Speech Work (Review of Monophthongs)


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In today’s English Language class, We will be learning about Monophthongs. We hope you enjoy the class!


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Review of Monophthongs

The English vowel sounds are twenty in number. These vowels consist of twelve monophthongs and eight diphthongs. The monophthongs can be sub-divided into long and short vowel sounds. Below are the sounds with examples.



The short vowel sounds are seven (7). They are:

/ I /

‘a’      –           village, adage

‘e’       –           before, women, English

‘u’       –           business, busy, minute

‘ei’      –           foreign

‘ui’      –           build, guilt

‘y’       –           symbol, lynch, myth

‘O’      –           women

‘I’        –           sit, pig, big, pit, kid


/e /

‘a’      –           many, any

‘ou’    –           said

‘ay’    –           says

‘e’       –           bed, peg, egg, net.

‘ea’    –           dead, bread, head

‘ue’    –           guess, guest

‘eo’    –           leopard, jeopardy, Geoffrey

‘ie’      –           friend

‘u’       –           bury


/ æ /

‘a’      –           pat, hat, track, bag, trap

‘ai’      –           plait


/ ɒ/

‘a’      –           watch, want, what

‘ou’    –           cough, trough

‘au’    –           laurel, because, sausage

‘o’      –           cot, cod, pot, hot

‘ow’   –           knowledge


/ ʊ /

‘o’      –           woman, bosom, wolf

‘oo’    –           book, took, wood, wool

‘ou’    –           would, should, could

‘u’       –           pull, bull, put, sugar



The long vowel sounds are five (5). They are:


/ iː /

‘uay’  –           quay

‘ae’    –           Caesar, aesthetic

‘e’       –           mete, procedure, eve,

‘ee’    –           peel, meet, seek,

‘ae’    –           heat, seat, meat

‘ai’      –           machine, prestige

‘ei’      –           receive, deceive

‘ie’      –           relieve, believe

‘oe’    –           foetus, amoeba

‘ui’      –           suite

‘eo’    –           people


/ ɑː /

‘a’      –           father, pass, vase

‘ar’     –           car, park, mark

‘ear’   –           heart

‘er’     –           clerk, sergeant

‘al’      –           palm, calm, half

‘au’    –           laugh, aunt


/ ɜː/

‘er’     –           germ, verve, fertile,

‘ear’   –           learn, yearn, pearl

‘ir’       –           shirt, skirt, firm

‘ur’     –           burn, turn, curl, burden

‘our’   –           journey, mourners, courtesy.


/ ɔː/

‘a’      –           water, wall, talk

‘aw’   –           hawk, awe, law

‘au’    –           laud, caught, daughter

‘oa’    –           board, roar, hoard

‘ou’    –           bought, sought, fought

‘or’     –           fork, north, stoke

‘oo’    –           door

‘o’      –           floral, Florence

‘our’   –           count, bourdon

‘ar’     –           warm, war, wharf


/ uː/

‘eu’    –           feudal, leukaemia

‘ew’   –           ewe, stew, blew

‘o’      –           move, tomb, prove

‘oe’    –           shoe

‘ou’    –           soup, coup, youth

‘oo’    –           pool, tooth, school

‘u’       –           tune, rude, prune

‘ue’    –           sue, cue, blue

‘ui’      –           juice, fruit, suit


/ ʌ /

‘o’      –           mother, colour, money

‘oe’    –           does

‘ou’    –           country, tough, double

‘oo’     –          blood, flood,

‘u’       –           cut, hut, but, much



Schwa sound


‘ae’    –           away, above, ago

‘er’     –           daughter, brother

‘or’     –           doctor, monitor

‘our’   –           clamour, colour, favour


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Evaluation:  Identify the vowel sounds underlined in the words below:

Perm                          /   /

Money                      /   /

Gracious                   /   /

Brother                      /   /

Nuisance                  /   /

Quality                      /   /

Psalm                         /   /

Crack                        /   /

Jeopardy                 /   /

People                     /   /


Reading Assignment: Read more on monophthongs from Exam focus for JSCE

References:  Standard Speech, pg 11-15; An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology of English by S.A Fatusin

Weekend Assignment: Do practice exercise 18 on pg. 78 of English Grammar by P.O Olatunbosun.




We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

In our next class, we will be reviewing Verbs and Adverbs. We are very much eager to meet you there.


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