The easy way to learn pronunciation

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					The easy way to learn English Pronunciation.
By David Turnbull

Contents and structure.
1……. 2……. 3 - 4……. 5 – 7…… 8-10…… 11……. 12-13…… 14-15…… 16…… 17……….. 18-20…… 21-28…… 29-30…… 31-35……. 36-37……. 38………. 39……. 40……. 41-44…… 45……. 46……. 47-48…. 49-50….. 51-52….. Introduction Understanding Syllables. Rules of word stress. Word stress. Basic Syllable Rules. Stress Patterns. Phonetic Syllables Rules. Phonetic Symbols Speech Organs. How to make the sounds. Pronouncing the English Letters. (Vowels) Pronouncing the English Letters. (Consonants) Compound Words. Homophones. Practice. Linking words. Understanding vowels and Consonants for Linking. Sentence Stress. Examples. Linking Consonant to Vowel. Linking Vowel to Vowel. Mispronounced Words. Practice Songs. Tongue Twisters. Enjoy studying English.




Learning a foreign language is one of the most difficult yet most

rewarding experiences of your life. Although at times, learning a language is frustrating, but it is well worth the effort in the end. A brief introduction of myself. My name is David Turnbull, my nationality is British and I come from England. I have been teaching in Asia for over 10 years, and I love my job teaching students in China and in many parts of Asia, like Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan. From my experience, Chinese students pronunciation is far from perfect, but their grammar is reasonably good. The feedback I often get from some students is that they don’t practice enough to improve their pronunciation in an English environment. Chinese students are consensus about pronunciation and grammar. So how can they improve their pronunciation? Move to America or England perhaps? Well not many students can afford this option, so here is a much cheaper solution; Try Watching English TV programs to improve your listening skills, and try to think in English to train your mind, instead of translating from English to Chinese and then to English. This will take a lot of practice and time to achieve your desired goal to be a good English speaker. Secondly, I believe this book is contemporary, aimed to improve your English pronunciation. Especially, of how to improve your English pronunciation. You must first understand, how the native speaker sounds with stress and intonation. This book is based on how to communicate and understand the rules, so that you will have a good idea of the sounds. This easy to follow guide should help you to improve your pronunciation. Please enjoy!

Understanding Syllables.
To understand word stress, it helps to understand syllables. Every word is made from syllables. Each word has one, two, three or more syllables.


There are many two-syllable words in English whose meaning and class change with a change in stress. The word present, for example is a two-syllable word. If we stress the first syllable, it is a noun (gift) or an adjective (opposite of absent). But if we stress the second syllable, it becomes a verb (to offer). More examples: the words export, import, contract and object can all be nouns or verbs depending on whether the stress is on the first or second syllable.

First we must understand Syllables.

Rules of Word Stress.


There are two very simple rules about word stress: One word has only one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. If you hear two stresses, you hear two words. Two stresses cannot be one word. It is true that there can be a "secondary" stress in some words. But a secondary stress is much smaller than the main [primary] stress, and is only used in long words.)
Rule example Most 2-syllable nouns………...PRESent, EXport, CHIna,TAble Most 2-syllable adjectives…...PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy Rule example Most 2-syllable verbs…………to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN Rule example Words ending in –cy – ty - phy and – gy…….deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy, geOLogy. Words ending in – al………………………..CRItical, geoLOGical

We can only stress vowels, not consonants. There are some, rather complicated, rules that can help you understand where to put the stress. But do not rely on them too much, because there are many exceptions. It is better to try to "feel" the music of the language and to add the stress naturally. Apart from the vowel qualities and consonant qualities, stresses play a very important role in conveying the meaning of a sentence in English. “Chinese is a tone language while English is highly stressed”

Word Dog Quiet Expensive Interesting Unexceptional

number of syllables dog 1 qui-et 2 ex-pen-sive 3 in-ter-est-ing 4 un-ex-cep-tion-al 5

We stress vowels (A,E,I,O,U) not consonants,

Word Stress.




un.der.stand con.ti.nue

• • . . . •

. . . . • • . •.•. •

When a syllable is stressed, it is pronounced; longer in duration, higher in pitch, and louder in volume. Practice the Try this with the word teacher. stress in these words How you say teacher? longer teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cha higher tea cha louder TEA cha all three combined TEEEEEEEEE cha


Say these words with the stressed syllables (in bold) more prominent. Try to stress them by lengthening the vowel. Try NOT to exaggerate the pitch difference.

two syllables three syllables four syllables five syllables

- de.sign, -, -, - ,

a.bout,,, ca.fe.te.ri.a,


** Some native speakers (particularly British) pronounces this word (three syllables).
Practice the stressed syllables in bold.


