Monophthong Vowel Sounds (1-13)

In this lesson we are going to learn the 13 English monophthongs.

Monophthongs are made with a single position of the mouth (tongue, jaw, lips): 

NOTE: Don’t worry if you cannot pronounce them correctly at this stage, the idea is to familiarise yourself with the range of sounds and symbols. 

Let’s start with sounds 1 to 5, the FRONT VOWELS:

1. /iː/ BEAT

2. /ɪ/ BIT

3. /ɛ/ BET

4. /ɛː/ BEAR

5. /a/ BAT

You can see that the tongue position for these vowels is towards the front of mouth:

Also notice that as we move through the sounds, our jaw gradually opens.

Now we’ll pronounce the next group of vowel sounds:

7. /uː/ COOT

8. /ə/ QUARTER

9. /əː/ CURT

10. /ʌ/ CUT

11. /ɑː/ CART

These are CENTRE vowel sounds because as you can see, the tongue is flat:

Notice that /uː/ has rounded lips, all the other sounds we have encountered so far have unrounded lips. 

Now we are going to try the final group of monophthongs, the BACK vowels:

11. /ʊ/ HOOK

12. /ɒ/ HOCK

13. /ɔː/ HAWK

All of these back vowel sounds are made with rounded lips.

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