Difficult Sounds to Pronounce

Number 49 of 85 in B1 - PRE-INTERMEDIATE

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Sonidos dificiles de pronunciar en Inglés

repeat after me

Difficult Sounds to Pronounce

1. /ɪ/ vs. /iː/

This is a classic problem in pronunciation. Basically the difference is between a long and short ‘i’. Notice the difference:

This pink ship: ɪ = /i/

(| ðɪs pɪŋk ʃɪp |)

These green sheep: iː = /iii/

(| ðiːz ɡriːn ʃiːp |)

Read, listen and repeat these sentences:

These shoes don’t fit my feet

Can I sit in this seat?

There’s a sheet on the bed

Heat it a bit before you eat it

They didn’t beat him – they bit him!

It eats cheap chips

2. /z/ vs. /s/

This is another problem for foreign speakers, more complicated than the last. Listen carefully to the different ‘s’ sound (think of a snake) and the ‘z’ sound (think of a fly):

Advise ; Zoo ; Close (verb) ; Use (verb) = z

| ədˈvaɪz |  ;  | zuː |  ;  | kləʊz |  ;  | ˈjuːz  |

Advice ; Sue ; Close to (adj.) ; Use (noun) = s

| ədˈvaɪs |  ;  | sjuː |  ;  | kləʊs |  ;  | ˈjuːs |

Read, listen and repeat these sentences:

I’ve got some problems with my niece
I’ve got some problems with my knees

Can I have some ice in my drink?
Can I have some eyes in my drink?

Give peace a chance!
Give peas a chance!

I’m expecting a rise at work
I’m expecting some rice at work

The Jews, Christians and Muslims peacefully cohabited in Moorish Andalusia
The juice, Christians and Muslims peacefully cohabited in Moorish Andalusia

3. Can vs. Can’t

The difference between ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ is not  the ‘t’, which is often not pronounced. It is a question of intonation. There is a big emphasis on the word ‘can’t’, but in an affirmative statement the intonation falls on the verb.

Read, listen and repeat these sentences:

I can eat a pizza on my own
I can’t eat a pizza on my own

We can take you to the station
We can’t take you to the station

Yes, I can
No, I can’t

When can you come?
When can’t you come?

I can iron but I can’t cook
I can’t iron but I can cook

 

 

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