English Pronunciation Podcast
Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
Home English Pronunciation Pod 34
Podcast Archive

Saturday May 2nd, 2009
English Pronunciation Podcast 34-
How to Pronounce the Consonant /w/
: This podcast teaches you how to pronounce /w/ correctly like a native speaker.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonant /w/.

This consonant is very common in English and learning to pronounce it correctly is an important step in speaking English with an American accent.

Depending on what your first language is, you may find it difficult to pronounce this sound. More specicially, if your first language is Japanese, Chinese or Korean, you may find it difficult to say it when it occurs at the beginning of a word or in combination with another consonant. such as /k/ as in the words "question" or "quiet."

If your first language is Central European such as German or Polish, Eastern European such as Russian, Serbian or Croatian, or if it's Chinese, Hindu or Punjabi, one of the most common mistakes is to confuse this sound /w/ with the sound /v/. So a word like "very" might sound like 'wery" (or vice versa).

Before we look at these specfic topics, it's important that we begin by learning the right way to pronounce this consonant sound.

The focus of this week's podcast is:

  • Learning how to pronounce the consonant /w/ accurately , like a native speaker.
  • Practicing this sound in some key words and common American expressions and idioms.

How to Pronounce /w/ :

So let's begin by learning how to pronounce the sound /w/.

How to Pronounce /w/:

lips: Brings your lips forward and tense like in the sound /u/.
Make them tense and move them back quickly back as you vocalize.

Tongue: slightly back and raised in the back but it moves quickly into the position of whatever vowel follows.

"It's all in the lips"

The most important part of /w/ is the motion of your lips.
Your lips should start in the same position as the vowel /u/ like in the word "moon"- forward and tense like you're about to kiss somebody or you're making a fish face.
Then move them back quickly and vocalize at the same time.

It's a forward and back motion as you vocalize.
Be sure that both of your lips are moving as you make a vowel sound.
You can think of /w/ as /u/ in motion.

*I recommend that you use a small mirror to check the position of your lips.

Exercise: Practicing /w/ in two steps:

Step1) Put your lips into the position of /u/ (forward and tense)

Step 2) bring them back quickly and vocalize

Forward ...back and vocalize ...
forward ... back and vocalize

In podcast #32 , we learned about "stop consonants" and "continuant consonants". /w/ is a continuant because the air flows continuously.

In podcast #30, we learned about "voiced" and "voiceless" consonants. /w/ is a voiced consonant because our vocal folds vibrate when we say it.

Exercise: Listen and repeat: /w/

/w/ ... /w/ ...

Exercise : /w/ combined with some key vowels of English which we've covered in previous podcasts. Please listen and repeat. Pay careful attention to form.

/wi/ ... /wI/... /wɛ/ ... /wæ/... /wə /... /wa /... /wɓ/ ... /woʊ/

As you can see, some combinations are more difficult than others.

/woʊ/ as in the word "won't" or "woke" is often particularly difficult. These difficult combinations will be covered in future podcasts.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing /w/.
Pay careful attention to your form- make sure that your lips are moviing back and forth as you vocalize.

we ... wish ... west ... walk ... woman ... Washington .... away .... beware .... rewind ... award

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following American expressions and idioms containing /w/:

The party is winding down. (gradually ending)

Please don't white wash the situation. (claim that it's less serious or less dangerous than it really i is)

We told them to take a walk!* (go away, leave, get out) *This expression is strong, even rude

She has a way with words. (speaks well, convincing and eloquent)

The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:

The best way to learn a new a sound is to practice it slowly.
In fact, the secret to speaking English clearly and quickly is practicing slowly and accurately. Learning to speak English with a standard American accent is gradual process, but if you work at it regularly and practice as often as you can, you're going to improve!

It's important to have right training tools in order to improve your accent.

That's why I recommend that you check it out my English Pronunciation Course in mp3 format- Best Accent Training mp3s!

No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has the lessons you need for speaking English clearly and correctly.

All the sounds of English in one course!

. Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the consonants of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
You'll learn how to pronunce the sound just like a native speaker and then practice it in words and common expressions and idioms that Americans use all the time.

You'll also get all the vowels of English, syllable stress lessons, intonation lessons and connected speech!

Every lesson also comes with a complete transcript (pdf) so you can read along if you want.

Best of all, Best Accent Training is a fast and easy download that you can put on your mp3 player and take with you wherever you go!
I specially designed it for that purpose!

Download Best Accent Training today and practice your pronunciation wherever and whenever you want to!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:  contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!


Tell a Friend

After practicing with Best Accent Training daily,
I can say that my English communication has improved 100%. "

- Domingo Ponce Rodriguez- - Marketing Manager USA (Spain)

Get the full English pronunciation course now

Full Pronunciation Course
About Us


Add to Google Reader or Homepage



Untitled Document Untitled Document Untitled Document