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[ey] vowel sound | English Pronunciation Lesson

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As was also discussed in the lesson on contracting the verb “may”, to produce the [ey] vowel sound, it’s important to remember to pull your lips back, and then push the top/back part of the tongue up against the top of your mouth to insert the [y] sound at the end of the vowel.

  • [ey]
  • [ey]

It’s important to remember that the vowel sound is not the shorter [e], but it’s pronounced [ey] with the [y] at the end.

This may feel unnatural for Spanish, Thai, Chinese and many other speakers of English, but not pronouncing the [y] can sometimes lead to confusion.

Example

In the sentence:

  • “I need a piece of paper.”

If I didn’t pull my lips back enough, it would sound like I said:

  • “I need a piece of pepper.”

Did you hear it? Because I said a shorter [e] instead [ey], “paper” sounded like “pepper”.

Let’s practice pulling back our lips for the [ey] vowel sound, ensuring that we include the [y] consonant at the end of that sound.

Listen and Repeat

  • “made” [meyd]
  • “You made my day.” (<– an expression in English)
  • “lake” [leyk]
  • “Let’s go swimming in the lake.”
  • “sailor” [SEY lɚr]
  • “The sailors are spending the day on their boats.”
  • “chasing” [TʃEY  sɪŋ]
  • “The dog has been chasing the cat all morning!”
  • “raise” [reyz]
  • “I got a raise at work today!”

Remember, even if pulling back your lips and inserting the [y] sound feels completely unnatural to you, just practice retraining the muscles in your mouth. Do what’s unnatural, and over time, it will become easier.

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