Lesson 2

  1. PRONOUNCING VOWELS
  2. POLITE PHRASES – 1
  3. EXERCISES

 

Lesson 2

PRONUNCIATION – 1

PRONOUNCING VOWELS

VOWELS AND CONSONANTS

In the English language, the 26 letters of the alphabet are classified into two – Vowels and Consonants. No word can be formed without a vowel in it. So every word is a combination of vowels and consonants.

In this lesson, we are going to focus on how to pronounce the vowels. The 5 vowels are a, e, i, o, u

1. PRONOUNCING ‘a’

  1. a) ‘a’ as in an, at, lad, rat, man, stand, mad, ban
  2. b) ‘a’ as in all, call, fall, wall, tall, small, war, car, star
  3. c) ‘a’ as in care, fare, dare, ware, stare, blare
  4. d) ‘a’ followed by ‘i’ or ‘y’ → ai, ay as in brain, main, pay, way

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

bad, van, fan, stay, stall, sad, share, far, fare, gay, war, stare, stay, blare, stain, strain, pray, stray, spare

2. PRONOUNCING ‘e’

  1. a) ‘e’ as in net, set, men, hen, sell, well, leg, beg
  2. b) ‘e’ as in be, he, she, we
  3. c) ‘e’ as in see You have to pronounce this as a long sound – ee, as in fee, weep, deep, knee, tree
  4. d) ‘e’ as in new, dew, few
  5. e) If the ‘e’ is followed by ‘a’ → ea then you have to pronounce it with a long sound, as in sea, heat, meat
  6. f) Some words ending in ‘e’, are not pronounced at all, like in stare, wife, June. This ‘e’ is referred to as the “Silent E”. In such cases, the vowel or the consonant preceding the ‘e’, will become a long sound.
    shame, fame, lame, knife, line, nose, hope, smoke, rule, tune, strike

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

men, bee, hen, heat, wheat, bleat, fleet, beg, shame, flame, blame, rule, see, flee, glee, gaze, plead, nine, net

3. PRONOUNCING ‘i’

  1. a) ‘i’ as in ill
    This is a short sound as in ill, kill, hip, ink
  2. b) ‘i’ as in kind, find, behind, mike
  3. c) ‘i’ as in right
    In a word, when ’gh’ follows an ‘i’ → igh then the ‘gh’ is silent as in light, bright, sight, fight, tight, might
  4. d) ‘i’ as in firm, first
  5. e) ‘i’ as in fire, dire, tire, admire
  6. f) ‘i’ as in brief
    Words in which ‘i’ is followed by ‘e’ → ie usually have an ‘e’ sound, as in thief, siege, achieve, believe

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

hill, ship, right, flip, light, sip, drip, brief, fire, life, lie, firm, rip, ripe, deceive, behind, wind, wind, siege, high, strive

4. PRONOUNCING ‘o’

  1. a) ‘o’ as in ox
    This is a short sound as in ox, on, not, god, dot
  2. b) ‘o’ as in open
    These words are pronounced with a long sound as in so, no, gold, post
  3. c) ‘o’ as in bow
    When ‘o’ is followed by ‘w’ → ow
    it has a long sound as in sow, crow, show
  4. d) ‘o’ as in room
    This is a long sound when it has two O’s → oo
    as in doom, root, noon
  5. e) ‘o’ as in look
    Though these words have a double ‘o’ → oo
    it makes a short sound, as in book, shook, good
  6. f) ‘o’ as in son
    This is a short sound, more like an ‘a’, as in son, Monday, come
  7. g) ‘o’ as in joy
    When ‘o’ is followed by ‘y’ → oy
    as in boy, toy, troy
  8. h) ‘o’ as in our
    When ‘o’ is followed by ‘ur’ → our
    as in sour, flour, hour

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

top, low, drop, now, stove, love, stop, crook, broke, noon, hour, cow, root, sour, joke, home, post, soft, crow, drop

5. PRONOUNCING ‘u’

  1. a) ‘u’ as in up
    This is a short sound, as in up, hut, dub, sun
  2. b) ‘u’ as in sure, duty, durable, sure, pure
  3. c) ‘u’ as in put, pull, push

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

shut, putty, duty, mud, stud, push, fun, pure, cup

One needs a lot of practice to get all the pronunciation right. Also try to listen to English plays and narrations, in order to understand how the words are pronounced.

Additionally, there are different dialects and slangs in all languages, which makes it more challenging to get the right pronunciation. So one needs to understand the general/ neutral pronunciation to try and speak the way most native speakers do.

5. PRONOUNCING ‘y’ (the semi-vowel)

The letter ‘y’ can be regarded as both a vowel and a consonant. It can be used to represent different sounds in different words, and can therefore fit either definition.

In myth or hymn it is clearly a vowel, and also in words such as my, where it stands for a diphthong (a combination of two vowel sounds).

This consonant sound, like that of the letter ‘w’, is sometimes called a ‘semi-vowel’ because it is made in a similar way to a vowel, but functions in contrast to vowels when used in words.) Whether the letter ‘y’ is a vowel or a consonant is therefore rather an arbitrary decision.

