If you don’t want people to keep asking where you are from… and if you don’t want people to keep saying ‘excuse me?’.. make sure you learn to say the English vowels correctly. Besides mimicking the vowel exactly, you need to be careful not to cut them short in words, especially in longer sentences. When a vowel is said incorrectly in any language, the listener becomes immediately confused.
English Vowels. Don’t cut them short.
4 great techniques you can use so you don’t cut your English vowels short.
English Vowels Tip 1 – Aspirate your consonants
When you put enough air into your consonants and don’t stop them, the vowel before the consonant is mostly also said long enough. If you stop your consonants- shorten them ( say them without any air release), the vowel before the consonant gets shortened too. So aspirating your consonants helps make your vowels clearer and long enough.
English Vowels Tip 2 – If a word ends in a consonant don’t leave it off
Don’t leave the final consonant off words otherwise the vowel will also get cut short.
If you say ‘ni dollars’, the ‘i’ sound doesn’t get finished and so is cut short.
If you say ‘ sta university’ instead of state university, the ‘a’ is cut short and doesn’t say a proper full ‘ay’. Also, then you can’t use linking either because there’s no consonant to link to the ‘u’ in university. This makes your speech sound choppy.
English Vowels Tip 3 – say both parts of a diphthong
You need to say both parts of a diphthong. This is a vowel made up of 2 vowel sounds said quickly together.
For example, if you say ‘mek’ for make, it’s hard for the listener to understand. In the word ‘make’ the ‘a’ says ay. It’s made up of ‘a’ and ‘ee’.
You need to make sure your mouth makes the ‘ee’ part of the vowel as well, before you say the ‘k’ in make. English has a few diphthongs which are covered in our accent reduction courses, so make sure you say both vowel sounds.
English Vowels tip 4 – Hold them on a little longer
If you know that you tend to cut your vowels too short, then purposefully hold them on for a second longer when you speak.
You could practise by reading aloud to yourself and recording yourself, and listen if you are cutting your vowels short or not.
You could read aloud to a friend and ask them to pay attention to your vowels. They could stop you if you cut a vowel short. You could re -read that sentence and make the vowel the right length. This way you are practising in connected speech not just with single words.
If you have found this useful, or if you have any comments, please write something in the comments section below.