Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Vowel pronunciation is vital in English!

It can be tricky, due to differences in each dialect.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Aubrey dive into a listener’s question about vowels.

Listen in and you’ll learn eight vowel sounds and how to use them to make pronunciation clear in English.

Why is vowel pronunciation important in English?

Aubrey noticed a podcast who pronounces the word ‘room’ different than she does.

Lindsay agrees with this because she says it differently too.

They both pronounce the vowels in the word ‘room’ differently.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Aubrey answer a listener’s question.

Here is the question:

Hello Lindsay. I always listen to your podcasts. You’re awesome. This is my question. How are vowels pronounced? Please answer me. Thank you so much.

Zahra Mosafer

This a very good direct question from Zahra.

Vowels are extremely important.

Sometimes, if you change the vowel sound, it becomes a new word.

But in general, it depends on the accent.

To make sure your message is clear, it helps to have a clear understanding of the vowels in English.

Differences in dialects can affect how a certain word is pronounced.

Standard Southern British English has 19 distinct vowel phonemes.

General American English has 21 distinct vowel phonemes.

You can read more about phonemes in this article from Babbel.

This article is entitled: How Many Vowel Sounds Does English Have?

Pronouncing vowels

There are so many vowel sounds, like diphthongs, R-controlled vowels, weak vowels, and many more.

For today, Lindsay and Aubrey will share the short and long vowels in American English.

They will take on the other vowel sounds in upcoming episodes of All Ears English.

Listen to the episode for each vowel sound with examples.

Importance of using the right vowel sound

These vowel sounds are important because the pronunciation of vowels isn’t just about speaking clearly.

It’s also about understanding and using interesting language features.

An example of this feature is when poets use assonance to make words stand out in their literary work.

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds to create recall.

You can also see marketers use this to make their taglines or slogans more catchy.

There are many common expressions and phrases that have assonance to make them memorable.

Here are some examples:

  • No pain, no gain: You often hear this in the gym or sports commercials. This means committing to something difficult to achieve good value or success.
  • Surf and turf: You will see this in menus in American restaurants. ‘Surf and turf’ is a meal with a combination of meats and seafood.
  • Slowpoke: This is an expression to describe a person who is slow and is never in a hurry.
  • Chips and dip: This is another reference to food. You will often hear this used by someone who is inviting you over to their home and asks you to bring chips and dips for a relaxed dinner.


Now that you have heard the different short and long vowel sounds, here is a quick roleplay from Lindsay and Aubrey using the expressions shared in today’s episode.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are headed to the gym together.

Aubrey: I really didn’t feel like working out today but no pain, no gain!
Lindsay: Same. It’s hard to stay motivated. I had surf and turf last night though so I gotta work that off!
Aubrey: Ooh yeah, same. I ordered dessert. I might be a slowpoke during the class today. I’m just feeling low energy!


It’s important to use vowels correctly so your message is clear.

The best way to practice this is through shadowing or mimicking.

You can also add color and variety by using assonance in your speaking or writing.

What are other vowel sounds that you find difficult to differentiate?

Share it in the comments below.

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