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Britlish Library - Pronunciation 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.

60 Pronunciation Lessons

Alphabetical Categories

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There are only two English words which end with the -cuit letter combination and both cause pronunciation problems for students. This lesson will look at both words, circuit and biscuit, and show you how to correctly pronounce them. It will also look at some sentences and expressions which use these words and will look at the speech features in those sentences. Features like the linking R, syll...

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A syllabic consonant is a consonant that is pronounced as a syllable. The two main syllabic consonants in English are /l/ or /n/ sounds. The /n/ in the final syllable of words occurs in words like listen, while the /l/ syllabic consonant occurs at the end of word such as bottle. Syllabic consonants occur mainly in the final syllable of words but can also occur at the beginning or within words, too...

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A syllabic consonant is a consonant that is pronounced as a syllable. The two main syllabic consonants in English are /l/ or /n/ sounds. The /l/ syllabic consonant occurs at the end of the word bottle, while the /n/ occurs in words like listen. Syllabic consonants occur mainly in the final syllable of words. In this lesson, we will look at the 11 possible letter combinations that can result in ...

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A vocabulary and pronunciation activator which will help you with the following words: try, entry, gantry, pantry, poetry, pastry, paltry, sultry, wintry, country, poultry, ancestry, industry, forestry, toiletry, dentistry, chemistry, carpentry, circuitry, and psychiatry. Not only will you learn how to use each of the words, but you will also learn how to pronounce sentences using them. I have ...

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When do we use the /s/ sound and when do we use the /z/ sound, and what’s the difference? Let’s find out… The two sounds /s/ and /z/ are very close and cause endless confusion for students. There are some rules and the rules are normally to do with the voiced and unvoiced sounds. A voiced sound is that made when we use our vocal cords. /z/ is the voiced form of the sound /s/,...

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If we look at the words homophone and homonym we see that they both start with homo which means same. In the last part of homophone, phone means sound and in homonym, nym means name. Homophone means words that have the same sound but different meanings. There are several hundred homophones in Engl...

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A look at how and why speech is broken up into parts, or segments, and how this segmentation affects pronunciation. This lesson will help you to hear the breaks in speech that we get at speech segment boundaries but not within the segments themselves. This look at this important feature of pronunciation also looks at content and function words and shows how these words are hear prominently or l...

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A quick look at how not all English from Britain sounds the same and how it can be quite confusing for students. There are 100s of regional accents and many distinct dialects in Britain. Many English people have difficulty understanding some of the more unusual varieties of English found in the British Isles, so it's no surprise that students of English are completely confounded when they first...

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Lost or dropped syllables are an important feature of British English pronunciation. Every word has at least one syllable, and many have more. Some words lose a syllable when speaking in order to make it easier to keep the underlying rhythm of English. This lesson explains in detail what syllables are and shows you which words lose syllables when speaking. The exercises in the interactive quiz ...

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The lyric poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also commonly known as Daffodils, is Wordsworth’s most famous poem. I have designed this lesson as a way of showing you the rhythm of English. Because of their structure, poems like this one are a very useful way of demonstrating the typical rhythm of the English language. In this lesson you will first listen to the poem, then read it, and the...

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Whether you are English, Chinese, Polynesian, Russian, or any other nationality, you share the same anatomy as me. This anatomy, in terms of our vocal tract, limits the sounds that we can easily say in a sentence. Of the two types of sounds in English, consonants and vowels, we cannot easily say two vowel sounds one after the other. Linking sounds bridge the gap between such d...

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Ellipsis is the missing out of words or sounds. When writing, it is shown by the ellipsis sign of three dots … When speaking, we just don’t hear certain words in a sentence. It’s not that the words are not present, just that they are obvious and need not be spoken. Ellipsis can cause considerable problems for students of English who are used to saying every word in a sentence...

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Normally, pronouns are used after we have mentioned something. Pronouns stand in for the nouns, compound nouns, and proper nouns in a sentence, so that we don’t have to repeat ourselves. Generally, pronouns need something to refer back to. The pronoun, it, however, is a different kettle of fish. The pronoun, it, can be used for what is sometimes called the empty pron...

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Fixed pairs, or fixed binomials, are pairs of words separated by a conjunction, which are always used in the same order. They sound unnatural if they are used in the wrong order. If you learn how to use these fixed pairs, your English will be more natural and fluent and, as with phrasal verbs or idioms, you will have learnt an important aspect of English. So, if you are sick and tired ...

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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, then read and listen, then listen while you read the IPA transcription.There is also an English Activator at the end of the pack to give you some p...

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Practice hearing the changes in fast spoken speech. When we speak quickly, sounds that we expect to hear may be missing. It’s not only sounds that go missing in fast spoken English. Whole words may disappear, too. Sounds also change in fast spoken English and some words will not sound the same as they do when spoken slowly, or the way they are shown in dictionaries. In these exercises, I ...

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An explanation of function and content words in English. The difference between function and content words is one of the key factors in English sentence stress and the rhythm of English. This lesson help you to better understand them. I’ve used the terms function and content words several times in this course up to now. I thought it was a good time to tell you what they are. Function word...

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Learn about pronunciation in connected speech and how it can lead to missed or added sounds. When students begin to learn English, they learn words in isolation. Teachers drill their students to pronounce individual words as though these words will always sound the same. Yet, words are seldom heard in isolation, and are usually produced in a stream of sound. In the stream of sound, words join t...

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Learn about and practice syllables and word stress. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack, we are going to practice hearing the correct stress in English words. First, we will practice counting the syllables in words. Then, we will practice hearing where the main stress is in words. Finally, we will look at a comedy sketch which shows what happens when you mispronounce English words. Sounds Bri...

