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In order to produce sound humans use various body parts including the lips, tongue, teeth, pharynx and lungs. Phonetics is the term for the description and classification of speech sounds, particularly how sounds are produced, transmitted and received. Phonology is the term used for the study of the speech sounds used in a particular language. The distinctive accents that many learners of English have are due to differences between the phonological system of their language and that of English. From birth, and possibly before, we learn to recognize and produce the distinctive sounds of our own language. We do not need to give any thought to how to have the lips, tongue, teeth, etc. working together to produce the desired sounds. The physical structures of parts of the sound system are adapted to produce native-language sounds. English has some speech sounds (phonemes) that do not exist in other languages. It is no surprise, therefore, that native speakers of those languages have difficulties producing or even perceiving such sounds. This is particularly true for speakers from language families other than the Germanic one to which English belongs. Phoneme can be defined as the smallest district speech sound in English language which differentiates one word from another. For instance, in the word "boom" and "broom", the /b//r//u:/ and /m/, each is a phoneme, and what makes the second word different from the first is the /r/ sound. English phonemes are forty-four in number. Out of these forty-four, twenty are vowels sounds or phonemes, whereas twenty-four are consonant sounds or phonemes. The vowel sounds are subdivided into two. They are: 1. The monophthongs/Cardinal or Pure vowel sounds 2. The diphthongs A monophthong /mɒnəfθɒŋ/ is obtained from mónos which means "single" and phthóngos which means "sound". It is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation. Monophthongs are further divide in two parts 1. Five long vowels 2. Seven short vowels These are the symbols for long vowels with various examples to understand their pronunciation. /a:/ Palm/pa:m/, calm/ka:m/, cart/ka:t/ /u:/ as in cool/ku:l/, fool/fu:l/, food/fu:d/ /ɔː/ as in cause/kɔːz/, call/kɔːl/, all/ɔːl/ /i:/ as in read/ri:d/, seat/si:t/, wheat/wi:t/ /ɜː/ as in earn/ɜːn/, learn/lɜːn/, turn/tɜːn/ The two dots with these symbols denote longer pronunciation. These sounds are pronounced in longer way that is why they are called long vowels. Short vowels are not pronounced in longer way. These are the symbols below for short vowels with various examples and phonetic transcription to understand the pronunciation for the sounds in a better way. / ə / as in about /əbaʊt/, ago /əgəʊ/, letter /letə/ / i / as in pit /pit/, sit /sit/, kit /kit/ / ʌ / as in mud /mʌd/, bus /bʌs/, cup /kʌp/, shut /ʃʌt/ / ɒ / as in lot /lɒt/, cot /kɒt/, dot /dɒt/, pot /pɒt/ / e / as in bed /bed/, head /hed/, red /red/, get /get/ / ʊ / as in foot /fʊt/, good /gʊd/, cook /kʊk/, look /lʊk/ / æ / as in bad /bæd/, cat /kæt/, mat /mæt/, rat /ræt/ This lesson will focus on the /ɪ/ sound. /ɪ/ SOUND To pronounce this sound, the tongue is positioned forward and slightly lower in the oral cavity, with the sides in contact with the teeth laterally and the tip positioned behind the lower teeth. The lips are unrounded and the vocal folds are adducted and vibrating. LOCATION OF THE /ɪ/ SOUND IN SOME WORDS 1. It is found in the letter "i" that appears in between consonants, and there is no letter "e" after the last consonant to