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70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation that was devised in the 19th century as a standardised way of representing the sounds of speech in written form. The British English IPA chart consists of 44 symbols representing the pure vowels (monophthongs), the gliding vowels (diphthongs), and the consonant sounds of spoken British English. The Britlish Library contains a wealth of lessons to help you to learn, remember, and use the British English IPA symbols efficiently whether you are a student or a teacher.

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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons

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The Periodic Table of the Elements

How to say all of the 118 elements of the periodic table while learning about comparatives and superlatives. I’m not a chemist, I’m an English teacher. That much, I hope, is apparent to you by now. I did, however, study Chemistry at school and found it fascinating. I thought it would be fun to make this English Activation Pack if only to refresh my own memory of the names of the elements. For those students out there who have an interest in the periodic table and the chemical elements, this English Activation Pack will ensure that you can correctly pronounce them all with a British accent. Some of the elements are pronounced differently in American English. This English Activation Pack also looks at superlatives and comparatives in English. Most of the information about the elements contains comparative or superlative forms to give you plenty of examples of how to use them. There are also exercises at the back of the eBook to give you some practice using comparative and superlatives in English.  


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The Pig

The poem is written with 8 syllables per line, and a rhyming word at the end of a pair of lines. oOoOoOoO is the stress pattern and this is a good poem with which to practice the rhythm of English. You can listen to the poem and match the IPA transcriptions with the original Latin script. There are also exercises to help you practice some of the new vocabulary and expressions from in the poem. Poems are a great way of learning about the rhythm of English, and this poem is particularly amusing.      


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The Soldier

Perhaps one of the most famous World War I poems, The Soldier, by Rupert Brooke is known at least in part by most British people as it is often used on military memorials. The poem is one of a series of 5 sonnets that Brooke wrote on themes from the war published as 1914. This evocative and poignant poem romanticises the war rather than focussing on the grim realities. At the time Brooke wrote the poem, in the early years of the war, bodies of the dead were buried near where they fell and there are vast graveyards of British soldiers in foreign fields. Using patriotic language, the poem represents the idealism of the early days of the war which would be replaced by the horror of mechanised warfare as the war dragged on. Brooke would himself lie buried in a corner of a foreign field in 1915.


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The Tyger

Written sometime between 1790 and 1792, Blake's The Tyger is one of the most famous of English poems much loved by children and adults alike. The poem asks questions about what sort of creator would come up with something as fearful as a tiger. This lesson will teach you the poem, some background details about the poet, the vocabulary in the poem, and the IPA symbols used to represent the pronunciation of the poem. There is much debate today about the pronunciation of the words eye and symmetry and whether in Blake's time they rhymed or not.


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The Vagabond

The Vagabond is one of the poems from Robert Louis Stevenson's Songs of Travel and Other Verses published in 1896. In this lesson you will learn some of the vocabulary in the poem, as well as improving your pronunciation skills and your knowledge of the British English IPA chart and symbols. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish travel writer, poet, essayist, and novelist. He is best known for Treasure Island, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Kidnapped. He is the 26th most translated author in the world.


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The Weak Was

In normal fast-spoken speech some words are not prominent, and we only hear the strong form of these words in certain circumstances. The words that we normally only hear the weak form of include was, as well as the other forms of the verb to be: is, am, are, and were. The children’s rhyme, Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bear, shows how these weak forms are necessary for the correct pronunciation and rhythm of English.


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The Windhover

Widely anthologised, The Windhover, by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884-1889), though dedicated To Christ our Lord, is a rapturous love poem to life itself. Hopkins struggled to balance his vocation as a Catholic Jesuit servant of God and his poetical yearnings. Because of this, and his experimental use of new metrical forms, and his religious faith, his poetry was largely unrecognised when he died aged 44. It was not until 1918 that his poems were first published. This poem remains one his best known and will help you with your pronunciation, your vocabulary, and your mastery of the IPA symbols. The lesson also has a prose interpretation to help you better understand the poem.


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Unpredictability

Many English multisyllable words are made up of many parts including prefixes and suffixes, and if you learn the most common prefixes and suffixes, you can expand your vocabulary dramatically. The word unpredictability has two secondary stresses as well as the main stress that is found in all English words. It’s unusual for a word to have more than one secondary stress, but this is the result of unpredictability being composed of so many parts. There are several negative prefixes in English. The most common are: de, dis, il, im, in, ir, mis, and un. This lesson will introduce you to some of them as well as helping you to pronounce them. I also look at prominence for effect. 


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Vowel in Ant / æ /

Activate the Vowel in Ant / æ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the ninth of the pure vowels / æ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / æ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / æ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / æ / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / æ / - The short vowel sound / æ / has these letter combinations: A in 99% of cases and rarely with AI, EI, and I. There are three other vowel sounds that cause confusion with the / æ / sound. 


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Vowel in Art / ɑː /

Activate the Vowel in Art / ɑː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eleventh of the pure vowels / ɑː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɑː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɑː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɑː / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / ɑː / This long vowel sound has these letter combinations: AR, EAR, ER, A, AL, AU, and OIR. There are two other vowel sounds that cause confusion with the / ɑː / sound. We already looked at the following minimal pairs: / ɑː / vs / æ / – Vowel in Ant – Pack 9 / ɑː / vs / ʌ / – Vowel in Sun – Pack 10 I won’t be repeating these minimal pairs in this Pronunciation Activation Pack. Instead, we’ll look at the important Trap-Bath Split. I will explain all about the Trap-Bath split in the Pronunciation Activator and show you why it is important in RP or BBC English.


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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons


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