All words of more than one syllable have what is called word stress. This means that at least one of the syllables is l o n g e r and louder than the other syllables. In the following example, stressed syllables are in capital letters: A. Column A PHOtograph PENcil MANchester Column B phoTOgraphy comMITtee soCIety Column C photoGRAphic volunTEER inforMAtion

Say the stress louder and longer in these words.

Stress these words, but not to loud, just enough stress on the vowels.

In many cases, word stress must simply be learned as new vocabulary is acquired. However, there are several rules for word stress which can make it easier to deal with.

Basic Syllable Rules.
1. To find the number of syllables: Count the vowels in the word, Subtract any silent vowels, (like the silent "e" at the end of a word or the second vowel when two vowels are together in a syllable) Subtract one vowel from every diphthong, (diphthongs only count as one vowel sound.)


The number of vowels sounds left is the same as the number of syllables. The number of syllables that you hear when you pronounce a word is the same as the number of vowels sounds heard. For example: The word "came" has 2 vowels, but the "e" is silent, leaving one vowel sound and one syllable.

The word "outside" has 4 vowels, but the "e" is silent and the "ou" is a diphthong which counts as only one sound, so this word has only two vowels sounds and therefore, two syllables.

Remember to count the vowels in the word.

2. Divide between two middle consonants. Split up words that have two middle consonants. For example: hap/pen, bas/ket, let/ter, sup/per, din/ner, and Den/nis. The only exceptions are the consonant digraphs. Never split up consonant digraphs as they really represent only one sound. The exceptions are "th", "sh", "ph", "ch", and "wh".

3. Usually divide before a single middle consonant. When there is only one syllable, you usually divide in front of it, as in: "o/pen", "i/tem", "e/vil", and "re/port". The only exceptions are those times when the first syllable has an obvious short sound, as in "cab/in".

Split up words that have two middle consonants.

4. Divide before the consonant before an "-le" syllable.
When you have a word that has the old-style spelling in which the "-le" sounds like "-el", divide before the consonant before the "-le". For example: "a/ble", "fum/ble", "rub/ble" "mum/ble" and "this/tle". The only exception to this are "ckle" words like "tick/le".

5. Divide off any compound words, prefixes, suffixes and roots which have vowel sounds. Split off the parts of compound words like "sports/car" and "house/boat". Divide off prefixes such at "un/happy", "pre/paid", or "re/write". Also divide off suffixes as in the words "farm/er", "teach/er", "hope/less" and "care/ful". In the word "stop/ping", the suffix is actually "-ping" because this word follows the rule that when you add "-ing" to a word with one syllable, you double the last consonant and add the "-ing".

Stress Patterns.
Practice these sentences with the stress.


1. Sing a song. 2. I’d love to. 3. I’ve heard of it. 4. I want to know. 5. She asked me to go.

Phonics Rules.


The vowels are "a,e,i,o, and u"; also sometimes "y" & "w". This also includes the diphthongs "oi, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, oo" and many others. The consonants are all the other letters which stop or limit the flow of air from the throat in speech. They are: "b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, qu, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z, ch, sh, th, ph, wh, ng, and gh".

1. Sometimes the rules don't work. There are many exceptions in English because of the vastness of the language and the many languages from which it has borrowed. The rules do work however, in the majority of the words.

2. Every syllable in every word must have a vowel. English is a "vocal" language; Every word must have a vowel.

3. "C" followed by "e, i or y" usually has the soft sound of "s". Examples: "cyst", "central", and "city".

4. "G" followed by "e, i or y" usually has the soft sound of "j". Example: "gem", "gym", and "gist". 5. When 2 consonants are joined together and form one new sound, they are a consonant digraph. They count as one sound and one letter and are never separated. Examples: "ch,,sh,,th,,ph, and wh".


