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CRITICAL VOWEL SOUNDS IN ENGLISH

Our Queer Language Lord Cromer (1841-1917) When the English tongue we speak, Why is "break" not rhymed with "freak"? Will you tell me why its true We say "sew" but likewise "few"; And the maker of a verse Cannot cap his "horse" with "worse"? "Beard" sounds not the same as "heard"; "Cord" is different from "word"; Cow is "cow," but low is "low"; "Shoe" is never rhymed with "foe." Think of "hose" and "dose" and "lose"; "Doll" and "roll" and "home" and "some." And since "pay" is rhymed with "say," Why not "paid" with "said," I pray? We have "blood" and "food" and "good"; "Mould" is not pronounced as "could." Wherefore "done" but "gone" and "lone"? Is there any reason known? And, in short, it seems to me, Sounds and letters disagree.

One of the first problems in pronunciation is how to differentiate between letters and sounds. In English there are over 60 distinct sounds; Webster gives 64. Since all of these sounds have to be represented by 26 letters, the alphabet is badly overworked. This fact accounts for many difficulties in pronunciation. We write in letters but we speak in sounds. If we insist upon considering letters and sounds as identical, we shall find ourselves completely confused. Long e /i/ as in Lead me suite clique Caesar precint amoeba ceiling debris clich exterior believe convenient police people obsolete Short i /I/ as in Lid rhythm before language is women English ensign adequate elite sieve damage breeches business parliament marriage Short e / / as in Led many leopard twenty special pleasure any jeopardy sweater said fell their heir aerial legendary men Long a /ei/ as in Laid eight waste name late feign prey tape steak vacate beige canap crazy fatal oration paint gala disgrace break radar brain freight drapery amiable dangerous survey melody better together measurement heaven canary burial dictionary variation parent respite system pretty adjective gimmick merely enjoy symbol little gypsy credence magazine quay clean sequence week diesel obsolete priest league

"Sounds. . . Expressions. . . Movements. . . : Oral Interpretation in the Classroom


September 21-23, 2012 Tuburan Sang Kabuhi, Bantayan St., San Jose dB, Antique

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Short a / / as in Lad laugh plaid plaque pageant companion cashier meringue tobacco valiant dance math lab examination bath racket Short o /a/ as in Cot dot bond cop mop job wash hop rob nod not block knob stock dodge fond Short u / / as in Cup son one sun luck blood budge tongue vulgar cultivate culture discussion succumb must brother country Long oo /u/ as in Pool move bruise truth coop souvenir crude suit exclude salute canoe jewel soup choose clue poodle Short oo /u/ as in Pull good rural pull look bulletin tourist fulfil today should push wool football cook stood could took wonderful neighborhood bullfight woman shook ambush book poor wood fruit juice flew do through food cool brood lose approve lung rough love some young cover function luxury multiple tough nominate politics document monitor popular bottle contact doctor cough knowledge valor sandals mansion cabin value flat sandwich cash bank traffic

Diphthong /ow/ as in Coat whole no though choke corps beau oasis memo cold bungalow suppose loge smoke soul wont tone vocal bureau coma chateau doughnut folk comb poll growth

Circumflex o / / as in Cause because audience long fall water author lawyer pause caucus holiday sport short fold fraud applause ought caution hall fought chalk bought yawn vault August auditorium

"Sounds. . . Expressions. . . Movements. . . : Oral Interpretation in the Classroom


September 21-23, 2012 Tuburan Sang Kabuhi, Bantayan St., San Jose dB, Antique

Page 2 of 2

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