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Main Vowel Sounds of American English Cheat Sheet by

Cheat Sheet to remember how to accurately pronounce all of the main American English vowel sounds.

/i/ AS IN MEET

1.- ee
meet, feel, see, free, sheet
2.- ea
team, reach, mean, sea
3.- ie and ei
belief, piece, neither, receive
4.- final e
me, we, she, he
5.- e + consonant + e
these, Chinese, Peter
6.- final y
city, duty, country, ability
7.- endings with ique
unique, boutique, critique

/ɛ/ AS IN GET

1.- e
get, end, next, general
2.- ea
heavy, head, read, measure
exce­pti­ons: said, says again, against, any, many,

/ɘ*/ AS IN FUN*

1.- u
but, fun, summer, drunk
2.- o
love, done, come, son
2.- ou
cousin, country, enough
*The IPA (Inter­nat­ional Phonetic Alphabet) symbol for the stressed vowel is /ʌ/ and for the
unstressed vowel it is /ɘ/. They are basically the same sound. Throughout this book the /ɘ/
will be used for both. For further study of this reduced, neutral sound, refer to Chapter Five,
which deals with syllable stress and reduced vowels

/ʊ/ AS IN GOOD

1.- o
good, look, childhood, understood
2.- u
push, full, pull, sugar
3.- ould
would, could, should
exce­pti­on: woman sounds like “wumun”

/aɪ/ AS IN TIME

1.- y
fly, sky, apply, style
2.- i
nice, kind, fine, sign
3.- igh
light, fight, sight, night
4.- ie
lie, tie, tried
 

/I/ AS IN SIT

1.- i
sit, give, this, dinner
2.- ui
build, quit, quick, guilty
3.- y between conson­ants
system, gym, symbol, hymn
exce­pti­ons ": women , sounds like wimin (the o is an /I/ sound)

/æ/ AS IN FAT

1.- a
hat, apple, man, answer

/ɔ/ AS IN SAW

1.- aw
saw, law, awful, awesome
2.- au
author, August, applaud, audition
3.- al
small, walk, tall, always
4.- ought
bought, thought, fought
5.- aught
daughter, caught
6.- 0
gone, off, long

/u/ AS IN TOO

1.- oo
too, food, school, tool
2.- ue
true, blue, avenue
3.- o
do, who, lose, prove
4.- ew
new, blew, drew
5.- u
super, rule, duty, student

/aʊ/ AS IN HOUSE

1.- ou
found, loud, around, thousand
2.- ow
now, down, crowd, vowel
 

/eɪ/ AS IN TAKE

1.- a + consonant + e
late, came, take, save
2.- ai
rain, wait, pain, aim
3.- ay
say, away, play, Monday
4.- ey
they, survey, obey
5.- eigh
weigh, eight, neighbor, freight
6.- a
less common : April, alien, angel

/ɑ/ AS IN FATHER

1.- o
hot, stop, modern, job
2.- a
father, watch, dark, want

/oʊ/ AS IN BOAT

1.- o
no, don’t, home, only
2.- oa
road, coat, boat
3.- ow
own, slow, window
4.- ough
though, although

/ɘr/ AS IN BIRD

1.- er
her, mercy, mother, winner
2.- ear
heard, learn, earth
3.- ir
first, girl, firm
4,- or
doctor, word, worry
5.- ur
occur, curtain, jury
6.- ure
insecure, culture
7.- ar
grammar, collar

/ɔɪ/ AS IN BOY

1.- oi
avoid, oil, moist, join
2.- oy
enjoy, toy, employ, royal
 

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