Pronunciation Packet (Yellow)

Printable PDF version of the Pronunciation Packet


 Deborah’s Intermediate Pronunciation Reference Set

Spring 2016


  1. Basic Vowel Sounds
  2. Introduction to Phonetics
  3. IPA Phonetic Symbols
  4. 4: Vowel sounds U, O, er
  5. Linking Sounds
  6. The Schwa Sound
  7. Common Stress Patterns
  8. Contrastive Stress
  9. First song: For Baby (cloze)




  A E I O U
“Short” sound


(one vowel alone, or separated by 2 consonants)
















“Long” sound


(two vowels-firs one says its name, second one silent)













[iu, u]



Other [æo/ æu]


















Spelling/Pronunciation Rules (This is English! There are always many exceptions to the rules.)

The short sounds are usually made with one vowel alone (cat, yes, it, box, us), or vowels that are separated by at least two consonants (apple, ladder, angry).

*(spelling exceptions: go [gou], so [sou], do [du], won’t [wount], he, she, me [mi], hi [hai], find)


The long sounds are usually made with two vowels.  The first one says its name and the second one is silent (came, rain, mean, see, like, wine, hope, soap, use, suit)

*(spelling exceptions:  head [hƐd], does [dʌz], have [hæv], said [sƐd], love [lʌv] )


The short O sound is made with one O (shop) or with an A before L or R or after W (call, car, water)

The long I sound is made with an I followed by a silent E (like) or with IGH (light, night, high)


When you add ED or ING, you only double the letter if it’s after a “short” sound (stopped, sitting).  The other way to tell is if the spelling is CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) before you add the ending.  “Stop” is CCVC, so the last C must be doubled (stopping).  “Keep” is CVVC, so the P does not need to be doubled (keeping).


The [ər] sound can be made with any vowel.  It’s most often made with “er” (teacher, painter), but can be made with others (girl, word, hurt, learn)


There is another sound, the Schwa, which can be very similar to the short I or the short U sounds.  It is used in many English words where the syllable is not stressed.  It’s the sound of the unstressed syllables in banana, about, concern, effect, nation and many others.  It can be spelled with any vowel.

INTRODUCTION TO PHONETICS                                      [ıntrədʌkʃən tu fənəɛʈıks]

There are at least two sounds for every vowel in English.  Some people call the main two sounds the “short” sound and the “long” sound.

SHORT                                                                LONG                    

A                                [æ]  apple, hand                                             [ei]  make, day

E                                [ɛ]  yes, bed                                                      [ii]  meet, sea

I                                 [ı]  is, sit                                                             [ai]  like, right

O                                [ɒ]  hot, box                                                      [ou]  coat, drove

U                                [ʌ]  bus, study                                                 [iu]  music, human

[u]  blue, suit

You need 2 vowels to make the “long” sound.  If you have only one vowel, it will probably have the “short” sound.  (exception:  “igh” makes a long “i” sound, as in night)

Practice with short and long vowel sounds.  Mark the word with “S” for short or “L” for long:

bus   _____           coat  _____         soap    _____            jump    _____         cat        _____

red    _____           leaf   _____         zip       _____            light      _____         pen      _____

cute  _____           must                  _____     robe            _____      rob           _____     fox          _____

steal _____           man  _____         snail    _____            desk      _____         drum  _____

feet   _____           gift    _____         pie       _____            block    _____         ship     _____

home _____         brush_____        June    _____            flag        _____         back    _____

grape  _____        men  _____         need    _____            spot      _____         bake    _____

hose _____           gun   _____         fruit     _____            chips    _____         bill       _____

plan  _____           plane_____         fell       _____            feel        _____         bite      _____





“Short” Vowels

æ        cat, apple, man, fat, have

Ɛ         bed, yes, send, yellow

I        sit, is, it, window

ɒ       hot, stop, walk, mall

ʌ       up, bus, under, ugly


“Long” Vowels

ei       make, day, rain

iy       see, meet, read

ai       night, I, hi, bike

oƱ      no, coat, phone

iu      use, cute, music

u       you, food, new


Other Vowels


Ʊ       book, good, foot

ͻ        water, caught (New York)

ər       learn, bird, word, nurse

ə        (“schwa”) banana, about, the






Voiced Consonants

b       bed, book

v         very, Valentine

z          zoo, zipper

d         dog, daughter

g          good, get

m        money, mom

n         nice, new

r          run, room

l           love, luck



Unvoiced Consonants

p         (+air)  paper, pick

f           food, fix

s          soup, sit

t          teacher, tall

k         kitchen, keep


Special Consonants

ʃ        she, fish, shoe, sure (unvoiced)

tʃ       chips, teach, chair (unvoiced)

Ʒ       usual, Asian, measure (voiced)

dƷ     judge, George, jump (voiced)

Ɵ       thing, with, teeth (unvoiced)

ð       the, this, they  (voiced)

ŋ        thing, sing, angry (voiced)

ƫ        (“flap”)







U            up

[Ʌ]           bus                                          sun                                           ___us











[Ʊ]]                pull


[ər]              teacher












U              use


[u/iu]           fruit































  1. a) Every initial vowel wants to pull the consonant in front of it.

It is → i dis     look after → lu  kafter


  1. b) Link vowels with ‘y’ after e, i. Link vowels with ‘w’ after o, u.

the Yend    go Won    he  Yis    You  Ware



  1. c) Syllables prefer to start with consonants.

po-ta-to   re-so-lu-tion


  1. d) Break syllables between vowels, between consonants or between vowel and consonant

(not between consonant and vowel)


Re-in-vent   hal-ted   so-fa


  1. e) d + y = j


would you?  [wudju]   Did you?  [didju]


  1. f) t + y = ch


how about you?  [how bou chu]    don’t you?  [donchu]


  1. g) d or t changes to flap sound between vowel sounds, but not before a stressed syllable

this applies to sentence stress as well as word stress


potato [po TA  do]    go to work  [goda work]



you will read:                         you will write the phonetic links:

it is.                                         I•dIz

is it?                                         I•zIt

would you like a drink?          wu•dju•lai•kƏ•drink?



