Questions tagged [vowels]

This tag is for questions about the pronunciation and orthographic representation of vowels.

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1answer
22 views

Confusion in placing Articles a and an before nouns

When I was a kid I was taught that Article An should be placed before nouns starting with a Vowel letter, but now i got to know that it's actually the sound of vowel we should focus not the letter. ...
3
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1answer
104 views

How to differentiate the pronunciation of it, eat, eight and ate?

I'm trying to refine my spoken English from scratch, and one of the biggest issue for me are the pairs of vowels: tense /i/ and lax /I/. I really can't tell the difference between them. I know that /i/...
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1answer
59 views

Pronunciation in British v. American English

Why are words like privacy pronounced like ˈprɪv.ə.si in British and ˈpraɪ.və.si in American (short vowel in the first case, long in the latter one)? I read that determining whether a vowel is short ...
2
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2answers
639 views

Example Sentence for learning 'short' vowel sounds

As a teaching tool, I'm looking for a sentence that contains the 5 short vowel sounds (cat, get, sit, got, mud). The sentence should be as short as possible, contain words that are as phonetically ...
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1answer
608 views

Letter “i” and its sounds [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and I have a question. Why is the sound of the letter i different in the words dinner and diamond? What is the criteria for the change?
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2answers
107 views

Is letter Y in “Guyana” a vowel or a consonant?

Despite not being perfect, I do have some basic knowledge about consonants and vowels. From textbooks and internet, I know that, for example, C, Q and X are always consonants; A, E, I, O, U are always ...
2
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1answer
423 views

'an' or 'a' before the word 'user'? [duplicate]

We learn in English grammar class to use 'a' before words starting with consonants and 'an' before words starting with vowels. Since for the word 'user' which starts with a vowel, are we supposed to ...
2
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1answer
162 views

Does the lip shape change when pronouncing schwa for some syllables?

For instance in the word literature /ˈlɪtərəʧər/, does the lip shape change for each syllable with schwa, so they become more as if we were pronouncing /e/, /æ/ and /u/ respectively, or some other ...
2
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4answers
755 views

Counting syllables in English words

How many syllables are there in the words "castle" and "seven"? I realize that my question looks silly, but I can't understand why the words with the mute E, like "castle", have 2 syllables as this ...
2
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0answers
157 views

Where to find X-ray videos of the vocal track for all the English vowels? [closed]

I've found this web page that makes a convincing case for teaching/studying the cardinal vowel quadrilateral in language learning. Apparently it is taught to improve the accent to actors, and in some ...
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1answer
112 views

How to make clear in the speech that a short English vowel is stressed?

I'll try now to explain. Let us take the word Berlin (name of the capital of Germany). It is pronounced [bɜːˈlɪn] or [bɝːˈlɪn] (I followed this link). In any of two cases, the first vowel is long but ...
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2answers
221 views

Is there at least a single English word which starts with the [ʊ] sound?

[ʊ] is a short vowel sound, as in good or wolf or bush. Is there at least one word which starts with it in English?
17
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3answers
6k views

Why do we pronounce “the university” as “thuh university” rather than “thee university”?

English Club says that usually, we pronounce "the" as "thuh", but when it happens to be in front of a vowel sound, then we pronounce it as "thee". Why is "the university" pronounced as "thuh" ...
0
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1answer
5k views

Using “an eight” wrong or right? [closed]

Vowels must start with 'a' so how we can say with eight 'an eight'? Even eight is plural. For example, set of eight elements or objects?
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2answers
174 views

Pronouncing double “o” in Foot vs. Cooperation

Why are the two words "foot" and "cooperation" so different in pronunciation?
3
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2answers
335 views

Does “shore” require the “r” sound in the pronunciation (UK pronunciation)?

In the Cambridge Dictionary I see the pronunciation of the word shore is represented by /ʃɔːr/. In the WordReference dictionary it is instead pronounced as /ʃɔː/. The "r" sound is silent in the last ...
1
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1answer
41k views

Use of “an” for a word not starting with a vowel [duplicate]

I've encountered this quite a few times now. I'm aware that usually words, starting with a vowel require an "an", words not starting with a vowel are preceded by an "a". Sometimes words start with a ...
0
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1answer
62 views

Pronunciation for the words which contain the letter “i”

I am very interested to find out a rule which can help me to pronounce correctly the words which contain the letter "i". For example: nine vs. injury vs. provide... These are some examples which put ...
1
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1answer
144 views

How can I learn the English sounds that don't exist in my mother tongue?

How can I learn the English sounds that don't exist in my mother tongue? I have troubles with distingushing between the long and short sounds, but also it's very hard for me to get the difference ...
4
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1answer
172 views

A problem with short i

I can't repeat short i when I'm hearing it (I currently use long e instead of short i). How do I learn that or may that be impossible for me?
8
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5answers
9k views

Why do we say 'The earth' and not 'An earth'?

As I understand, noun which is singular and start with vowels, we put an article "an" in front of it. ( e.g an eye, an ear ) But why it is not "an earth" and why "the earth"?
2
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1answer
922 views

a / an - adjective - noun

The article a becomes to an when the following noun starts with a vowel. Not a adventure but an adventure. But how is it, when there's an adjective before the noun? Not a thrilling adventure or ...
2
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4answers
280 views

How to identify the sound of an “A” without altering the spelling of the word?

I have the word "Carr" (short for the name Carrie). Is there a way to write the 'a' so that a person reading the word 'Carr' would pronounce it like care ('kær), opposed to pronouncing it like car (...
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3answers
1k views

How to pronounce “people”

I asked my English teacher about pronunciation of words like table, available, apple or people. He told me they end with a short A. But when I listen to native English speakers, I hear "pee-pole", ...
17
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4answers
14k views

How to pronounce the 'schwa' sound

I have seen lately many questions related to the pronunciation of the schwa (ə) sound. Today, I again found this question, What exactly is the "schwa" sound?, at EL&U, so I wanted to ask how the '...
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1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of “snake” and “snack” [closed]

It's sometimes hard to distinguish between these two words while speaking. What is the correct pronunciation of these two words?
3
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1answer
2k views

How many consonant and vowel combination types are there in English? [closed]

I'm an ESL learner and I'm not so good at English yet. I want to find official documents, links, guides, etc. which contain rules about consonants and vowels blending together. Which rules decide ...
6
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1answer
206 views

/kɑlm/ vs /kɑːm/

. . . calm . . .calm . . . [audio source] • (UK) IPA: /kɑːm/, X-SAMPA: /kA:m/ • (US) IPA: /kɑm/, /kɑlm/, X-SAMPA: /kAhm/, /kAlm/ [wiktionary.org] The first calm seems to be [kɑlm], and the ...
2
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3answers
1k views

When to pronounce 'e'?

Many words have the silent 'e' on the end. How can I tell whether I should pronounce the 'e' or not? Is there a rule for this?
9
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1answer
3k views

How to correctly pronounce “pan” and “pen” differently?

As a Portuguese speaker, I would pronounce both pan and pen the same. In what can I base my pronunciation so I don't mistakenly pronounce these words the same again?
32
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3answers
5k views

Pronunciation of “beaches” and “bitches”

For me it is often hard to distinguish between these two words while speaking. The t in the bitch is almost neglectable in speech. What is the correct pronunciation of these two words?