes with spelling you can't trust it for pronunciation.
Okay, so let's look at some examples of words that have this sound in it:
"cat", "back",
"laugh", "at", "mat".
Okay, so this is actually one of my favourite sounds because your mouth actually is huge for this.
So, if we look at if our mouth is very small or very spread.
"Ah", "ah".
It's more like this.
Right? Like, your mouth is very tense and big.
At the same time, our mouth is also very open.
"Ah", "ah". Okay?
So, this sound is the biggest sound.
All right.
So, now I want you to practice this sound with me.
"Cat", "cat",
"back", "back",
"laugh", "laugh",
"at", "at".
And you might feel a bit of uncomfor...
Like, it's not so comfortable-is it?-because your mouth is really doing a lot of work here.
Finally: "mat", "mat".
Okay, so, we've covered five different front vowels today.
These vowels are found in both North American English, along with British English.
So, whatever English you're learning, you will find these vowels in both of them or
in many different dialects of English.
Another thing I wanted to say is that it's very important to actually watch what you're
doing with your mouth when you're practicing, so I really recommend: Get a mirror and look
in the mirror at what your mouth is doing.
And do the sounds side by side, so start with maybe an "e", and then compare that to "ah".
Or: "e", "i", "a", "ea".
Okay? Watch what your mouth is doing in comparison.
A lot of students, they learn these sounds on their own, but it's actually better to
learn these sounds together because you can really start noticing some of the differences
in the different sounds.
So I want to do one more activity with you.
I have here five words:
"please", "kit", "black", "bet", and the singer "Drake".
So these have the sounds we've learned today.
I want you to think: Which ones have which sounds?
Okay, so let's look at the first word.
"Please", "please".
I have a smile at the end, "please",
so this has the "e" sound.
Now let's look at this one: "kit", "kit".
So it's a shorter sound.
Am I smiling when I make it?
So what sound do you think this is?
And if you look at my mouth, it's not really wide open.
It's pretty serious.
This is the "i" sound.
"i", "kit".
Okay, now let's look at this one: "black", "black".
Is my mouth really open? "Black".
Yeah, it does get... "Ah", "black".
It's quite big.
So which sound is our "ah" sound?
It's actually this one: "cat", "back", "black".
So, it's like an "a" and an "e" together.
Okay, now we have our next sound: "bet", "bet", "ea", "bet".
Okay, so this sound, "ea" is our "ea" sound.
"Bet", "met".
Finally, "a": "Drake".
"Drake", "a", "Drake".
What sound is the "a" sound, as in "Drake"?
Okay, if you said this symbol, "a", you're corright...
We say: "Drake", "ake".
So, these are great words to practice side by side.
You can say: "please", "kit", "black", "bet", "Drake", and see the different things your
lips are doing, what your mouth is doing, how open or closed your mouth.
These are all really helpful tips in order to help you with your pronunciation.
If you're interested in learning more pronunciation tips or also learning more vowels, you can
come check out our website at www.engvid.com, and there, you can also find resources on
other vowels, such as back vowels or center vowels, as well as different tips on how to
improve your pronunciation.
You can also, for practice, do our quiz on our website at engVid, and there, you can
actually practice more of this to make sure you're understanding what is happening and
you're, you know, using this in a practical way.
So, until next time,
take care and thanks for watching.


Sound more natural in English: Learn and practice 5 FRONT VOWELS

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HQQ 2016 年 12 月 12 日 に公開
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