Lesson 5 – “R” vowels /ɝ/, /ɚ/, /ɑr/, /ɜr/, /ɪr/, /ɔr/

We will finish up the vowels in this lesson by learning the American English “R” vowels.

The /ɝ/ sound

 

Words

earth, birthday, her, burn, burnt, word, thirty, myrrh, earnest

Comparison

  • bud, bird
  • but, Burt
  • thud, third

Phrases

  • Her first nurse works early.
  • thirty-third
  • Say the word.
  • a small world

Song

The /ɚ/ sound

This is similar to the /ɝ/ sound but is only used in unstressed syllables.

 

Words

father, mother, farmer, doctor, worker, teacher, perform, wonderful

Comparison

Compare American verses British pronunciation of the words above.

  • father
  • mother
  • farmer
  • doctor
  • worker
  • teacher
  • perform
  • wonderful

Phrases

  • Another mother
  • father and mother
  • you or me
  • us or them

The /ɑr/ sound

 

Words

arm, part, car, hard, gnarly, bark, SARS, afar, ark, charge

Comparison

Compare American verses British pronunciation of the words above.

  • arm
  • part
  • car
  • hard
  • gnarly
  • bark
  • SARS
  • afar
  • ark
  • charge

Phrases

  • car parts
  • hard to mark
  • a deck of cards

Song

The /ɜr/ sound

Words

share, aired, chairs, there, their, they’re, hair, hare, pear, bears, barrel

Comparison

Compare American verses British pronunciation of the words above.

  • share
  • aired
  • chairs
  • there
  • hair
  • pear
  • bears

Phrases

  • hairy bear
  • over there
  • a pair of pears
  • their share

Tongue Twister

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?

Song

The /ɪr/ sound

Words

ear, weird, here, hears, peer, tear, jeer, near, mere, rear, we’re

Comparison

Compare American verses British pronunciation of the words above.

  • ear
  • weird
  • here
  • hears
  • peer
  • tear
  • jeer
  • near
  • mere
  • rear

Phrases

  • have no fear
  • I’m all ears.
  • ten years
  • Hear! Hear!

Song

 

The /ɔr/ sound

Words

oars, north, roar, more, orange, George, four, fourth, born, door

Comparison

Compare American verses British pronunciation of the words above.

  • oars
  • north
  • roar
  • more
  • orange
  • George
  • four
  • fourth
  • born
  • door

Phrases

  • four more
  • Four score and seven years ago
  • born in the north
  • The lion roared.

Puzzle

Two Doors

There are two doors. Behind one door is a beautiful horse. Behind the other door is a roaring lion. Each door has a guard. One guard always tells the truth. The other guard always lies. What question can you ask so that you open the right door?

The /ʊr/ sound

I didn’t make a video for this sound here or in the ae Pronunciation app because it isn’t used that frequently in American English. Some people ask for it though because its British English counterpart /ʊə/ is used in quite a few words.

Here are some words that use /ʊə/ in British English:

poor, pure, cure, tour, assure, sure, lure

However, in American English from the above list only “pure” and “cure” (and for some people “sure”) use /ʊr/.

  • /ɔr/: poor
  • /ur/: tour, lure
  • /ɝ/: assure, (sure)
  • /ʊr/: pure, cure, (sure)

Other “R” sounds

You can put the /ɚ/ sound after most any vowel. Here are a few more examples for diphthongs:

1. eɪr (eɪɚ) player mayor sayer layer
2. aɪr (aɪɚ) lier fire crier hire
3. aʊr (aʊɚ) tower power sour hour
4. ɔɪr (ɔɪɚ) lawyer foyer Sawyer
5. oʊr (oʊɚ) mower sower blower lower

Homework

Practice all of the vowels. Do at least 50 and try to get 80% right.

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