IPA lesson 1

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The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is a tool used by linguists to help record the sounds of a language. It is also useful for people learning a foreign language. And it is particularly helpful to students of English, because the English spelling system is terrible.
For example, we pronounce these two words the same:
Red (the color)
Read (the past tense of the verb to read, as in “Yesterday I read a book.”
But we spell them differently. Using the IPA, we can instantly see that both words are pronounced the same: red or read = /rɛd/
In this podcast I will introduce one consonant sound and one vowel sound. The IPA for American English is not hard to learn. If you had the time, you could probably master most of it in a few days. But we won’t go that fast.
Let’s start with the sound ‘sh’ which is written using this symbol: /ʃ/
Here’s a sentence which has the ‘sh’ sound four times:
She should sell shiny shirts
ʃi ʃʊd sɛl ʃaɪni ʃərts
So these four words, written phonetically, begin with the ‘sh’ /ʃ/ sound:
She
Should
Shiny
Shirts
Here’s another sentence with the ‘sh’ sound:
A dish of delicious fish
ə dɪʃ ʌv dɪlɪʃəs fɪʃ
Now let’s learn a vowel sound. It’s the vowel you hear in the word ‘cat’ which we write like this: /kæt/
Words with the same vowel sound that rhyme with cat are:
At
Bat
Fat
Hat
Mat
Nat
Pat
Rat
Sat
Tat
Vat
Try writing the above words using phonetic symbols. Here’s a hint: the symbols for these sounds—b,f,h,m,n,p,r,s,t,—are the same as the letters! So the word ‘sat’, for example, is written /sæt/.
Now let’s combine the two symbols in today’s lesson. The word ‘ash’ (a kind of tree) is written /æʃ/.
Easy!
Try writing these:
Bash
Cash (the ‘C’ is the same sound as in ‘cat’)
Dash
Gash
Hash
Lash
Mash
Gnash (the ‘g’ is silent)
Rash
Sash
(Note the letters d, g, and l also use the same IPA symbols as the letters, so “gash” would be written /g æʃ/
Your homework is to look for and listen for words in English that have either of these two sounds. Here’s one example: the word ‘passed’, for example, would be written
/pæst/ (I passed Mr. Jones in the hallway.)
Another example: I dropped my glass and it smashed. /smæʃt/
Play around with the IPA and feel free to experiment. As you learn more symbols and practice, you’ll find your pronunciation will become more accurate.
Here's a good reference chart.
Lots of words with the 'sh' sound.
Practice on youtube.

Intro & Outro Music: La Pompe Du Trompe by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com

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