Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
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Saturday March 14th, 2009
Developing a clear distinction between / oʊ / and /ɔ/:
In this week's podcast, were going to learn how to develop a clear distinction between the vowels /oʊ/ and /ɔ/.
Many students of English often confuse these two vowels. Usually, the student pronounces /ɔ/ something like /o/ or /oʊ /.
For example, someone might say, "New York is great, except for the coast."
In this case, the speaker meant to say cost, but it came out sounding like "coast" which may leave the native speaker, the listener, a bit confused as to what the person is trying to say.
This mistake is made because /ɔ/ doesn't exist in most languages but something similar to /oʊ/ does.
Before we proceed further into the lesson, if you haven't already listened to podcasts #22 and #25, I recommend that you do so before using this one. Those podcasts explain how to pronounce /oʊ/ and /ɔ/ in detail.
The focus of today's lesson is:
Differences in Articulation
The first step in developing the distinction betwen these vowels is knowing how to articulate them- how to position and move your tongue, lips and jaw.
There are some subtle differences in articulation between these two vowels and with careful practice, you'll begin to see, feel them and hear them.
Here are some tips for pronouncing these vowels accurately:Lip Position:
One of the main differences betwwen /oʊ/ and /ɔ/, is that for /oʊ/ your lips move forward into /u/, but for /ɔ / they remain slightly rounded but not forward.
I recommend that you use a mirror to see the difference. If your lips are moving forward, even just a little, try to control them each time you say the sound.
Another difference is the tongue position. For /oʊ/, your tongue goes further back and becomes tenser.This is because the second half of /oʊ/ contains /u/. We finish in /u/, with our tongue all the way back and tense.
Another difference to think about is the jaw movement. Your jaw will drop further down for /ɔ/ and stay down, but for /oʊ/ it drops on the first half of the vowel, /ə/, but then begins to rise on the second half, /u/.
Exercise: Alternate between /oʊ/and /ɔ/.
1. /oʊ/ ... /ɔ/
2. /oʊ/ ... /ɔ/
If hearing and saying the difffrence is difficult for you, you should know that you're not alone. Even my most talented private students here in New York City, often have to work very hard to master this distinction.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words , paying careful attention to the difference in vowel sound:
Improving your pronunciation and reducing your accent is all about reviewing and practicing regularly. The more you practice regularly, the easier it will become to say the sounds distinctly and correctly.
Regular practice with controlled exercises builds muscle memory -tha ability to something automatically without thinking.
It's important to have good tools to practice with.
A full English pronunciation course in mp3 format.
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Thank you and see you next time!Share
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