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Vowel Sound / ə / (Schwa) as in "ago" - American English Pronunciation
05:32

Vowel Sound / ə / (Schwa) as in "ago" - American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound /ə/ used in words like "America," "pizza," or "address." Practice pronunciation of the /ə/ vowel sound with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Find out about the essential spelling for the /ə/ vowel. Improve your American accent with efficient exercises by practicing your pronunciation of the most common words. Check if you can find something special at the very end of the video! :) Check out our website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /ə/, as in "ago:" 00:00 • How to make the /ə/ sound: 00:53 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:01 • Most common spelling for the sound /ə/: 04:15 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #CentralVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ► Vowel sound /ɪ /, as in "it": https://goo.gl/HJ3kDs ► Vowel sound /ɛ/, as in "bed": https://goo.gl/L7777P ► Vowel sound /ʌ/, as in "us": https://goo.gl/2LT6S2 [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, VIETNAMESE, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we’re going to talk about the American vowel sound /ə/, as in the word "ago." You can also hear this sound in words like "above," "person," "parent," or "action." Please, note, that we’ll be using a special phonetic symbol — /ə/ — for this sound. The /ə/ sound is one of the two most frequently used vowel sounds in American English. In fact, one in every five words has the /ə/ sound. If you want to pronounce it like an American, keep watching. OK, to pronounce the /ə/ sound, you should focus on relaxing your tongue and lips. Slightly open your mouth, relax your lips, and leave them in a neutral position. Place your tongue in the middle of your mouth and relax it. Remember, the /ə/ sound is very relaxed, so your tongue and lips should be relaxed when you pronounce it. Let’s try saying it: /ə/, /ə/, /ə/. [Pronunciation exercise] Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word, if you want to. Let’s begin. • ability • above • abrupt • absence • absent • abyss • academic • accident • accurate • accusal • achieve • achieve • across • action • actual • adapt • addition • address • adequate • adjust • administration • adopt • adult • advance • affect • afraid • Africa • again • against • agency You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, did you know that the /ə/ sound is written as the letter "a" in one-third of all cases? More on the spelling: Most often, the /ə/ sound is written as the letter "a," as in the word "above," then by the letter "o," as in the word "today," and the letter "e," as in the word "even." Less often it’s represented by a combination of the letters "io," as in the word "nation"; the letter "i," as in the word "pencil"; and the letter "u," as in the word "product." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / u / as in "blue"- American English Pronunciation
05:43

Vowel Sound / u / as in "blue"- American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound /u/. Practice pronunciation of the /u/ sound, used in words like "food," "flu," or "cool." Find out about the essential spelling rules for the /u/ vowel. Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Check out a bonus track at the end of the video! :) Check out our website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /u/, as in "blue:" 00:00 • How to make the /u/ sound: 01:06 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:15 • Most common spelling for the sound /u/: 04:30 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #BackVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ►Vowel sound /ʊ/, as in "put": https://youtu.be/moLTR-dLQQY ►Vowel sound /oʊ/, as in "go": https://youtu.be/4kPJLHiiGdU ►Vowel sound /ɔ/, as in "on": https://youtu.be/pr_KAu-_Hmo [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, VIETNAMESE, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we’re going to talk about the American vowel sound /u/, as in the word "blue." You can also hear this sound in words like "rule," "too," "do," or "new." Please, note, that we’ll be using a special phonetic symbol — /u/ — for this sound. The /u/ sound is not unique to American English, but non-native English speakers usually make this sound too relaxed. Listen to these words: "pool" - "pull." If they sound the same to you or if you’re not sure about it, this video might help you. Keep watching, and let’s find out how to make this vowel sound. OK, to make the /u/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw, lips, and tongue. Open your mouth a little and push your lips out, making a small, tense circle. Pull your tongue far back in your throat and tense it. Raise the back of the tongue toward the roof of your mouth. Remember, the /u/ is a tense sound, so your lips and tongue should be tense. Your tongue should be pulled back in your mouth. Let’s try saying it: /u/, /u/, /u/. [Pronunciation exercise] Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word if you want to. Let’s begin. • blew • bloom • blue • boom • boots • broom • chew • choose • cool • crew • dew • do • doom • due • flew • flu • food • fool • fruit • glue • google • goose • grew • group • hoop • juice • June • knew • loop • loose You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, did you know that the /u/ sound is written as the letter 'u' in less than 50% of cases? More on the spelling: the /u/ sound is written as the letter 'u' in 47% of cases. It’s also often written as the combination of the letters 'oo' or as the single letter 'o,' as in the words "too" and "do," respectively. Sometimes, this vowel sound is represented by the combinations of the letters 'ew,' as in the word 'new,' or 'ou,' as in the word "soup." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / ɑ / as in "got"- American English Pronunciation
05:27

