American English Vowels – IPA – Pronunciation – International Phonetic Alphabet


Take a look at these letters. They’re not
always pronounced the same. In the word ‘boo’, they have the ‘oo’ sound. In the word ‘blood’,
they make the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ sound. And in the word ‘book’, they make the ‘uh’ as
in ‘pull’ sound. This is why the International Phonetic Alphabet makes it easier to study
the pronunciation of a foreign language. This video focuses on vowels. What is the International Phonetic Alphabet?
It’s a system of phonetic notation, and I use it a lot on my website and when I teach
students. I’ve also used it a lot when I’ve studied foreign languages. The IPA is especially
handy when studying English because English is not a phonetic language. This means when
you see a letter or a group of letters, it will not necessarily always be pronounced
the same in each word in which it occurs, just as in the example at the beginning of
this video. The IPA has a written symbol for each phonetic sound, so this makes it easier
to read about and write about pronunciation. As a student of pronunciation, it’s important
that you become familiar with the symbols that represent the sounds of American English. The ‘ah’ sound. Say that with me, ah. Ah. This sound occurs in words like father, hot,
body. Aw, say that with me, aw. This sound occurs in words like law, daughter, caught.
Eh, eh. This sound occurs in the words said, head, says. EE, ee. This sound occurs in the
words heat, be, receive. Ih, ih. This sound occurs in the words him, been, women. Aa,
aa. This sound occurs in the words have, bad, act. Uh, uh. This sound occurs in the words
love, blood, trouble. Uh, uh. The schwa. This sound occurs in the words sofa, about. Uh,
uh. This sound occurs in the words book, could, pull. Ur, ur. This sound occurs in the words
burn, journey, worth. Oo, oo. This vowel sound occurs in the words through, blue, do. Great. Familiarizing yourself with these symbols
should make it easier to study pronunciation. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s
English.

100 Replies to “American English Vowels – IPA – Pronunciation – International Phonetic Alphabet

  1. Thanks for your wonderful lessons. They're really helpful. But I have a confusing question please. The written pronunciation of the letter "O" in words like "complete, consider, concede, construct, contain .. etc", in Cambridge dictionary, is the schwa /ə/. I am confused about words like these. Is the schwa here pronounced like the /ʊ/ sound but it's a bit shorter or it's a normal schwa like what you pronounced it in this video (like that of the word 'about''?

  2. god, I hear the same sound for many of those vowels, I dont notice any difference between them, so sad, #Jesustakemewithyou

  3. Rachel: You do understand intuitively how to transmit knowledge. This is by far the best video about the IPA vowels in American English. Btw, my native language is the other giant: Español. Bendiciones: Blessings (By the biiiiig kahuna). :-))
    (I will point to this video in my app and my website)

  4. Hi Rachel, I loved your video and wanted to know if these are the only vowels in english, because I was checking a site here and it said english has more than 14 different vowels.

  5. Hi Rachel! I love your videos and I always recommend your page to my friends. Having English as the second language in our country, I want to help more people develop their English Communication Skills and we have a business that supports those people. I just need your permission. If you can allow me to use your videos and post them in our website, that would really be awesome. I will wait for your confirmation. Thanks!

  6. Hello, Rachel! Thank you very much for useful video! Can I ask you about [ɒ] sound? Is it absent in american english?

  7. I like a lot your manner of explanation! without hesitation! I'm studying my B.A and of course this works too much! Regards!

  8. I am a big fan of IPA. Not only do I use it when discussing the English pronunciation but also the pronunciation of other foreign language, including explaining Dutch (my native tongue) pronunciation. Therefore I know the symbols (phonemes) that are not used in English, such like /y/, /a/, /x/. It is possible that they existed in Old and Middle English, but in Modern English and American English they no longer exist.

  9. I'm from Germany and I study English at university, and damn I've been struggling with this for many weeks, but this video helps a lot. Thanks!

  10. What is the purpose of providing links to transcripts on SO many videos that lead nowhere – to a "Not found, error 404" – and such searches on your web site similarly return nothing????

  11. Amazing!! Absoltuley what I'm looking for!! I'm creating a language for my novel and I'm fine tuning the sounds it makes. Thank you so much!!!

    Also, loving those pearly white teeth!

  12. besides /i:/ as in 'tree' and /ɪ/ 'bit', i found another symbol, which is /i/,as in 'stadium' or 'trusty'. i am confused now. who can help me please?

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  14. Hello. I've tried to translate your videos into Portuguese, but this option is not available. If you'd like to see them translated, please enable this option 🙂 It would be good to show to people who are not able to understand everything yet.

  15. 不知道有没有国人过来学英语发音,学校里学的真的没认真教过,就算有那些老师自己都不知道怎么准确发音,在我们说话要字正腔圆的潜意识下很难发出一些音,有些也很难清楚的分清是哪个音,就像[ i ] 和 [ ɪ ], [ a ] 和 [ ʌ ] , [ n ] 和 [ ŋ ],还有[ʒ]我也学了好久
    Thank you Rachel,it's help a lot , but I'm still hard to distinguish their pronunciation, just like between [ i ] with [ ɪ ] , [ a ] with [ ʌ ] , [ n ] with [ ŋ ],so difficult for me,it's like a big rock block the my study road.

  16. Well, madam, you have to stop teaching phonics like this. It is confusing and incorrect!! An English teacher for 20 years, I can tell that you made quite a few errors in pronouncing these phonics. Stop right away, and don't waste learners' time.

  17. [a] 1:30 / [ɔ] 1:41 / [ɛ] 1:54 / [i] 2:07 / [ɪ] 2:19 / [æ] 2:33 / [ʌ] 2:45 / [ə] 2:56 / [ʊ] 3:07 / [ɜ] 3:20 / [u] 3:33

  18. I swear I pronounce hot and body more like the second example, but those two are pronounced differently in different places, and the two sounds themselves are nearly identical.

  19. It's not useful to teach IPA, it just adds an unnecessary wrinkle. Most ESOL students pick up words randomly and without a pronunciation guide. Why not focus on just short and long vowels, and the basic rules for those, and then the exceptions, dipthongs, etc? In the US, elementary school students don't use IPA to learn phonics. Your videos are helpful and I often recommend them to students, but some of the things in this aren't practical and lean toward outdated approaches to phonics.

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  21. Pretty sure the schwa sound is just short u, right……it sounded different when you said the sound before using the examples

  22. Some of this info is incorrect (confused the pronunciation in words like 'lawyer' and 'father because in her dialect her examples are pronounced the same way)….

  23. Thank you so much Rachel…..this is the video I was looking for…. thank you so much for describing smoothly the pronounciation of different letters with accent…

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