Listen to & Record All the English Sounds - Vowels & consonants

PRACTISE ALL ENGLISH SOUNDS

All English Vowel & Consonant Sounds – Voice Recorder and Audio Files

A few things to refresh before you practice all the sounds in English 😁 Remember that English is not a phonetic language. This means that we can’t know exactly how to pronounce a word by looking at the spelling.

Remember that English has over 40 sounds. There are two types of sounds; consonant sounds and vowel sounds and there are 20 vowel sounds – that’s a LOT! You’ll listen to and practice the 3 types of English vowels – long vowels, short vowels and English double / diphthong vowels. 

Listen to each English vowel sound and consonant sound by itself and in words but most importantly record your speech and compare it with the native speaker. LET’S GET STARTED!

PRACTICE ENGLISH VOWEL SOUNDS

Practice English Short Vowels – Listen & Repeat!

/ɪ/
hit | pick | miss | tip

/e/
let | neck | mess | wet

/æ/
sat | back | hat | cap

/ɒ/
hot | sock | boss | top

/ʌ/
cut | luck | fuss | cup

/ʊ/
put | look | cook | good

/ə/ This vowel is in many weak syllables: apart | pilot | carrot | minute

How did you go? For most non-native English speakers wanting to practice pronunciation of English sounds, short vowels are relatively easy. Many speakers pronounce most short vowels well. Confusion between /æ/ and /ʌ/ is a common problem for speakers of French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean, for example, they might pronounce a word like ‘back’ more like ‘buck’.   

As a non-native speaker it’s likely that pronouncing some English sounds correctly will be challenging.  Continue on to revise vowels and consonants – the recording tools and audio tools will help you improve your English sounds, listening skills and awareness.

Are you using the International Phonetic Alphabet?

Also use this page to improve or revise the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is extremely useful for improving your pronunciation of English sounds. Remember /:/ means a long vowel, two vowel symbols means an English diphthong vowel (or double vowel), /ˈ/ indicates the next syllable is stressed. Watch a video on English Vowel Sounds and find out more about using the IPA for English Vowel Sounds.

Practice English Long Vowels – Listen & Record!

Keep practising English sounds – now let’s try long vowels. Pay careful attention to the length of each long English vowel sound as you listen and then repeat. Many ESL speakers pronounce some of these too short. For example, they might pronounce ‘week’ more like ‘wick’ or ‘staff’ more like ‘stuff’. Make sure you get the length!  

/i:/
heat | peak | piece | leak

/a:/
start | dark | glass | laugh

/u:/
suit | threw | juice | room

/ɔ:/
caught | pork | horse | form

/ɜ:/
hurt | work | nurse | sir

Practice English Diphthongs or Double Vowels – Listen & Record!

Some of these vowels won’t exist in your first language and because of this you may be mispronouncing them. Listen and compare!

As you listen to and record each double vowel, check you are you making TWO VOWEL POSITIONS – the first vowel AND the second vowel too. 

Remember that each phonetic symbol in the IPA represents 1 sound (or 1 mouth position). So each of these has two vowels, because there are two phonetic symbols. 

Many non-native speakers leave out the 2nd vowel. For example, when many non-native speakers say a word like ‘phone’ they often leave out the 2nd vowel in the diphthong, so it sounds more like ‘fon’. Another example: the vowel in ‘note’ is /oʊ/, but they pronounce the /o/ and not the /ʊ/ so it sounds more like ‘not’ or ‘nought’.

As you go through each English vowel sound, feel the two positions in each double vowel.     

/aɪ/
light | like | rice | ripe

/eɪ/
late | lake | race | train

/ɔɪ/
boy | join | choice | noise

/aʊ/
about | found | house | down

/oʊ/
note | coke | hose | phone

/ɪə/
hear | near | fear | beer

/eə/
hair | share | pear | chair

/ʊə/
 tour | lure | cure | pure 



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PRACTICE ENGLISH CONSONANT SOUNDS

Keep up the great revision you're doing on all the sounds in English - both English vowels and consonants! Listen carefully to each English consonant sound as you make them. You'll see each consonant sound with consonant examples in words.

As you did with vowel sounds, think about the position of your mouth as you make each consonant sound.  

Pay particular attention to English consonant sounds at the ends of words. Non-native speakers (particularly speakers of Asian language) sometimes leave off important end sounds and this results in unclear pronunciation AND it will sound like you have poor grammar, such as past tense and plural endings.  See more on improving your pronunciation of sounds at the ends of English words

Another important area for clear English is to pronounce consonant clusters clearly. A consonant clusters is 2 or more consonants in a row, for example 'sks' in 'risks' or the /kst/ in 'sixty'. If you have difficulty with consonant clusters, see our page Practice Consonant Clusters in English. 