Vowel Sound / ɑ / as in "got"- American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound /ɑ/. Practice pronunciation of the /ɑ/ sound, used in words like "hot," "wash," or "calm". Find out about the essential spelling rules for the /ɑ/ vowel. Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by an American speaker. Check out a bonus track at the end of the video! :) By the way, we have a website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /ɑ/, as in "got:" 00:00 • How to make the /ɑ/ sound: 00:52 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:04 • Most common spelling for the sound /ɑ/: 04:17 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #CentralVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ► Vowel sound /ʌ/, as in "us": https://youtu.be/X1utTZqC3AI ► Vowel sound /ɔ/, as in "on": https://youtu.be/pr_KAu-_Hmo ► Contrasting sounds /ʌ/ vs /ɑ/, as in "bus" and "boss": https://youtu.be/MqcCCFptaJk [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, VIETNAMESE, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we’re going to talk about the American vowel sound /ɑ/, as in the word "got." You can also hear this sound in words like "top," "want," "box," or "wash." We’ll be using a special phonetic symbol — /ɑ/ — for this sound. The vowel sound /ɑ/ is pretty common around the world, however, it's sometimes distorted or confused with other vowels in American English. Next, we'll tell you how to make this sound properly and provide exercises for practice. OK, to pronounce the /ɑ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw and tongue. Open your mouth as wide as possible. Relax your lips and allow them to rest in a neutral position. Flatten your tongue and place it very low in your mouth. Your tongue should be in the center of your mouth. The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth. Remember, the /ɑ/ is a very open sound, so your mouth should be open as wide as possible. Let’s try saying it: /ɑ/, /ɑ/, /ɑ/. [Pronunciation Exercise] Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word if you want to. Let’s begin. • aunt • block • Bob • bottle • box • calm • chop • clock • cob • cod • cotton • crop • dock • doll • dot • drop • flock • flop • fond • fox • got • gotten • honk • hop • hot • job • John • knob • knock • knot You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, the /ɑ/ sound is most often written as the letter 'o.' More on the spelling: the letter 'o' stands for the /ɑ/ sound, as in the word "got," in 87% of cases. The remaining 13% belong to the letter 'a,' as in the word "want." Sometimes, this sound is written by the combination of letters 'al,' as in the word "calm." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / ʊ / as in "put" - American English Pronunciation
05:42

Vowel Sound / ʊ / as in "put" - American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound / ʊ / used in words like "good," "full," or "book." Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Practice pronunciation of the / ʊ / vowel sound in everyday words. Learn about the essential spelling rules for the / ʊ/ vowel. Enjoy a surprise bonus at the end of the video! Check out our website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /ʊ/, as in "put:" 00:00 • How to make the /ʊ/ sound: 01:07 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:16 • Most common spelling for the sound /ʊ/: 04:29 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #BackVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ►Vowel sound /u/, as in "blue": https://youtu.be/lkM6CKBM2ns ►Vowel sound /oʊ/, as in "go": https://youtu.be/4kPJLHiiGdU ►Vowel sound /ɔ/, as in "on": https://youtu.be/pr_KAu-_Hmo [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, VIETNAMESE, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we're going to talk about the American vowel sound /ʊ/, as in the word "put." You can also hear this sound in words like "push," "book," "wolf," or "could." We'll be using a special phonetic symbol — /ʊ/ — for this sound. The /ʊ/ sound exists in less than 20% of the world's languages; that's why people often confuse it with the /u/ sound, as in the word "blue." Let's see if you can distinguish between them: "fool" - "full." Can you tell the difference? If you're not quite sure, let's start with learning how to make the /ʊ/ sound. OK, to pronounce the /ʊ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw, lips, and tongue. Slightly open your mouth, round your lips, and relax them. Pull your tongue back in your mouth and relax it. Lift the back of your tongue toward the roof of your mouth. Remember, the /ʊ/ is a relaxed sound, so your tongue and lips should be relaxed, and your tongue should be pulled back. Now, let's try saying it: /ʊ/, /ʊ/, /ʊ/. Now, let's practice this sound in some words. You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word, if you want to. Let's begin. [Pronunciation exercise] • book • brook • bull • bush • cook • could • crook • foot • full • good • hood • hoof • hook • look • looked • looks • poor • pull • pulls • push • pushed • put • shook • should • stood • sure • took • wolf • would • wool You're done! Congratulations! By the way, did you know that the /ʊ/ sound is most frequently written as the letter 'u'? The /ʊ/ sound is represented by the letter 'u,' as in the word "put," in 45% of cases. Almost the same percentage of words with this sound is written as the combination of the letters 'oo,' as in the word "book." The remaining 10% are split between the letter 'o,' as in the word "wolf," and the combination of the letters 'ou,' as in the word "could." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / ʌ / as in "us"- American English Pronunciation
05:28

