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. Sample words: Could, book, firewood, sugar, childhood, woman.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to learn how to pronounce the UH as in PUSH vowel.
To make this sound, the corners of the lips come in a little so the lips flare away from the face, UH.
The back of the tongue lifts towards the back of the roof of the mouth. The front of the tongue remains down, but it might be pulled slightly back, so it’s not quite touching the back of the bottom front teeth.
Let’s look at this sound up close and in slow motion.
The lips flare and the tongue inside the mouth is a little darker than on other vowels because the tongue is pulled back.
Here’s the word ‘took’. The corners of the mouth come in to flare the lips. The back of the tongue lifts, and the front pulls back a little.
In a stressed syllable, the vowel curves up then down. Took, uh. In an unstressed syllable, it’s lower and flatter in pitch, as well as quieter and quicker. The vowel is unstressed in the word ‘good-bye’, uh, uh. Let’s look at this word up close and in slow motion.
Again, the lips flare and the tongue lifts in the back, pulling back the front of the tongue.
Let’s compare the stressed version on top with the unstressed version on the bottom. Notice the lips flare a little less for the unstressed vowel, hiding the bottom teeth.
Generally, the unstressed version of a vowel or diphthong is more relaxed and doesn’t take the full mouth position, in this case, a little less lip flare, and possibly less jaw drop. This is because unstressed syllables are shorter, so we don’t take the time to make the full mouth position.
The stressed UH: took, UH
Unstressed: good-bye, uh
UH, uh. UH, uh.
Example words. Repeat with me:
Could, book, firewood, sugar, childhood, woman.
I hope this video helps you understand this sound. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.