English Pronunciation Pod 9

Podcast 1: Introduction to English Pronunciation

by Charles Becker

Saturday November 8th, 2008

Front Vowel Review:

This podcast is a review of the vowels which we have learned in the previous podcasts: the front vowels /i/, /I/, /ɛ/, /eI/ and /æ/. This podcast provides practice exercises which will make your pronunciation of these important vowels clear and distinct.

In this weeks podcast, we’re going to review the front vowels . The front vowels are the vowels which we’ve covered up to this point:
/i/, /I/, /ɛ/, /eI/ and / æ /.
These vowels are called” front vowels” because our tongue is more forward when we pronounce them.
** I strongly recommend that you listen to the previous lessons about these vowels if you haven’t already, before using this podcast.
Podcasts #2, #4 and #6 give complete detailed instruction as to how to pronounce these vowels.

The Importance of Review:
One of the main purposes of this podcast is to emphasize the importance of reviewing material when studying accent reduction.
Some of my best private students in New York have told me that they are always reviewing the material from past lessons. This is called maintenance of the fundamentals. Maintenance of the fundamentals will keep your pronunciation skills strong and consistent.
It’s like a professional musician who still practices the same scales everyday, or a dancer or athlete who warms up with the same routine everyday.

Build a Strong Foundation:
Practicing the fundamentals is essential because these are the building blocks of more complex communication. Review and practice of past lessons keeps the foundation of your skills strong. A strong foundation will allow you to build more advanced and complex pronunciation patterns

Exercise: Review of front vowels /i/, /I/, /ɛ/ eI / and / æ /. This exercise creates a clear distinction between these vowels . Listen and repeat the groups of words, paying careful attention to the vowel differences within them.
/i/                         /I/                        /ɛ/                    /eI/                        /æ /

seat                     sit                      set                  sate                       sat

meet / meat      mitt                   met                 mate                 mat/Matt

dean                    din                   den                  Dane                    Dan

heel/heal            hill                    hell                   hail                    Hal

beat                     bit                     bet                    bait                  bat

read                     rid                   red/read           raid                 “rad”

keen                    kin                   ken                   cane                  can


Exercise : Listen and repeat the following sentnces containing the /i/ , /I/ and / sounds.

I couldn’t sit in my seat during the set.

Walking uphill in high heels is hell!

We weren’t too keen about meeting Ken’s kin.

Jen and Gene are drinking gin.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following sentences containing / æ /, /ɛ/ and /eI/ :

Matt has met his perfect mate.

Can* Ken walk without a cane ?

Jen, Jane and Jan are sisters.

* “can” in this case is unstressed, so it will usually be pronounced /KIn/ by native speakers. (See podcast#8)


Training tip: Practice these sentences on a daily basis . It only takes a few minutes to repeat these sentences a few times.
Start by saying them slowly and gradually bring them up to your regular rate of speech.
Improving your pronunciation and reducing your accent is all about reviewing and practicing regularly. The more you practice regularly, the easier it will become to say the sounds distinctly and correctly.
Just ten minutes day of practice can really make a difference!

It’s important to have good tools to practice with. I recommend  Best Accent Training mp3s!

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

Thank you and see you next time!