Vowel Sound / ʌ / as in "us"- American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound /ʌ/ used in words like "but," "come," or "does.” Practice pronunciation of the /ʌ/ vowel sound in most common words. Learn the essential spelling rules for the /ʌ/ vowel. Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Check out a bonus track at the end of the video! :) By the way, we have a website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /ʌ/, as in "us:" 00:00 • How to make the /ʌ/ sound: 00:57 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:04 • Most common spelling for the sound /ʌ/: 04:18 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #CentralVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ► Vowel sound /ə/, as in "ago": https://goo.gl/8w6gD1 ► Vowel sound /ɑ/, as in "got": https://goo.gl/S4pRUV ► Contrasting sounds /ʌ vs /ɑ/, as in "bus" or "boss": https://goo.gl/Muh5ht [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, KOREAN, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the “Sounds American” channel. In this video, we’re going to talk about the American vowel sound /ʌ/, as in the word “us.” You can also hear this sound in words like “but,” “come,” “young,” or “flood.” Please, note, that we’ll be using a special phonetic symbol — /ʌ/ — for this sound. The vowel /ʌ/ exists in only 5% of the world’s languages. It’s no wonder that non-native English speakers often distort it or replace it with more familiar sounds. This video will help get you acquainted with the /ʌ/ and help you make it the right way. Let’s find out how to make this sound. OK, to make the /ʌ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your lips and tongue. Open your mouth a little, relax your lips, and put them in a neutral position. Place your tongue in the middle of your mouth, not too high or too low. Note that the /ʌ/ vowel sound is used in stressed syllables, but your lips and tongue should not be tense. Your tongue should be in the center of your mouth. Let’s try saying it: /ʌ/, /ʌ/, /ʌ/. [Pronunciation exercise] Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word if you want to. Let’s begin. • blood • blush • brush • bubble • buckle • bud • bug • bulb • bulk • bum • bump • bun • bunch • bundle • bungle • bus • but • butt • button • buzz • club • come • couple • crumb • crumble • crush • crust • cub • cuddle • cup You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, the letter 'u' stands for the /ʌ/ sound in 78% of cases. More on the spelling: Most often, the /ʌ/ sound is written as the letter 'u,' as in the word "but," then as the letter 'o,' as in the word "come." Less often it’s represented by the combination of the letters 'ou,' as in the word "young," and 'oo,' as in the word "flood." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / oʊ / as in "go" - American English Pronunciation
05:40

