Sound

English Pronunciation

Vowels: long a sound /eɪ/

Listen to the long a sound

ESL/ELL/EFL long a sound pronunciation | Pronuncian.com

long a illustration

How to pronounce the long a sound

The long a is a 2-sound vowel. The tongue begins pushed somewhat forward but in a neutral position in the mouth, and then, as the jaw closes slightly, the body of the tongue moves upward until it is near the tooth ridge, similar to the position of a y sound. The front sides of the tongue touch the inside of the top teeth at the end of the sound.


Common long a spellings

spelling example   other pronunciations for spelling
a_e (VCe)[1] same
cake
safe


none
ai[1] rain
paid
faith



none
ay say
play
way



none
eigh eight
weigh
sleigh



none

[1] ai and a_e spellings with the letter r
When the ai spelling is followed by the letter r or the consonant of the a_e spelling is the letter r (as in the words stair and care), the sound is more likely to be pronounced as the air sound instead of the long a sound followed by the r sound.


The long a sound in suffixes

spelling example   other pronunciations for spelling
-ate[2] celebrate
decorate
evaluate


short i (delicate)

[2]: -ate suffix
Only verbs using the -ate suffix are pronounced with a long a sound, otherwise the short i pronunciation is more common (as in the words delicate and unfortunate).


Non-phonetic long a words

The long a sound is underlined in the following words:
they
great
break
grey
café






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