- "er" - her, certain
- "ear" - learn, heard
- "ur" - burn, surface
- "ir" - bird, dirty
- "or" - word, worthy
These are both central, lax vowels. However, /ɜr/ is a high vowel and /ʌ/ is a mid vowel. The vowel /ɜr/ sounds like a blend of /ʌ/ and /r/.
2. A. search, B. such
3. A. bird, B. bud
4. A. fern, B. fun
5. A. murder, B. mutter
6. A. sermon, B. summon
Now compare /ɜr/ with /ɑ/:
These are both central vowels. However, /ɜr/ is a high vowel and /ɑ/ is a low vowel. When you pronounce /ɜr/, the sides of your tongue should lightly touch your upper teeth.
You can hear the difference between /ɜr/ and /ɑ/ in these words.
2. A. hurt, B. hot
3. A. clerk, B. clock
4. A. surfed, B. soft
5. A. earner, B. honor
6. A. gurgle, B. goggle
Now, practice /ɜr/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
You need to return before your curfew.
2. certain - weren't - burned
Are you certain you weren't burned?
3. heard - learned - surf
I heard that you learned to surf.
4. first - serve - dessert
First we'll eat dinner, and then I'll serve dessert.
5. early - work - personal
I got up early to work on a personal project.
6. further - merge
Drive a little further, then merge into the next lane.
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