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  • Hello there!

  • This is the "Sounds American" channel.

  • There are 12 distinct vowel sounds in American English.

  • If you want to speak like an American,

  • youll need to learn to pronounce them correctly.

  • And that could be a challenge.

  • There's good news, though!

  • There’s an easy way to remember how all these vowels are pronounced.

  • Each vowel sound is made with your tongue moving to a certain place in your mouth.

  • Once you know the position of your tongue for each vowel,

  • you can more easily organize and understand how to make them.

  • Take a look.

  • The vowels in the upper row

  • are pronounced with your tongue raised very high in your mouth.

  • The vowels in the lower row

  • are pronounced with your tongue placed very low.

  • Ok.

  • as you may have already guessed,

  • the vowels in the most right column are made with your tongue pulled back.

  • And finally

  • the vowel sounds in the most left column are pronounced with your tongue pushed forward.

  • For example:

  • The vowel sound /i/,

  • as in the wordbe,”

  • is pronounced with your tongue pushed forward

  • and raised very high in your mouth.

  • So its card is in the upper left corner.

  • Here’s another vowel,

  • the vowel sound /ɔ/,

  • as in the wordon.”

  • This sound is pronounced with the tongue pulled back

  • and placed very low in your mouth.

  • So its card is in the lower right corner.

  • OK

  • if youre watching this video on a computer,

  • click on a card to find out more about each vowel.

  • Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on mobile devices.

  • But we have a work-around.

  • You can use the Navigation links in the Description below.

  • Have fun!

  • This is the American vowel sound /i/,

  • as in the wordbe.”

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • each,”

  • see,”

  • key

  • orski.”

  • Now listen to this sound in a crazy phrase:

  • Let’s find out how to make the /i/ sound.

  • OK.

  • To make the /i/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your lips, tongue, and jaw.

  • Open your mouth a little,

  • stretch your lips as wide as you can,

  • and make them tense.

  • Raise your tongue very high and push it to the front of your mouth.

  • The tip of your tongue should be lowered just behind your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /i/ is a tense sound,

  • so your lips and tongue should be tense.

  • Your tongue should be at the front of your mouth.

  • Let's try saying it:

  • /i/

  • /i/

  • /i/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ɪ/,

  • as in the wordit.”

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • big,”

  • gym,”

  • English,”

  • orimage.”

  • Can you handle a sentence?

  • Let’s find out how to make the /ɪ/ sound.

  • OK

  • To pronounce the /ɪ/ sound,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your tongue.

  • Slightly open your mouth,

  • spread your lips and relax them.

  • Raise your tongue high in your mouth

  • and push it to the front.

  • The tip of your tongue can be lowered just behind your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /ɪ/ is a relaxed sound,

  • so your tongue and lips should be relaxed.

  • And your tongue should be at the front of your mouth.

  • Now, let's try saying it:

  • /ɪ/

  • /ɪ/

  • /ɪ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /eɪ/,

  • as in the word "make."

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • take,”

  • day,”

  • wait

  • oreight.”

  • What if we put together a few words with this sound in a phrase?

  • Here you go:

  • Keep watching to find out how to make the /eɪ/ sound correctly.

  • OK

  • To pronounce the /eɪ/ vowel,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your lips and tongue.

  • Partially open your mouth,

  • spread your lips wide and make them tense.

  • Raise the middle of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and push it to the front.

  • The tip of your tongue should be down,

  • just behind your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /eɪ/ is a tense sound,

  • so your lips and tongue should be very tense.

  • Your jaw should be partially lowered.

  • Now, let's pronounce this sound:

  • /eɪ/

  • /eɪ/

  • /eɪ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ɛ/,

  • as in the word "bed."

  • Your can also hear this sound

  • in words like

  • get,

  • head,

  • many,

  • or "friend."

  • Now let's move from words to a sentence.

  • If youre not sure how to make the /ɛ/ vowel sound, keep watching.

  • OK

  • To pronounce the /ɛ/ sound,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your tongue and jaw.

  • Partially open your mouth,

  • slightly spread your lips and relax them.

  • Push your tongue to the front of your mouth and relax it.

