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Pronunciation of Vowel Sounds in Spoken English (with IPA)

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Writing vs. Speaking English

There are only five vowels (letters) in English when we writea, e, i, o, u (though some consider the “y” letter to be a sixth vowel). However, if you put these vowels together in different ways when you speak in a somewhat standard American accent, then we have 14 vowel sounds in spoken American (U.S.) English.

How to Pronounce Vowel Sounds in English Correctly 

Each vowel sound requires a different mouth position.

If the vowel sounds in English don’t appear in your first language, it’s essential that you get comfortable with uncomfortable mouth positions. That means:

  • opening your mouth more than you naturally would;
  • pulling your lips back more than is comfortable for you; and
  • moving your tongue in new ways.

This extra effort to train your mouth for vowel sounds is worth the effort, because inaccurate vowel sounds can interfere with communication.

Vowel sounds in standard spoken American (U.S.) English include the following. 

Listen and Repeat

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Listen and Repeat


  • “leave” [liyv]


  • “give” [gɪv]


  • “book” [bʊk]


  • “blue” [bluw]


  • “go” [gow]


  • “brave” [breyv]


  • “photography” [fə TA grə fiy]


  • “stuff” [stʌf]


  • “perfect” [PɝR  fɪkt]


  • “regular” [RɛG  gyə  lɚr]


  • “jazz” [dʒæz]


  • “best” [bɛst]


  • “taught” [tɔt]


  • “job” [dʒɑb]

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