Accents American

Back Vowel Sounds

Listen to this melody. In which position is your tongue when you sing/say the sounds? By the way the sounds are u: in typhoon ( taɪˈfuːn) and ɔː like oo in floor (flɔːr). 🎶

There are three choices:

  • tongue towards the back
  • tongue is flat
  • tongue is towards the front.

Answer: Tongue is towards the back.

Close your eyes, sing along and feel how your tongue slides deeper in your mouth.

Now put consonants in front of these back vowel sounds and become aware of how the tongue must glide deeper in your mouth to generate u: and ɔː. How about practising with typhoon 🌀⛈( taɪˈfuːn) and floor (flɔːr)? 🥊 🎶

taɪˈfn ⛈ flɔːrz 🥊 🎶

Use this imaginative melody phrase to remember the back vowel sounds:

Your task: think of more words with back vowel sounds. You can use a rhyme generator and create your own rhyme so you can memorise the back tongue position for these sounds.

Check out my youtube video for ideas:

By Matthew

Hello! I'm Matthew and I have more than 11 years of teaching experience with a certified TESOL qualification and a Bachelor Degree in Applied Languages. I specialise in standard American and British accent training. In addition, I am half Japanese (and part German) and have lived in many places including Tokyo, London, Milan, Berlin and Budapest so I know how to bridge different cultures!

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