What are Vowels in English Pronunciation and Examples!

What are Vowels in English? Pronunciation and Examples!

In English, there are five core vowels: a, e, i, o, and u. In addition, there are also diphthongs (two vowel sounds pronounced consecutively), which include the following: au as in sauce; ai as in bite; ei as in eight; oh as in bone; and oo as in moon. Each of these ten vowel sounds has different pronunciations depending on where they occur within a word. This post will explore the pronunciation and examples of each English vowel sound!

Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sound, the other being consonants. Vowels vary in quality, quantity, and symbolization. They are usually voiced and are closely involved in prosodic variations such as tone, intonation, and stress. English has pure vowel sounds and diphthongs. A vowel sound is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract. In English, there are 12 pure vowel sounds and 8 diphthong sounds. The pure vowel sounds are pronounced with a relatively stable articulation in which the tongue, lips, jaw, and palate move very little during the articulation of the vowel.

There are also 24 combinations of these vowel sounds that form 36 diphthong sounds. A diphthong is a vowel sound that starts as one pure vowel sound and changes to another during the pronunciation of the vowel sound. For example, /aʊ/ starts as a low back unrounded vowel [a] and moves to a high front unrounded vowel [ʊ].

How to Pronounce Vowels a e i o u?

Vowel a: When you pronounce the letter “a”, your mouth should be in an open, low position. The tongue should be low and central in the mouth. There are minimal lip rounding and jaw opening.

Vowel e: When you pronounce the letter “e”, your tongue should be mid-way between a high front vowel and a low central vowel. The lips are in a neutral position.

Vowel i: When you pronounce the letter “i”, your tongue should be in a high front position. The lips should be slightly spread.

Vowel o: When you pronounce the letter “o”, your mouth should be in an open, mid position. The tongue should be mid-way between a high back vowel and a low back vowel. There is minimal lip rounding.

Vowel u: When you pronounce the letter “u”, your tongue should be in a high back position. The lips should be protruded and rounded.

Diphthong au: When you pronounce the diphthong “au”, your tongue should start in a low back position and move towards a mid-central position. The lips should be in a neutral position.

Diphthong ai: When you pronounce the diphthong “ai”, your tongue should start in a low front position and move towards a high front position. The lips should be in a neutral position.

Diphthong ei: When you pronounce the diphthong “ei”, your tongue should start in a mid-front position and move towards a high front position. The lips should be in a neutral position.

Diphthong oi: When you pronounce the diphthong “oi”, your tongue should start in a mid-back position and move towards a high-back position. The lips should be in a neutral position.

Diphthong oo: When you pronounce the diphthong “oo”, your tongue should start in a high back position and move towards a high front position. The lips should be in a neutral position.

Examples of Vowel Sounds / a e i o u Vowels Examples

Now that we have gone over the pronunciation of different vowel sounds, let’s take a look at some examples of words that contain these vowel sounds.

Vowel a: cat, hat, bat, rat

Vowel e: bed, head, fed, led

Vowel i: sit, fit, hit, lit

Vowel o: hot, pot, tot, not

Vowel u: put, cut, hut, nut

Diphthong au: mouse, house, loud, mouth

Diphthong ai: rain, pain, gain, aim

Diphthong ei: eight, weight, veil, they

Diphthong oi: coin, point, joy, destroy

Diphthong oo: food, good, Moodle (a type of computer software), look

As you can see, there are many words in English that contain vowel sounds. Learning the pronunciation of these vowel sounds is essential for being able to effectively communicate in English.

I hope this article has provided you with some helpful information on how to pronounce different vowel sounds in English. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Related:

  1. How To Pronounce AY Vowel?
  2. How To Pronounce OH Vowel?
  3. How To Pronounce UH Vowel?
  4. How To Pronounce IX Vowel?
  5. How To Pronounce EE Vowel?
  6. How To Pronounce AH Vowel?
  7. How To Pronounce IE Vowel?

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