American vs. British English – Vowel Sounds – Pronunciation differences
August 16, 2019
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. Know. [6x] 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. Hot. [6x] Honest. [6x] 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. Can. [6x] 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: Ham. [6x] 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: First. [6x] I say ‘worst’. Minoo says: Worst. [6x] I say ‘girl’. Minoo says: Girl. [6x] 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.