Two of the American English vowel sounds that non-native speakers frequently mispronounce are the /iy/ sound in the word sheep and the /I/ sound in the word ship.
When I work with my accent reduction clients I call these sounds
- /iy/ as in Green
- /I/ as in Silver
Most of the non-native speakers who I work with in my program over pronounce the /I/ as in Silver.
They use too many facial muscles to make this sound. When they do that, the /I/ as in Silver sounds like /iy/ as in Green.
Here’s a funny story that illustrates what I mean:
I was working with a multinational manager in Turkey. We were talking about commodities and I asked him how he got his raw materials.
He told me, “the raw materials come by sheep”.
What? By sheep?! (big smile)
When I told him what I heard, he and I both laughed. Then I told him that he needed to relax his facial muscles in order to say the word ship with the correct vowel sound.
Other words with /I/ as in Silver that my clients usually over pronounce using /iy/ as in Green include:
There are many more!
For an introduction to all the American English vowel sounds check out my iPad book, Fundamentals of the American Accent.
This iBook is available in 50 countries in Europe & the Americas on the iBookstore. If you are an iPad user who working to improve your American accent, take a look at this multi-touch book.
FINALLY…the color words that I referred to above are based on the Color Vowel Chart.
I always use the Color Vowel Chart to help my accent reduction clients build a strong foundation for the 15 American English vowel sounds.
To learn MORE about American English vowel sounds, click on a link below.⬇
Tags: /iy/ & /I/ sounds, accent reduction ipad, American English Pronunciation, american english vowels, brazilian portuguese speakers, pronunciation problems for spanish speakers