6. When a syllable ends in a consonant and has only one vowel, that vowel is short. Examples: "fat, bed, fish, spot, luck".

7. When a syllable ends in a silent "e", the silent "e" is a signal that the vowel in front of it is long. Examples: "make, gene, kite, rope, and use".

8. When a syllable has 2 vowels together, the first vowel is usually long and the second is silent. Examples: "pain, eat, boat, res/cue, say, grow". NOTE: Diphthongs don't follow this rule; In a diphthong, the vowels blend together to create a single new sound. The diphthongs are: "oi,oy,ou,ow,au,aw, oo" and many others.

9. When a syllable ends in any vowel and is the only vowel, that vowel is usually long. Examples: "pa/per, me, I, o/pen, u/nit, and my".

10. When a vowel is followed by an "r" in the same syllable, that vowel is "r-controlled". It is not long nor short. "R-controlled "er,ir,and ur" often sound the same (like "er"). Examples: "term, sir, fir, fur, far, for, su/gar, or/der".

Phonetic symbols for English.
Consonants: p………………………………………pen, copy, happen b………………………………………back, baby, job t……………………………………….tea, tight, button d………………………………………day, ladder, odd k………………………………………key, clock, school g………………………………………get, giggle, ghost tʃ………………………………………church, match, nature dʒ……………………………………..judge, age, soldier f……………………………………….fat, coffee, rough, photo V…………………............................view, heavy, move θ ……………………………………..thing, author, path ð ……………………………………..this, other, smooth s ………………...............................soon, cease, sister z ……………………………………, music, roses, buzz ʃ ……………………………………..ship, sure, national ʒ ……………………………………..pleasure, vision h …………………………………….hot, whole, ahead m ……………………………………more, hammer, sum n ……………………………………nice, know, funny, sun Ŋ …………………………………... ring, anger, thanks, sung l ……………………………………..light, valley, feel r …………………………………….right, wrong, sorry, arrange j ……………………………………..use, beauty, few w ……………………………………wet, one, when, queen ʔ …………………………………….(glottal stop) department, football



ɪ …………………………..kit, bid, hymn, minute e ………………………….dress, bed, head, many æ …………………………trap, bad ɒ ………………………….lot, odd, wash ʌ ………………………….strut, mud, love, blood ʊ …………………………foot, good, put I ː………………………..fleece, sea, machine eɪ ………………………..face, day, break aɪ ………………………..price, high, try ɔɪ …………….................choice, boy u ː………………………goose, two, blue, group əʊ ………………………goat, show, no ………………………mouth, now ……………………….near, here, weary ………………………square. fair, various ɑː ……………..............start, father ɔː ………………………thought, law, north, war ʊə ………………………poor, jury, cure ɜː ………………………nurse, stir, learn, refer ə ………………………..about, common, standard I …………………………happy, radiate. Glorious ………………………….middle, metal „…………………………(stress mark) u ……………………….thank you, influence, situation n̩ ……………………….suddenly, cotton

aʊ ɪə eə

Speech organs.


1. 上唇 Upper lip
2. 下唇 Lower lip 3. 上齿 Upper teeth 4. 下齿 Lower teeth

5. 上齿龈 Upper teeth ridge
6. 硬腭 Hard palate 7. 软腭 Soft palate 8. 小舌 the uvula 9. 舌端 The tip of the tongue 10. 舌前The front of the tongue 11. 舌后The back of the tongue 12. 喉头 throat 13. 声带 the vocal cords 14. 器官 organs 15. 咽头 the pharynx 16. 口腔 the mouth cavity 17. 鼻腔 the nasal cavity

How to make some of the most important sounds.
These activities,have some exercises that you can use to practice the sounds.


First, here is a picture of the inside of your mouth and the important articulators, the parts of your mouth that help you to make the sounds. Your lips, teeth, tongue, nose, and roof of your mouth are all important for pronunciation. The epiglottis is also important. That is the thing that you use to hold your breath and to swallow. It closes your windpipe so the air cannot come out.

Pronouncing the English Letters.


