Best Approaches to Teaching Vowel Sounds: Lecture 2

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In English sounds, the active and passive articulators do not touch each other in vowels. Only the main body, the front and the back of the tongue are involved in the production of any vowel.

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 the 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 the sounds and how they are pronounced below.

Production of Monophthongs (Pure Vowel Sounds)

Monophthongs (Pure Vowel) consist of 12 sounds. Examine them below.

 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:/
pull

good

book

cook

wood

look

sugar

would

should

could

bull

Zoo

fool

true

rude

clue

coup

fruit

new

few

juice

soup

groom

 

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

1. The sound /ʊ/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letter ‘u’ as sound /ʊ/ in pull, put, sugar, etc.

ii. Letters ‘oo’ as sound /ʊ/ in book, good, cook, wood, look, etc.

iii. Letters ‘oul’ as sound /ʊ/ in would, should, could, etc.

2. The sound /u:/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letters ‘oo’ as sound /u:/ in zoo, fool, brood, groom, tool, etc.

ii. Letters ‘ew’ as sound /u:/ in new, few, etc.

iii. Letters ‘u’, ‘ue’, ‘iu’, ‘ou’ as sound /u:/ in true, coup, fruit, juice, soup, crude, etc.

Evaluate.

 Choose the word that the 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

Explain vowel sounds /e/ and /u/

To pronounce the vowel /e/, let your mouth be open a bit and make your tongue steady without any other production organ. Pronounce it shortly; it is a short vowel. But to pronounce the vowel /u/, let the centre of your tongue be raised. Make it short; it is a short back vowel.

Drill the sounds.

Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/e/ /u/
said

bread

bury

thread

bed

ten

egg

bend

friend

head

get

money

cup

blood

tough

love

son

sun

front

come

lucky

country

 

 

 

Identify the Vowel Sounds /e/ and /u/ by Letters.

1.  The sound /e/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letter ‘e’ as sound /e/ in bed, bend, keg, fend, ten, get, lend, egg, etc.

ii. Letters ‘ea’ and ‘ai’ as sound /e/ in bread, thread, said, head.

iii.  Letters ‘ie’ ‘ei’, ‘u’ as sound /e/ in bury, friend, etc.

2. The sound /u/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letter ‘u’ as sound /u/ in cup, sun, Sunday, country, etc.

ii. Letters ‘o’, ‘oo’ as sound /u/ in love, son, come, blood, etc.

iii. Letters ‘ou’, ‘ue’, ‘on’ as sound /u/ in cousin, tough, young, front, etc.

Evaluate.

Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /e/ A. money          B. says              C. search           D. earth
  2. /u/ A. head             B. get                C. look             D. frown
  3. /e/ A. mike             B. ebb               C. learn             D. sun
  4. /u/ A. put               B. shape            C. toe               D. son
  5. /e/ A. real               B. get                C. seed             D. bead
  6. /u/ A. mad             B. friend           C. ten               D. plough

Explain vowel sounds /ǝ/ and /ɜ:/

To pronounce vowel /ɜ:/, let the centre of your tongue be raised and let your mouth be open too. You must pronounce it long because it is a long vowel

But to pronounce vowel /ǝ/, raise your tongue a little and its centre should be between the front and the back of the mouth.

Drill the sounds.

Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.

/ɜ:/ /ǝ/
skirt

word

journey

term

colonel

certain

hurt

heard

earth

Answer

question

teacher

doctor

bottom

potato

palace

colour

about

Identify the Vowel Sounds /ɜ:/ and /ǝ/ by Letters.

1. The sound /ɜ:/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letters ‘ir’, ‘er’ as sound /ɜ:/ in skirt, shirt, girl, term, certain, verb, first, etc.

ii. Letters ‘or’, ‘ur’ as sound /ɜ:/ in word, work, hurt, nurse, worm, burst, etc.

iii. Letters ‘our’ ‘ear’, ‘ar’ as sound /ɜ:/ in journey, early, courtesy, heard, etc.

iv. Letter ‘o’ as sound /ɜ:/ in colonel, etc

2. The sound /ǝ/ can be realised under the following letters:

i. Letter ‘er’ as sound /ǝ/ in answer, teacher, better, etc.

ii. Letters ‘o’, ‘or’ in sound /ǝ/ in potato, doctor, bottom, sector, etc.

iii. Letters ‘our’, ‘io’, ‘a’ as sound /ǝ/ in about, around, question, palace, etc.

Evaluate.

Choose the word that has correct phonetic symbol below.

  1. /ɜ:/ (a) skirt             (b) kettle            (c) ears          (d) here
  2. /ǝ/ (a) found           (b) earth            (c) nurse       (d) colour
  3. /ɜ:/ (a) faith            (b) curl              (c) potato      (d) about
  4. /ǝ/ (a) certain           (b) play            (c) teacher    (d) good
  5. /ɜ:/ (a) go                (b) certain          (c) palace     (d) butter
  6. /ǝ/ (a) palace            (b) early            (c) work       (d) hurt

Author: Deola Adelakun

 

 

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