English is not a phonetic language. The way, style or spelling of a word doesn’t tell the sounds to make. For writing we need letters. But for speaking we need sounds. English has 26 Alphabets. English has 5 Vowels a, e, i, o, u. And 21 Consonants. Each vowel and consonants have their own sounds. 5 vowels individually or with different combinations with each other make 20 Sounds. 21 Consonants with different combinations make 24 Sounds. There are 3 types of vowel sounds. ◦ Long Vowel Sound ◦ Short Vowel Sound ◦ Diphthong Vowel Sound a short English vowel is noticeably shorter than a long vowel an English short vowel is made with only one mouth position one mouth position is represented by one IPA symbol (every sound /mouth position has a different IPA symbol) the weak vowel schwa is the most common vowel in English. The IPA for English short vowels are: /ɪ/, /e/, /æ/, /ʌ/, /ʊ/ , /ɒ/, /ə/ Examples ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ /ɪ/ – fit /fiːt/, pick /piːk/, difficult /ˈdɪ.fɪ.kəlt/ /e/ – pet /pet/, sent /sent/, attention /əˈten.ʃən/ /æ/ – pat /pæt/, flat /flæt/, family /ˈfæ.mə.li/ /ʌ/ – cut /kʌt/ jump /dʒʌmp/, cover /ˈkʌ.vər/ /ʊ/ – put /pʊt/, book /bʊk/, cushion /ˈkʊ.ʃən/ /ɒ/ – pot /pɒt/, dog /dɒg/, hospital /ˈhɒs.pɪ.təl/ /ə/ – about /əˈbaʊt/, system /ˈsɪs.təm/, complete /kəmˈpliːt/. English long vowels have two dots like this – /:/ after the vowel symbol. If it has /:/ after it, you know it’s a long vowel! English long vowels are noticeably longer than short vowels. distinguishing between short and long vowels is very important in English because they mean different words. eg ship and sheep, shit and sheet, wick and week and so on. an English long vowel is only one symbol in the IPA because it is one mouth position. Examples ◦ /i:/ week /wi:k/, feet /fi:t/, media /ˈmiː.di.jə/ /ɑ:/ hard /ha:/, park /pa:k/, article /ɑː.tɪ.kəl/ /ɔ:/ fork /fɔ:k/, walk /wɔ:k/, August /ɔːˈɡʌst/ /ɜ:/ heard /hɜ:d/, word /wɜ:d/, surface /ˈsɜː.fɪs/ /u:/ boot /bu:t/, group /gru:p/, beautiful /ˈbjuː.tɪ.fəl/ When you look at the English Vowel Sounds IPA symbols in the dictionary one symbol by itself is a short single vowel, two dots like this /:/ after a vowel symbol mean that it is a long single vowel. English diphthong vowels have two IPA symbols because they are made up of two mouth position. in other words, diphthong vowels are two short vowels joined together, they are also called double vowels. many non-native speakers make some English diphthong vowels as single vowels Examples ◦ /eɪ/ place /pleɪs/, late /leɪt/, dangerous /ˈdeɪn.dʒə.rəs/ ◦ /oʊ/ home /hoʊm/, phone /foʊn/, global /ˈɡloʊ.bəl/ ◦ /aʊ/ mouse /maʊs/, brown /braʊn/, accountant /əˈkaʊn.t̬ənt/ ◦ /ɪə/ clear /klɪə/, fear /fɪə/, career /kəˈrɪə/ ◦ /eə/ care /keə/, wear /weə/, declare /dɪˈkleə/ ◦ /ɔɪ/ boy /bɔɪ/, toy /tɔɪ/, enjoyable /ɪnˈdʒɔɪ.jə.bəl/ ◦ /aɪ/ find /faɪnd/, bite /baɪt/, tiger /ˈtaɪ.ɡə/ ◦ /ʊə/ tour /tʊə/, pure /pʊə/, mature /məˈtʃʊə/ When you look at the English Vowel Sounds IPA symbols in the dictionary one symbol by itself is a short single vowel, two dots like this /:/ after a vowel symbol mean that it is a long single vowel and two vowel symbols, one after the other means a double or diphthong vowel.