Vowels: Vowels are letters that are pronounced by forcing air over your vocal cords through your mouth. It is the shape of your mouth that decides which vowel sound comes out. There are many tape or video cassette lessons available from schools, libraries and stores which will help you with your pronunciation. You can also learn a lot by listening to the radio and watching television and films.
Vowels Sounds of the letters spellings Examples

A a

The "long" sound of this letter is the same as the name of the letter.

a, a + consonant + e, ea, able, late, great, heir, weigh, ei, eigh, aigh, ai, ay, ere straight, rain, play, where, there

A a

The "short" sound of this letter is often found in 3-letter and 4letter words.

a, augh

ad, bad, cat, dab, fact, hat, lack, mat, rap, sad, tap, yak, laugh, draught

A a

The "soft" sound of this letter is like the sound you make when a child is hurt - Aw.

father, awful, a, aw, augh lawn, taught,


E e

The "long" sound of this letter is the same as the name of the letter.

e, e + consonant + e, ee, be, here, cede, meet, bean, thief, ea, ie, ei, y receipt, carry, steady

E e

The "short" sound of this letter is often found in short words.

e, ea, ai

bet, chef, dead, fed, head, get, led, met, net, red, said, wet,


I i

The "long" sound of this letter sounds like the name of the letter.

i, y, igh, I + consonant + e, ai

I, my, sigh, ride, aisle, file, cry,

I i

The "short" sound of this letter is often found in short words.

i, u

bit, city, click, lid, spin, tin, rip, sit, trip,

The "long" sound of this letter sounds like the name of the letter. o, oa, ough, o + consonant + e, ow, o, go, boat, coal, though, dough, lone, pole, show,



The "short" sound of this letter is often found in short words. It is very close to the "soft" A sound.

o, ough

body, cot, clod, flop, bought, shot, mop


The "long" sound of this letter sounds like the last part of the name of the letter.

u, oo, ou, ough, ew, ue, o, u + consonant + e, oe

do, boot, through, flew, glue, rude, shoe, rula, roof, threw, flue, tune


The "short" sound of this letter is often found in short words.

u, oo

but, cut, fun, gun, stud, bum, blood, flood, rump, fuzz

Consonants are letters that are pronounced by forcing air through, over or between the various parts of your mouth: palate, teeth, tongue, lips. Sometimes the sound is made by stopping the flow of air and then releasing it. Again, examples of the correct pronunciation of these letters can be found elsewhere. This lesson will deal with the relationship between spelling and pronunciation. Consonants How to pronounce it Press both lips together and with your vocal cords vibrating, open your lips suddenly. stable Examples baby, boy, bed, bird, table, rabbit, ribbon, black, crab,

B b

C c

"Soft" C is a hissing sound with the tip of your tongue pushed against the back of your bottom teeth and the air forced between your tongue and the roof of your

city, cement, ceiling, cell, Cyclops, certain, circle, facet, mice


C c

"Hard" C, like the letter "K", is made by pressing the back of your tongue against top of your throat opening and releasing it suddenly with a puff of air.

can, corn, curl, cable, copper, cut, act, bacon, cry, close, cramp

22. D d
Push the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth, vibrate your vocal cords and release your tongue. dog, day, dirty, duty, drum, drip, bad, paddle, lid, spread, radar

F f

Press your upper front teeth against your bottom lip. Force air through the opening, then release your teeth from your lip.

father, fence, find, forty, funny, flake, fry, wafer, golfer, lift, safe, stiff, muff

G g

To make the "hard" G sound, close the opening at the back of your throat (back of tongue against rear roof of mouth), vibrate your vocal cords and release the pressure of your tongue. To make the "soft" G sound, like the letter "J", press the front third of your tongue against your upper front teeth and gums, vibrate your vocal cords and release your tongue.

game, girl, gone, guppy, bag, mug, sugar, bigger, gravy, glad, twig

G g

giant, gentle, gem, germ, gigantic, widget, suggest, gesture


H h

The letter H is pronounced with your mouth relaxed, your jaw slightly open, and with a puff of air being forced from your throat.

hair, heavy, hill, home, hurt, behave, behind, inhale, rehearse

J j

To make the sound of the letter J, like the soft G, press the front third of your tongue against your top front teeth and gums, vibrate your vocal cords and release your

jail, jet, jiffy, jolly, jump, inject, injure, reject, misjudge


K k

To pronounce the K sound, press the back of your tongue against the rear roof of your mouth, then release it with a puff of air. (note: the letters C and K often work together in the middle or at the end of words to make a single K sound.)

