Phonemes and Pronunciation

Improve Your Pronunciation with Gabriel Sowrian


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~* ORAL PREFACE *~
-{ Click 'HEREfor the transcript of my voice }-

This is an  actual  MRI  (Magnetic  Resonance  Imaging)  scan of a  man’s head, side view, captured while talking. Observe closely the movements of the speech organs, especially tongue. This is what happens inside our mouth  when  we talk, shout, whisper or sing!  It looks very  interesting, doesn't it?  You can see the image  here  on a slightly  bigger scale. Also, watch similar MRI scans with voice on Video 1 and Video 2.

The following figure shows the sequence of changes in the shape of our mouth and lips when we pronounce the word 'funny'. Such changes occur because we say four different sounds swiftly in the process of pronouncing the word 'funny'.

Now,  try  saying  the word  while  looking  at you in the  mirror.  Do  you see  what I  just mentioned?  Remember  that  all spoken words  are  made up of  small units of sounds called phonemes. The word 'funny' has four phonemes - /f/, /ʌ/, /n/ and /i/ - /'fʌni/.
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                                / f /       / ʌ /      / n /       / i /

The next time when you  converse with your friend  watch carefully how his  mouth, lips and  even the  tongue  (visible  during  the  making  of  some  sounds)  move while he is talking. This is a good way to identify the articulation of different sounds that are involved when a word is said. I do this all the time just for the fun of it!

Well!  Do you see the importance of learning the phonemes in order to pronounce words appropriately?  If  your  answer is  'yes',  you've taken the very first step to improve  your pronunciation. Congratulations!

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See below for the 44 phonemes that make up the pronunciation

of all the words in Standard British English.

(Click on the image and you'll be taken to an in-house Interactive Phonemic Chart.)
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Now, click Session 1 and begin your study.  Once you are done with a Session, come to  this  contents  page  and  continue  with  the  next  Session.  Feel  free to  revise a session  as many  times as you want  until  you  really  feel satisfied.  The key is,  your active participation in every single exercise or activity that I have drawn up. Don't be shy - *record  your  voice and post  your  audio for each lesson so that we could help you to attain your goal. Let's do it!

Note:  Currently, Study Session 1 to 12 are available. I’ll activate the others as and when the related study sessions are  posted. This list  is merely to show you in advance all the topics that the study comprises.
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.................Session   1:   Introduction and the Sounds of English

.................Session   2:   IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet

.................Session   3:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /p/  -  voiced  /b/

.................Session   4:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /t/   -  voiced  /d/

.................Session   5:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /k/  -  voiced   /g/

.................Session   6:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /f/   -  voiced   /v/

.................Session   7:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /θ/  -  voiced  /ð/

.................Session   8:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /s/  -  voiced   /z/

.................Session   9:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /ʃ/   -  voiced   /ʒ/

.................Session 10:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /ʧ/  -  voiced  /ʤ/

.................Session 11:   Consonant sounds:  voiced    ./m/  -  voiced  /n/  -  voiced  /ŋ/

.................Session 12:   Consonant sounds:  voiced      /l/   -  voiced  /r/

.................Session 13:   Consonant sounds:  voiced      /w/ -  voiced  /j/

.................Session 14:   Consonant sounds:  voiceless  /h/

.................Session 15:   A recollection of consonant sounds

.................Session 16:   Vowel sounds:  short  /ɪ/    -  long  /i:/

.................Session 17:   Vowel sounds:  short  /ʊ/   -  long  /u:/

.................Session 18:   Vowel sounds:  short  /ɒ/   -  long  /ɔ:/

.................Session 19:   Vowel sounds:  short  /æ-  long  /ɑ:/

.................Session 20:   Vowel sounds:  short  /ʌ/   -  long  /ɜ:/

.................Session 21:   Vowel sounds:  short  /e/

.................Session 22:   Vowel sounds:  short  /ə/

.................Session 23:   A recollection of vowel sounds

.................Session 24:   Diphthongs ss:   //,   //  and  /ɔɪ/

.................Session 25:   Diphthongs ss:   / /  and   /əʊ/

.................Session 26:   Diphthongs ss:   /ɪə/,   //  and  /ʊə/

.................Session 27:   A recollection of diphthongs
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                 Session 28:   ………..........…..... ?! …...……….…….……

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I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to Prostomolotova Galina. I  could not  have  formulated  the lessons  without  the  many  hours  of  fruitful discussions  I  had  with  her for the  past  two  weeks.  It  was a great  privilege working with someone who is so enthusiastic about the English Sound System.
Thank you from the heart, Galina! Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

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What do you say?

