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American Vowel System. ENG 115 Prof. K. Horowitz. INDEX. Objectives Introduction What is a Vowel? The Vowel Chart Vowel Chart Diagram Front Vowel Definition Try Your Luck! Practice Exercises Useful Links. Objectives.

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american vowel system

American Vowel System

ENG 115

Prof. K. Horowitz

index
INDEX
  • Objectives
  • Introduction
  • What is a Vowel?
  • The Vowel Chart
  • Vowel Chart Diagram
  • Front Vowel Definition
  • Try Your Luck!
  • Practice Exercises
  • Useful Links
objectives
Objectives

This module is designed to familiarize second language students with the vowel system of American English, which is the most common variation of the language encountered by Puerto Ricans.

introduction
Introduction
  • The English language is much more complicated than Spanish when it comes to vowels. In all, there are twelve vowel sounds in English, along with three diphthongs. That’s almost three times as many vowels as Spanish! No wonder Puerto Rican language learners have such a tough time!
what is a vowel
A vowel, also known as a monothong, is a sound produced in the mouth with no air obstruction. That is, there is nothing blocking the flow of air from the lungs out through the mouth.What is a vowel?
slide6
If you try saying aaaaa, iiiii, uuuuu, eeeeee, oooooo to yourself you should be able to feel that, although your tongue moves about your mouth, it never actually obstructs the airflow. You should also be able to feel that the position of the tongue changes for each of those vowels.
slide7
English has more than twice as many vowels as Spanish does, and this makes learning pronunciation harder for Spanish-speaking students. Spanish native speakers trying to learn English often have trouble pronouncing words due to the fact that most of the vowels present do not exist in their own language.
the vowel chart
The Vowel Chart
  • The vowel chart shows where sounds are produced in the mouth, and is divided into sections, both horizontally and vertically. The chart is designed to show where each vowel sound is produced in the mouth, via movement of the tongue. Horizontally, sounds move from the front to the back of the mouth. Vertically, they move from the top of the mouth to the bottom. For this reason, vowels are labeled as front, central, or back.
slide9
You will notice that there are vowels labeled as lax and tense. They are also called short and long. This refers to whether or not the pronunciation of the sound is prolonged. See the difference, for example, between [i] and [I]. [i] is a tense vowel, as its pronunciation
  • is several seconds long (EX: sweet). In a word such as sit, however, the vowel sound [I] is significantly shorter, thus it is lax.
front vowels
Front vowels are pronounced using the front of the mouth. There are five: [i], [I], [e], [ε], and [æ].

[i] is the same as in Spanish.

EX: Sweet, fui.

[I] is shorter in pronunciation.

EX: Si t, fi ll.

Front Vowels
slide12
[e] is pronounced “ey”
    • EX: Name, rey
  • [ε] is shorter, and is pronounced “ej”
    • EX: Be t, ve te
  • [æ] is a unique sound.
    • EX: Fa t, ba nd
try your luck
Try Your Luck!
  • Let’s try some single exercises and see if we can identify the front vowel sound!
  • Bill

[i]

[I]

[æ]

slide14
Here’s another one!
  • man
  • Now let’s try some more exercises!

[e]

[i]

[æ]

practice exercises
Practice Exercises
  • Correctly identify the front vowel sound in the following words.
  • A. B.
  • 1. wet _____ 1. glad _____
  • 2. pit _____ 2. ill _____
  • 3. pen _____ 3. knit _____
  • 4. lake _____ 4. aim _____
  • 5. wait _____ 5. bread _____
  • 6. ham _____ 6. heel _____
  • 7. lift _____ 7. made _____
  • 8. feet _____ 8. rain _____
  • 9. left _____ 9. green _____
  • 10. men _____ 10. fan _____
useful links
Useful Links
  • Here are some sites on the Internet that can help you with these exercises, as well as those done in class.
  • University of Iowa: A site with an excellent area devoted to vowel and consonant sounds. Click on "launch English library."
  • Easton’s American English Pronunciation: A great site with plenty of information about vowel and consonant pronunciation, as well as some great practice exercises.
slide17
Tim’s ESL Site: Raritan Valley Community College Phonetic practice page.
  • Fonetiks.org: The online language library.
  • American English Vowels: Michigan State University site with exercises.
slide18
Great Job!
  • Look for Module #2: Mid Vowels.
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