These two words can be hard to tell apart if you’re not certain of the vowel sounds. Learn the difference between the vowel sounds in this minimal pair, so you can be sure you’re using the right word in English conversation.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over the difference between WIN and WHEN.
I have several videos comparing vowels, but in this video we’re going to compare two different words. Thanks to the fan who suggested this topic. These two words, WIN and WHEN are a minimal pair. A minimal pair is a set of two words where only one sound is different. In this case, it’s the middle sound, the vowel sound. WIN has the IH as in SIT vowel, WHEN has the EH as in BED vowel. What’s the difference between these two vowel sounds? For the IH vowel in WIN, we drop the jaw just a bit. The tongue tip stays down, touching the back of the bottom front teeth. But the front part reaches up towards the roof of the mouth. IH, ih. For WHEN, the EH vowel, the jaw will drop a little more. Rather than the front part raising here, the middle part might lift a bit. Whe-, eh. And the back part of the tongue will feel wide. Whe-, eh, when.
The other two sounds are the same, with the lips rounding for the W, and the tongue lifting to the roof of the mouth for the N, when. Make sure that the tongue is flat, wide, and relaxed when it lifts for the N.
Let’s watch these two words in slow motion.
Please put any questions and suggestions for videos in the comments. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.