kale, kettle, kick, koala, basket, brisket, bucket, pack, stick, luck

L l

To pronounce L, put the tip of your tongue against the ridge above your top front teeth, vibrate your vocal cords, then quickly release your tongue.

labor, lettuce, lip, love, luck, pilot, pillow, pullet, still, pail, bull, bowl


M m

To pronounce M, press your lips together, vibrate your vocal cords, then open your lips without a puff of air.

man, mend, milk, money, mug, woman, camera, simple, am, seem, come
name, net, nickel, not, number, many, pint, sentence, run, pin, man

N n

To pronounce N, put the tip of your tongue against the gums behind your top front teeth, raise the center of your tongue, vibrate your vocal cords, and release your tongue without a puff of air.

P p

To pronounce P, put your lips together and release them with a puff of air, without your vocal cords vibrating.

pan, pet, pick, pour, punt, rapid, tepid, hoping, strap, step, drop, dump

Q q

Q is always followed by U in English. QU is usually pronounced like KU (with a long U) with the U being held a very short time.

quake, question, quick, quote, inquest, require, liquid, sequel

25. Q q
Sometimes, QU is pronounced like K, usually in the middle or at the end of words. bisque, toque, briquette, croquet

R r

To pronounce R, open your mouth slightly, raise the middle and back of your tongue toward the roof of your mouth without touching it, and vibrate your vocal cords.

rain, rent, ripe, rot, run, siren, syrup, sorrow, cereal, far, tear, north, year, fur

S s

To pronounce S, put the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth, raise the rest of your tongue almost to the roof of your mouth, and let air hiss through the narrow opening.

sand, set, sick, some, such, basket, fiscal, posture, mustard, pass, miss, rest, yes

S s

At times, S is pronounced like the letter Z, with your mouth in the same position, but now with your vocal cords vibrating.

was, wisdom, trees, toes, bores, cows, cleans, tears, pours, claws




To pronounce T, put the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth and release it with a little puff of air.

tape, ten, time, top, tune, water, center, mister, poster, custard, sat, wet, fit, not, cut
vase, very, vital, Volvo, waver, never, river, oven, lover, wave, leave, dive,

V v

To pronounce V, place your top front teeth against your bottom lip (as with F), but then without releasing air, vibrate your vocal cords and release your teeth from your lip.

W w

To pronounce W, purse (round) your lips as if you are going to pronounce Long U. Vibrate your vocal cords for a very short U sound, then open your lips to pronounce the next sound in the word.

want, west, winter, wove, wool, beware, unwind, lower, tower

X x

X is usually pronounced like a K and S together except for the few words that begin with X, in which case X is pronounced like Z.

fax, text, mix, box, deluxe, relax, fixer, xylophone, xenon, xylem


Y y

Y is more like a vowel than a consonant. You pronounce it by forming your mouth to say a Long E sound, vibrate your vocal cords, then quickly go on to pronounce the next vowel sound in the word.

yard, yam, yet, year, young, yip, player, lawyer

Z z

To pronounce Z, put the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth and raise the rest of your tongue until it almost touches the roof of your mouth. Then vibrate your vocal cords and let air escape through the narrow opening.

zap, zero, zing, zone, zoo, maze, doze, size, lazy, buzz, faze


To pronounce CH, press the whole width of your tongue against the roof of your mouth behind your top front teeth, then release your tongue just enough to let a wide hiss of air come out.

chair, chess, chin, chore, chum, march, teacher, church, winch, such (Note: many words will use TCH to stand for the CH sound.) watch, fetch, witch, pitcher, match

To pronounce the SH sound, place the whole width of your tongue close to the roof of your mouth behind your top front teeth, but without touching the roof, then let air slowly escape through the opening. ash, mesh, fish, wash, posh, bush, masher, usher, shape, shin, shop, shut



To pronounce the Voiced TH, put the tip of your tongue between your top and bottom front teeth and vibrate your vocal cords, then pull your tongue back to pronounce the rest of the word.

than, then, this, there, that, either, weather, other, bather, smooth, clothe, scythe


To pronounce the Unvoiced TH, put the tip of your tongue between your top and bottom front teeth and let air escape around your tongue, without your vocal cords vibrating.

thank, thin, think, thought, thump, therapy, bath, with, moth, path, youth

Compound words.


