Lesson 2 – Vowels /i/, /ɪ/, /ɛ/, /æ/

Overview of the sounds of American English

 

 

i read
ɪ him
ɛ set
æ bad
ɑ father
ɔ saw
ʊ good
u shoot
ʌ sun
ə above
safe
fly
cow
ɔɪ voice
low
ɝ earth
ɚ mother
ɑr car
ɛr there
ɪr here
ɔr north
p pass
b bill
t toad
d dear
k cool
g good
ʧ chair
ʤ jump
f father
v very
θ think
ð they
s set
z zoo
ʃ shoe
ʒ usually
m me
n no
ŋ sing
l loud
ɫ cool
w we
j yes
h happy
r red
ʔ button
ɾ water

The /i/ sound

Compare to /iː/ in British English. It is the same sound, but in American English sometimes it is long and sometime it is short. The two dots for /iː/ in British English means that it is a long sound.

Words

each, read, me, happy, eel, feel, Peter

Phrases

  • beam me up
  • each of us
  • you and me
  • I believe it
  • three bees

Nursery Rhyme

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
Put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well

The /ɪ/ sound

Words

it, him, rib, hid, sit, little, divide, pig

Comparison

  • it, eat
  • sit, seat
  • ship, sheep
  • sin, seen
  • lid, lead
  • is, ease

Phrases

  • go with him
  • in a bin
  • finish in a minite
  • tick tock

Songs

I’m A Little Teapot

I’m a little teapot
Short and stout
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
When I get all steamed up
I just shout
Tip me over and pour me out

Are You Sleeping, Brother John?

Are you sleeping,
are you sleeping,
Brother John,
Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing,
morning bells are ringing.
Ding, dong, ding.
Ding, dong, ding.

The /ɛ/ sound

Words

edge, set, said, chess, meh, elephant, end, rest

Comparison

  • sit, seat, set
  • lid, lead, LED
  • if, F
  • here, hair
  • seed, said

Phrases

  • dead end
  • ten hens
  • to Ken and them

The /æ/ sound

Words

ash, bad, bat, neah, ham, shadow, cat, bath

Comparison

  • had, head
  • ham, hen
  • sad, said
  • Allan, Ellen
  • bag, beg

Phrases

  • sit in the sand
  • a bad man
  • cancel my plans
  • pots and pans
  • a black backpack

Tongue twisters

  • Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?

Song

Note the words with the /æ/ sound in it.

Homework

Download the American English Pronunciation app. We will be using it quite a bit in this class.

Practice listening to the four sounds that we learned today.

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