Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
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Saturday May 2nd, 2009
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:
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/.
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.
It's a forward and back motion as you vocalize.
*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 ...
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/.
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.
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 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!
Download Best Accent Training today and practice your pronunciation wherever and whenever you want to!
Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at: email@example.com
Thank you and see you next time!Share
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