English Pronunciation Exercises - Long Vowels and Consonants

ABCs
ABC Blocks. Ugurhan Betin / Getty Images

The following series of English pronunciation focuses on minimal differences in long vowel sounds following the same consonant. These pairs combine words beginning with the same consonant sound followed by similar vowel sounds. Voiced and voiceless consonants are paired (b - voiced / p - voiceless, d - voiced / t - voiceless, etc.) to help students compare and contrast similar consonant formation.

If you are teaching, ask the class to follow the instructions below. If you are learning on your own, do the same. Read the example sentences and then try to make up your own. 

  1. Repeat each line slowly, listen for the minor differences between the vowel and consonant sounds.
  2. Repeat each line three times. Each time repeat more quickly trying to keep the sounds distinct.
  3. Find a partner and listen to each other repeat the lines.
  4. Try to invent sentences using each sound at least once. For example: The man at the bar bought drinks for all. - Don't worry too much about the sentence making much sense!
  5. Record yourself reading each of the lines. Listen to check if you can understand the differences in pronunciation. Note any difficulties and try the exercise again. 

 

Ah as in 'Heart' and ah as in 'Got'

  
barbought
parpaw
darkdot
tartaught
Garthgot
carpetcaught
sergeantsaw
ZagrebZola
sharpshawl
Johnjot
charredchocolate
hearthop

 

Example Sentences

They bought some drinks in the bar.
I saw John get par while playing golf.
The carpet has a picture of Zola on it.
Garth spilled chocolate on the rug.
The sergeant taught the the soldiers the drill.
He bought dark hot chocolate. 
Her heart got charred in the relationship.
The boys hopped in the dark.

A as in 'Cat' and Eh as in 'Get'

 

  
batbet
patpet
daddead
taptech
gapget
catkept
satset
Zap!Zeppelin 
shallshelter
Jabjet
chap     check
handhead
 

Example Sentences

The bat kept jabbing the pet.
Dad zapped the bugs with some new tech.
The chap flew in the Zeppelin.
The cat sat in the shelter with the other pets.
There's a gap. Shall we check it?
He kept the tech was set up.
He put his head in his hands and tapped his fingers on the table.

Vowel Sounds

'eh' - as in 'let', 'ih' - as in 'hit', 'ee' - as in 'see', and 'ae'- as in 'cat'
'long ah' - as in 'car', 'short ah' - as in 'got'
'long uh' - as in 'put', 'short uh' - as in 'up', 'oo' - as in 'through'

Diphthong Sounds

'ay' - as in 'day', 'ai' - as in 'sky'
'ou' - as in 'home', 'ow' - as in 'mouse', 'oi' - as in 'boy'
'ieh(r)' - as in 'near', 'ehi(r)' - as in 'hair'