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International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) English Pronunciation, Lesson 01

The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA in short, will help you learn how to pronounce correctly each and every word in English! But first, you need to learn what it is, and how to use it. Read the following explanation, and watch the videos. Answer the questions in the end to test your understanding. The English language may have only 26 letters, but it has over 40 different sounds! You need to be familiar with each sound, and its proper pronunciation in order for you to speak natural English. Watch the following video to see how learning the sounds of English can help you improve your English pronunciation:

So, how can you learn the sounds of English? There is a special system that uses a group of symbols to represent each sound. Follow our tutorial to learn what sound each symbol indicates, and how to pronounce that sound correctly. That way, you will learn and practice the actual sounds of English! Here is the place to mention that this tutorial covers American pronunciation only.
Some Definitions The system of symbols is called International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA in short. Phonetic means "using special signs to represent the sounds of speech". It comes from the Greek word phone which means "sound". Vowel is a sound we make when the breath flows out through the mouth freely, without being blocked. The English letters a, e, i, o, u are called vowels, because they represent such sounds. It comes from the Latin word vox which means "voice". Diphthong is a vowel sound made by pronouncing two vowels quickly one after the other. For example, the vowel sound in "loud" is a diphthong. It comes from the Latin word diphthongus which means "two sounds". Consonant is a sound we make that is not a vowel. The breath is somehow blocked on its way out of the mouth. For example, the sound B is made when breath flow is stopped with the lips. All the English letters which are not vowels are called consonants. These are: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z.

Watch the following video to learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet. It also gives a quick review of the sounds we will learn later.

Have you read the explanations and watched the videos? Great! You are almost ready to move on to the next lesson, but before that, make sure you know the answers to the following questions: 1. How many sounds (more or less) are there in the English language? 2. What is the IPA? 3. How can the IPA help YOU? 4. What is a vowel? 5. What is a diphthong? 6. What is a consonant? Have you answered the questions? Awesome! Well done! You have completed the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) lesson. Let's move on...

Word Stress and Syllables English Pronunciation, Lesson 02


Word stress and syllables are the next important things to learn about English pronunciation and accent.

Syllables
A syllable is a word, or part of a word, which contains a single vowel sound. It is a single unit of speech. Each word contains one syllable, or more. 1 Syllable Here are examples of words with a single syllable: pen man pig cup hat In English, a vowel sound can be made of more the one vowel letter. So the following words have a single syllable as well: feet moon cake have break bought All of these words contain only one vowel sound, and therefore a single syllable. 2 Syllables A word can have more than one syllable. The following words are examples of words with two syllables. Here are examples of words with 2 syllables. The different syllables are shown on the right, and they are separated with a space. garden: gar den hotel: ho tel consist: con sist object: ob ject focus: fo cus 3 Syllables Examples of words with three syllables: September: sep tem ber department: de part ment telephone: te le phone camera: ca mer a Saturday: sa tur day hamburger: hum bur ger vitamin: vi ta min 4 Syllables Examples of words with four syllables: kindergarten: kin der gar ten information: in for ma tion January: ja nu ar y

American: A mer i can discovery: di sco ver y

That is not all, of course. There can be words with even more syllables. But you get the point, right?

Word Stress
When a word has more than one syllable, not all syllables are pronounced with the same degree of force. The syllable which is pronounced with greater force is called the stressed syllable. You can also call it the accented syllable. "Accent" in this case means "emphasis". When speaking, it is important to put the stress on the correct syllable. Otherwise, it would sound unnatural, and might even be difficult to understand! Watch the following video for a full explanation and demonstration of word stress:

Here are some examples of the word stress of some common words (the stress part is bold): water: wa ter people: peo ple television: tel e vi sion together: to geth er potato: po ta to before: be fore begin: be gin

Now, have you read all the explanations and watched the video? Very good! Click Here for the special American Pronunciation Course! You are almost ready to move on to the next lesson, but before that, make sure you know the answers to the following questions: 1. What is a syllable? 2. What is a stresses syllable/accented syllable? 3. How can you know where to put the stress for each word while speaking? Have you answered the questions? Awesome! Well done! You have completed the Word Stress and Syllables lesson.

Long E Sound i (meet, see) English Pronunciation, Lesson 03


The long E sound (IPA symbol: i) can be found in words such as: see, meet, heat, read, key. Watch the following video from Dave Sconda, the one and only, to learn how to pronounce this sound correctly:

Have you watched it? Good! Let's practice... Say these words out loud (long E sound is bold): 1) see 2) meet 3) meat 4) heat 5) read 6) eat 7) key 8) free 9) leave 10) breathe 11) feet 12) please 13) sneeze 14) freeze 15) bleed 16) need 17) feel

Now say these sentences out loud (long E sound is bold): 1) I want to see my feet. 2) I need to sneeze. 3) Read my book, please. 4) Give me the key, please. 5) They feel good when they meet. 7) We need some heat. 8) He eats all the meat. 9) We need to be free. 10) Please don't leave. 11) When I freeze I start to sneeze.

Have you finished them all? Cool!