English Pronunciation Podcast
Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
  English Pronunciation student   American accent conversation in English    English Pronunciation podcast course   

English Pronunciation Pod 63

Saturday May 22nd, 2010
Vowel Quiz #2-
The Difference between /ə/ and /a/:
Test Your knowledge of these important vowel sounds of English.


In this week's podcast, we're going to take another quiz to test your knowledege of the vowel
sounds of English.
This weeks quiz will focus on the difference between the vowels /ə / and /a/.
We're going to test your ability to hear the difference between words like "luck" and "lock."
Being able to hear and say the subtle difference between these two vowel sounds is an important part of speaking English clearly and correctly.
The /ə/ sound also known as "the schwa" is one of the most common sounds in English.

Mastering this vowel distinction can be quite challenging. Many students make the mistake of replacing the /ə/ sound with /a/. For example, instead of staying "but" /bət/ they might say /bat/. This can be confusing to your listener. With the right amount of practice and training, you're going to be able to pronounce the difference correctly,
just like a native speaker would.

Before you take this quiz, I recommend that you listen to podcasts #10 and #11. Podcasts #10 and #11 teach you how to pronounce /ə/ and /a/ distinctly and correctly, in full detail.

You can also find instruction and lots of training exercises on my English pronunciation course in mp3 -
Best Accent Training.

Vowel Quiz: /ə/ vs. /a/

You're going to hear three words. The words sound very similar. The only difference between them is the vowel sound they contain. Some words will contain /ə/ and other words will contain /a/.

Write down the words in the order that you hear them.

First, let's review the two vowel sounds: Remember for /a/, your tongue goes back and your jaw drops but for /ə/, your tongue remains completely relaxed. Your jaw does not drop /ə / is a neutral postion.

Listen and repeat: /ə/ ... /a/

Write down the words in the order that you hear me say them.

1. ... .... ....

Answers: see below

2. .... .... ...

Answers: see below

3. ...  ... ...

Answers: see below

4. .... ...... .....

Answers: see below


1. luck ... lock ... luck ...

2.cup ... cup ... copl ..

3. stock ... stuck ... stock ...

4. rub ... rob ... rub ...

Learning to speak English with a standard American accent is a gradual process but if you
work at it regularly and practice as often as you can, you're going to improve!

The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:

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 sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
You'll get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation lessons and connected speech!

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!

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 accent reduction course in mp3 now


Podcast Archive

Full Pronunciation

About Us



Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Tell a Friend