I. Compound Nouns: Look at the compound nouns below, Which part has the word stress? In each of these examples, the first part of the compound gets the stress.

2. Noun + Noun Compounds (2-word compound nouns) air conditioner, computer programmer, nail polish, French fry, Geiger counter, doctor's office.

Similar to the rule for compound nouns, the first part of the compound--here, the first word--gets the stress. (Note: If the "unstressed" part of the noun + noun compound is more than one syllable, it will have some word stress. However, the first part of the compound will get even more stress.)

The first part of the compound noun gets stressed first.

3. Phrasal Verbs versus Compound Nouns derived from phrasal. Phrasal verbs (a.k.a. two-word or two-part verbs) are generally made up of a verb and preposition. For many of these, correct word stress is especially important as they have compound noun counterparts. In the following examples, the words here are phrasal verbs.

The words here are nouns. let down, (letdown), shut out, (shutout) print out (printout) turn off (turnoff) take over (takeover)

In phrasal verbs, the preposition gets the word stress.

If they have a noun counterpart, however, it gets the stress on the first part.
What‟s a preposition ? The preposition gets the word stress, if it has a noun counter part then stress the first part.

prepositions are words like “over, under, on, in, at,” etc.



Homophones are words that have exactly the same sound (pronunciation) but different meanings and (usually) spelling. For example, the following two words have the same sound, but different meanings and spelling: hour our

In the next example, the two words have the same sound and spelling, but different meanings: bear (the animal) bear (to carry)

Usually homophones are in groups of two (our, hour), but very occasionally they can be in groups of three (to, too, two) or even four. If we take our "bear" example, we can add another word to the group" bare (naked) bear (the animal) bear (to tolerate)
"Our bear cannot bear to be bare at any hour."

Homophones are the same sounding words, but have different meanings.


What does homophone mean?
The word homophone is made from two combining forms: homo- (from the Greek word "homos", meaning "same“ -phone (from the Greek word "phone", meaning "voice" or "sound” You will see many other English words using one or other of these combining forms.

The following page is a list of 68 groups of homophones, contains only the most common homophones, using relatively well-known words. They are only headwords. No inflections (such as third person singular "s" or noun plurals) are included.
I understan d now.

Homophone words.





































































































NB: In a few cases, a third homophone, although possible, has not been included for simplicity. Different varieties and accents of English may produce variations in some of these pronunciations. The homophones listed here are based on British English.
































to toe

too tow



sun waist waste



Practice saying these words slowly then quickly.


.Cap .Can .Flat .Drag .Bank

Clap Fan Hat Dragon Plank

Flap Man Mat Flag
a Prank d

Gap Pan Rat Rag Sank

Lap Ran Bag Mad Spank Sad



Say these words slowly at first then increase with speed.




Practice 2.


.Cash .Ball .Bait .Clay

Crash Call Chair Day

Dash Fall Nail Play

Flash Hall Paint Pray

Lash Mall Rain Ray











Linking Words.


When we say a sentence in English, we join or "link" words to each other. Because of this linking, the words in a sentence do not always sound the same as when we say them individually. Linking is very important in English. If you recognize and use linking, two things will happen: You will understand other people more easily other people will understand you more easily There are basically two types of linking: Consonant > Vowel We link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound Vowel > Vowel We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound

Linking is very important in English.

Understanding Vowels & Consonants for Linking. 39.

To understand linking, it is important to know the difference between vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Here is a table of English vowels and consonants:

Know your vowels from consonants.


b c d

f g h

j k l m n

p q r s t

v w x y z

The table shows the letters that are vowels and consonants. But the important thing in linking is the sound, not the letter. Often the letter and the sound are the same, but not always.

Sentence stress.


Sentence stress is the music of spoken English. Like word stress, sentence stress can help you to understand spoken English, especially when spoken fast. Sentence stress is what gives English its rhythm or "beat". You remember that word stress is accent on one syllable within a word. Sentence stress is accent on certain words within a sentence. Most sentences have two types of word: content words structure (form) words Content words are the key words of a sentence. They are the important words that carry the meaning or sense. Structure words are not very important words. They are small, simple words that make the sentence correct grammatically. They give the sentence its correct form or "structure". If you remove the structure words from a sentence, you will probably still understand the sentence.
Important words are always stressed and carry the meaning.



