Hi everyone, and welcome to Seattle Learning Academy's 45th American English Pronunciation Podcast, and our second video podcast. My name is Mandy.
I want to keep this episode considerably shorter than the last video podcast, so all I'm going to say about this show is that it is a portion of our full video lesson that is available to Pronuncian subscribers.
I hope you enjoy learning about the spelling and pronunciation of the long e and short e in American English.
The long e sounds like (long e).
Repeat after me.
(long e), (long e).
To create this sound, the place the middle of the tongue blade very close to the roof of the mouth, right in the flat area at the top of the inside of the mouth. The long e sound places the tongue closer to the top of the inside of the mouth than any other sound. Listen to the sound again.
(long e), (long e)
The lips can be relaxed for this sound. Some pronunciation guides say that the lips should be spread wide at the edges, but it isn't really true. I can have relaxed lips, and still say the sound perfectly. In order to speak in a relaxed way, focus on the inside of your mouth. Very few sounds are distinguished from the outside.
Repeat the sound again.
(long e), (long e)
The key word for the long e sound is keep. Can you hear the long e sound (long e) in keep?
Compare the long e (long e) with the sound of the short e (short e).
The key word for the short e is bed. Can you hear the short e sound (short e) in bed?
The short e sound is one of the most relaxed sounds in American English. The tongue is soft, and placed right in the middle of the mouth. It is not up high, it is not down low, it is just relaxed. The lips should also be relaxed for this sound.
(short e, short e)
Repeat after me.
(short e, short e)
I'm going to say some minimal pairs for the long e and short e sounds. The only difference in these words is the vowel sound. I'll say the word with the long e first, then the short e. With these two sounds, the long e takes more time to say than the short e. That is not true of all pairs between long and short vowels, but it is with these. The word with the long e should take slightly more time to say than the word with the short e.
These pairs show two different long e spellings and two different short e spellings. One spelling, the ea spelling, can be pronounced as long e or short e, although it is more commonly the long e. long e has two more spellings as well, the ie-consonant-e spelling and the -y ending.
Let's explore all four long e spellings. The first two long e words feel f-e-e-l, and sweet s-w-e-e-t demonstrate one of the most standard long e spelling rules. The letters e-e are usually pronounced as a long e.
Here are some more examples of the ee spelling for the long e sound:
Our next long e spelling is e-a. The ea spelling is tricky because it can represent both the long e and short e sound. It is more likely to be a long e sound, so it is a good idea to try that pronunciation first. Remember, don't try to say two different vowel sounds just because there are two vowels written there. There is only one sound, and that sound can be the long e or short e sound.
Here are some examples of words with the long e sound because of the ea spelling:
We'll talk about the ea spelling for the short e pronunciation in a little while.
The third common spelling for the long e sound is the -y ending. This spelling can have two different pronunciations the long e and the long i. The long i pronunciation is actually more common than the long e. Right now, however, we'll only talk about the long e pronunciation.
Here are some examples of words that end in the letter y and the long e sound:
There is a fourth spelling for the long e sound that is not hugely common, but worth mentioning, the ie-consonant-e spelling. This is similar to the typical long vowel due to the vowel-consonant-e spelling. When the letters ie are followed by a single consonant, and then the letter e, the first vowel is said as a long e. The letter e after the consonant is silent.
Here are some examples of words pronounced with a long e because of the ie-consonant-e spelling.
Those are the four most common spellings for the long e sound. Let's review.
-y ending: any
All of those spellings sound exactly the same, long e (long e).
The short e, like most short vowels, has easier spelling rules. The most common rule is the consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC rule. When a single vowel is between two consonants, it is said as a short vowel sound. This rule is also true if the word begins with a single vowel, followed by a consonant.
Listen for the short e sound (short e) in each of these words. These examples all follow the CVC rule.
The word r-e-a-d quickly reminds us that there is another spelling for the short e sound, the ea spelling. The word can be pronounced read, or read, depending on context. Remember, the ea spelling represents both the long e sound and the short e sound, so be careful with it.
Here are some examples of the short e sound due to the ea spelling.
There you go everyone. If you want to see the entire lesson and have access to online exercises and quizzes that accompany this video, go to www.proununcian.com/join.
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