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99 Pronunciation British English Lessons

No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then you are at a grave disadvantage in regards to your English. These lessons have been designed to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.

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10 of our 99 Pronunciation British English Lessons

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Vowel in Boat / əʊ /

Activate the Vowel in Boat / əʊ / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the seventh gliding vowel / əʊ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / əʊ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / əʊ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / əʊ / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / əʊ / - This gliding vowel sound has these letter combinations: O, OE, OW, OA, and OU, and rarely OUGH, and EAU. There are two other vowel sounds which cause confusion with the / əʊ / sound. These are the / ɔː / and the / ɒ / pure vowel sounds. I looked at the minimal pairs / ɔː / vs / əʊ / in Pronunciation Activation Pack 8 – the Vowel in Horse, so I will not cover it in this lesson. As I promised in Pronunciation Activation Pack 12 – the Vowel in Clock, I will look at the / ɒ / vs / əʊ / minimal pairs in this lesson.


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Vowel in Clock / ɒ /

Activate the Vowel in Clock / ɒ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the last of the pure vowels / ɒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɒ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɒ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɒ / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / ɒ / - This short vowel sound has these letter combinations: O, A (following /w/), OU, OW, AU, and ACH. There are four other vowel sounds that cause confusion with the / ɒ / sound. I won’t be repeating minimal pairs in this Pronunciation Activation Pack. Instead, I’ll look at the / ɒ / vs / ɑː / minimal pairs. I will look at the / ɒ / vs / əʊ / minimal pairs when we look at the / əʊ / gliding vowel sound later in this course.


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Vowel in Ear / ɪə /

Activate the Vowel in Ear / ɪə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. 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. Because we are looking at a gliding vowel / ɪə /, we will look at vowel sound to vowel sound links in this Pronunciation Activation Pack. 


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Vowel in Egg / e /

Activate the Vowel in Egg / e / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fifth of the pure vowels / e /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / e / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / e / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / e / sound correctly. The short pure vowel sound / e / can be formed by these letter combinations: E, EA, A, and rarely U, AI, EI, EO, and IE. There are some vowel sounds in minimal pairs which can cause confusion with the / e / sound for students.


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Vowel in Eye / aɪ /

Activate the Vowel in Eye / aɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the gliding vowels / aɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / aɪ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / aɪ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / aɪ / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / aɪ / - This gliding vowel sound has these letter combinations: I, IE, Y, YE, IGH, and rarely EYE, EIGH, EI, AI, UY, and AE. There are no other vowel sounds that have the potential to cause confusion with the / aɪ / sound. However, because the / aɪ / sound has a large number of letter combinations, in this Pronunciation Activation Pack I’ll look at the spelling of words with the / aɪ / sound in them.


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Vowel in Food / uː /

Activate the Vowel in Food / uː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fourth of the pure vowels / uː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / uː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / uː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / uː / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / uː / The long pure vowel sound / uː / can be formed by these letter combinations: U, OO, O, OU, EW, UE, UI, and OW. A minimal pair is a pair of words which are almost the same except for one different sound, in this case, the vowel sound. There are very few minimal pairs in English using the / uː / sound which can confuse learners. 


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Vowel in Horse / ɔː /

Activate the The Vowel in Horse / ɔː / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eighth of the pure vowels / ɔː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɔː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɔː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɔː / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / ɔː / - The long vowel sound / ɔː / can be found in the following letter combinations: AR, OR, ORE, OUR, OAR, OOR, AU, AUGH, A, AL, AWE, OUGH, OU, OA, and WOR. There are three other vowel sounds that cause confusion with the / ɔː / sound. These are the short pure vowel / ɒ /, and the gliding vowels / əʊ / and / aʊ /. I will focus on these minimal pairs in this Pronunciation Activation Pack. For more information about minimal pairs, look again at Pronunciation Activation Packs 1, 2, and 3. 


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Vowel in Insect / I /

Learn to distinguish and produce the vowel in Insect / I / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. The biggest problem for students is hearing and producing the difference between the vowel / ɪ / and the schwa / ə /. These two sounds are next to each other on the IPA chart and are thus very similar. Both vowels are common in unstressed syllables and even native speakers have trouble distinguishing them. The schwa / ə / rarely carries stress. The Pronunciation Activator and Listening Activator will help you practice using minimal pairs containing the vowel/ ɪ / and the schwa / ə /.


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Vowel in Owl / aʊ /

Activate the Vowel in Owl / aʊ / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eighth and last of the gliding vowels / aʊ /. This is also the last of the 20 British English vowels on our IPA chart. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / aʊ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / aʊ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / aʊ / sound correctly. Letter Combinations for / aʊ / - This gliding vowel sound is the vowel sound with the fewest letter combinations, being formed from only: OU and OW. There are two vowel sound which have the potential to cause confusion with the / aʊ / sound. These are the / ɔː / and the / ɑː / sounds. I looked at the minimal pairs / ɔː / vs / aʊ / in Pronunciation Activation Pack 8 – the Vowel in Horse, so I will not cover it in this lesson. In this lesson, I will look at the / aʊ / vs / ɑː / minimal pairs.


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Vowel in Pure / ʊə /

Activate the Vowel in Pure / ʊə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the one sound on the British IPA chart that is in danger of disappearing in many words. The sound is the / ʊə / sound which used to be heard in words like pure and poor. I say used to be heard, because since the middle of the 20th Century, the / ʊə / sound has been replaced by the / ɔː / sound, so pure / pjʊə / is now / pjɔː /. Though the / ʊə / sound has been replaced by the / ɔː / sound among the young, middle aged RP English speakers may still use the old / ʊə / sound. For anyone who was born after the 1950s, myself included, these pronunciations sound rather old-fashioned and are difficult to produce. This gliding vowel sound has, or rather had, these letter combinations: OOR, OUR, URE, UR, UE, and UA. The biggest problem for students is that the / ʊə / sound is one of the least frequent vowel sounds in British English. It is also becoming less frequent as time goes on, so students ought to follow the modern pronunciation and use the / ɔː / sound in place of the older / ʊə / sound. Purists, particularly older ones, might disagree, but I would argue that the proof of the pudding is in the hearing.  


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10 of our 99 Pronunciation British English Lessons


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