  1. it isn’t


  1. six instead of seven


  1. go over the exam


  1. twelve eyes on alert






The Schwa Sound

The schwa sound is made in unstressed syllables or unstressed words.

It can be pronounced [ʌ] like a short “U” or [I] like a short “I”, but is usually reduced to half of a sound.  Sometimes it disappears altogether and is only held by timing.

It’s written [ə].


Common schwa situations:

  1. One short syllable is before the main stressed syllable.

about               across              asleep              ago                  abandon          canal

professor         remember        computer         banana             embarrass        exception

excess              fulfill               illiterate           compatible       prevent            (dis)appoint


  1. Final sound after a main stressed syllable.

China               chocolate


  1. Words with two strong syllables have schwa between them

accommodate  miniature         accidental        category          telephone         medicine


  1. Many suffixes “al” “tion” “ous” “ant” “ent” – afterthoughts to the words – are almost always pronounced with the schwa

casual              occasion(al)     nation              preparation      creation           serious

courteous         relevant           ancient             patient



Sometimes the schwa sound disappears completely as in:

family              chocolate         comfortable     vegetable         memory           interesting

evening            history             laboratory        basically          every               business

diamond          aspirin              opera               preference       favorite            diaper


Or almost gone/optional in:

similar              literal               nursery            camera             elementary       virtually

general             different          actually            several             ivory                temperature



Sentence level schwa sounds

Function words such as articles, prepositions, pronouns, and auxiliaries can become reduced to a schwa when they are in a sentence.  The content words such as nouns, verbs and adjectives don’t usually do this.


  1. The back of the chair is leaning to the right.
  2. I’d like a cheeseburger with a bag of chips…and can you hold the onions?
  3. I’ll be home for the holiday to see my brother and his family.
  4. Can you use a computer already, or do I need to show you?





Common Stress Patterns


  1. One short syllable is before the main stressed syllable.

about               across              asleep              ago                  expensive        diploma

professor         remember        computer         banana             embarrass        exception

responsible      fulfill               illiterate           compatible       prevent            equipment



  1. A short final sound or sounds come after a first stressed syllable.

China               chocolate         general             category          different          camera

temperature     several             instant             careless            member           confidence

permanent       national           attitude            English            manager           miniature



  1. Two strong stresses [ _—_—_ ]

accommodate        analytical         accidental        telephone         manufacture

complimentary      personality       relationship      occupation       absolutely



  1. One stressed syllable comes after several unstressed syllables. [ _  _  — _ ]

elementary       discontinue      engineering      electricity        university        interpretation



  1. Suffixes “al” “tion” “ous” “ant” “ent” are almost always short and low.

casual              occasion(al)     national           preparation      creation           serious

courteous         relevant           ancient             patient             industrial



  1. Verb (1st) and Noun (next to last) patterns – with suffix

implicate        implication              conjugate   conjugation             register     registration

segregate        segregation             recreate      recreation                specialize specialization



  1. Noun (1st) and Verb (last) patterns – same spelling

record              combat            export              progress           project             refund

subject             present             produce           contrast           contest             permit

conflict            import              insult               digest              object              suspect



  1. Compound or Matched Words

bookcase         baseball           oven mitt         brake pedal      cat hair            toothbrush

datebook         bedroom          puppy dog       courthouse       basketball        English Teacher



  1. Other related words with very different stress patterns

photograph      photography

agriculture       agricultural




Contrastive Stress


Content Words                                              Function Words

(stressed in speech, capitalized in titles)          (schwa in speech, not capitalized in titles)

Noun, verb, adjective, adverb                         article, preposition, auxiliary, pronoun, conjunction


  1. The back of the chair is leaning to the right.
  2. I’d like a cheeseburger with a bag of chips…and can you hold the onions?
  3. I’ll be home for the holiday to see my brother and his family.
  4. Can you use a computer already, or do I need to show you?



Key Sentences


She wants one of those little radios.

1       2      3           4       5       6


1.__Not him_________________

2.__Not needs_______________

3.__Not two_________________



He wanted  a new  salad fork.

1       2       3   4       5       6







Anna’s sister  is driving  to Reno

1          2           3              4






Did you give my watch  to the man  in a sweater?

1      2     3      4                  5                 6




































“For Baby”

By John Denver


I’ll walk in the _______ by your side,

I’ll cling to the warmth of your  _______.

I’ll do  _________  to keep you satisfied,

I’ll  _______  you more than ___________ can.

And the wind  _______ whisper your  _______ to me,

Little _______ will sing along in _______.

Leaves will bow  _______  when you  _______  by

And  _______  bells will chime.


I’ll be  _______ when you’re  _______  down

To  _______ away the tears _______ you  _______.

I’ll share with  _______  all the happiness I’ve  _______,

A reflection of the _______ in your  _______.

And I’ll  _______ you the songs of the  ___________,

A whisper of the  _______  that is _______.

Leaves will  _______  down when you walk _______

And morning  _______ will chime.


_______  walk in  _______  rain by _______ side,

I’ll  _______  to the warmth of your  _______  hand.

I’ll do anything to  _______  you  __________,

_______  I’ll love you _______ than anybody  _______

And  _______ wind will  ___________  your name  _______  me,

_______  birds will sing _______ in time.

__________ will bow down when _______ walk by

And morning  _______ will  _______.






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