These two vowels can be hard for non-native speakers to tell apart. Learn the difference in mouth positions so you can start making two distinctly different sounds.
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In this American English pronunciation video we’re going to talk a little more about the vowels EE and IH.First, let’s take a look at some photos comparing the mouth positions.
Here we have the AH and UH vowels in profile. You can see for the AH vowel that the jaw might drop a little bit more. Also, the tongue position has a little bit of tension in it. That’s because the tongue is flattened a little bit. In the UH vowel, the tongue is completely relaxed. Now you’ll see the mouth from the front, alternating between the AH and the UH sounds. Watch the subtle change in jaw drop. And see if you can notice the subtle change in tongue position as well.
AH, UH [3x].
So, for the AH sound, the jaw will drop a little bit more, and the tongue will push down a little bit in the back. But these differences are subtle. The placement of the voice also comes into play. Check out the video I made introducing the concept of placement. For the AH vowel, AH, the sound is more here, AH. For the UH vowel, UH, it’s more here. The differences are subtle. It’s tough. Here are some minimal pairs.
Fond, fund. Shot, shut. Lock, luck. Robber, rubber. Stock, stuck. Cop, cup.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
Don’t stop there. Have fun with my real-life English videos. Or get more comfortable with the IPA in this play list. Learn about the online courses I offer, or check out my latest video.