  • Raise the middle of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

  • The tip of your tongue can be lowered just behind your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /ɛ/ is a relaxed sound,

  • so your tongue and lips should be relaxed.

  • Your jaw should be partially lowered.

  • Now let's try saying it:

  • /ɛ/

  • /ɛ/

  • /ɛ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /æ/,

  • as in the word "cat."

  • You can also hear this sound

  • in words like

  • "at,"

  • "half,"

  • "man,"

  • or "laugh."

  • That's good, but it's much better when the words rhyme!

  • Let's learn how to pronounce the /æ/ sound like an American!

  • OK

  • To pronounce the /æ/ sound,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your tongue and jaw.

  • Open your mouth as wide as possible,

  • slightly spread your lips and tense them.

  • Tense your tongue, flatten it and push it forward.

  • Your tongue should be positioned very low in your mouth.

  • The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /æ/ is a very open vowel sound,

  • so your jaw should be very low and your tongue should be very flat.

  • Now, let's try saying it:

  • /æ/

  • /æ/

  • /æ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ʌ/,

  • as in the word "us."

  • You can also hear this sound

  • in words like

  • but,”

  • come,”

  • young,”

  • orflood.”

  • How about a phrase with this sound?

  • We've got one for you!

  • Let's find out how to make the /ʌ/ sound.

  • OK.

  • To make the /ʌ/ sound,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your lips and tongue.

  • Open your mouth a little,

  • relax your lips,

  • and put them in a neutral position.

  • Place your tongue in the middle of your mouth,

  • not too high or too low.

  • Note that the /ʌ/ vowel sound is used in stressed syllables,

  • but your lips and tongue should not be tense.

  • Your tongue should be in the center of your mouth.

  • Let's try saying it:

  • /ʌ/

  • /ʌ/

  • /ʌ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ə/,

  • as in the word "ago."

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • above, ,

  • person,

  • parent,

  • or "action."

  • Do you want to hear it in a sentence?

  • Here you go:

  • If you want to pronounce the /ə/ sound like an American, keep watching.

  • OK.

  • To pronounce the /ə/ sound, you should focus on relaxing your tongue and lips.

  • Slightly open your mouth,

  • relax your lips,

  • and leave them in a neutral position.

  • Place your tongue in the middle of your mouth and relax it.

  • Remember,

  • the /ə/ sound is very relaxed,

  • so your tongue and lips should be relaxed, when you pronounce it.

  • Let's try saying it:

  • /ə/

  • /ə/

  • /ə/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ɑ/,

  • as in the word "got."

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • top,

  • want,

  • box,

  • or "wash."

  • Now let's step up your game with a sentence:

  • The /ɑ/ is a tricky sound,

  • keep watching to learn how to pronounce it correctly.

  • OK,

  • to pronounce the /ɑ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw and tongue.

  • Open your mouth as wide as possible.

  • Relax your lips and allow them to rest in a neutral position.

  • Flatten your tongue and place it very low in your mouth.

  • Your tongue should be in the center of your mouth.

  • The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth.

  • Remember,

  • the /ɑ/ is a very open sound,

  • so your mouth should be open as wide as possible.

  • Let's try saying it:

  • /ɑ/

  • /ɑ/

  • /ɑ/

  • This is the American vowel sound /u/,

  • as in the word "blue."

  • You can also hear this sound in words like

  • rule,

  • too,

  • do,

  • or "new."

  • Want a challenge?

  • Here's a sentence with lots of words with this sound.

  • Next you'll learn how to make the /u/ sound correctly.

  • OK,

  • to make the /u/ sound,

  • you should focus on the correct position of your jaw, lips and tongue.

  • Open your mouth a little and push your lips out,

  • making a small tense circle.

  • Pull your tongue far back in your throat and tense it.

  • Raise the back of the tongue toward the roof of your mouth.

  • Remember,

  • the /u/ is a tense sound,

  • so your lips and tongue should be tense.

  • Your tongue should be pulled back in your mouth.

  • Let's try saying it:

  • /u/

  • /u/

  • /u/

  • This is the American vowel sound /ʊ/,

  • as in the wordput.”

  • You can</