In this Lesson you will learn how to accurately pronounce all of the main English vowel sounds. The English alphabet has five vowels, a, e, i, o and u, but it has about 15 main vowel sounds. For some learners this is one of the most difficult aspects of English to master. Speakers of languages with fewer vowel sounds are likely to speak English using only the same number of sounds that exist in their native language.
Sometimes they do not even hear the distinction between certain sounds in English. Consequently, non-native speakers might pronounce “hill” and “heal” the same way. Because there is not always a direct relationship between how a word is spelled and how it is pronounced, you should become familiar with the phonetic symbols that represent the sounds that you are learning. This way, you will be able to use your dictionary when you come across a word that contains a vowel sound that you don’t know how to pronounce.