Currently, many English learners still often encounter basic errors such as incorrect pronunciation between vowels and consonants. Therefore, when communicating, listeners will misunderstand what the speaker is saying or cannot understand what the speaker is talking about.

Viewing: What is a vowel?

Today we will learn about vowels and consonants in English!

A. Concepts

There are 26 letters in the English Alphabet:


And English has a total of 44 syllables and is divided into 2 basic types: Vowels and consonants.

1. What is a vowel

?Vowels are vibrations of the larynx or sounds that when we emit air from the larynx to the lips is not obstructed.

There are 20 vowel syllables in English, in vowels are divided into 2 types: single vowels and diphthongs.

In single vowels divided into 2 types: short vowels and long vowels.

a. Single vowel

Short vowels Long vowels /i / / i: / / e / / æ / / / / ɔ: / / ʊ / / u: / / ʌ / / a: / / ə / /ɜ:/

*Example of short vowels

in / n / : in

cut / kʌt / : cut

men / mɛn /: male, man

book / bʊk / : book

hot / ht / : hot

*Example: long vowel

please / pliz / : please

act / kt / : act

sheep / ip / : sheep

read / rid / : read

manager / mæn dʒər / : manager

booth / buθ / : booth

b. Diphthongs

Each diphthong in English is created by joining single vowels together.

Double vowels include:

Vowels Vowels / ei / / i / / / / / / eə / / iə / / / / i /

*Example: diphthongs

basic / beɪ sɪk / : basic

slowly / sloʊ li / : slowly, slowly

tour / tʊər / : to visit, to travel

wear / wɛər / : wear

care / kɛər / : care

nosy / noʊ zi / : noisy

go / goʊ / : go

2. Consonants in English

Consonants are sounds that come from the larynx through the mouth or when the air flows from the larynx to the lips are obstructed or blocked. For example, the tongue collides with the lips, the two lips collide, the tongue is placed in front of the teeth to make a sound, etc.

Consonants only come out loud in speech only when combined with vowels.

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+) There are 24 consonants in English

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

Consonants are divided into 3 types: voiceless consonants, voiced consonants and other types of consonants.

+) Voiceless consonant: is a sound without sound, ie when pronouncing it.

Like when you put a piece of paper in front of your lips, and when you pronounce it, it will create a puff of air and won’t make a sound. Then this is called soundless sound.

/p/ /k/ /f/ /t/ /s/ /θ/ /ʃ/ /tʃ/

* example of voiceless consonants

kitty / kɪt i / : kitten

thumb / m / : thumb

chubby / tʃʌb i / : chubby

ship / p / : ship

fish / fɪʃ / : fish

sixth / sɪksθ / : Friday

+) Voiced Consonants: when pronouncing the sound clearly.

/b/ /d/ /g/ /dʒ/ /v/ /ð/ /z/ /ʒ/

* example: voiced consonants

girl / gɜrl / : girl

business / bɪz nɪs / : business

zoo / zu / : zoo

casual / kæʒ u əl / : normal

duck / duhk / : duck

vegetable / ˈvɛdʒ tə bəl, ˈvɛdʒ ɪ tə- / : green vegetables, root vegetables.

+) Some remaining consonants

/m/ /n/ /η/ /h/ /l/ /r/ /j/ /w/

* example: remaining consonants

hotel / hotel / : hotel

marketing / mɑr kɪ tɪŋ / : marketing

world / wɜrld / : world

need / nid / : need

round / raʊnd / : round

3. Difference between vowels and consonants

a. About vowels

Vowels can stand on their own, or they can come before or after consonants to form sounds in speech.

In summary, Vowels make sense when combined with consonants. Or will still make sense when not combined with consonants.

b. About consonants

Because consonants are auxiliary letters, to get a meaning for a word, there must be a combination with vowels.

If the consonant stands alone, a sound will mean nothing.

B. Some rules to recognize short and long vowels

a. When a word has only 1 vowel and that sound is not at the end of the word, the sound is always a short vowel (there are a few hundred words that follow this rule, there are some exceptions like mind, find)

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For example: bug(u short), thin(i short), cat(a short), job, bed, ant, act,…

b. When a word has only 1 vowel and that sound comes at the end of the word, it is definitely a long vowel.

For example: she(e long),he, go(o long), no,..

c. When there are two vowels standing next to each other, the first is a long vowel, the other is usually silent (not pronounced).

For example: rain(a, i standing next to each other a here is a long, i is silent, so rain will be pronounced reɪn), tied(i long, e mute), seal(e long, a mute ), boat(o long, a dumb).

There are some exceptions like read if the present pronunciation is long e, and if the past pronunciation is short e.

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d. When a word has a vowel followed by two similar consonants (a double consonant), the sound is definitely a short vowel.

For example: Summer(u short), rabbit(a short), robber(o short), egg(e short).

In the word written must double the consonant t because i here is short i. As for writing, the i here is a long i, so it cannot double the consonant t.

e. When a Words with two consecutive identical vowels (called a double vowel) are pronounced as one long vowel. This rule does not apply to the sound O.

For example: Peek(e long), greet(e long), meet(e long), vacuum(u long) This rule also does not apply when there is an r consonant after two identical vowels, the sound will be changed change .

For example: beer,… When o is a double vowel, it will make different sounds. For example: poor, tool, fool, door,..

f. When f,l,s appear after a short vowel, we double f,l,s.

Example: Ball, staff, pass, tall, diFFerent (short i), coLLage (o short), compaSS (a short) When b,d,g,m,n,p appear after a short vowel of 1 Words with 2 syllables, we also double them.

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For example: raBBit (a short), maNNer (a short), suMMer (a short), haPPy (a short), hoLLywood (o short), suGGest (a short u), odd (o short),…

=> Knowing this rule will help you avoid some spelling mistakes. For example, instead of writing different, many of you will write it wrong as diferent => Spelling mistakes.

g. The letter Y makes a long i when it comes to the end of a 1-syllable word.

For example: Cry, TRy, by,shy,…

The letter y or ey at the end of a word in an unstressed syllable (not the word stress) will be pronounced as a long e.

For example: BeautY, Sunny, carefullY, babY,…

Some notes

+) The C sound is a special sound that can be pronounced “s” or can be pronounced “k”.

+) If “g” is followed by the sounds i, y, and e, then g will be pronounced dʒ. For example: gYm, gIant.

+) If “g” is followed by the remaining sounds a, u, o, then g will be pronounced g.

Example: go, gone, god,gun,gum, gut, guy, game, gallic,…

+) If r is preceded by a weak vowel like schwa ə, they will be omitted.

+) The consonant j in most cases comes at the beginning of a word and is pronounced dʒ.

Example: jump, jack, jealous, just, jig, …

D. Methodology

+) In the learning process, you should combine theory and practice to better understand these two sounds.

+) Use learning aids such as mirrors, sheets of paper to check your pronunciation. Practice pronunciation regularly in front of mirrors and friends.

+) Find good online learning resources such as the web, youtube, foreign teachers, etc. Practice imitating to pronounce like a foreigner or a teacher, improving your pronunciation.

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Above we have explained to help you better understand vowels and consonants in English.