American vs. British English, Vowels
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In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to go over some of the differences in vowel sounds in American English and British English.
Today I'm going to make a video with another awesome English channel on YouTube, MinooAngloLink. The reason why I'm collaborating with them is because they're in the UK. So, together we're going to talk about some of the differences between American English and British English pronunciation.
Hi Minoo, can you tell me a little about your channel and AngloLink?
Hello everyone. My name is Minoo and my YouTube channel is called AngloLink. On this channel, I teach British English, and I base my lessons on what I find to be the most challenging areas of English grammar, pronunciation, or vocabulary for my learners. So, I hope you will come and have a look at some of my lessons.
Great. Let's start with the OH diphthong. This is the sound we use: OH. The sound used in British English, however, is the schwa and the UH as in PULL sound. We so 'know', know. And in British, it's 'know'. You can see in the pronunciation on the left, the British pronunciation, that there's less jaw drop for the first sound, than the American pronunciation on the right. Jaw drop is one of the topics I have to work a lot on with my students.
Let's take a look at a sentence. Don't go alone. Each of these words has the OH as in NO diphthong in American English. Don't go alone. In British English, Don't go alone. [4x]
The AH vowel. In American English, there are many words that have the letter O representing the AH as in FATHER vowel. For example, hot, honest, mom, top. The AH vowel has a good bit of jaw drop and totally relaxed lips. In British English, however, in these words where the O represents the AH, there's a different vowel sound. There's more lip rounding and less jaw drop. For example, I say 'hot'. Minoo says 'hot'.
Notice how much more Minoo's lips round for this sound. In American English, the corners of the lips are completely relaxed, and the jaw drops a bit more.
An example sentence: Hot or iced coffee? Both 'hot' and 'coffee' have the AH vowel in American English.
Hot or iced coffee? [2x]
Now let's talk about the AA vowel. In American English, when this vowel is followed by a nasal consonant, it's no longer a pure vowel. With [n] and [m], we have an extra 'uh' sound after the vowel. If it's followed by [ŋ], the AA vowel changes altogether and sounds more like the AY as in SAY diphthong. Check out the video I made for more information on this topic. Let's look at some example words. First, AA+N. Can, can, can. Do you hear that extra 'uh' sound? Can. It's what happens as the tongue relaxes down in the back before the tip raises for the N sound. Can, can. Now, let's hear Minoo say it. Can. The vowel is more pure there, right from the AA into the N sound.
An example with M: ham, ham. Again, you can hear the UH sound as my tongue relaxes down in the back before the lips close for the M sound. Ham, ham. Minoo says it:
And now when the AA vowel is followed by the NG consonant sound, like in the word 'thanks'. When we say it, thanks, it's much more like the AY diphthong than the AA vowel. Thanks. [3x]. Minoo says it:
Thank, thanks. [3x]
And finally, let's talk about the UR vowel. This vowel is in words like girl, world, first, hurt, person, worst. But in British English, the R sound isn't included. For example, I say 'first'. Minoo says:
I say 'worst'. Minoo says:
I say 'girl'. Minoo says:
So there you have four differences in American vs. British English. If you liked this video, click here or in the description box on YouTube to see a video I made with Minoo on her channel. The topic is consonant differences in American and British English. It also has a list of words with both British and American English pronunciation.
That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.