Vowel Sound / oʊ / as in "go" - American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound /oʊ/ used in words like "home," "know," or "coat." Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Practice pronunciation of the /oʊ/ vowel sound in everyday words. Find out about the essential spelling rules for the /oʊ/ vowel. By the way, we have a website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick links: • Vowel sound /oʊ/, as in "go:" 00:00 • How to make the /oʊ/ sound: 01:07 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:24 • Most common spelling for the sound /oʊ/: 04:38 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #BackVowels ► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart: American English Pronunciation https://goo.gl/IwiOIn ►Vowel sound /ɔ/, as in "on": https://youtu.be/pr_KAu-_Hmo ►Vowel sound /ɑ/, as in "got": https://youtu.be/R5CY1UniS68 ►Contrasting sounds /oʊ/ vs /ɔ/, as in "low" and "law": https://youtu.be/ZEqiQgoHgGo [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, KOREAN, PORTUGUESE, AND RUSSIAN SUBTITLES] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we're going to talk about the American vowel sound /oʊ/, as in the word "go." You can also hear this sound in words like "so," "snow," "coat," or "though." We'll be using a special phonetic symbol — /oʊ/— for this sound. Most non-native English speakers easily distinguish the /oʊ/ sound, but some distort it in speech. Read this phrase aloud: "A ghost hopes for a home". If you feel you may have mispronounced this vowel sound, keep watching to learn how to fix this. OK, to pronounce the /oʊ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw, lips, and tongue. Partially open your mouth. Round your lips and make them tense, then pull them in a tighter circle. Pull your tongue back and tense it. Remember, the /oʊ/ is a tense sound, so your lips and tongue should be very tense. Your jaw should be partially lowered. Let's try saying it: /oʊ/, /oʊ/, /oʊ/. [Pronunciation exercise] Now, let's practice this sound in some words. You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word if you want to. Let's begin. • blow • boast • boat • bold • bolt • bone • both • bowl • broke • chose • close • clothes • coach • coal • coast • coat • cold • colt • comb • crow • don't • dope • dough • doze • drove • euro • float • flow • foam • fold You're done! Congratulations! By the way, the /oʊ/ sound is most often represented by the letter 'o,' so when you hear this sound, you may assume that it should be written with this letter. More on the spelling: The /oʊ/ sound is written as the letter 'o' in 80% of cases. The remaining 20% are split between the following combination of letters: 'ow,' as in the word "snow," 'oa,' as in the word "coat," 'ou,' as in the word "though," and 'ew,' as in the word "sew." We, too, like the spelling of the last combination! :). Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Vowel Sound / ɔ / as in "on" - American English Pronunciation
05:50

Vowel Sound / ɔ / as in "on" - American English Pronunciation

Learn how to pronounce the vowel sound / ɔ/ used in words like "bought," "dog," or "call." Improve your American accent with exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist. Practice pronunciation of the / ɔ / vowel sound in everyday words. Find out about the essential spelling rules for the / ɔ/ vowel. Enjoy a surprise bonus at the end of the video! :) By the way, we have a website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick Links: • Vowel sound /ɔ/, as in "on:" 00:00 • How to make the /ɔ/ sound: 00:54 • Pronunciation exercise: 02:13 • Most common spelling for the sound /ɔ/: 04:27 Related videos: #AmericanPronunciation #VowelSounds #BackVowels ►Vowel sound /oʊ/, as in "go": https://youtu.be/4kPJLHiiGdU ►Vowel sound /ɑ/, as in "got": https://youtu.be/R5CY1UniS68 ►Contrasting sounds /oʊ/ vs /ɔ/, as in "low" and "law": https://youtu.be/ZEqiQgoHgGo [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, KOREAN, AND PORTUGUESE SUBTITLES] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we're going to talk about the American vowel sound /ɔ/, as in the word "on." You can also hear this sound in words like "off," "cause," "all," or "saw." We'll be using a special phonetic symbol — /ɔ/ — for this sound. The /ɔ/ can be hard to reproduce for many people and it often gets mispronounced. Keep watching to learn how to avoid shortening this vowel and to practice it in words. Let's find out how to make this sound. OK, to pronounce the /ɔ/ sound, you should focus on the position of your jaw, lips, and tongue. Open your mouth as wide as possible, and round your lips. Flatten your tongue and pull it back. Place your tongue very low in your mouth. The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth. Remember, the /ɔ/ is a very open sound, so your jaw should be as open as possible. Let's try saying it: /ɔ/, /ɔ/, /ɔ/. [Pronunciation exercise] Now, let's practice this sound in some words. You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this. You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word, if you want to. Let's begin. • all • ball • blog • boss • bought • broad • brought • call • called • caught • cause • claw • cloth • cost • cough • coughed • crawl • cross • dawn • dog • Don's • draw • fall • fault • fog • fought • frog • frost • gall • golf You're done! Congratulations! By the way, did you know that the /ɔ/ sound is represented by the letter 'o' in only 30% of cases? More on the spelling: most often, the /ɔ/ sound is written as the letter 'o,' as in the word "on." In the rest of the words with this sound, it's written as the combination of letters 'au,' as in the word "cause," as a single letter 'a,' as in the word "water," and also as the following combination of letters: 'al,' as in the word "call," 'aw,' as in the word "saw," 'ou,' as in the word "thought," and 'oa,' as in the word "broad." Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!
Stop Sounds Overview – American English Pronunciation
12:19

