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Standard American English

Pronunciation Workshop
A generalized overview
Vowels
How many separate, distinct vowel sounds can you identify?

● Beat ● Boot
● Bit ● About
● Bet ● Boat
● Bat ● Bite
● Robot ● Bait
● Bought ● Boy
● But ● About
● Book ● Burn
/ɑː/
● Father ● God
● Not ● Body
● Ah! ● Top
● Mom ● Mop
● Water ● John
● Lot ● Got
● Pond ● Yacht
● Jolly ● Operation
/ɒ/
● Bought ● Fog
● Thought ● Want
● Dog ● Yawn
● Law ● Paw
● Boss ● Loss
● Caught ● Call
● Off ● Jaw
● All ● On

*In some regions of the U.S., this sound is equal to the previous slide.*
Which is it?

A. Cot In some regions of the U.S., like the West


Coast, these two pronunciations are the
B. Caught same. Often called the “Cot-Caught
Merger.” In other regions, like the South,
they are two distinct vowel sounds, with
A. Bot the second being more closed. See if
B. Bought you can hear the difference.
/ɛ/
● Dress ● Death
● Mess ● Red
● Sell ● Yellow
● When ● Generation
● Pen ● Yet
● Fed ● Wet
● Set ● Penny
● Never ● Bet
/æ/
● Mass ● Talent
● Apple ● Radical
● Fat ● Rat
● Flash ● Rap
● Task ● Gas
● At ● Static
● After ● Last
● Lap ● Tad
Which is it?

A. Mess A. Net
B. Mass B. Gnat

A. Said A. Led
B. Sad B. Lad

A. He left.
B. He laughed.
/iː/
● Teach ● Leap
● Peach ● Feet
● Lead ● Seed
● Feed ● Three
● Beat ● Dream
● Seat ● Green
● Eat ● Jeep
● Each ● Me
/ɪ/
● Kid ● Shift
● Fit ● Lip
● Kiss ● River
● Pitch ● Kill
● With ● Pillow
● Wish ● This
● Principle ● Vindication
● Is ● Physical
Which is it?

A. Least A. Neat
B. List B. Knit

A. Seat A. Each
B. Sit B. Itch

A. Peach
B. Pitch
/ʌ/
● Bus ● Love
● Cut ● Of
● Much ● Gutter
● Luck ● Suck
● Just ● Must
● Done ● Enough
● Was ● Chuckle
● Gun ● Sun
/uː/
● Do ● Poodle
● Tuesday ● Ruin
● Boot ● You
● New ● Lose
● True ● Clue
● Dude ● Food
● Cool ● Soon
● Blue ● Tune
/ʊ/

● Book ● Pussycat
● Would / Could / Should ● Sugar
● Look ● Full
● Foot ● Cook
● Put ● Bully
● Good ● Pudding
● Took ● Input
● Woman ● Push
Now you say it!
Pick one of the groups and say all 3 words

A. But A. Pun A. Luck

B. Boot B. Poot B. Loot

C. Book C. Put C. Look


“A” before “M” or “N”

● Can
● Fan
● Cranberry
● Mandatory
● Dam
● Damage
● Pamphlet
● Tamper
/ɛr/

● Where
● Wear
● Hair
● Care
● Fair
● Snare
● Dare
● America
/ə/ The “Schwa”
● About
● Machine
● Police
● Organize A reduced vowel in a non-
accented syllable
● Enemy
● Portugal
● Camera
● Pizza
● Africa
THE DIPHTHONGS
/aɪ/
● I ● White
● High ● Guy
● Bye ● Buy
● Why ● Try
● Fight ● Imply
● Mighty ● Night
● Lie ● Rye
● Prize ● Fry
/aʊ/
● Now ● Loud
● Cow ● Crowd
● Lousy ● Wow!
● Drown ● Sound
● Count ● Joust
● Down ● Ground
● Town ● Gouge
● About ● How
/eɪ/
● Day ● Eight
● Say ● Late
● Tray ● Fade
● Face ● Ray
● Paid ● Way
● Lay ● Drape
● Bait ● Rake
● Baby ● Wake
/ɔɪ/
● Boy ● Voyage
● Toy ● Ploy
● Choice ● Void
● Moist ● Soil
● Royal ● Joy
● Noise ● Join
● Voice ● Loyal
● Destroy ● Employ
/oʊ/
● Close ● Tone
● Hope ● Rope
● Bone ● Toe
● Boat ● Poke
● Float ● Crow
● Dough ● Grope
● Mow ● Rose
● Grow ● Goat
Vowel Review: Now you say it!
Pick one of the groups and say all 4 words

