Category Archives: The Story of Sounds

The Story of Sounds: Episode 16: Using /iː/ and /uː/ to locate the ‘tongue button’

When exploring sounds keep in mind this important fact: Consonants have relatively fixed places in the mouth where the sound is produced. You bring two surfaces together to make a restriction, provide voiced or unvoiced air pressure against that restriction, … Continue reading

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The story of sounds: Episode 15: Using /i:/ and /u:/ to locate the ‘lips button’

Let’s look at the task I proposed at the end of Episode 14/ 1.. Isolate the two different vowels in the words me, you. The symbols are  /i:/ and /u:/. 2.. Say each vowel separately. Notice, and sense from the … Continue reading

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The story of sounds: Episode 14: Introduction to Vowels

Having completed the inside story of consonants in the first 13 episodes, we can see that the thing about consonants is that they (nearly all) have some way of restricting or obstructing the outflow of air through the mouth. That … Continue reading

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The story of sounds: Episode 13: /h/

We have visited all of the English consonants… except for /h/  Journey 1 Say this pair /hiːt/ and /iːt/ (heat, eat) What do you do differently in the first word to sound the /h/? It’s hard to tell at first … Continue reading

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The story of sounds: Episode 12: /w/ and /j/

Unlike the other consonants the two sounds /w/ and /j/ offer no restriction to the flow of air out through the mouth. In this they are quite vowel like, and indeed they are usually classed as semi-vowels. It is worth … Continue reading

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The Story of Sounds: Episode 11: /f/ and /v/

Let’s have a look at /f/ and /v/. As always, getting insight into HOW you make these sounds, I mean actually sensing the flesh, blood and breath of these sounds, gives you insight into making many other sounds as well … Continue reading

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The Story of Sounds: Episode 10. Making /ʧ/ and /ʤ/ out of sounds already in circulation

 As you might guess we are going to make these two consonants from their constituent sounds, thus /t/ + /ʃ/ = /ʧ/,   and /d/ + /Ʒ/ = /ʤ/ But there are several ways to do this which draw in other … Continue reading

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The Story of Sounds: Episode 9. Further discoveries using the Voice Button

As you know I prefer, where possible, to give a mimed or visual model of a sound rather than say the sound, as it makes learners look attentively at the muscular movement and to search for that same muscle movement … Continue reading

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The Story of Sounds: Episode 8: Voice Choice. Discovering the Voice Button

In October 2010 in my third post on this blog, I wrote about helping students to connect with the muscles that make the pronunciation difference. I said that I have found it helpful for students to identify 4 internal muscle … Continue reading

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The Story of Sounds: Episode 7. A new way to discover /r/

A new way to discover /r/ In Episode 5 we saw how /r/ can be discovered by approaching it from /n/. In Episode 7 we find another surprising short cut to articulating the English /r/ sound. One advantage of using … Continue reading

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