Practice Log for Enunciation of Vowels

At Home Assignment on Vowels

Objective

Practice enunciation of vowels and learn their International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols.

Instructions

Each exercise is designed to familiarize you with both International Phonetic Alphabet and the vowels of the English language. The first two exercises focus on pure vowels, the next two on diphthongs, and the last exercise on triphthongs. Practice each exercise once during the week. Do the written assignment after completing each exercise.

  • Practice each vowel on a five-note scale going up and down (1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1). Sing each vowel as many times as needed to sing from the bottom to the top of your voice. You may need to modify closed vowels on high notes towards a more open vowel such as ɑ (father). Record your warm-up and listen to it. Does each vowel sound understandable throughout the range of your voice? Practice the vowels that need work, keeping in mind vowel modification in the top register.

ɑ – father
e – may
i – see
o – Ode
u – too

a – pat
ɛ – Ed
I – pit
ʌ – up
ə – could
ʊ – book
ᴐ – pot

  • Rhyme using vowels. Sing each set on a five-note scale going down (5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1). Each rhyme highlights the vowel it follows. Highlight or underline the part of each word or words using that vowel. Make up three of your own rhymes using whatever vowel you would like (you may write them on the back of this paper). Be sure to note the vowel you are using by writing down its IPA form.

    ɑ – mocked her, blocked her, shocked her, talked her, on.

    e – mayday, faith-day, play-day, payday, ‘k

    favor, savor, latter, ‘gator, may

    i – beach tree, beef tea, brie cheese, bean pea, see

    o – cross road, case load, lymph node, church mode, code

    u – bright blue, brake shoe, breakthrough, hairdo, you

    a – fashion, passion, ration, mashin’, Sam

    ɛ – beachhead, bed spread, bunk bed, farmstead, shed

    I – singing, ringing, winging, dinging, thing

    ʌ – backup, teacup, wolf pup, grownup, sup

    ə – Sherwood, knighthood, backed good, firewood, stood

    ʊ – Chinook, boat hook, precook, claybrook, look

    ᴐ – big shot, robot, dread not, root rot, knot

    • Practice these vowel combinations: ɑ -- ɪ, ɔ -- ɪ, e -- ɪ, ɑ -- ʊ, ɪ -- ə, e -- ə, ʊ -- ə, and ɔ -- ə. Sing them on a five-note scale going down (5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1­). Each scale degree should get two different vowel sounds. See below to understand which IPA symbol represents what sound. Each of these vowel combinations represents eight of the nine diphthongs. Normally the first vowel of the eight diphthongs receives the longest duration. Note the ninth diphthong below. Be sure the ɪ (mid) does not close off into an i (feed).

    ɑ (father) and ɪ (mid) = diphthong my (ɑɪ)

    ɔ (pot) and ɪ (mid) = diphthong boy (ɔɪ)

    e (may) and ɪ (mid) = diphthong say (eɪ)

    ɑ (Father) and ʊ (born) = diphthong brow (ɑʊ)

    ɪ (mid) and ə (could) = diphthong fear (ɪə)

    e (May) and ə (could) = diphthong mare (eə)

    ʊ (book) and ə (could) = diphthong cure (ʊə)

    ɔ (pot) and ə (could) = Dipthong four (ɔə)

    The ninth diphthong includes a semi-vowel and the first vowel is sung quickly:

    j (you) and u (too) = diphthong you

    • Practice the eight diphthongs using these words: my, say, boy, brow, fear, mare, cure, and four. Sing each word once on a five-note scale going down (5-4-3-2-1). The last vowel should receive no more time than a final consonant. Be sure the ɪ (mid) does not close off into an i (feed) and the ə (could) does not turn into an American R (rrr).
    • The six triphthongs in the English language are all diphthongs with ‘r’ at the end, which is pronounced with a schwa sound not ‘rrr’: flower (ɑʊə), buyer (ɑɪə), lawyer (ɔɪə), layer (eɪə), and fewer (əʊə). Sing each of the diphthongs on a nine-note scale from the bottom to the top of your voice (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).

    Written Assignment

    Using one of the songs you are singing currently, notate using IPA each vowel of one to two full pages of lyrics by placing the symbol above the word. You may choose to do this on a separate piece of paper or directly on your sheet music.