end the word. This is usually in monosyllabic words. Examples: Sit /sɪt/ Pit /pɪt/ Sip /sɪp/ Sin /sɪn/ Lit /lɪt/ (past tense of light) Kick /kɪk/ Lick /lɪk/ Kill /kɪl/ Milk /mɪlk/ Hill /hɪl/ Film /fɪlm/ But if there is the letter "e" after the last consonant in a monosyllabic word, the letter "i" has the sound /aɪ/ Examples: Site /saɪt/ Bite /baɪt/ Kite /kaɪt/ File /faɪl/ Nine /naɪn/ Mine /maɪn/ NOTE: When a word has more than one syllable, and there is "e" after the last consonant, the letter "i" can only have /ɪ/ sound when the stress of such word is on the first syllable. Examples: Office /'ɒfɪs/ Favourite /'feɪvərɪt/ Famine /'fæmɪn/ Opposite /'ɒpəzɪt/ Feminine /'femənɪn/ Masculine /'mæskjəlɪn/ Festive /'festɪv/ But when the multisyllabic word has its stress on the last syllable, and the word ends in "e", the letter "i" assumes the /i:/ sound. Examples: Machine /mə'ʃɪn/ Boutique /bu:'ti:k/ Sardine /sa:'di:n/ Magazine /mægə'zi:n/ Police /pə'li:s/ 2. It is also found in the letter "i" that introduces most English words. Examples: Ink /ɪŋk/ Increase /ɪnˈkri:s/ Insincere /ˌɪnsɪnˈsɪə/ Include /ɪnˈklu:d/ Indeed /ɪnˈdi:d/ Improve /ɪmˈpru:v/ Idiot /ˈɪdɪət/ Ill /ɪl/ Intend /ɪnˈtɛnd/ Insurance /ɪnˈʃʊərəns/ NOTE: There are exceptions to this. They are: Ice /aɪs/ Idol /ˈaɪdl/ Idea /aɪˈdɪə/ Iron /ˈaɪən/ 3. It is found in the letters "ui" found in the middle of a word where there is no "e" after the last consonant of the word. Examples: Circuit /ˈsɜːkɪt/ Biscuit /ˈbɪskɪt/ Guilt /gɪlt/ Build /bɪld/ Guild /gɪld/ NOTE: There are exceptions to this. They are: Suit /su:t/ Recruit /rɪˈkru:t/ Fruit /fru:t/ 4. It is found in the letter "e" that starts many English words. Examples: Electric /ɪˈlektrɪk/ Economy /iˈkɒnəmɪ/ Effect /ɪˈfekt/ Efficient /ɪˈfɪʃənt/ Eject /iˈʤɛkt/ Elastic /ɪˈlæstɪk/ Elicit /ɪˈlɪsɪt/ Eliminate /ɪˈlɪmɪneɪt/ Embezzle /ɪmˈbezl/ Encroach /ɪnˈkrəʊʧ/ Enable /ɪˈneɪbl/ Exam /ɪgˈzæm/ Example /ɪgˈzɑːmpl/ Exhaust /ɪgˈzɔːst/ Excuse /ɪksˈkjuːs/ 5. It is found where "e" goes with "t" to end a word that has more than one syllable. Examples: Basket /ˈbɑ:skɪt/ Market /ˈmɑ:kɪt/ Pocket /ˈpɒkɪt/ Socket /ˈsɒkɪt/ Prophet /ˈprɒfɪt/ Puppet /ˈpʌpɪt/ NOTE: Exception to this is where the consonant before the "et" is "l", in that case the "e" retains the /e/ sound. Examples: Sublet /ˌsʌbˈlɛt/ Booklet /ˈbʊklɪt/ Toilet /ˈtɔɪlɪt/ 6. It is found where "e" goes with "d" to end an English word, usually, past form of a verb, in which we are tempted to pronounce the "ed" as /ed/. Meaning that this "ed" should be pronounced as /ɪd/ and not /ed/. Examples: Expected /ɪksˈpektɪd/ Rugged /ˈrʌgɪd/ Limited /ˈlɪmɪtɪd/ Confounded /kənˈfaʊndɪd/ Interested /ˈɪntrɪstɪd/ Wicked /ˈwɪkɪd/ Minded /ˈmaɪndɪd/ Ended /ˈendɪd/ 7. It is found in the letter "a" when it goes with "ge" to end an English word that is more than one syllable usually when such word has stress on the first syllable. Examples: Luggage /ˈlʌgɪʤ/ Message /ˈmɛsɪʤ/ Passage /ˈpæsɪʤ/ Courage /ˈkʌrɪʤ/ Damage /ˈdæmɪʤ/ Image /ˈɪmɪʤ/ Average /ˈævərɪʤ/ 8. It is found in the letter "u" in few English words. Examples: Business /ˈbɪznɪs/ Minute /ˈmɪnɪt/ Busy /ˈbɪzi/ 9. It is found in some letter "y". Examples: Buddy /ˈbʌdi/ Many /ˈmeni/ Money /ˈmʌni/ Journey /ˈʤɜ:ni/ Nasty /ˈnɑ:sti/ Pity /ˈpɪti/ Heavy /ˈhevi/ Typical /ˈtɪpɪkl/ Tyranny /ˈtɪrəni/ 10. It is found in the letters "ay" that end the names of the days of the week. Examples: Monday /ˈmʌnd(e)ɪ/ Tuesday /ˈtjuːzd(e)ɪ/ Wednesday /ˈwɛnzd(e)ɪ/ Thursday /ˈθɜːzd(e)ɪ/ Friday /ˈfraɪd(e)ɪ/ Saturday /ˈsætəd(e)ɪ/ Sunday /ˈsʌnd(e)ɪ/ NOTE: Women /wɪmɪn/