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Any student of English will have quickly become aware that the spelling of English appears to have been devised by a lunatic. The few spelling “rules” that exist are of little use, as most have multiple exceptions. The absurdity of English spelling has inspired many teachers and writers to demonstrate just how ridiculously complicated it is. Chief among these was Gerard Nolst Trenit...

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Activate the consonant semivowel sounds / w / in Wasp and / j / in Yellow. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / w / and / j /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / w / and / j / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / w / and / j / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / w / ...

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Activate the consonant approximant sounds / l / in Lamb and / r / in Ram. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / l / and / r /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / l / and / r / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / l / and / r / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / l / a...

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Activate the consonant sound / h / in Hat. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the unvoiced glottal fricative consonant sound / h /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / h / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / h / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / h / sound correctly. The / h / sound is a ...

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Activate the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / m n ŋ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / m n ŋ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / m n ŋ / sounds correctly. The / m n ŋ / soun...

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Activate the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds correctly. ...

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English spelling is difficult because the way we pronounce words does not always match the way they are written. Words can also contain letter combinations that sound differently in different words. I have designed this Spelling Activation Pack to help you to spell 189 of the most troublesome words in British English. 189-Word Spelling Activator.

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Activate the consonant sounds / s / and / z /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / s / and / z /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / s / and / z / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / s / and / z / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / s / and / z / sounds correctly. ...

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Activate the consonant sounds / θ / and / ð /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / θ / and / ð /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / θ / and / ð / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / θ / and / ð / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produc...

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Activate the consonant sounds / f / and / v /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / f / and / v /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / f / and / v / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / f / and / v / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / f / and / v / sounds correctly. ...

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Activate the consonant sound / g / in Gun. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / g /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / g / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / g / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / g / sound correctly. The / g / sound is a voiced velar plosive made b...

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Activate the consonant sound / k / in Key. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / k /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / k / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / k / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / k / sound correctly. The / k / sound is an unvoiced velar plosive mad...

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Activate the consonant sound / dʒ / in Jam. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / dʒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / dʒ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / dʒ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / dʒ / sound correctly. The / dʒ / sound is a voiced postalveolar a...

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Activate the consonant sound / tʃ / in Chin. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / tʃ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / tʃ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / tʃ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / tʃ / sound correctly. The / tʃ / sound is an unvoiced postalveol...

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Activate the Vowel in Toy / ɔɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fifth of the gliding vowels / ɔɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɔɪ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɔɪ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɔɪ / sound corr...

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Activate the consonant sound / d / in Duck. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / d /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / d / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / d / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / d / sound correctly. The / d / sound is a voiced alveolar plosive ma...

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Activate the consonant sound / t / in Tattoo. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / t /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / t / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / t / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / t / sound correctly. The / t / sound is an unvoiced alveolar plosi...

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Activate the consonant sound / b / in Bubble. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / b /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / b / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / b / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / b / sound correctly. The / b / sound is a voiced bilabial plosive ...

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Activate the consonant sound / p / in Pepper. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the first of the consonant sounds / p /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / p / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / p / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / p / sound correctly. The / p / sound is a plosive ma...

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An introduction to Britlish English Consonants (I have hayfever so had to use AI voices for this pack). There are 24 consonant sounds in British English. The consonant sounds are shown in the blue box at the bottom of the British English IPA chart, under the vowels. A consonant is a basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partially obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to...

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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. Final...

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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...

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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 corr...

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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 correctl...

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Activate the The Vowel in Bird / ɜː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the seventh of the pure vowels / ɜː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɜː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɜː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɜː / sound ...

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Activate your use of the Schwa, the most common English sound, with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the pure vowels the schwa / ə /. The schwa is the most commonly heard vowel sound in English. The schwa / ə / is a neutral central vowel which occurs as the peak of unstressed syllables. The exact sound and quality of th...

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Activate the Vowel in Train / eɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fourth of the gliding vowels / eɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / eɪ / soun...

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Activate the Vowel in Bear / eə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the third of the gliding vowels / eə /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / eə / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / eə / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / eə / sound cor...

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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 / sou...

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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. T...

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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 corre...

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Activate the Vowel in Woman / ʊ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. The pure vowel sound / ʊ / can be formed by these letter combinations: U, OO, O, OU, OR, and OE. The pronunciation Activator will give you 10 randomly selected questions designed to activate your pronunciation and listening skills regarding the vowel sound in woman. Pronunciation Activation Pack 3 - Vowel in Woma...

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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 ...

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Master the Vowel in Tree / iː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. The biggest problem for students is hearing and producing the difference between the long vowel / iː / and the short vowel / ɪ /. These two sounds are next to each other on the IPA chart and are thus very similar. The difference is one of length, and the Pronunciation Activator will give you lots of practice with m...

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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 ele...

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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 corr...

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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. ...

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Some English words begin with the letter H but don’t start with the / h / sound. This is because these words were borrowed into English from the original French. At first, they kept their French pronunciation, but gradually, over time, most of them became Anglicised and lost their French connection. Some of them, however, refused to lose their “posh” French pronunciation. Thes...

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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 corr...

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Activate The Vowel in Sun / ʌ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the tenth of the pure vowels / ʌ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ʌ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ʌ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ʌ / sound correctly. T...

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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 ...