Common Rules for Vowel Pronunciation in English Language
English Letters ‘a‘, ‘e‘, ‘i‘, ‘o‘, ‘u‘ are commonly known as vowels. The reason they are called vowels is because, you can pronounce it without obstructing the air to flow through the mouth. In all vowels, the flow of air is unobstructed at the time of pronouncing. On the other hand, Consonant sounds are made by releasing air and needs the assistance of the tongue, lips or teeth.
Vowel sounds are basically divided into two categories:
• Long Vowels
• Short Vowels
Long Vowel – A long vowel is pronounced in the same way as the name of the letter.
use (long ‘u’)
eat (long ‘e’)
ape (long ‘a’)
ice (long ‘i’)
oak (long ‘o’)
Short Vowel – A short vowel refers to the sounds when the vowel occurs individually between consonants. It uses the placement of consonants to force a short vowel sound.
cat (short ‘a’)
gem (short ‘e’)
big (short ‘i’)
dog (short ‘o’)
cut (short ‘u’)
Note – Apart from the aforementioned methods, the English language also has a large number of words that are not pronounced the way they are spelled. These are called non-phonetic words and needs to be memorized individually.
Most Followed Rules for Vowel Pronunciation
Vowel sounds and Syllables have a direct impact on the pronunciation. Syllables are naturally occurring sound units that create the rhythm of pronunciation. Words are split into syllables; Each syllable has one vowel sound; and Syllables can have more than one letter.
1) A Vowel is followed by a Consonant at the end of a word is pronounced as a short vowel. It means when a word or syllable ends with a consonant and there is only one vowel, the sound made is of a short vowel.
Examples: bed, mat, lot, cat, fish
2) When a word ends with the vowel “e”, then it remains silent while pronouncing the word (do not read out loud), and the vowel that comes before it, is a long vowel.
Examples: fake, bake, file, make, rope
3) When two vowels appear next to each other in a Syllable, the second vowel is generally short and the first vowel is pronounced as a long vowel.
Examples: boat, beat, leaf, pain, grow, true, beat, train, load
4) If a Vowel is followed by two Consonants at the end of a word, it is pronounced as a short vowel.
Examples – bark, want, hand, wish
5) When a Vowel is a final letter in a Word (comes last), it is pronounced as a Long Vowel.
Examples – pi, go, lo, be, he
Note – Since English is a non-phonetic language, these rules don’t work all the time. There are certain exceptions when the rules are not followed. The only way to memorize those is to practice.
English Language has some exceptions in spelling and pronunciation. When you learn the language and try to train yourself in an American accent, make a note that there are no hard and fast rules. In this article, we have discussed a few fundamental methods of pronouncing English words that will help you to get an idea of how vowel sounds are made. To know more about it and book a FREE training session, feel free to Email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org).