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  • In this video, youre going to get my top 5 tips for perfect vowel sounds in American English.

  • Vowel sounds are critical to making your accent sound more like a native English speaker.

  • The tips here build on each other and, in just a few step-by-step minutes,

  • youll be sounding more smooth and natural in the way you speak American English.

  • Tip #1: know how the vowels compare to those in your own native language.

  • You might not be familiar with the phonetics of your own language, most people aren’t.

  • I wasn’t familiar with the phonetics of American English until I started teaching it.

  • I suggest you to go Wikipedia and look up all of the vowel and diphthong sounds like this.

  • I'll put a link to this page in the video description.

  • In the vowels section, you'll see all the vowels and diphthongs of American English

  • and many of these are clickable.

  • So when you click on a sound,

  • it will take you to the page for that sound and what you can do here is click on occurence.

  • This will take you down to a table where you'll see everytime the sound occurs in a language in the world.

  • So scroll, look for your own language and see if the vowel sound is also in your language

  • and if so, what is that keyword?

  • Do this for all the vowels and diphthong sounds in American English.

  • The vowels are IH as in Sit, EE as in She, UH as in Push,

  • OO as in Boo, the AY as in Say diphthong, the schwa, UH, the OH as in No diphthong, the EH as in Bed vowel,

  • the UR as in Bird vowel, the UH as in Butter vowel, the AW as in Law vowel, the AA as in Bat vowel,

  • the AH as in Father vowel, and the diphthongs AI as in Buy, OY as in Boy, and OW as in Now.

  • I also refer to the JU as in Few diphthong in my materials.

  • Do this for all the vowels and diphthongs and note the ones that are in your language, and the ones that aren’t.

  • This will change the way you study them.

  • For the sounds that are not in your language, learn exactly what the positions should be

  • in my Vowel and Diphthong playlist.

  • These videos go over each of the vowel sounds and diphthong sounds in American English.

  • There are illustrations, there is up close, slow motion footage.

  • They will definitely help you understand the positions so check them out if you haven’t already.

  • Click here, or find the link in the video description.

  • Tip #2: vowels vs. diphthongs.

  • What is a diphthong?

  • It’s a combination of two vowel sounds within the same syllable.

  • Because there are two different sounds, that means we have to have a movement.

  • For vowels, it’s one position: aaaaaaa.

  • Nothing moves.

  • But for diphthongs, something has to move.

  • AI, aiii-- the jaw goes from being more dropped to less dropped, ai.

  • It’s also important to note: some resources will call diphthongs a ‘long vowel

  • like the AI diphthong might be called thelong I’ vowel.

  • It’s the same thing.

  • Tip #3: beware of placement.

  • What is placement?

  • It’s one of the hardest things for me teach and for my students to get.

  • It has to do with where in the body the voice is resonating.

  • And placement greatly affects if you sound American or not.

  • I’m going to say the AH as in FATHER vowel with different placements.

  • I am sure you will notice that they sound different.

  • Ah, ah, ah.

  • One was really nasal.

  • American placement is really low, and I find that most students that I work with, aahh, place them too high.

  • ah, ah. ah, ah. ah, ah.

  • And that does change the way the vowel sounds even if the sounds are otherwise good.

  • So keep this in mind when youre working on tip #1.

  • Even sounds that you have in your own language might need adjusting,

  • you might need to find a lower placement for them. to truly sound American.

  • I’m still trying to find the best way to teach placement.

  • I’ve put together a playlist of some of the videos that I’ve made on this topic that I think will help you.

  • Click here, or in the video description.

  • Tip #4: Minimal pairs.

  • Lots of my students have word pairs that sound the same to them or that are confusing.

  • For example, bitch - beach, or bat - bet.

  • Hot - hut.

  • A minimal pair is a pair of words where only one sound is different.

  • In these cases, it was the vowel.

  • What do you do when they sound the same to you?

  • I’ve worked with lots of students on this.

  • I always tell them, don’t panic,

  • there is absolutely a way to master these sounds even though you can’t hear the difference.

  • They start off with listening practice.

  • Put no pressure on yourself other than listening.

  • Listen for a week.

  • Listen to what?

  • Well, I can’t recommend my Academy highly enough, because I’ve done all the work for you.

  • I’ve put together audio files of every minimal pair.

  • Each word is said with the same intonation: Bad, bed.

  • Make sure you don’t listen to audio where the intonation is different: bad, bed.

  • Then it’s not really a minimal pair anymore because the intonation is different too.

  • My students download these files and listen to them a couple of times a day for a week or so.

  • Then they start to hear the difference.

  • Here's a look inside the Academy and the kinds of audio that you could work with here.

  • This soundboard compares AH as in Father or AW as in Law with the UH as in Butter sound.

  • Bunk, bunk.

  • As you listen to audio like this over and over, you will start to hear the difference.

  • Pop, pop.

  • Student are also able to download longer audio files of all of the minimal pairs together

  • to listen to at times when you're on the go like commuting.

  • Isn’t that amazing?

  • They couldn’t hear the difference, and then they start to just by repetitious listening, just by exposure.

  • When they do this they get to know the sounds so well that they end up sounding native.

  • They learned from native audio.

  • After you hear the difference in the minimal pairs, you repeat out loud.

  • You do this over and over to break your habits,

  • and you come out on the other side of all of this work sounding fabulous and avoiding misunderstandings.

  • Working with minimal pairs is a key to clarifying your American English vowel and diphthong sounds

  • to sound natural.

  • And tip #5: the color vowel chart.

  • What is that?

  • I didn’t make it up, it was created by other teachers,

  • and they have come up with a color and a noun for each vowel or diphthong.

  • When you learn words, you think about what vowel or diphthong sound is in the stressed syllable,

  • and you categorize it that way in your mind.

  • Maybe you even visualize the color.

  • Why not?

  • Bring in another part of the brain.

  • Every time you learn a new word you can learn the pronunciation and assign it a color.

  • This will help it stick in your head.

  • I’ll put a link to some color vowel chart resources in the video description.

  • If you work with these tips you truly will improve your ability

  • to say the vowel and diphthong sounds of American English naturally.

  • And that will help you speak with confidence.

  • Again, be sure to check out my playlist that goes over the details of how to pronounce

  • each vowel and diphthong sound in American English.

  • You can do this.

  • Please let me know in the Comments which of these 5 tips was most important for you.

  • What did you learn?

  • How will you make the changes that you need to make?

  • Writing to me in the Comments helps me understand your process

  • and helps me continue to improve as a teacher!

  • Thanks in advance for leaving me a note.

  • That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

In this video, youre going to get my top 5 tips for perfect vowel sounds in American English.

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B1 vowel diphthong sound american english minimal placement

English | Learn English Vowels | 5 Tips for English Speaking | Learn English | Rachel’s English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/09
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