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02/16/2015 07:26:20 PST

Erica Rösi Pedersen
06/06/2013 07:14:31 PDT
Hello! We created new discussions for each of the 500 Words pages. If you have any questions or comments on the long vowel sounds, post them here.

In private lessons, most students need some work on the OU/OW sound. This sound has a lot of facial movement. It starts with a short A and moves to a long O. It is a good sound to master for standard American English.

Also, many students need more of a long E sound, especially when this sound occurs in Y as the last letter, as in “happy.” In British English, this final Y does not have a strong long E, but in American English it does. The short E and the long E should be very different sounds.

The long O can be hard for people who come from languages with a stronger O. There are certainly some Indian and African dialects that have a much stronger O sound than in American English. To do less of an O sound, students need to form an O with the lips, but without pushing the lips forward. The American O is a clear and distinct sound, but it is made in a more relaxed way than in some languages.

The long U sound with the Y, as in “cute,” can be difficult for those who are not used to it. This sound often occurs with cu, mu, fu and pu spellings, but there is no exact rule. You can notice that a word is more likely to sound like a simple long U (with no Y) if the spelling is OO. So “pool” has a long U sound, but no extra Y, while “computer” has the extra Y sound.

These are just a few general ideas. Have a great day!