When an ESL student has a hard time being understood in English, it is often the vowels that cause the biggest problems. Relying on English spelling will cause problems because of all the exceptions to our spelling rules.
"mother" has the sound UH like in mud, not O, and it sounds like "muther"
"minute" (60 seconds) has its 2nd vowel reduced to an UH sound or short I sound, not a U sound, and it sounds like "minut" or "minit"
"feel" has a long e that is influenced by the final L; it is stretched out into 2 syllables and a linking Y sound is added in between, and it sounds like "fee yul"
Follow this guide to learn the exceptions and the special rules for pronouncing American English vowels. Practice words and sentences are included for each lesson. Print one page, or all, for your ESL study. Topics include:
English Vowels Overview
Jaw Placement for Vowels
Ee vs. I
Short I Words & Sentences
Ah vs. uh
“too” vs. “took”
Different ways to pronounce O
Stretched-out Vowels (Diphthongs)
L- and R-Controlled Vowels
Long vowels + L
Long Vowels + R
Confusing ER & OR Words
Reductions of Vowels
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