● Seat ● Bead ● Peak


● Sit ● Bid ● Pick
● Set ● Bed ● Peck
● Sat ● Bad ● Pack
CONSONANTS
Consonant Sounds

Difference in tongue placement between English and


Portuguese when pronouncing some consonants
T, D, N
*Portuguese - tongue touches back of teeth
*English - tongue touches alveolar ridge BEHIND teeth

Tell, Tree, Tackle, Death, Duck, Drive, Now, Never, No


Consonant Sounds

Aspirated P, K/C, T to start a word or syllable


*Put your hand in front of your mouth and feel the release of air,
which does not happen in Portuguese*

Pig, Peace, Place, Pond, Price


--if not aspirated, native speaker may hear a B (such as “bond” instead of “pond”)

Kind, Kill, Clean, Cat, Christ


--if not aspirated, native speaker may hear a G (such as “gill” instead of “kill”)

Teeth, Tall, Ten, Into, Trap


Consonant Sounds

L at the end of a word or syllable


*Does not resemble a semi-vowel u/w like in Portuguese*
*Tongue finishes at the top of your mouth to form an L*

Wall, Legal, All, Always, Fill, Until, Altogether, Little,


People, Crumble

Fill up; tell everyone; all of them


“L” connects into the next word
Consonant Sounds

M or N at the end of a word or syllable


*need to make the consonant sound instead of just nasalizing
the vowel like in Portuguese*

Into, Independent, Fins, Print, Tent


--tongue touches roof of mouth to make “n”--

Impartial, Tamper, Teams, Nimble, Pimple, Harlem


--lips close to make “m”--
Consonant Sounds

S before L, M, and N
*does not sound like a z*
*do not insert an imaginary initial vowel*

Sleep, Slide, Sloppy


Smooth, Smoke, Smile
Snore, Snake, Snap
Consonant Sounds
connected speech

He plays six sports.


His snake is scary.
You need to stop.
My cat tries some things.

*Words connect into each other with no vowels inserted*


Consonant Sounds

TH
*Tongue placed between teeth, without using lower lip like an F*

Unvoiced: Thick, Thin, Three, Bath, Athlete, Tooth

Voiced: This, These, Father, Other, Breathe, Smooth

Difference between unvoiced and voiced “TH” resembles the


difference between unvoiced “F” and voiced “V”
Which is it?

A. Free A. Fret
B. Three B. Threat

A. Fin A. Oaf
B. Thin B. Oath

A. Fought
B. Thought
Glides / Semivowels

W/Y

Where, Will, Win, Year, Yes, Onion

“Will is two years old.”


An observation on some words...

● Mountain ● Manhattan
● Fountain ● Curtain
● Cotton ● Pardon
● Rotten ● Hidden
● Eaten ● Forbidden

Final syllable almost gets swallowed, unless spoken more carefully


Consonant Clusters
All of these examples are 1-syllable words, even when adding -ed for past tense

Fifth Gagged Asked


Depth Bobbed Popped
Ninth Charged Watched
Accept Wizzed Missed
Craft Learned
Consonant before -ed is voiced: Consonant before -ed is unvoiced:
Final “D” makes “D” sound Final “D” makes “T” sound
Practice Sentences

Look at her yellow apple over there.

Please do not eat the camel’s foot.

Tell her to give me a pack of earrings.

None of these are what I’ve asked for.

His mother speaks Finnish very well.

Put it on the bookcase after 3:00.