I’d  appreciate  some  feedback  from  you  about  phonemes. Do you think  it is  worth learning the phonemes?  Do  you really  feel like  mastering the  speech  sounds?  Share  your  views in the comment box below. Thank you!

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* Check my blog  "Make your voice heard"  to learn where to get a voice recorder;  how to record your
   voice and embed the audio player anywhere on EC.
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* Now I have my own pronunciation page on Facebook. Why don't you check it out today? There are a lot of activities that could help you to enhance your pronunciation. See you there! 
 
~* GS *~
July 13th, 2012
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My heartfelt thanks to EC for featuring this discussion today... July 14th, 2012

       Don't forget to click the 'Like' button if you find the posting useful!

The transcript of my oral preface.docx

Letters vs Phonemes - Written and Spoken words.doc

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Replies

  • great suggestion ...

  • thanks for the great lesson and post Gabriel

    your way of conveying and presenting lessons is quite creative and appreciable:)

    thanks for the time you spend for preparing such an organized and fruitful course:)

    may God bless you and empower you on this right way.

    Good luck

  • It's very useful to me to join this lessons. I think I should work on them very well as I'm so weak in them. I admit that I studied them in my university, but unfortunately, I didn't practice them by voice recording. So, I will start studying them from the first lesson. 

  • Hi Gabriel,

    I studied phonemic chart which also shows the differences between British and American. My sources are

    uiowa (the sounds of American English)  and Oxford Dictionary, I classified them in order to see the differences. Please have a look, if you find time, if you could, I would appreciate it.....

    Thank you in advance.

    Here is the excel file,

    pronunciation group.xls

  • hello, mr. Gabriel and thank yopu very much.Really it is important to learn speech sounds. it gives us confiedence to speak because we will be sure that our pronounciation is correct.I hope i compelet learing all lassons. Thank you very much.

  • really it's very good information about phonetics and I interested in reading it and we can return to it one day as good resource .....Good effort Gabriel  

  • Oh my! Am I sooo late?!....Dear Teacher Gab, this is so exciting! From session 1 to 28..it means you've already laid down the path to our progress...And the best thing is....its for FREE!!

    Please count me in here as your student. I'd like to study phonemes and pronunciation too as I know it's the ticket for a better speaking..

    Thank you so much! It's priceless lessons..

  • Hello Teacher Gabriel !

    Good pronunciation is  important in learning foreing languages,and People often say that they don't care about having good pronunciation because they only want to communicate.If you have poor pronunciation you will not be understood,well I have studied phonetics and phonology before I still remember some lessons about Consonants , Vowels , long vowels ,short vowels , phonemes .... I also know about transcription though my English is poor . I would like to learn from your lessons Teacher Gabriel , because you explain lessons in a simple and wonderful way. I am very excited to learn the correct pronunciation.

    Thank you very much for your help.

  • Thank you very much Mr.Gabriel :) It's very useful lesson for us..

  • Gabriel, I even can't find the words to express my feelings. I've just returned from my hometown and what a surprise I see here. You've done it!!! You posted your discussion devoted to pronunciation. Great! I completely agree with you that pronunciation should be one of the first things that you learn in English. When you talk to peple in real life, they may not notice your limited vocabulary or grammar mistakes. But they notice right away if your pronunciation is good or bad. If your pronunciation is poor, they will think about you as a person who speaks bad English, and good grammar and vocabulary won't help you. Even if you use correct grammar, people may simply not understand what you want to say. I always tell my students about the importance of pronunciation.I tell them that they should ask themselves two questions:

    1. Is  my English easy to understand?

    2. Is my English pleasant to listen to?

    And I again agree with you that the first step to good pronunciation is learning phonemes. We know that English has a lot of absurdities in spelling. So, without knowing phonemes and transcription we can't read and pronounce English words in a proper way.

    Gabriel, thanks for mentioning my name here, but I think you've exaggerated my role in formulating your lessons. Anyway I'm always ready to help you if you need any help and I myself will learn with pleasure.

    I'm very glad that this discussion was featured.

    123Friendster.Com

     

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