How to pronounce the most challenging sounds in English


Suppose I told you that an extremely useful tool could help you achieve your maximum fluency in English! What I'm talking about is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). I'm going to show you how you can Master any English sound with it.

In English, the pronunciation of words is very different from their spelling. The number of sounds (44) in English is much greater than the number of letters (26). The same letter can mean different sounds, and the same sound can be expressed by various letters and letter combinations. Therefore, English learners need to understand the rules of reading and phonetic transcription.

Concept of phonetic transcription

Phonetic transcription is a system of traditional graphic designations of sounds in which a certain sign corresponds to each sound. With phonetic transcription, you can also show the length of the sound and the location of the stress.

In dictionaries, transcription is given with the word's orthographic designation and enclosed in square brackets. For example: city['city] - city.

In addition to signs denoting sounds, there are also signs indicating the longitude of sound and the location of word stress.

The [:] symbol after the vowel indicates the longitude of the sound. For example: tree [tri:] - tree.

The ['] sign is the place of stress before the stressed syllable, e.g., mother ['mʌðər] - mother.

The [,] sign indicates secondary stress in multi-syllable words, e.g., pronunciation - prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən

A word has as many syllables as there are non-vocal sounds. In this case, the combination of vowels forms one syllable. Therefore, by the number of syllables, words are subdivided into:

a) monosyllabic: mine, tie, see, etc.

b) two-syllable: ci-t, ma-ni, pay-ter, etc.

c) multi-syllables: ja-nua-re, re-pub-lic, beau-ti-ful, etc.

A vowel sound can form a syllable: I [ai], o-cean. Likewise, consonants l and r can be syllables: if they stand behind a consonant, they form a separate syllable followed by a dumb "e": table, little.

If there is a consonant letter between the vowels, it refers to the following syllable; If there are two or more consonants, the first of them goes to the previous syllable, and the rest goes to the next one, for example, pay-rants, co-ver, de-si-sian, pen-ter, yes -per-day.

Why is the English in my mind different from what I speak?

We have a picture in our mind of how we should speak "perfect." As long as we are silent, uttering phrases or singing songs in English - it feels great.

But as soon as you open your mouth, you wonder - is it me? Then, we hear the difference and realize that we are not doing well as the same artist of the song. And so, we often keep quiet, shy, and don't know how to relax, open our mouths and start speaking in English.

Today I'm presenting a series of simple exercises that will help you talk and sound close enough to the basics.

th sound ([ð], [ɵ])

To train the sweet sound [ð], picture a bumblebee. How to do this? Clasp your tongue between your teeth and buzz like a bumblebee. Initially, some spasticity (clamping) in the muscles of the cheekbones is possible. And your task is to relax and sound like a bumblebee while playing.

And then, starting with the discussion, read the following words: this, that, they / and now the words are more complex: leather though (though) another (other)

neither (neither one nor the other)

At the same time, when you pronounce the TH sound, you show the tip of the tongue (the tongue "looks out" from behind the teeth).

In school, we were told that this sound is similar to "se" or "zee." But it's far from the original! Therefore, if it is difficult for you to portray a bumblebee, it is better to pronounce a short sound, "d," - it is very similar to the original sound. And then your pronunciation will be accompanied by a Jamaican accent.

Also, there is a monotonous sound when you do the same bumblebee exercise [ɵ], but the voice is not involved.

For example, in words like: thank you, bath path, something, nothing month, thin, or thousand.

sound r [r]

This sound, like no other, clearly gives the pronunciation of a Russian-speaking person. In the pronunciation of this sound, the language does not participate! In pronunciation, this sound is closer to our A than to the R.

An excellent way to stick out the tongue is to press the tip of the tongue to the lower jaw and try to pronounce a word with the r [r] sound, for example, bread. And you will hear how the language itself pronounces the desired sound!

The second option:

  • Roll your tongue into the shape of a cup.

  • Hold it in your mouth like this.

  • Say the word: bread.

In this way, the tongue does not touch the sky! Instead, it seems to "hide" in the mouth. e.g., more bread for your car is near

sound v and w [v], [w]

If you try to picture an ambulance siren (woooooooooooo), you might get the sound W [w]. They. This sound is more reminiscent of our WV [v] - similar to our V.visitlivewe


Now - a tongue twister! Why do you cry, Willie? (Why are you crying, Willie?) Why are you crying? (Why are you crying?) Why, Willie? Why, Willie? (Why Willie? Why Willie?)

Why, Willie? Why? (Why Willie? Why?)

sound h [h]

To pronounce this sound correctly, it is necessary to exhale. Then it would be practically inaudible, e.g., How are you?

Combination knee

In this combination, the sound k is not pronounced knife - naɪf, knee - ni.

Use these simple tips to get English not only in your mind but in the language as well!


Use these simple tips to get English not only in your mind but in the language as well!

If you're curious to learn much more about the English pronunciation world, I recommend you follow us on the Instagram page and YouTube page. There will find some very great exercises and tips that will for sure improve your English once and for all.

Additionally, if you are interested, we are launching a course designed with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence so it can help you speak English fluently.