Ear / ɪə /
In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the first of the gliding vowels / ɪə /.
We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɪə / sound.
We will look at lots of words which have the / ɪə / sound in them.
Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɪə / sound correctly.
Now is a good time to introduce you to the concept of linking sounds in British English pronunciation.
Spoken English is like a chain of sounds joined together in short sections.
If we keep the sections linked, it sounds right.
If we break these sections apart, it sounds wrong.
Each link in the chain will be either a vowel or a consonant, and they can be joined in a number of ways.
- Consonant sound to consonant sound links.
- Consonant sound to vowel sound links.
- Vowel sound to consonant sound links.
- Vowel sound to vowel sound links.
Because we are looking at a gliding vowel / ɪə /, we will look at vowel sound to vowel sound links in this Pronunciation Activation Pack.
Vowel Sound to Vowel Sound Linking
A gliding vowel is really two vowel sounds together.
In the case of / ɪə / we start with an / ɪ / and end with a / ə / but we have a problem.
Try saying / ɪ / and / ə / together and you find that you cannot say them without having a gap between them.
They are not linked like a chain as they should be and they sound wrong.
As I said, there are two sets of minimal pairs in English which cause confusion with the / ɪə / sound.
I have created some interesting exercises in the Pronunciation Activator to help you better hear and produce the different vowel sounds.
Each time you do the Pronunciation Activator you will be given some random exercises from a large database of exercises.
The exercises will fully activate your use of the / ɪə / sound for both speaking and listening.
In addition to the Pronunciation Activator, I have included a Vocabulary Activator which will test your knowledge of 139 of the words in the dictionary.
You will be given random definitions of words each time you do the Vocabulary Activator.
This will also give you the opportunity to hear how each word is correctly pronounced in British English.
Add these words to your active vocabulary and make them your own.
I have also compiled a phonetic transcript of all the words and minimal pairs I included in the Pronunciation Activator.
You can read each word and each minimal pair in Latin script alongside the British English IPA transcription.
With your growing understanding of the British English IPA chart, this will help you to see how different letter combinations can produce different sounds.
You can download the phonetic transcriptions as a PDF document from the resources link at the top left of the Pronunciation Activation Pack.
Use it in combination with the dictionary if you are uncertain of the meaning of any of the words included in the list.
Interactive British English IPA Chart
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