Watch a video on English Consonant Sounds and find out more about using the IPA for English Consonant Sounds.

Let's keep going  - see if you can complete the practice for all the examples of vowel and consonant sounds in English. 

Practice all the Consonant Sounds in English. Record yourself and compare. 

/p/ pay | happy | cup

/b/ bay | trouble | rub

/t/ tip | letter | sat

/d/ dip | ladder | sad

/k/ came | talking | back

/g/ game | bigger | bag

/f/ fine | offer | off

/v/ vine | saving | of

/θ/ thin | method | both

/ð/ then | other | with

/s/ sue | missing | face

/z/ zoo | crazy | phase

/ʃ/ show | pushing | rush

/ʒ/ measure | asia | vision

>/ʧ/ choke | watching | catch

/ʤ/ joke | charging | large

/l/
love | follow | well

/m/
mail | humour | some

/n/
nail | funny | nine

/ŋ/
singer | sing

/h/
heal | perhaps

/r/
real | correct

/j/
you | beyond

/w/
we | showing

ENGLISH WORD STRESS

How did you go reviewing your pronunciation of English sounds? Your pronunciation of English sounds, as you've practiced is only one of the important factors affecting how clear you are when you speak English. The way we use the pitch of the voice to stress certain syllables in English is also very important for speaking clearly. This makes the 'music' of English. In fact, some research shows that it is even more important for how easily listeners understand you, than how you pronounce the vowel and consonant sounds of English.

Did you know that one syllable in every multi-syllable English word is stressed? 

Non-native English speakers often make the stress too even or flat, or they might put the stress on the wrong syllable. 

Unfortunately you can't tell where the stress is in an English word by the spelling! 

Making good word stress is often a particularly difficult area for non-native speakers. With a Speech Active Course you will become a master of word stress, sentence stress and weak vowels. You'll become an expert at hearing and making the correct rhythm and stress in English words and sentences.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) the word stress is marked with a little dash /ˈ/ - see the ˈ in between the bracketsThe dash means that the next syllable is stressed. 

Would you like word stress practice, exercises and videos - see Word Stress Exercises. 

As you listen and record the words below - actively pay attention to (in other words listen carefully) to the up and down of the voice - both in the recording and in YOUR OWN recording. 

English Word Stress - Listen & Compare

politics
political
politicians

technique
technical
technology

economy
economic
economical

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A big well done and high-five to you for practising all sounds in English - all vowel and consonant sounds examples given above. Now you will have a better idea of which consonants and vowels in English you find challenging.  

Perhaps you found the length challenging for some of the vowel sounds. Perhaps there were some consonant sounds that you are not confident with. This learning is VERY important first step - the step of building your awareness of how you are making English consonant and vowel sounds. 

I created this page to help people learning English pronunciation and people who want to improve their English accent. You can use the recording tool and information above to listen to, record and practise all the sounds in English - each and every English vowel sound and each and every English consonant sound.

Some of them might be different to what you think!

Listen carefully.  

English has a lot of sounds! Many languages have WAY fewer vowel sounds than English. As a non-native English speaker, it's likely that you have difficulty with some vowel and consonant sounds because they don't exist in your first language.

With the tools above you'll be able to:

- listen to audio of all the English vowel sounds and consonant sounds
- record and check your pronunciation of English vowel sounds and consonant sounds
- revise the IPA International Phonetic Alphabet for each sound
- practise your pronunciation of English vowel and consonant sounds

If you found this page on English consonant and vowel sounds helpful, you might like to check out:

 - more practise and a video on English Vowels IPA Examples.  
 - more practise and a video on English Consonants IPA Examples.
 - improve and practice English word stress & rhythm

For more help with speaking English more clearly, or speaking English more like a native speaker, join one of our full, tailored online courses. See our English Pronunciation Course List

Our online courses will help you speak clearer English and will give you the practise you need to correct your English vowel and consonant sounds. You'll master English word stress, sentence stress, weak vowels and all areas of English pronunciation with Speech Active. Our courses are tailored specifically for speakers of your first language.

Thanks for making the most out of this page on listening to and pronouncing all the English sounds.  Now you know more about the different types of all the sounds in English - vowels and consonants. We hope that this practice page has helped you improve your pronunciation and articulation of English vowel and consonant sounds!  It's a good idea to repeat the listen and repeat exercises for each vowel and consonant sound above. Each time you repeat it, you'll improve your awareness and listening skills.  

 

Keep up the great work!

x

Georgie and the Speech Active Team

Listen to English Sounds – Vowels & Consonants

by Georgie at Speech Active
Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPathand CELTA qualifications and over 20 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.

Georgie is the creator the world's leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.

If you've ever met Georgie or completed her award winning English Pronunciation and English accent courses, webinars or online lessons you'll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence.

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