http://archive.org/download/TheSoundsOfU/SoundsOfU.mp3The vowel system is the most complex part that the pronunciation-spelling mechanism of English, since each collection letter represents 3 or four various vowel sounds. The letter “U” has actually three various sounds, but one point that is unique about “U” is the it has actually two Long-vowel sounds.

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The basic sounds the the English letter “U” are: Long-U-1, Long-U-2, and also Short-u.

Long-U-1

The sound of Long-U-1 is the very same as the name of the letter “U”. However, this long-vowel sound is a tiny bit unusual since Long-vowels usually have actually two parts, yet Long-U-1 has three components (in IPA: /yuw/). Some common words v this sound are: use / music / substantial / cute / unite / cure / food selection / fuel / person / argue.

Long-U-2

The second Long-U sound is nearly the same as Long-U-1, other than that it has only two parts (in IPA: /uw/). Part words v this sound are: true / flute / blue / June / spruce / song / dominance / pipe / duty / include.

Short-u

Short-u is pronounced in the facility (not front, not back) middle (not high, no low) part of the mouth, and the tongue needs to it is in relaxed. Some common words v this sound are: increase / just / however / lot / under / us / operation / study / number / because.

Schwa

Any collection letter can use the schwa sound in unstressed syllables. However, because the schwa sound and Short-u room both make in the same ar in the mouth, they finish up sounding the same. A linguist would certainly make a distinction between Schwa and also Short-u based on stress, so because that example, the an initial letter of words “under” would be considered a Short-u sound, but in the word “upset” the first letter would certainly be referred to as a Schwa. The an excellent news because that learners of English is, you have the right to treat them together the exact same sound, and your English pronunciation will sound great.

So remember, the is very rare to find the letter “U” pronounced v something various other than this three an easy sounds. Over there is a grasp of words through a “U” pronounced together Short-oo: street / put / push / puss / pull / complete / bull / cushion. There are additionally two words v a very unusual pronunciation, “busy” and also “business”. In these 2 words the “U” has actually a Short-i sound! Otherwise, when you check out the letter “U” in a word, it will nearly always have the sound of one of two people Long-U-1, Long-U-2, or Short-u (Schwa).

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ADDITIONAL NOTES

1. Collection pair “OU” — Several different vowel sounds are supplied for the collection pair “OU”, and it is not straightforward to predict. See: OU – oh no!

2. Test yourself! — numerous students have an obstacle distinguishing in between Short-u and also Short-o. You have the right to test yourself on the “Vowel Test” page of the lifwynnfoundation.org site.