The Saundz way of teaching English pronunciation

To be able to speak English fluently it is not enough to have good knowledge of grammar and a large vocabulary.  Communication depends on your ability to present what you’re trying to say in a proper way and on the listener’s ability to clearly hear exactly what you’ve said.

Even when you know the right meanings of words and use them in their proper places, if you pronounce them incorrectly you will still be misunderstood.  

This is why correct English pronunciation represents the essence of well-developed speaking skills.  Our aim is to start from the basics, as we know from experience that this is the key to improvement.

With Saundz, first you learn individual sounds, continuing until you become able to combine them into words.  In simple terms, we teach English pronunciation one sound at a time and then, as your knowledge of sounds increases, we teach you words that can be made from those sounds that you know.  We do not teach you a word if we have not previously taught you its sounds.

We continually build upon what you know, which incrementally increases your level of knowledge and, therefore, the number and variety of words you can properly pronounce.

How can you know how to pronounce a sentence correctly if you’re not sure about the correct pronunciation of a word?
It’s like learning to write words without previously learning the letters.

CHAPTER ONE

English pronunciation /ah/

Welcome to Saundz, Chapter 1 of 38 Chapters.  In this chapter you will learn the vowel sound /ʌ/.

Certain lessons introduce you to new vowel or consonant sounds.  When introduced to a new sound, you will learn the various ways that sound is spelled in American English.

In other lessons we combine the sounds you already know to form many words that you will learn how to pronounce properly.

This is the Saundz building block approach to learning American English pronunciation.

Lesson One

Lesson one starts with the vowel sound /ʌ/ which is a near-open central vowel, not particularly difficult to pronounce and very frequently used in American English.  This is what it includes:


Sound Explanation Directions Spelling
variations
Examples
/ʌ/ The most frequently used pause filler when people are thinking about what to say is “uh”
  • Open mouth slightly, keeping lips and tongue relaxed.
  • Flatten your tongue, placing tongue tip behind lower front teeth.  Pull tongue back, raising rear of tongue slightly.
  • Release air to make the vowel /ʌ/.
  • Place hand on throat, throat will vibrate lightly.
|uh| “uh!” and “huh”
  |a| “what” and “was”
  |u| “fund” and “cut”
  |o| “loved” and “ton”

 

After you finish learning how to properly pronounce the vowel sound /ʌ/, we move to the consonant sound /p/.

The Saundz Way of Teaching English Pronunciation

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CHAPTER TWO

Chapter 2 deals with the following sounds:

Sound Explanation Directions Spelling
variations
Examples
/p/ There are similarities when you say each of these three consonant sounds
because you block the air in your mouth and then release it with an explosive ‘puff’.
However, at the end of a word the air flow isn’t strong enough to produce this
explosive ‘puff’ of air.
  • Press lips together firmly, keeping lips and tongue relaxed.
  • Open mouth.
  • Release air with an explosive ‘puff’ to make the consonant sound /p/.
  • Place hand in front of mouth, explosive ‘puff’ can be felt.
|p| “pick” and “kip”
  |pp| “chopped” and “pepper”
/t/
  • Press tongue tip firmly behind upper front teeth.
  • Move tongue away from behind upper front teeth, pressing tongue firmly down in mouth.
  • Open mouth.
  • Release air with an explosive ‘puff’ to make the consonant sound /t/.
  • Place hand in front of mouth, explosive ‘puff’ can be felt.
|t| “tick” and “vent”
  |tt| “putt” and “attach”
  |bt| “debt” and “doubt”
/k/
  • Pull tongue towards back of mouth.  Almost resting rear of tongue on roof of mouth.
  • Move tongue away from roof of mouth.
  • Open mouth.
  • Release air with an explosive ‘puff’ to make the consonant sound /k/.
  • Place hand in front of mouth, explosive ‘puff’ can be felt.
|k| “keep” and “like”
  |c| “cat” and “cut”
  |ck| “heck” and “buck”

 

We then combine the consonant sound /k/ with the already studied vowel sound /ʌ/ to form the word UCK [/ʌ/ + /k/].

Now this may seem very simple to you, but as you proceed further you are introduced to all the sounds and many different words that can be formed from those sounds.  For example, after we teach you the vowel sound /ʊ/, which is spelled:

Sound Explanation Directions Spelling
variations
Examples
/ʊ/ In English, all vowel sounds are produced using vibration.
You can feel this vibration at the base of your throat.
Moving your tongue, lips and jaw, you shape or change the sounds you produce.
Note: Some consonant sounds are also produced with vibration but none of the
consonant sounds you have learned so far.
  • Push both lips slightly outward, rounding them.
  • Pull tongue towards rear of mouth raising tongue slightly up.
  • Release air to make the vowel sound /ʊ/.
  • Place hand on throat, throat will vibrate lightly
|u| “put” and “pure”
  |oo| “book” and “cook”
  |ou| “would” and “should”
 /ɪ/
  • Open mouth slightly, spreading lips a little.
  • Raise tongue tip up towards roof of mouth, but not touching.
  • Release air to make the vowel sound /ɪ/.
  • Place hand on throat, throat will vibrate lightly
|i| “kit” and “bib”
  |y| “syrup” and “gym”
  |ui| “guitar” and “build”
  |ee| “been” and “leery”
  |ea| “year” and “ear”

 

We are now able to teach you correct English pronunciation of the words:
PUT, TOOK, COOK, PICK, TICK, KICK,

As you can see, we slowly build upon what you have learned in previous lessons until by the end of Chapter 38 you will have mastered 400+ simple words.  Although they are simple words, they are instrumental in mastering proper American English pronunciation.

These skills you master will enable you to properly pronounce the many thousands of American English words in your vocabulary.

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