  1. a) ‘y’ as in poly
    The ‘y’ in these words sounds like ‘e’.
    policy, felony, colony
  2. b) ‘y’ as in tyre
    The ‘y’ in these words sounds like ‘i’
    try, buy, type
  3. c) ‘y’ as in dynasty
    The ‘y’ here sounds like ‘ae’
    dyke, dynasty, dye

Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:

polygamy, troy, felony, typo, pry, pray, prey, dye, shy, apply, alley, ally, dynasty, tyre, yellow, hybrid

PRONOUNCING VOWELS

Being polite and having good manners are essential skills in any language and English is no exception. Although polite phrases in English may seem a little too formal to non-native speakers, it’s a super important part of effective communication – especially in business situations.

We will now learn some common expressions that show respect and politeness when communicating in English.

1. GREETING A PERSON

  1. a) Hello
  2. b) Hi
  3. c) Nice to see you!
  4. d) Great to see you!
  5. e) How are you doing?
  6. f) How is it going?
  7. g) What are you up to?
  8. h) How are you feeling today?

Example:

  1. Jane: Hello Shawn!
  2. Shawn: Hi Jane!
  3. Jane: Nice to meet you! How are you doing?
  4. Shawn: I am just great! Nice meeting you too!
  5. Jane: Hmm.. So what are you up to?

2. SAYING ‘PLEASE’

The word ‘Please’ shows respect and helps us in building relationships.

We use the word ‘Please’ in requests, especially small requests

  1. a) Time please!
  2. b) May I have a glass of water, please?

When we’re inviting people to do something, we can say please

  1. c) Please come home, some day
  2. d) Please take a seat.

We say please when we want to thank someone or to show that you accept something

  1. e) May I have a glass of water please?
  2. f) Yes, please!

We can put it at the start too, and it generally sounds more forceful if we do that. Also to show an emphasis

  1. g) Please, stay here with me!
  2. h) Please, can I have another seat?

Example:

  1. Sweety: Hello John! Please come inside!
  2. John: Hi Sweety! Thanks. Please get me some water.
  3. Sweety: Would you like to have coffee?
  4. John: Yes, please.
  5. Sweety: Good. And also please have some cookies that I made.

3. SAYING ‘THANKS’/ ‘THANK YOU’

Thanking someone casually

  1. a) Thank you!
  2. b) Thanks so much!

When someone does you a favor (helps you with something), without you asking

  1. c) That’s very kind of you. Thank you.
  2. d) Thank you. You made my day.

When someone does something unexpected for you

  1. e) I don’t know what to say! Thank you very much.
  2. f) How thoughtful of you! Thanks a lot.

When someone helps you in a difficult situation

  1. g) I am really grateful for your help!
  2. h) This means a lot to me! I appreciate it.

When you want to thank someone for any specific reason

  1. i) Thank you for your advice!
  2. j) Thanks for helping me get this job!

When you need to thank someone formally

  1. k) Thank you for contacting me!
  2. l) Thanks for your immediate reply!

4. RESPONDING TO ‘THANKS’/ ‘THANK YOU’

A formal way of responding to a “Thank you” is

  1. a) You’re welcome!
  2. b) My pleasure
  3. c) Pleasure is all mine
  4. d) Don’t mention it

But when we are with friends, family or in less formal settings, we can say

  1. e) No problem/ Not a problem
  2. f) It was nothing
  3. g) It’s OK
  4. h) No worries
  5. i) That’s alright
  6. j) Any time
  7. k) No big deal
  8. l) Not at all

Example:

  1. Prince: Hello Julie!
  2. Julie: Hi Prince! How are you feeling today?
  3. Princey: Much better, thanks!
  4. Julie: And, here are your notes!
  5. Prince: Thank you so much! This means a lot to me.
  6. Julie: It’s alright. I always love to help others.
  7. Prince: But still, thanks a million!

EXERCISES

TRY PRONOUNCING

Practice pronouncing the following words one by one. Also increase speed, when you feel confident. Try reading this aloud, over and over, under the guidance of your teacher, in order to avoid incorrect pronunciation.

lad, lay, law, love, lap, lose, loose, live, leave, loop, wet, pet, setup, bed, dread, bead, brain, mud, people, pupil, plain drain, dare, drop, droop, duke, dupe, double, cup, couple, cope, cot, cure, come, colt, cold, sell, solve, see, set, seat, steel, troupe, troop, trump, tramp, tub, tap, tool, be, bee, bow, blue, bold, bluff, blunt, bleak, high, height, belt, bleat, bleed

BUILDING A CONVERSATION

John is a naughty boy. He meets his neighbor on his way. He wishes her and helps her cross the road.

Try building a conversation, with you and your teacher taking parts. Also switch parts to see how you do the other part as well.

FILL IN – WITH THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP-WORD

  1. a) Mom’s dad is my ___________.
  2. b) Mom’s brother is my ___________.
  3. c) Dad’s mom is my ____________.
  4. d) My sister’s husband is my __________ .
  5. e) Uncle’s wife is my _________.
  6. f) My sister’s son is my ___________.
  7. g) Dad’s sister is my ___________.
  8. h) Mom’s sister is my ____________.
  9. i) Uncle’s kids are my __________ .
  10. j) Mom’s cousin sister is my _________.
  11. k) Aunt’s husband is my ___________.
  12. l) Dad’s cousin brother is my ____________.
  13. m) My brother’s son is my __________ .
  14. n) Aunt’s kids are my _________.