English Pronunciation Pod 5

Podcast 5:Recognizing and Using the Vowel /ɛ /

by Charles Becker


Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Recognizing and Using the Vowel /ε /:

This podcast teaches you how to recognize the vowel  /ε / by its spelling and offers practice exercises for using this vowel in your everyday speech..


In today’s podcast, we’re going to continue to learn and practice the important vowel /ε /.

*I strongly recommend that you listen to podcast #4 (Vowels /ε / and /eI/ ) before this one!

The focus of today’s lesson is:

  • learning how to recognize  /ε / by its spelling
  • learning the most common spelling patterns and the exceptions

In your native language, the way the word is written is almost always the way it’s pronounced. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in English.
There are five vowel letters-a,e,i,o and u, but fifteen vowels sounds.
One of the most challenging aspects of English pronunciation is that one vowel can have a few different spellings, so it’s important to learn the most common spelling patterns of a vowel, as well as the exceptions.
Learning these will make your pronunciation much more accurate and will make it easier to determine the pronunciation of a word.

The most common spelling pattern of /ε /:
<e>+< consonant or two consonants>. :

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing  /ε / spelled with <e>+<consonant>:

yes… left… tell… sex… invest

Spelling pattern #2 /ε / spelled <ea> (less common):

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing  /ε / spelled <ea>

head… weather…bread… pleasure…breakfast… dead… sweatshirt…

Important Exceptions: strange spellings of  /ε / .
Looking at these words, you would never guess they were pronounced /ε /, so it’s important to memorize them. :

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words which contain /ε /:

guess… guest… says… said… again… against… any… many… friend…

One of the best ways to memorize these strange spellings is to use these words in sentences -practice them.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following phrases which contain words with exceptional spellings of /ε /

Be my guest. (please take,enjoy, use etc.)
He’s up against a wall. (He has no way of getting out of a situation)
Many Americans are against the war.
We’re close friends.
I’m not interested in all that “he said, she said.” (gossip)

Looking for more practice? Try Best Accent Training mp3s!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ?
Contact us at: contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!