The Vowel in the Word Bird /ɜ:/ | British English Pronunciation Course | Phonetics

Extras: http://linguaspectrum.com/do_the_lesson.php?id=188

In this video, we are going to look at the vowel sound that we find in the word bird.
/ɜ:/
You can see that this diphthong has two dots after it which indicates that it is a long vowel sound.
The /ɜ:/ sound is a central accented vowel sound with no lip rounding.
Technically, this vowel sound is the open-mid central unrounded vowel.
It is a sound that does not normally occur in other languages besides English.
Notice that on the chart, the /ɜ:/ sits next to the schwa vowel sound /ə/.
The two sounds are distinguished only by length, the schwa being short and the /ɜ:/ being longer.
As with all long vowel sounds, the /ɜ:/ also has a reduced form, which is similar to the schwa sound.
The spelling of the /ɜ:/ vowel sound is most usually a vowel letter followed by the letter r.
There are some rare exceptions, however. Aren't there always?
The word colonel, for instance, and the word milieu break the rule.
/ˈkɜ:nl/ /mi:lˈjɜ:/
Word which do not break the rule are her, service, mercy and diverse. These use the vowel letter e followed by r.
/hɜ:/ /ˈsɜ:vɪs/ /ˈmɜ:sɪ/ /dɑɪˈvɜ:s/
Turn, churn, curse, and burst use the vowel letter u followed by the letter r, as do the words fur, burn and urgent.
/tɜ:n/ /ʧɜ:n/ /kɜ:s/ /bɜ:st/
/fɜ:/ /bɜ:n/ /ˈɜ:ʤənt/
If you remember that the letter y can also be a vowel sound, then the words sir, bird, whirr, girl, myrtle also follow the rule of vowel letter plus r.
/sɜ:/ /bɜ:d/ /hwɜ:/ /gɜ:l/ /ˈmɜ:tl/
Where the letter o is preceded by the letter w and followed by the letter r, we can also have the /ɜ:/ sound.
Words such as word, world, work, worse, and worst for instance.
/wɜ:d/ /wɜ:ld/ /wɜ:k/ /wɜ:s/ /wɜ:st/
You might say the word ear, as ear, but in words like earn, earth, early and heard, you should have heard the /ɜ:/ sound.
/ɜ:n/ /ɜ:θ/ /ˈɜ:li:/ /hɜ:d/
Likewise, our becomes /ɜ:/ in words such as adjourn, journey, and scourge.
/əˈʤɜ:n/ /ˈʤɜ:nɪ/ /skɜ:ʤ/
Notice that although the words in which we find the /ɜ:/ sound normally have a vowel letter followed by the letter r, the /r/ sound is not produced.
I mentioned earlier that the /ɜ:/ sound can have a long and a reduced form.
Of the words we have just looked at, could you hear the differences? If not, try listening to them again.

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