Podcast 7: Vowels /æ/, /ɛ/ and /a/
Saturday October 18th, 2008
Vowels /æ/, /ɛ/ and /a/:
This podcast teaches you how to distinguish between these important vowels.
The focus of today’s lesson is:
- learning to distinguish between /æ/ and /ɛ/
- learning to distinguish between /æ/ and /a/
Developing a clear distinction between / æ / and /ɛ/:
When pronouncing /æ /, be sure to drop your jaw, spread your lips and flatten and spread your tongue.
When pronouncing /ɛ/ your tongue should be somewhat raised and forward and your lips somewhat spread.The jaw is slightly lowered.
If you have not listened to podcasts #4 and #6, (how to pronounce /ɛ/ and /æ/ ), I strongly recommend you do so before trying the next exercise.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words, paying careful attention to the difference in vowel sounds:
Developing a clear distinction between /æ/ and /a/
Perhaps, many students incorrectly substitue /a/ for /æ/ because in their native language, the letter <a>is pronounced /a/. There are even some words in English in which the letter <a> is pronounced /a/.
For example: “watch”.. .”father”.
However, in American English, most of the time, a single letter <a> is pronounced /æ/ !
When pronouncing /a/, drop your jaw, keep your tongue flat and towards the back. Lips are neutral.
When pronouncing /æ/ you also drop your jaw, keep your tongue flat, spread and forward.Your lips are spread.
The difference: lips are spread and tongue is forward for /æ/.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words paying careful attention to the difference in vowel sounds:
/æ/ /a /
Hearing and prounouncing the difference between these vowels often takes time, practice and a lot of patience but with practice, you will get it!
The more you practice and repeat the exercises, the more you’ll develop muscle memory- -the ability to so something without thinking- automatically.
Accent reduction is a lot like training in sports, music and dance:
Practice, repetition- training gives you results!
Looking for more practice? Try Best Accent Training mp3s!
Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and see you next time!