You’ve already know the vowels are u,e,o,a,i and the rest of the alphabet are consonants. In Vietnamese, long sounds are indicated by marks Ex: Thành, Bình…but in English, long sounds and short sounds depend on the structure of the words themselves.

–      Short sounds (schwa or mute).You make these words with your mouth partially closed.

Ex: At, To, Bus, Dog, God, Hot, Man…

2 consonants between vowels are also short.

Ex: Accident, Better, Correct, Dinner,Lesson…

–      Long sounds (diphthongs- 2 vowels come togetherandGN,GH).These words are pronounced deep down your throat.All numbers from one to ten are long sounds except number six.

Ex:

Rain, Fair, Bean, Boat, Die, Meet, Nail, Suit… (VV- double vowels)

Baby, Cane, Dine, June, Late, Make, Nice… (V-C-V)

Bright, Fight, High, Eight, Bought, Sigh… (GH)

Sign, Align… (GN)

Most people have troubles pronouncing long sounds because in Vietnamese, we barely have any words that have to be pronounced deep down your throat (again, the marks do all the work).The most popular long sounds are R and L

A little exercise for you to practice combining vowels withR,L. First read each word separately, then putting them together. Remember to go very slow at first and increase the speed later.

A-R, E-R, I-R, O-R, U-R

A-R: Air, Bare, Care, Fair, Hair…

E-R: Beer, Dear, Fear, Gear, Here…

I-R: Buyer, Fire, Hire, Tire, Wire…

O-R: Bore, Core, Door, Four, More…

U-R: Cure, Fewer, Lure, Poor, You’re

**Attention: When you pronounce “U”, your mouth barely open, contrary to pronouncing “O”.**

A-L, E-L, I-L, O-L, U-L

A-L: Dale, Fail, Hail, Jail, Mail…

E-L: Deal, Feel, Heel, Kneel, Meal…

I-L: Bile, Dial, File, Mile, Nile…

O-L: Bowl, Cole, Dole, Foal

U-L: Cruel, Duel, Fool, Jewel, Mule.

**Attention: R,Lbefore a consonant is not pronounced, and the vowels before them become a long sound. **

Ex: Call will be pronounced “Coooo”, Palm will be pronounced “Paaaam”…

The end.Always remember “Practice makes perfect”, at first you’ll find it difficult but practice a few minutes every day and progress is guaranteed.

Nguyễn Việt Long- Member of Communication Department