Stop Sounds Overview – American English Pronunciation

80% of English words have at least one stop sound, so if you want to speak like an American, you need to pronounce them correctly. In this video, you can learn little-known aspects of the American stop sounds pronunciation, such as aspiration, flapping, glottal sound, and many others. Liked the video? You'll love our website: https://soundsamerican.net/ Quick Links: • Intro: 00:00 • What are the consonant sounds? 00:20 • What are the stop consonant sounds? 00:53 • Types of stop sounds: 01:14 • Voicing: 02:58 • Aspiration (making a puff of air): 04:01 • Final Stop Rule: 05:05 • Vowel length rule: 06:04 • Positional variations: 07:37 • Flap 'T': 07:58 • Glottal 'T': 08:39 • Dropped /t/: 09:22 • Summary: 10:00 • Stop sounds quiz: 11:19 ------------------------------------------------------------- Related Videos: #AmericanPronunciation #ConsonantSounds #StopSounds ► Consonant Sound / p / as in "pie" https://goo.gl/1u5TcV ► Consonant Sound /b/ as in "boy" https://goo.gl/iazyT2 ► Consonant Sound /t/ as in "toy" https://goo.gl/33QRBa ► Consonant Sound /d/ as in "dog" https://goo.gl/73GE7g ► Consonant Sound /k/ as in "key" https://goo.gl/NVRmpm ► Consonant Sound /g/ as in "gift" https://goo.gl/xHRNu4 [THIS VIDEO HAS ENGLISH, SPANISH, JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, AND PORTUGUESE SUBTITLES!] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel. In this video, we're going to review the stop consonant sounds. Before we start, let's talk about what the consonant sounds are. Here's a definition from Sounds American: A consonant sound is a speech sound in which the air stream is at least partially blocked when leaving your mouth. For example, look at how the air is blocked by the tip of your tongue and flows around it when you make the /l/ sound, as in the word "let." Now, onto the stops sounds. This is the second largest group of consonant sounds in American English. Why are they called the stop sounds? Because when you pronounce them, the air stream is first stopped - or blocked - in your mouth and then released with a puff. For example, the /p/ sound as in the word "pie" is a stop consonant. Types of Stop Sounds In this introduction to the stop consonants, we'll cover the basics. In our future videos, we'll talk about each stop sound in detail and provide practice exercises. There are six distinct stop sounds in American English. They differ by how and where you stop the air in your mouth. • You can stop the air with your lips and make the /p/ or /b/ sounds, like in the words "pie" and "buy." • You can also stop the air with the tip of your tongue at the alveolar ridge. If you do so, you'll make the /t/ or /d/ sounds, like in the words "ten" and "den." • And finally, you can stop the air with the back of your tongue in your throat and make the /k/ or /g/ sounds, like in the words "kite" and "guy." As you may have noticed, we like charts. Here's one for the stops sounds. See how all the stops are grouped in pairs? Once again, they are grouped by how and where you stop the air in your mouth. • /p/ - /b/ • /t/ - /d/ • /k/ - /g/ Voicing The sounds in the right-hand column are pronounced with your voice. These are the voiced stop sounds. Listen: /b/ , /d/, /g/. The sounds in the left-hand column are pronounced without adding your voice. They are called the voiceless stop sounds. Listen: /p/ , /t/, /k/. Don't confuse the voiced and voiceless sounds, as voicing may change the meaning of words. Compare: • "pay " -- “bay" • "town" -- "down" • "coat" -- "goat" You may also have noticed that the voiceless stop sounds are pronounced with a stronger puff of air. And that leads us to our next topic: Aspiration or Making a Puff of Air Stop sounds exist in every language in the world. What makes American pronunciation of these sounds so special? It's aspiration. Aspiration is actually a big deal in American English. Depending on the position of a stop sound in a word, you either make a puff of air or you don't. Don't worry, there's a rule which is easy to remember. Here it goes: • If a stop sound starts a word or a stressed syllable, it's pronounced with a puff of air. For example, "pay," "pass," "compare." • At the end of most words (and syllables) stop sounds are pronounced without a puff of air. For example, "lap," "sheep," "update." This is called the "final stop" rule. The final stop rule is most often used in conversational speech. Please, note, that if you make a puff of air, you’ll be understood, but you won’t be speaking with an American accent. Compare: • "I like that hat" • "I don't talk like that" Many non-native English speakers believe that Americans drop or swallow the stop sounds at the end of words. That's not quite right. The final stops are always pronounced, just without a puff of air.

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