Transcript: How to Learn English Vowels Effectively

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Welcome to Voice Science, it is an honour to have you here!

Today we are going to talk about The 5 Keystone Principles You Need to Effectively Kickstart Your English Vowel Pronunciation.

I was so excited to film this one that I had to break it out in some nerdy dance moves to calm myself slightly before shooting.

Here’s a sneak peak.

(dance off!)

The 5 Keystone Principles You Need to Effectively Kickstart Your English Vowel Pronunciation

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, cos I know y’all love the detail over on this channel! 

Here is what you are going to learn:

1. Why Phonetics is Your Toolkit to unlocking the secrets behind English vowels

2. Why knowing how your speech machine (mouth, lips, tongue, jaw and voice) helps you pronounce vowels

3. Why learning mouth positions is important to producing vowels accurately

4. Why some good old vowel analysis is important

5. And lastly, how to stay away from The Hamburger Trap

Let’s talk about Why Phonetics is Your Toolkit to unlocking the secrets behind English vowels.

It may feel tough learning the phonetic alphabet at first but if you get that down pat, phonetics is going to make the heavy lifting of english vowel pronunciation much easier later down the track.

This is why we train all our clients to use phonetics.

What does that involve?

We mentor them in how to:

  • Read the phonetic alphabet
  • Shape the mouth positions that each symbol needs
  • Write with phonetics like a full blown speech pathologist so they can be independent 

Not learning phonetics is like wanting to write with a beautiful fountain pen but not knowing the alphabet

The phonetic alphabet is what sound is to speech just like letters are to writing clearly. 

We don’t need phonetics in our mother tongue because we learn totally differently as kids.

But research shows, if you are a full on adult you will learn quicker with this super duper tool up your sleeve.

Next we are going to look at how knowing how your speech machine (mouth, lips, tongue, jaw and voice) helps you pronounce vowels.

The mouth is a full on 3D space that buzzes and vibrates. We have a video coming on your pronunciation machine, so stay tuned for that because you don’t want to miss out.

The anatomy of your mouth is like the GPS for your destination. 

The thing is, finding new vowel sounds is like exploring a city you never have been too. And if you don’t know where on the map you’ve got to go to, how will you even find it?

We will mentor you using our nerdy anatomy know how. I mean guys, we studied how the mouth works, the muscles of the tongue and how it moves, we even know all the intricate steps behind how you swallow… [add how many steps] the best way to learn the new geography for your vowel sounds is to work with a speech pathologist. We will help you navigate the unchartered territory like Christopher Columbus but without the Colonialism because we are also here to advocate for the benefits of your first language and the wonderful identity it gives you. 

Let’s now uncover Why learning mouth positions is important to producing vowels accurately.

Now here is the beautiful thing. Once you now the mouth “map” you enter the sweet spot by using phonetics. The phonetic symbols are your concrete coordinates for where and how to form a sound. Our team use phonetics to translate for you how to shape your lips, move your tongue, lengthen the sounds and open your jaw so that your vowels take the positions needed for standard English.

How exciting is that? It is through phonetics that you will finally remove the mystery of why it feels impossible to pronounce some words. We are going to use phonetics with you to make everything concrete and clear so you can pronounce English words more comfortably, which gives you more energy and time to focus on your message. Which makes you a better communicator! Once sounds are more secure and comfortable you can devote the energy and headspace to how you share your ideas and in so doing really speak confidently and eloquently.

Next up we need to investigate Why some good old vowel analysis is important

When you have the phonetic alphabet you can analyse what sounds are missing when you transfer the sounds of your first language.

On the screen you can see the overlap between Latin American Spanish & English. 

Do you notice the vowels and how they vary between Spanish and English.

Notice that there are less vowels in Spanish compared to English?

So if you are a Spanish native speaker you should now see that you will need a lot of work learning the new vowel sounds.

And we are going to conclude this tutorial with one of my favourite tips for you all. I could go blue in the face the number times I ask my clients to follow my advice, which frank is some pretty sweet advice.

Listen carefully as I explain How to stay away from the dreaded Hamburger Trap when you are learning your English Vowel Sounds.

Ok so, there’s this scene in the Pink Panther with Steve Martin and a pretty bad dialect coach. I don’t mean to be mean, but she’s no good! 

Jacques Closeau, Steve Martin’s character,  is asked to repeat the Simple phrase “I would like to buy a hamburger” but he isn’t shown how to move his mouth. You have to watch it- he’s sitting there “mimicking” with little success. In the end all systems fail and Jacques pronunciation actually deteriorates the more he listens and copies.

 We all have been there, when learning another language. 

If you have tried to work on your pronunciation I can bet my last lindt ball you have gotten yourself into this situation. 

But don’t go there! Don’t buy the burger like that!

Check the Pink Panther clip and you will know what I mean. Plus, it’s funny so no time wasted!

Learn the right way, the science based way. It’s going to be time saving. Hard work, but efficient. There are no shortcuts to improving your English speaking. But the best way to move your vowel pronunciation forward is to do the heavy lifting with your phonetics so you can be more efficient later which means more time for chilling and spending time doing the things you love because you became a pronunciation learning machine, not a dud!

Forget about the “Sound of the Sound”

Sound is concrete and is a measurable thing. I want you to forget about listening to audio and mimicking. I get that it feels like you can learn sounds by listening and copying. But it simply does not work that way!

We are here to share our expert knowledge and we read the research daily about how adults learn the sounds of their second, third or even fourth languages. So I am here to beg you, DO NOT LISTEN. Sound is produced by the shaping of your mouth, the movements of your tongue, your jaw and your voice. And only once you learn those movements can you pronounce English vowel sounds with the polish of your dreams.

So let’s do a quick recap.

Today you learnt 5 Keystone Principles to Kickstarting Your English Vowel Pronunciation

First we talked about how you need to get in a heavy relationship with lots of displays of public affection for the International Phonetic Alphabet if you want to get your English vowels on track.


Then we discussed how  Why learning mouth positions is essential  to producing vowels accurately


We discussed the importance of good old vowel analysis


We looked at how knowing “coordinates” of our vowels using phonetics and the knowledge of our mouth and how it works for the English language.


And finally you’ve been duly warned to stay away from the dreaded Hamburger Trap. We talked about why copying a sound, puts you backward not forward.


Progressing your pronunciation and communication skill is a life-long, long term kinda goal. We are the last ones who will tell you there is a quick fix, magic trick to sharpening your English Speaking.

You’ve got to make the daily drill and practice as ritual as brushing your teeth…


I know… it would be a beautiful thing if 5 appointments with a speech pathologist made it all better. You’re going to need more than that! Personal practice is key. We’re communication scientists and the last thing we want to do is make up fairy tales for adults!


Which is why we developed Cadenza™ currently available only to our in clinic clients but guess what- something new and exciting is coming. If you are driven to progress your English pronunciation and move it forward so you can speak with finesse and comfort  I want to strongly encourage you to join the global launch list for Cadenza™ when doors open to the whole world! Something is coming for all of you that trust me, you want in on! 

Hit the link below to join our launch list so that you can be the first to know when doors next open, for a limited time.

I hope that this tutorial gets you on task. If you found it valuable please don’t forget to give it a thumbsup & subscribe to our channel. You can also get extra tips for your communication over on our FB youtube channel and instagram. 


I remind you we are in the communication game together so if you have  a friend who you think needs to watch this tutorial be a buddy and give a share. Because I am here trying to advocate for the importance of communication confidence and comfort and it takes a global team to do that.  As I always say, “Communication is like string Theory, it’s the Foundation of Everything.” so go get them.

Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next time!