English has eleven different vowels. It’s important to know the correct mouth position so you can get the vowel right: study this vowel with illustrations and up close, slow motion speech.
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The ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ vowel sound. This vowel sound has more jaw drop, ah, than any other vowel in American English. So make sure you’re really getting a nice drop there. Ah, father. The tongue presses down, ah, ah, ah, which you’ll see in the photo. Ah. The tip of the tongue is forward, ah, lightly touching just behind the bottom teeth. Ah, father. The rest of the mouth has a neutral position. Here is the ‘ah’ as in ‘father sound on the right compared with the mouth at rest on the left. Notice how much the jaw has dropped in the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ sound.
Here, inside parts of the mouth are drawn in. Notice that, as in all vowels, the soft palate is raised. But more importantly, notice that the tongue has pressed down and is flatter. I feel this especially towards the back. Sample words: mom, collar, bother, bottle. Sample sentence: You can see my apartment from the Top of the Rock when there’s no fog. Now you’ll see this sentence up close and in slow motion, both straight on and from an angle, so you can really study how the mouth moves when making this sound.
You. Now, the word ‘can’ here is reduced, so it’s kknn. The teeth come together for ‘see’. My, the next word, apartment, has an ah in the second syllable. Now you’re saying here perhaps, the tongue is not flat and the lips are relaxed. That is because the ah sound here is followed by an R consonant sound, and the R consonant sound takes over this ah vowel. So the jaw drops for the vowel, but even as you are beginning this vowel sound, the lips and the tongue start moving into position for the R consonant sound. Apar–, arr. But still make sure you get in a good ah sound before the rr. Ah, rr. The -ment of apartment. From the, two very quick words. Teeth come together for the tt and the jaw drops for the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ in ‘top’. Of the Rock. Again, the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ sound. And you can see the lips are relaxed, the tongue is down. When there’s, tongue comes up for the N and down. No, and the lip comes up, ff, for the F sound. Fog. Another ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ sound. And you can see the lips are relaxed, the jaw is dropped, and the tongue is flat.
You, lips forming this tight circle for the second part of the ‘ew’ as in ‘few’ diphthong. Can — now here it pronounced kknn, it is reduced. Tongue up to make the N, teeth together to make the S. See, lips together to make the M, my. And the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong. Apartment, ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ followed by the R consonant. So just as before, you can see that the tongue is back somewhat, preparing for the R consonant sound. And the lips have begun to round as well in preparation for that. You can see how far back the tongue is. Apartment. Lips together to make the M. From, lip up to make the F. The top, teeth together to make the T, and here is the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’, very relaxed drop. Now here you can see that the tongue is relaxed, and laying on the bottom of the mouth. Top, lips together to make the P. Of the Rock. Lips make the R and open again into the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ sound. And you can see the tongue moving up in the back to make the kk sound. When there’s no fog. Bottom lip up to make the F, and again the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ vowel sound. And again, you can see the tongue moving up in the back to make the gg sound. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.