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  • Hi, did you know, there's a little known secret about the vowel sound, æ.

  • It's responsible for so many students having bad pronunciation.

  • Get it right, and you can improve your pronunciation overnight.

  • And the good news is, there's an easy way to remember it.

  • So you don't have to learn individual words, want to know more, come with me.

  • Okay.

  • Still with me.

  • So you want to know the secret?

  • Well, listen carefully.

  • The short vowel sound æ, can actually be as long as the vowel soundWhat?

  • Oh, yeah.

  • That's what I said, but never fear, because it's so easy once you know, how.

  • Now, first of all, the traditional sound of æ, is short like this.

  • æ, æ, as in the cat sat on the mat, but this sound is often

  • given special length, but why?

  • When?

  • Don't panic, you all know what a voiced consonant is

  • don't, you?

  • No?, Okay.

  • So here's a few of them, /b,d,dʒ,g,v,ð,z,ʒ/.

  • Yes?

  • Ok.

  • Well, the æ sound often has special length before a voiced consonant.

  • Listen to this.

  • When æ is before an unvoiced consonant, like in the word map.

  • It's a short sound, right?

  • But now listen to this, when it's before a voiced consonant, like in the

  • word, man, man, there's a difference.

  • Can you hear it?

  • Listen to this map, man, map, man, I have a bad back.

  • Did you hear it again?

  • Bad longer æ before voiced consonant /d/ and back, short æ

  • before unvoiced consonant /k/.

  • Why?

  • Well, you need less air to produce voiced consonants than unvoiced consonants.

  • I'll say that again, you need less air to produce voiced consonants

  • than unvoiced consonants.

  • So more breath is needed for an unvoiced consonant, like /k/ compared with voiced

  • consonant, /d/, this means after producing the æ sound before an unvoiced consonant,

  • the mouth and tongue quickly get ready to block and produce a burst of air

  • to pronounce the unvoiced consonant.

  • In doing this, the æ sound is short.

  • You try it, bad back, bad back.

  • Now, let's compare the length of æ, with a traditional long vowel

  • /iː/ before a voiced consonant.

  • Now, I want you to see if you can hear if there's any difference.

  • man, mean, mad, mead, bad, bead, can, keen, have, heave.

  • Not much difference in length is there, but stay with me because now we're going

  • to practice long and short æ sounds before voiced and unvoiced consonants.

  • Watch, listen and repeat.

  • sad, sat,

  • fan, fat, ham, hat, spam, spat, crab, crack, man, map.

  • How was that?

  • Pretty amazing.

  • Isn't it.

  • Now tell me in the comments below, if you already knew about this.

  • But the point is that, æ, can often be as long as a long vowel sound such as / iː/

  • especially before a voiced consonant.

  • It's probably a good idea to say a few sentences of your own, just to

  • notice if you're getting it right.

  • You may find that your æ sounds are a bit too short in some words, but

  • remember, don't get too hung up on this, as long as you can be understood.

  • It's absolutely fine.

  • Try this little rhyme to notice the difference in the

  • short and long vowel sounds.

  • Sam sat on his ham and jam sandwich, feeling sad.

  • He went back to his flat for a snack and to see his pet rat, Stan,

  • only to find his pet rat Stan, in the jaws of his black cat, Dan.

  • Sam shouted at his bad black cat Dan, to drop his pet rat Stan, but his

  • black cat, Dan just couldn't understand and swallowed Sam's pet rat, Stan.

  • Sam's black cat, Dan licked his lips and ran.

  • Hope you enjoyed that .For more practice with other vowel sounds ,go here.

  • Until next time, love and peace.

Hi, did you know, there's a little known secret about the vowel sound, æ.

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B1 UK consonant voiced unvoiced vowel sound vowel sound

Improve Your Pronunciation with /æ/ - British English Accent

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    ajey posted on 2022/09/25
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