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Speech Sounds - Pure Vowels

  • Vowel sounds are those sounds which are made with free flowing air through the mouth without any blocking by either the tongue or ribs.
  • Pure vowels are divided into two. Short and Long vowels.
  • These pure vowels are further classifies based on single unit vowel, double unit vowel, and triple unit vowel known as Monophthong, Diphthong, Triphthong.
  • /i:/: This sound is long, the air passes out freely out of the mouth. The lips spread for some words, but are oval for others. For example: unique, peel, receive, filled, dim, teach, need, whip, sleep, peep, tree, piece, deed, etc.
  • /i/: This sound is shorter and air passes out freely out of the mouth. The lips are spread for some words but oval in some others. For example: sit, hit, ill, if, pun, ink, rib, ladies, market, sin, thin, it, etc.
  • /e/: This sound is shorter and as in all vowel sounds, the air passes out through the mouth only. The sound is voiced. The front part of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard pallet, and the tongue tip touches the lower front teeth. For example: get, seat, friend, shade, word, letter, dead, kettle, met, any, well, west, health, breath, fell, sense, chest, etc.
  • /æ/: It is a short sound and the tip of the tongue is touching the lower front teeth. The air, as well, passes through the mouth only and the sound is voiced. For example: fat, hat, cap, sad, lack, sand, ban, man, pack, gas, tag, lad, taxi, bat, ankle, etc.
  • /ǝ/: This sound is longer than /æ/. Air passes freely and the tongue doesn’t rise and it is in a low position. The back of the tongue is used in forming the sound. The sound is voiced as in: alms, car, far, rapper, barber, brass, pass, cars, part, hard, bath, park, clerk, harm, farm, laugh, charge, etc.
  • /ɔ/: The sound iis short and the back of the tongue is raised towards the hard pallet. The lips are rounded as in: door, long, poorest, morning, accord, before, talking, etc.
  • /ɔ:/: This is longer than /ɔ/. The back of the tongue is raised towards the soft pallet and the lips are rounded. Air passes out freely from the mouth. For example: soft, lost, across, along, cloth, dog, gone, long, off, offer, office, etc.
  • /Ʊ/: The sound is short. The back of the tongue is raised in the direction of the soft pallet. The lips are rounded but the pronunciation is a bit relaxed. For example: hook shook, put, root, booklet, stood, wood, could, should, would, wool, pupil, fulfill, etc.
  • /ǝ:/: The sound is long and voiced. The center of the tongue is raised. For example: turn, burn, urge, church, her, journey, dirty, verse, heard, stir, learn, work, nurse, worse, early, etc.
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