phonetics

Phonetics: English sounds /r/

R

  • The sound /r/ is quite different to the Spanish /r/. The English /r/ is not articulated with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth. Rather the front of the tongue (not the tip!) curls upwards and rises towards the top of the mouth cavity.
  • Another big difference between Spanish /r/ and /English /r/ is the in initial position (at the beginning of a word), Spanish /r/ is pronounced like a double ‘r’. Try saying the words rojo and perro. In both words the /r/ is the same. In English initial  rs are much softer and do not vibrate in the same way.

PRONOUNCING ‘R’ AT THE END OF SYLLABLES

  • Another important thing to say about /r/  is that in the English language, pronouncing or not the ‘r’ that comes at the end of a syllable divides the different varieties of the English spoken in the world into two main groups (according to this criteria), rhotic and non-rhotic.
  • Rhotic or non-rhotic refers to the sounding of ‘r’ at the end of syllables e,g, car /ka:/ or /ka:r/.
  • The variety of English spoken in England does not sound the post syllabic ‘r’ whereas General American, Irish English and Scottish English, do pronounce the ‘rs’ at the end of syllables.
  • Some non-rhotic English varieties are: British English and New Zealand English.
  • The spelling of this sound is usually r or rr like in: red and carry /red/ /kæri/
  • Rh like in the word rhyme /raɪm/
  • wr like in write /raɪt/

Samples

READ – CAR – WRITE – WRONG – RHYME – CURRY

phonetics

Phonetics English consonants /dʒ/ /j/

/dʒ/ for job

  • Words with this sound can come with:
    • J like in the word jam /dʒæm/
    • g like in magic /ˈmæɡɪk/
    • dg like in judge /dʒʌdʒ/
    • dj like in adjective /ˈædʒektɪv/

  

/j/ for yes

  • The spelling of this sound is:
    • y like in the word yes /jes/
    • i like in onion /ˈʌnjən/
    • u like in pupil /’pjʋː pəl/
    • ue like in argue /ˈɑːɡjʊː /
    • ew like in new /njʋː /

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phonetics

Phonetics: /ʃ/ /tʃ/

sheep

 /ʃ/    for sheep

  • This sound has a lot of different spellings.
  • Spelt ‘sh’: shoe /ʃʊː /
  • ‘ch’ like in the word ‘machine’ /mə’ʃiː n/
  • -s, -ss like in: sure and passion /ʃʊə/ or  /ʃɔː /  /’pæʃən/
  • -ti like in the word nation /ˈneɪʃən/
  • -ci like in special /ˈspeʃəl/
  • -ce like in ocean /əʊʃən/
  • -si like in mansion /ˈmænʃən/

cheap

/tʃ/ for cheap

  • This sound has a lot of different spellings.
  • Spelt ch like chair /tʃeə/
  • tch like in watch /wɒtʃ/
  • -ti like in question /ˈkwestʃən/
  • tu like in nature /ˈneɪtʃə/

Notice the difference between these pairs of words:

 

 

SHEEP/CHEAP – SHARE/CHAIR – NATION/NATURE – SHIP/CHIP

phonetics

Phonetics: /ɵ/ & /ð/

/ɵ/ for three

  • Always spelt ‘th’.
  • Some words with this sound are: thief, method, health, breath.
  • The transcription of these words are: /θi:f/ /’meθəd/ /helθ/ /θri:/
  • This sound is made without the effect of vocal cords and placing the tip of the tongue on the back of our two front our upper teeth (incisor).
  • Listen and try to repeat the words.

 /ð/ for there.

  • Always spelt ‘th’.
  • Some words with this sound are: this, there, father and mother.
  • The transcription of these words are: /ðɪs/ /ðeə/  /’fɑ:ðə/ /’mʌðə/
  • On the contrary to /ɵ/, to this sound is made with the effect of vocal cords ( sounded) although the position of the tongue is the same as in the  /ɵ/
  • Listen and try to repeat the words.

 

phonetics

Phonetics /k/ & /g/

/k/ for cat

  • Regularly spelt with c, cc, q, or k .
  • Sometimes k is in the spelling of the word but it is not pronounced like in know or knife.
  • Some words with this sound are: cat, cake, consequence

The transcription of these words are: /kæt/ /keik/ /’kɒnsəkwəns/

 /g/ for game

  • Regularly spelt with g,gg, gh and gu.
  • Some words with this sound are: go, egg, ghost and guitar.
  • The transcription of these words are: /ɡəʊ/ /eɡ/ /ɡəʊst/ /ɡɪ’tɑː /
  • Some words contain a g in the spelling that does not sound: sign, high, reign and light. Notice that these words are spelt with a -gn- or a gh.The phonetic transcription is: /saɪn/ /haɪ/ /laɪt/ /raɪn/.
  • Some other words contain a g in the spelling that sounds as a /dʒ/ (we will see this sound in following lessons). This happens with words that have a d in front of a g like in hedge and sledge or a g followed by an -e as in cage.

Try to pay attention to the difference in sound of these pairs of words.

cap – gap     clue-glue      back-bag      duck-dug      crate-great

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phonetics

Phonetics: English consonants /t/ /d/

/t/ for ten

  • Regularly spelt with t, tt or th.
  • Some words with this sound are: ten, little, sit.
  • The transcription of these words are: /ten/ /lɪtl/ /sɪt/

 /d/ for dog

  • Regularly spelt with d or dd.
  • Some words with this sound are: dog, deed, dear, suddenly, hard.
  • The transcription of these words are: /dɒɡ/ /di:d/ /sʌdənli/ /hɑː:d/
phonetics

Phonetics: The English consonants /p/ /b/

/p/ /b/

/p/ for pen

  • Regularly spelt with p o pp and but not in the word hiccough /’hikʌp/
  • Sometimes p is in the spelling of the word but it is not pronounced like in psychology that sounds as if it were ‘s’ or cupboard were this letter is silent.
  • Ph usually sounds like British /f/ like: elephant, philology, physics.
  • Some words with this sound are: pen, cap, pupil, puppet.
  • The transcription of these words are: /pen/ /kæp/ /pju:pə/ /pʌpɪl/

 /b/ for boy

  • Regularly spelt with b.
  • The letters ‘b’ and ‘v’ are pronounced in the same way in Spanish. This does not happen in the English language as they have different sounds.
  • Sometimes b is in the spelling but it does not sound like in the words climb and lamb.
  • Some words with this sound are: boy, ball, about, rubber and problem.
  • The transcription of these words are: /bɔɪ/ /bɔː:l/  /ə’baʊt/ /’rʌbə/ /’prɒbləm/

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