English Sounds - Learning English Pronunciation

A phoneme(sound) The smallest unit of sounds

When learning English pronunciation, it is always good to know the sounds of English and how they are used in real words. In this lesson, we will help you learn everything about English sounds and how to use English sounds when saying a word or looking up a word in the dictionary.

English Sounds

In English, there are 44 sounds or phonemes. These sounds consist of vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Let’s learn about these sounds.

Vowel Sounds

English Sounds - Vowels

There are 12 single vowel sounds and 7 diphthongs in the English sound system. Some are short and some are long. We have to say the sounds correctly to make them proper and easy to understand when they are used in a word.

Short & long single vowels in minimal pairs

/ɪ/ and /i:/
/ɪ/ – ship, tip, skip, slip, kit, bit
/i:/ – sheep, steep, sleep, cheap, she

/ʊ/ and /u:/
/ʊ/ – good, would, full, pull, foot, put
/u:/ – mood, food, fruit, goose, move

/ʌ/ and /ɑ:/
/ʌ/ – cut, but, must, dust, mushroom
/ɑ:/ – car, market, dark, charge, shark

/ɒ/ and /ɔ:/
/ɒ/ – cost, hot, dog, dot, lot
/ɔ:/ – course, horse, door, shore, more

/ə/ and /ɜ:/
/ə/ – a, about, teacher, amount
/ɜ:/ – fur, clerk, shirt, dirt, birthday

/e/ and /æ/
/e/ – bed, said, men, dead
/æ/ – bad, cat, mattress, bat, mat

a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward another.

/eɪ/ – baby, May, say, day, cake

/ɔɪ/ – coin, point, soil, boy, employ

/aɪ/ – kind, shy, my, nice, ice

/eə/ – where, care, parents, chair, vary

/ɪə/ – deer, dear, mirrow, clear, ear

/ʊə/ – sure, poor, tour, tourist

/əʊ/ – no, snow, know, moment

/aʊ/ – cow, mouth, south, cloud, now

Consonant Sounds

There are 24 consonant sounds in English. Let’s look at the consonants in the picture below and the example words.

English Sounds - consonants

/p/ – pet, people, push, pineapple
/b/ – bet, book, bowl, bow, beat

/f/ – fold, fat, food, full, fall
/v/ vote, viral, vet, voice, vine

/θ/ – thin, thick, thank, think, something
/ð/ – this, then, than, though, 

/t/ – toy, tie, teach, tin
/d/ – do, dislike, donut, down

/s/ – sing, size, six, set, sour
/z/ – zoo, zero, zipper, 

/ʃ/ – shoe, shine, wash, fishing
/ʒ/ – vision, measure, 

/ʧ/ – change, chance, challenge 
/ʤ/ – change, judge, George, juice 

/k/ – cook, skin, kit, can
g/ – good, guide, get, gone

/h/ – high, hence, hot, hit, hat

/m/ – move, man, meet, mine

/n/ – nice, not, net, no

/ŋ/ – sing, thing, writing,

/r/ – right, rule, write, rat

/l/ – lose, light, lend, lot, lit

/w/ – work, weak, wife, when, where

/j/ – you, yes, young, your

Now we know all the sounds of English, but how they are used in the world, we are going to have a video posted to explain this in detail.


Leave a Reply