If you remove the content words from a sentence, you will not understand the sentence. The sentence has no sense or meaning. Imagine that you receive this message:

This sentence is not complete. It is not a "grammatically correct" sentence. But you probably understand it. These 4 words communicate very well. Somebody wants you to sell their house for them, because they have gone to England. We can add a few words:
Will you sell me house because I’m gone to England

The new words do not really add any more information. But they make the message more correct grammatically. We can add even more words to make one complete, grammatically correct sentence. But the information is basically the same:













Content words
Will you sell my house because I’ve gone to England

Structure words

In our sentence, the 4 key words (sell, house, gone, England) are accentuated or stressed. Why is this important for pronunciation? It is important because it adds "music" to the language. It is the rhythm of the English language. It changes the speed at which we speak (and listen to) the language. The time between each stressed word is the same.
Content words bring music to the language.



In our sentence, there is 1 syllable between SELL and HOUSE and 3 syllables between HOUSE and GONE. But the time (t) between SELL and HOUSE and between HOUSE and GONE is the same. We maintain a constant beat on the stressed words. To do this, we say "my" more slowly, and "because I've" more quickly. We change the speed of the small structure words so that the rhythm of the key content words stays the same.

Now try them all in one sentence with the beat (stress) on the content words. “my-to” is spoken slowly than “because-I‟ve” which should be said more quickly.

2 Will t1 you sell beat 1 my t1 house beat 3 because t1 I’ve gone beat 1 to t1 England beat

For example, the word "pay" ends with the consonant letter "y“ and the vowel sound "a“


Ends with the letter…. ends with the sound…



Here are some examples:
Practice saying the word “through” with the sound “ow”. “throow”





Begins with the letter Begins with the sound



Practice saying the word “unicorn” with the “y” sound. ”ynicorn”



Practice saying the word “know” without the “w”sound and sound with just the “o” “kno”

Practice saying the word honest without the “h”. “onest”

Linking Consonant to Vowel.


When a word ends in a consonant sound, we often move the consonant sound to the beginning of the next word if it starts with a vowel sound. For example, in the phrase "turn off":

We write it like this:



We say it like this:



Try this easy word first.

Remember that it's the sound that matters. In the next example, "have" ends with: the letter "e" (vowel) the sound "v" (consonant) So we link "have" to the next word "a" which begins with a vowel sound:

We write like this:
We say like this:

Can I have a bit of egg?

Link the consonant to the vowel.

Linking Vowel to Vowel.
Practice the “w” and the “y” sound between the two words.


When one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound. If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:

oo i

We write like this:

too often

who is

so i

do all


We say like this:





If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound: oo i -We write like this: May is I am the end she asked

We say like this:





Mispronounced words.


English does not have a perfectly regular system of spelling. Many words are wrongly pronounced because the spelling suggests a certain pronunciation which is not correct. The following are common examples: 1. ARCHITECT Do not pronounce the "ch" like the "ch" in "church" . It is pronounced like "k", as if the word were written "ARKITECT". 2. AVAILABLE The "ai" here is pronounced like the "a" of "state", not like the "a" of "black". The word should not be pronounced as if it were written "AVALLABLE". 3. CIRCUIT The "uit" here is pronounced as if it were "it". Pronounce the word as if it were "CIRKIT", not as if it were "circute" or "cirquit". 4. CLIMB Pronounce as if it were "clime"; the "b" is silent. Likewise, "lamb" is pronounced as if it were "lam", "comb" as if it were "coam, "bomb" as if it were "bom", and "plumber" as if it were "plummer". 5. DEBT The "b" is silent. pronounce the word as if it were written "dett". 6. ELITE This word comes from French and still keeps a French type of pronunciation. It should sound like "ay-leet" ("ay" as in "day"), not like "ee-light". 7. FEDERAL The first "e" is /e/, pronounced like "e" in "bed". Pronounced in the same way is the first "e" in "Senate" ; also the "ea" in "weapon". Do not let the words sound like "fee-deral", "See-nate", "wee-pon".

