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  • Hello there!

  • This is the "Sounds American" channel.

  • In this video we're going to talk about the American r-colored vowel /ɝ/,

  • as in the word "first".

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • "girl,"

  • "her,"

  • "learn,"

  • or "word".

  • We'll be using a special phonetic symbol - /ɝ/ - for this sound.

  • American English is known for its r-colored vowels.

  • You can't speak like an American

  • if you don't know how to pronounce them correctly.

  • So,

  • what exactly are the r-colored vowels?

  • Let's take these two words: [fist] [first].

  • Their spellings differ by only one letter:

  • the letter 'r'.

  • However,

  • there's a dramatic difference as to how they're pronounced.

  • Listen: /fɪst/ - /fɝst/.

  • Did you notice that the vowel sounds are different?

  • The vowel you hear in the word "fist"

  • is the /ɪ/ sound

  • and the vowel in the word "first"

  • is the /ɝ/ sound.

  • Let's take a closer look at how the word "first" is spelled.

  • See how the consonant 'r' comes after the letter 'i'?

  • In American English

  • when the 'r' follows a vowel in the same syllable,

  • it forms a new sound,

  • called an r-colored vowel.

  • In the word "first,"

  • this r-colored vowel is pronounced as /ɝ/.

  • Note, that the /ɝ/ is not a variation of the /ɪ/ vowel or the /r/ consonant.

  • It's a distinct sound of American English.

  • Check out a few more pairs of words.

  • Did you notice what these words have in common?

  • Despite being spelled with different vowel letters,

  • these words have the same r-colored vowel sound: /ɝ/.

  • Also, note, that the /ɝ/ is used in stressed syllables ONLY.

  • What happens in "weak" syllables, like in the word "teacher"?

  • The /ɝ/ has a "weak" counterpart, the r-colored vowel /ɚ/,

  • but we'll talk about this sound in our next video.

  • And now let's focus on how to make the /ɝ/ sound.

  • OK.

  • Pronunciation of the r-colored vowel /ɝ/ is very similar to the /r/ consonant.

  • To make the /ɝ/ sound,

  • open your mouth a little and leave your lips neutral

  • or round them slightly.

  • The /ɝ/ is a tense vowel sound,

  • so your tongue,

  • mouth

  • and throat should be tense, when you pronounce it.

  • Raise the front of your tongue toward the alveolar ridge

  • behind your upper front teeth,

  • but don't touch it.

  • Curl back the tip of your tongue

  • Now slightly lower the center of your tongue

  • and raise its back.

  • Note that your tongue should be very tense.

  • Remember,

  • the tip of your tongue should be curled back

  • and it should never touch the alveolar ridge

  • behind your upper front teeth.

  • Now,

  • let's try saying it:

  • /ɝ/

  • /ɝ/

  • /ɝ/

  • Now, let's practice the /ɝ/ sound in some words.

  • You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation.

  • Like this:

  • You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word.

  • Repeat each word after the speaker

  • and try to copy the pronunciation as best as you can.

  • Let's begin!

  • Let's pause for a second and check on how you are making the /ɝ/ sound.

  • The tip of your tongue should be curled back

  • and raised toward the alveolar ridge

  • behind your upper front teeth.

  • Your tongue and your throat should be tense.

  • Let's continue practicing.

  • You're done!

  • Congratulations!

  • Let's summarize what we've covered in this video:

  • In American English,

  • any time in any word,

  • when you see a vowel followed by the letter 'r' in the same syllable,

  • you have an r-colored vowel sound.

  • The r-colored vowel sound /ɝ/,

  • as in the word "first"

  • or "circle"

  • occurs only in stressed syllables.

  • The /ɝ/ has a weak version,

  • the r-colored vowel /ɚ/,

  • as in the word "teacher"

  • or "color"

  • that is used in unstressed syllables.

  • By the way,

  • did you know that the tense /ɝ/ and the weak /ɚ/

  • are the only r-colored monophthongs?

  • This means, that the /ɝ/ and the /ɚ/ are single distinct sounds.

  • All the other r-colored vowels are diphthongs and there's even a triphthong.

  • Take a look:

  • /ɪr/ as in "clear"

  • /ɛr/ as in "care"

  • /ɑr/ as in "card"

  • /ɔr/ as in "corn"

  • and /aɪr/ as in "fire."

  • Awesome, isn't it?

  • We'll talk about these sounds in our next videos!

  • Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!

  • Don't forget to subscribe!

Hello there!

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B1 US vowel colored sound tongue american vowel sound

R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɝ / as in "first"- American English Pronunciation

  • 45 13
    pipus posted on 2017/03/16
Video vocabulary