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:

Accents American British

Front Vowel Sounds

Look in a mirror and say the sounds in these words: ” ea”(scream), “i” (flip), “e” (jet), “a” (tan). What do you notice about the jaw? It gets wider and wider for every word.

Look closely at your tongue and you can see for each word the tongue gets more deflated with every word (from scream to tan). The midline of the tongue actually deflates like a beachball on steroids when you transition from an “e” to an “a” sound.

JAW HEIGHT increases as the vowel sounds are made from scrEAm, flIp, jEt, tAn.