Hi everyone! I’ve heard a lot of students’ speaking samples, and in today’s lesson I’d like to address a few of the pronunciation mistakes that I’ve been correcting.
First of all, don’t feel bad if you make a pronunciation mistake! It’s really easy to do this in English, especially because we have so many similar sounds and so many words that are pronounced differently from the way they’re written.
So if you mess up a word – don’t be embarrassed, it’s not the end of the world. I can usually understand what you were trying to say.
Words that should have a long “I”, but are mispronounced with a short “i” or “ee” sound
All these words should have a “long I” as in the words like, white, ride, and ice.
Sometimes, learners pronounce them with a “short i” (hit, sick, if) or with an “ee” sound (we, see, eat).
Note: different from immigrant, where both “i”s are short
Words that native speakers usually pronounce “shorter”
There are certain words which you may be pronouncing very carefully, making sure to say each syllable clearly – but native English speakers will often “drop” one syllable in the word when speaking fast:
|several||SEV-ral (not SE-ve-ral)|
|interesting||IN-tres-ting (not IN-ter-es-ting)|
|different||DIFF-rent (not DIF-fer-ent)|
|every||EV-ry (not E-ver-y)|
|favorite||FAV-rite (not FAV-o-rite)|
|vegetable||VEG-ta-ble (not VEG-e-ta-ble)|
|camera||CAM-ra (not CA-me-ra)|
|desperate||DES-prit (not DES-per-ate)|
|chocolate||CHOC-lit (not CHOC-o-late)|
Words with similar sounds
Practice and repeat:
- horse, corn, force, course
curb, early, worse, curse
- hope, boast, open, most
bus, mud, us, must
- under, hug, fun, hungry
can, and, plan, angry
- The “t” is very soft and the “en” is barely heard in “eaten.”
I’ve already eaten
The second syllable is more pronounced in “eating”
I’m eating breakfast right now.
- take, maybe, face, taste
wet, ten, less, test
extra, sex, next, text
- The first is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: COU-sin
The vowel is like in cut and cover.
The second is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable: cui-SINE
There’s a small “w” sound: cwi-ZEEN
Words that seem similar but have different pronunciations:
- cheese, leaf, chief
if, chick, mischief
- lie, hide, smile, child
bill, chill, will, children
- how, cow, town, count
gun, come, run, country
- name, late, nature
apple, nap, naturally
- far, car, scar
air, care, scared
- wood, stood, woman
win, chin, women
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s pronunciation practice! Let me know if you have a word that is giving you trouble.