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I have developed a web app which trancripts English words into their literal phonetic form in Spanish, so you can read it with Spanish phonetics and it will sound like the English pronunciation should. As not all English sounds are available in Spanish I include descriptions for some of the phonemes. There are two of them which I'm not getting a fully clear description, "ʌ" and "dʒ":

"ʌ": Like Spanish "a" but pronounced from the bottom of the mouth

"dʒ": Sound between "ch" and Spanish "ll" (which is the same as "j" in English)

Would like to read some suggestions on how to describe their sounds without referencing non Spanish sounds.

  • It seems like the "dʒ" sound is the sound (stereo)-typical Spanish speakers use when pronouncing the English word "you" which we then hear as "Jew". So there must be a Spanish parallel. – Jim Jul 12 '15 at 18:39
  • Welcome to ELL! You might want to wait a day or two before you select an answer, btw. You might get a much better one! People probably won't write you another answer, or read your post, if you've already chosen your "best" answer :-) Have fun, and I hope you get some more helpful info :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jul 12 '15 at 19:52
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    @Araucaria You're right, in fact I like more ghopppe's answer for /ʌ/ pronunciation, being yours still helpful too. Thank you! – jmartinfe Jul 12 '15 at 22:59
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You can describe how to pronounce /ʌ/ by “sliding” a Spanish “a” sound into “o”. Note that the position of the “o” sound is at the front of the mouth, and the position of the “a” sound is at the back of the mouth. Also note the lips are more closed for the “o”. Try and position the /ʌ/ sound in your mouth midway between these two sounds, and likewise try and make your mouth opening midway between the Spanish “a” and “o”.

Like Araucaria said, you can describe /dʒ/ by saying you voice the spanish “ch” sound the same way “z” is a voiced “s” sound.

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The vowel issue is too delicate to be able to be described with reference to Spanish vowels it seems to me. But if I was going to try I'd probably describe it as a more open schwa sound. In other words as a schwa but with the jaw lower. But, my feeling is that this is a lost cause.

However, /dʒ/ is much more simple. It is basically a "ch" sound, /tʃ/, but made with vocal fold vibration. It is a "ch" with voicing. Another was to put that is: /dʒ/ is to /tʃ/ what /z/ is to /s/.

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