The Basics of English Pronunciation
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We'll start with a quick intro about the main topics and then touch upon some advanced topics. If you're already familiar, feel free to skip ahead.
The 44 sounds in English with examples
"Phon-emes" are the smallest units of speech sound that can convey a unique meaning, they consist of consonants, long and short vowels, digraphs and other sounds. Each language has its own unique set.
The 20 vowels sounds in English with examples
English has fifteen vowel sounds represented by the letters a, e, i, o, and u. The letters y, w, and gh are also commonly used in vowel sound-spellings. Vowel sounds are produced with a relatively open vocal tract.
The 24 consonant sounds in English with examples
English has 24 consonant sounds. Some consonants have voice from the voicebox and some don’t. These consonants are voiced and voiceless pairs /p/ /b/, /t/ /d/, /k/ /g/, /f/ /v/, /s/ /z/, /θ/ /ð/, /ʃ/ /ʒ/, /ʈʃ/ /dʒ/. These consonants are voiced /h/, /w/, /n/, /m/, /r/, /j/, /ŋ/, /l/.
The english stress and intonation patterns
All words of more than one syllable have what is called word stress. This means that at least one of the syllables is l-o-n-g-e-r and louder than the other syllables.
Types of stress and Intonation in Speaking english
Intonation and stress are closely linked. In fact it's impossible to dissociate them. They go hand in hand. Intonation is about how we say things, rather than what we say, the way the voice rises and falls when speaking, in other words the music of the language.
Rhythm in English with examples
Believe it or not, languages have different rhythmic patterns, and these patterns help listeners understand the message that is being communicated. Most languages in the world, such as Cantonese, French, Korean, and Spanish, are syllable-timed languages.
Stress is an important feature of spoken English. Clear, accurate pronunciation of all English words relies on correct articulation and placement of stress.
Imagine a band playing a song. The drummer sets the beat or the rhythm and speed of the song. If the drummer is not a very good one, you’ll end up with a mess, even if the rest of the band members are excellent.
Stress and word meaning
Word stress is your magic key to understanding spoken English. Native speakers of English use word stress naturally. Word stress is so natural for them that they don't even know they use it.
Common contractions and their pronunciation
By now, you may recognize the importance of stressing the strong syllables in content words, but you may be wondering how the function words are left unstressed. The easiest way to do this is by “reducing” the effort in pronouncing function words.
Features of Connected Speech
Teaching pronunciation used to involve little more than identifying and practising the sounds of which a language is composed, that is to say, its phonemes
What are homophones?
A homophone is a word that has the same pronunciation as another word but has different spelling and meaning. For example, ‘one’ and ‘won’ are pronounced the same (/wʌn/ in the IPA) but the have different spelling and different meanings.
What Are Minimal Pairs?
Minimal pairs are two words that are pronounced almost in the same way, but they have one sound that makes them different. The sound can be a vowel or a consonant.
English Pronunciation Glossary
Need help finding the meaning of the english phonetics e pronunciation buzzwords? Our glossary is here to help.