8. GEAR "G" at the beginning of a word is either "soft"- pronounced like "j", or "hard" pronounced like "g" in "get". Before "e" or "i" it is usually soft , but there are a few words where it is hard , notably "get" , "give" , "girl", and "gear". Do not let "gear" sound like "jeer". 9. HOUR The "h" is silent; "hour' is pronounced in exactly the same way as "our" . Other words with a silent "h" include : "honour", "honest", "honourable", and "heir". Likewise the letter "h" is pronounced "aitch", not "Haitch". 10. LABEL The "a" is pronounced like the "a" of "state", not like the "a" of "back" , as if the word were written "labbel". Likewise "vacant" should be pronounced as if it were written "vay-cant". 11. LEGAL The first three letters are not pronounced like the word "leg". Say the word as if it started with "lee". 12. LETTUCE The "U" here is like the "i" of is; that is ,/i/. Say the word as if it were " lettis". 13. LISTEN Pronounce as if it were "lissen". The "t" is silent . The "t" is silent also in "fasten", "castle", "bustle". 14. VEHICLE The "h" in the middle is silent. Pronounce the word as if it were "vee-icle". 15. WEDNESDAY Do not say "WED-nes-day". The first "d" is silent, and the word is pronounced as if it were "Wensday".

Practice this song.


The Beatles – Blackbird Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these sunken eyes and learn to see All your life You were only waiting for this moment to be free Blackbird fly, blackbird fly Into the light of the dark black night Blackbird fly, blackbird fly Into the light of the dark black night You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Sing this song slowly at first and then as quickly as you can.

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Practice this song.
Queen - We Will Rock You: Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day You got mud on your face You big disgrace Kickin’ your can all over the place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you Buddy you’re a young man hard man Shoutin’ in the street gonna take on the world some day You got blood on your face You big disgrace Wavin’ your banner all over the place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you Buddy you’re an old man poor man Pleadin’ with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day You got mud on your face You big disgrace Somebody better put you back in your place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you Practice saying the
short form words first, for example “playin,kickin”


Practice these tongue twister.


A Finnish fisher named Fisher failed to fish any fish one Friday afternoon and finally he found out a big fissure in his fishing-net. Notes: 1. Finnish: 芬兰的 2. fissure: 裂缝 Where is the watch I put in my pocket to take to the shop because it had stopped? Bob bought a big bag of buns to bait the bears' babies. Notes: 1. bun: 小圆面包 2. bait: 挑逗,逗弄 A snow-white swan swiftly to catch a slowly-swimming snake in a lake. Note: 1. swan: 天鹅 2. swiftly: 迅速地;快捷地 Mr. Cook said to a cook: "Look at this cook-book. It's very good." So the cook took the advice of Mr. Cook and bought the book. A writer named Wright was instructing his little son how to write Wright right. He said: "It is not right to write Wright as 'rite'---try to write Wright aright!“ Note: 1. rite: 仪式;典礼 2. aright: 正确地

These tongue twisters are great for improving your pronunciation. Have a try.

Bill's big brother is building a beautiful building between two big brick blocks. Note: 1. block: 大楼;大厦 A flea and a fly were trapped in a flue, and they tried to flee for their life. The flea said to the fly "Let's flee!" and the fly said to the flea "Let's fly!" Finally both the flea and fly managed to flee through a flaw in the flue. Note: 1. flea: 2. trap: 3. flue: 4. fle: 5. flaw:

跳蚤 设陷阱;诱捕 烟筒,通气管 逃跑 裂痕;裂缝

You need to practice your “f” sounds for this one.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper prepared by his parents and put them in a big paper plate. Note: 1. a peck of : 许多,大量的 2. pickled: 腌制的 3. pepper: 辣椒
Peter Piper picked a peck – Not easy is it?

This book is to help you with your pronunciation and to develop a clear, understandable pronunciation with appropriate intonation and stress. Intelligibility is the most important thing in pronunciation and being understood by a listener in a given situation. It will be very interesting and rewarding to practice your speech, and try your best. Poor, unintelligible speech will make your attempts at conversing frustrating and unpleasant for you and your listeners. Beware of the major differences between Chinese and English pronunciations. A good attitude and a well disciplined, self motivation will help you in this economic world of developing China to achieve your goal as a good English fluent speaker. “Good Luck and all the best for the future”.

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