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Friday September 19th, 2008
English Pronunciation Podcast 4-
Vowels /ɛ / and /eI/:
This podcast teaches you how to pronounce /ɛ / and /eI/ accurately with special emphasis on learning how to distinguish between them.

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In today's podcast, we're going to learn two very important vowels in English: the vowels /ɛ / and /eI/.

The focus of today's lesson is:

  • learning and practicing how to pronounce /ɛ /
  • learning and practicing how to pronounce /eI/
  • Learning how to distinguish between /ɛ / and /eI/


We will learn to develop a clear and distinct pronunciation for /ɛ / and /eI/ .

How to articulate /ɛ / correctly:

tongue: mid, forward, raise tip slightly , sides gently touch back teeth

lips: slightly spread

jaw: relaxed, somewhat open

Exercise: Listen and repeat /ɛ /.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing /ɛ / :

test... yes.. men... said... best... friend... message... heaven... wealthy

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following expressions and idioms
which contain
/ɛ /:

Don't sweat it. (Don't worry about it)
Give it a rest. (Stop doing that)
I'm thinking about you twenty four seven. (all the time,all day all week)
You have to get your feet wet. (Try something new, gain some experience)

How to pronounce /eI/ correctly:
/eI/ is a combination of /ɛ / + / i /. Vowels which are combinations of two vowels are called diphthongs . Start with your tongue in the /ɛ / position and then raise your tongue into / i /. Finish with lips spread.

How to articulate /eI/ :

tongue: Start in /ɛ / and raise your tonue into /i/

lips: spread gradually

Exercise: Try going from /ɛ / to / i / very slowly, blending the two sounds.

Now, try going from /ɛ / to / i / a litle faster

Exercise: Listen and repeat /eI/ at a normal rate of speech: .

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words which contain /eI/:

name...take...game...taste...date.. .mistake.. .famous... patient...

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following expressions and idioms which contain /eI/:

Can you break a twenty? ( Can you give me change for a twenty dollar bill)
Those guys have it made. ( They're in a great financial situation)
We're on the same page . ( We're seeing things the same way, same viewpoint )
Are you game?. ( Do you want to join us?)

Developing a clear distinction between /ɛ/ and /eI/

When pronouncing /eI/ be sure to bring your tongue all the way up into / i /. Don't drop the second half of the vowel.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words:

/ɛ /            /eI/

test             taste

men           main

tech           take

let                late

debt            date

pepper        paper

pen              pain

Hearing and prounouncing the difference often takes time, practice and a lot of patience but with practice, you will get it!
The more you practice and repeat the exercises, the more you'll develop muscle memory- -the ability to so something without thinking- automatically.

Think of dancers, athletes and musicians- how do they get so good at what they do?

Practice, repetition- training

They practice their routines until it becomes automatic habit, muscle memory.

The same is true for accent reduction and English pronunciation !

Looking for more practice? Try  Best Accent Training mp3s!

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

Thank you and see you next time!

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

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

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