Best Approaches to Teaching Vowel Sounds: Lecture 1

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Vowels can be defined as the sounds that are pronounced without the constriction/obstruction/blockage of the flow of the air coming from the lung through mouth passage. There are two main types of vowels, namely: Monophthongs and Diphthongs. Monophthongs are also called pure vowel sounds. Monophthongs are twelve (12) sounds, while diphthongs are eight (8) sounds. Let us learn some sounds and how they are pronounced below.

Explain the vowel sounds /I/ and /i:/.

To pronounce vowel /I/, let the front of your tongue rise close to the roof of the mouth but you will produce it shortly because it is a short vowel. But for /i:/, let the front of your tongue rise to the roof of the mouth. It must be kept long because it is along vowel.

Drill the sounds.

Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/I / /i:/ Mouth shape and production of / I/ and /i:/ sounds

 

pit

village

wanted

busy

city

careless

sweet

receive

sea

key

police

relief

Identify the vowel sounds /I/ and /i:/ by letters

(a)         The vowel /I/ may be realised under the following letters:

  1. Normal letters ‘i’ as pit, bit, pill, etc.
  2. Letters ‘a’ as sound /I/ in village, manage, cottage, etc.

3. Letter ‘e’ as sound /I/ in wanted, decided, ticket, etc.

4. Letter ‘u’ as sound /I/ in busy, build, etc.

5. Letter ‘y’ as sound /I/ in city, twenty, thirty, etc.

(b)   The vowel /i:/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letter ‘ea’ as sound /i:/ in beat, sea, tea
  2. Letter ‘ee’ as sound /i:/ in sweet, bee, see, etc.
  3. Letter ‘i’ as sound /i:/ in police, machine
  4. Letters ‘ei’ and ‘ie’ as sound /i:/ in receive, relief, etc.
  5. Letters ‘eo and e’ as sound /i:/ in people, key, etc.

Evaluate.

 Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /I/     (a) head       (b) busy     (c) people   (d) receive
  2. /i:/     (a) minded   (b) pill       (c) village   (d) key
  3. /I/     (a) sleep       (b) key       (c) build     (d) sea
  4. /i:/    (a) police      (b) ticket     (c) cottage  (d) tick
  5. /I/    (a) forty       (b) speak     (c) key                  (d) relief
  6. /i:/    (a) seat        (b) sit          (c) pick      (d) busy

 Explain vowel sounds /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/.

 To pronounce vowel / ɒ/, make the tongue position and round shape of your lips the same as for ‘o’ but keep it short because it is a short vowel.

However, to pronounce the vowel /ɔ:/, make your tongue low in the mouth and push it towards the back and make your lips a round shape. Keep /ɔ:/ long because it is a long vowel.

Drill the sounds.

 Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/ɒ/ /ɔ:/ Mouth shape and production of  the sounds

Mouth shape of / ɒ/ and /ɔ:/ sounds

Production of  /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/ sounds

Top

dog

quarter

wander

sausage

watch

spot

lost

qualified

fork

pork

daughter

soared

door

before

hall

warm

fall

Identify the vowel sounds /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/ by letters.

(a)  The sound /ɒ/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letters ‘o’ as sound /ɒ/ in top, dog, lost, pot, spot, etc.
  2. Letters ‘uar’, ‘ua’ as sound /ɒ/ in quarter, qualified, etc.
  3. Letters ‘a’, ‘au’ as sound /ɒ/ in wander, sausage, watch, etc.

(b).   The sound /ɔ:/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letters ‘or’ as sound /ɔ:/in port, fork, pork, sort, Lord, cord, etc.
  2. Letters ‘au’, ‘oo’ as sound /ɔ:/in daughter, door, etc.
  3. Letters ‘oar’, ‘a’, ‘ar’ ‘ore’ as sound /ɔ:/ in soared, hall, warm, fall, talk, before, more, etc.

Evaluate.

 Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /ɒ/   (a) fork             (b) talk              (c) take              (d) watch
  2. /ɔ:/   (a) hall               (b) spot             (c) watch           (d) go
  3. /ɒ/   (a) come            (b) know           (c) pot               (d) talk
  4. /ɔ:/  (a) qualify          (b) bow             (c) fall               (d) pot
  5. /ɒ/   (a) sow              (b) show           (c) before           (d) wander
  6. /ɔ:/   (a) spot            (b) come           (c) before            (d) know

 Explain vowel sounds /æ/ and /a:/.

To pronounce vowel /æ/, you should let the front of your tongue touch the lower part of the front teeth. The lips are spread and you must keep it very fast because it is a short vowel.

But to pronounce vowel /a:/, let the front of your tongue be on the floor of the mouth. Your mouth should be fully open, and should keep your pronunciation long because it is a long vowel.

Drill the sounds.

Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/æ/ /a:/ Production of /æ/ and /a:/ sounds
Ran

back

lack

cat

cap

mad

plait

Saturday

mark

pass

last

guard

half

father

laugh

car

  Production of/æ/ sound

Production of /a:/ sound

Identify the vowel sounds /æ/ and /a:/ by letters.

 (a)     Vowel /æ/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Normal letter ‘a’ as sound /æ/ in an, rag, mad, sad, bad, etc.
  2. Letters ‘ac’ as sound /æ/ in back, pack, lack, etc.
  3. Letters ‘ai’ as sound /æ/ in plait.

(b)    Vowel /a:/ as can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letters ‘ar’ as sound /a:/ in mark, car, far, etc.
  2. Letter ‘a’ as sound /a:/ in pass, last, etc.
  3. Letters ‘au’ and ‘ar’ as sound /a:/aunt, laugh, guard, etc.
  4. Letters ‘al’ ‘ear’ as sound /a:/ in heart, half, etc.

 Evaluate.

 Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /æ/ (a) bard       (b) back      (c) half             (d) boy
  2. /a:/ (a) lack        (b) suit        (c) pass             (d) mad
  3. /æ/ (a) card       (b) bad        (c) last               (d) end
  4. /a:/ (a) farm       (b) van        (c) fan               (d) match
  5. /æ/ (a) farm       (b) half        (c) guard           (d) fan
  6. /a:/ (a) back       (b) soup      (c) warm           (d) aunt

Explain vowel sounds /ʊ/ and /u:/.

To pronounce the sound /ʊ/, let the position of your tongue and the round shape of your lips the same as for /u/.

It must be pronounced shortly because it is a short vowel but to pronounce /u:/, raise the back of your tongue towards the roof of the mouth and make your lips form a round shape but make it long since it is a long vowel.

Drill the sounds.

Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/ʊ/ /u:/ Mouth shape and production of /ʊ/ and /u:/
Pull

good

book

cook

wood

look

sugar

would

should

could

bull

zoo

fool

true

rude

clue

coup

fruit

new

few

juice

soup

groom

Mouth shape /ʊ/ and /u:/ sounds

Production of / ʊ/ and /u:/ sounds

Identify the vowel sounds /ʊ/ and /u:/ by letters.

(a) The sound /ʊ/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letter ‘u’ as sound /ʊ/ in pull, put, sugar, etc.
  2. Letters ‘oo’ as sound /ʊ/ in book, good, cook, wood, look, etc.
  3. Letters ‘oul’ as sound /ʊ/ in would, should, could, etc.

(b)  The sound /u:/ can be realised under the following letters:

  1. Letters ‘oo’ as sound /u:/ in zoo, fool, brood, groom, tool, etc.
  2. Letters ‘ew’ as sound /u:/ in new, few, etc.
  3. Letters ‘u’, ‘ue’, ‘iu’, ‘ou’ as sound /u:/ in true, coup, fruit, juice, soup, crude, etc.

Evaluate.

 Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /ʊ/        A. few               B. soup             C. groom          D. look
  2. /u:/       A. could            B. sugar            C. coup             D. good
  3. /ʊ/        A. fruit              B. pull               C. new              D. tool
  4. /u:/       A. rude             B. ball               C. look              D. book
  5. /ʊ/       A. should          B. fruit              C. juice              D. clue
  6. /u:/       A. could            B. should          C. groom          D. look 

Author: Deola Adelakun

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