The mouth positions define the sounds. Can you guess the sound by looking at the shape of the mouth?
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In this video, we’re going to focus on the correct mouth position for the various sounds in American English.
Today we’re going to look at freeze frames of the mouth in various different positions, and we’ll guess what sound is being produced. It’s important to know well the positions of the different sounds. The correct position is the key to the correct pronunciation. Let’s get started.
What sound do you think is being made here? The lips are closed, but clearly the mouth is not at rest. This is the M sound, where the lips are closed but the vocal cords make noise. M isn’t the only sound that is made with closed lips. B and P are also made by releasing closed lips. This is the B sound, bb. What sound do you think we have here? Corners of the lips are pulled back, and the top lip is a little raised, showing some of the top teeth. You can see that the tongue is coming down in the front, touching behind the bottom front teeth. And it’s raised in the back, because we can see quite a bit of the tongue. This is the AA vowel, aa. Notice how much the jaw is dropped for this sound. And what sound is being made here? The bottom lip has been pulled up and is touching the bottom of the top front teeth. That means it is either the F or the V sound. In this case, it was the V. But both the F and the V take this same position. What sound is this? The lips are flared, and the teeth are together. There are actually four sounds that have this mouth position: SH, DJ, CH, and JJ. Here, I was saying the word ‘generally’, so it was the JJ sound. What sound is this? The tongue is coming through the teeth. If you guessed the TH, you’re correct. This can either be the voiced or the unvoiced TH. The L can also have this shape. Some people do bring the tongue tip to the bottom of the front teeth, rather than to the hard palate to make the L sound. What sound is this? The lips are making a tight circle. This is the W consonant sound. What sound is this? The lips are parted, but the teeth are together. In this particular photo, it is the Z sound, zz, in the word ‘because’. It’s the same mouth position as the S sound. The true T and D sounds are also made in part by the teeth being together with the lips parted. The sound is made complete when the teeth part and the air comes out. What sound is this? The lips have come in, yet it looks a little less round than the W. This is a beginning R, in the word ‘reduce’. If you could see it from the side, you would see that as the corners have come in, the lips do come away from the face as they round.
In closing, we are going to watch speech with the sound turned off. This is to help you focus on the mouth. I want you to see how much the mouth really is moving to make these different sounds. When you practice English, use a mirror sometimes, and watch your mouth. Make sure that your lips rrrrrrrround enough to make the R sound, and that your tongue comes th-th-th-through the teeth for the TH. Let’s watch.
Hey Rachel’s English users. Thank you so much for watching my videos, for continuing to tune in, for leaving comments and giving me ideas for more videos. I hope that they’re helping you in your study of English, and that you think enough of them to pass on their information to your fellow students, teachers, and other people you know who are studying English.
And now we’ll see that same clip slowed down a little bit. Hey Rachel’s English users. Thank you so much for watching my videos, for continuing to tune in, for leaving comments and giving me ideas for more videos. I hope that they’re helping you in your study of English, and that you think enough of them to pass on their information to your fellow students, teachers, and other people you know who are studying English.
I hope this video has helped make clear to you the distinctly different positions of the sounds of American English.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.