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Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Er" : When "R" is a Vowel Sound.

"Public Strategy" by Emily Frost.
This work is a depiction of the saying:
"The early bird catches the worm."

Part One of a lesson on
the pronunciation of "r".
Here, Jennifer explains how "r"
is part of the vowel system.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fifteen Vowel Sounds in Context

St. Victoire - Paul Cezanne - 1885

1. Long “e”
a. What time do you usually eat lunch?
b. What street does she live on?
c. What time should we meet for coffee?
d. Her brother doesn’t speak Greek.
e. Which key opens this door?

2. Short “i”
a. It doesn’t snow in San Francisco.
b. I accidentally hit your car. I’m very sorry.
c. I’m tired. I need to sit down and take a break.
d. Do those shoes fit?
e. If you’re sick, you need to stay home and rest.

3. “ay”
a. I was late because I overslept.
b. Take this pill three times a day with or without food.
c. I have a pain in my right shoulder.
d. It doesn’t rain during the summer in California.
e. He didn’t pay the bills on time.

4. Short “e”
a. He gets a check up once a year.
b. This hat is too large for my head.
c. You’ll get wet if you go out in this rain storm.
d. I guess it’s time to exercise.
e. Next week, we’ll study the book.

5. “a” as in “hat”
a. That hat looks great on you. Where did you buy it?
b. I found this hand bag. Is it yours?
c. I need a match to light this log.
d. There’s a map of the world in back of the class.
e. Could you please pass the salt?

6. “u” as in “cup”
a. How did you cut yourself?
b. Good luck on your new job.
c. How much does this vegetable soup cost?
d. That duck is enjoying that piece of bread.
e. Didn’t I see you the other day on Mission Street?

7. “er” as in “bird”
a. A big bird is sitting on that wire.
b. The Museum of Modern Art is on Third Street.
c. Is your baby a boy or a girl?
d. How much will you earn this month?
e. That’s hot soup. Don’t burn your tongue.

8. “a” as in “hot”
a. Don’t forget to lock the front door.
b. The ferry boat is approaching the dock.
c. Do you watch the news every evening?
d. The Number 30 bus runs on Stockton Street.
e. Be careful. That stove is very hot.

9. “ai”: diphthong 1
a. The farmer’s market is a good place to buy fruit.
b. Why is housing in San Francisco so expensive?
c. Would you care to try on this pair of shoes?
d. I’d like to have a piece of apple pie.
e. The sound of “I” is the same as the sound of “eye.”

10. “au”: diphthong 2
a. A happy cow grazes in a green field.
b. The cable car runs on Powell Street.
c. Right now, you’re studying at Mission Campus.
d. Are you from a small town or a big city?
e. How is this level? Is it too easy or too difficult?

11. Short “u” as in “book”
a. I didn’t need to look up his phone number.
b. What is the required book for this class?
c. Your son is tall. He probably grew a foot. last year.
d. What should I buy my wife for her birthday?
e. This isn’t a good washing machine. That one is.

12. Long “u” as in “moon”
a. I have to choose a color before I paint the living room.
b. One of my children is in junior high school.
c. Which tool is the best one for fixing the sink?
d. In order to change a light bulb, I have to use a ladder.
e. A new car is more expensive than a used one.

13. Long “o”
a. This boat has both a motor and sails.
b. If you’d like to see the apartment, I’ll show it to you.
c. Do you know any good, inexpensive restaurants?
d. Some low price California wines are excellent.
e. The area code for Daly City is 650.

14. “Aw”
a. We bought a new mattress last week. It was on sale.
b. It’s against the law to “text message” while driving.
c. Jessy slipped, but fortunately, he didn’t fall.
d. To get the facts, you have to talk to a lot of people.
e. There is a clock on that wall.

15. “oi”: diphthong 3
a. Your son helped me cross the street. He’s a good boy.
b. You’re a good father because you fixed the broken toy.
c. Many companies can’t employ new workers.
d. Raising a child is difficult, but there’s a lot of joy.
e. Soy beans are an excellent source of protein.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Duck" and "Dock". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

1. You can rent boats at Stow Lake. They’re tied to the .

2. “ ” is slang for “policemen or police women.”

3. The custodian will the door before he leaves the room.

4. He will also all the windows and off the lights.

5. Take a little sun screen and it on exposed skin. Then, you won’t get a sun burn.

6. My shirt is dirty. I have to wash it by hand.

7. My daughter used to play with her , but she’s too grown up now.

8. This TV program is . I’d rather read a book.

9. There’s a good view of the city from the floor of this apartment building.

10. That is too fat. He doesn’t need to eat anything.

11. Success is a combination of hard work and good .

12. This blouse fits me very well, but I don’t care for the .

13. It’s more difficult to a wallet if it’s in the front pocket.

14. The bathroom is tidy , clean, and the bath is large.

15. I’m glad you like our coffee. Would you care for another ?

16. There’s an antique in the hall. It was made in China.

17. It’s a good idea to get a flu before winter starts.

18. A large bottle with a handle is called a .

19. A popular form of music in America is called “ ”.

20. Many people before or after work for exercise.

21. They might get married next month. They might wait until next year.

22. I can’t just eat one . I have to eat another one, and another one, and another one.

23. The robber used a to hold up the bank. Fortunately, he didn’t shoot anybody.

24. I’m sorry, you came to the party too late. All the food is .

25. A large fell on the highway, and all the cars stopped.

26. I was afraid when I heard the . But it was from a TV movie.

27. I didn’t my front door firmly. So, the wind blew it open.

28. The walls in our living room are too dark. We need to paint them a lighter .

29. George bought several lottery tickets. But he didn’t have any .

a. ducke. cupi. shutm. rugq. tubu. gun
b. dockf. copj. shotn. rockr. topv. gone
c. luckg. dullk. rubo. jugs.colorw. nut
d. lockh. dolll. robp. jogt. collarx. not

"o" as in "hope" and "aw" as in "law".
Listen and Fill the Blanks.

She's using a power lawn mower.

1. The language lab is across the from the teachers’ room.

2. The common is contagious. You can catch it at school.

3. After I dry the towels, I them and put them away.

4. Maria bought a power mower so she can cut the grass faster.

5. Jeff said the other boy started the fight. It wasn’t his .

6. Veronica three buttons on her son Pedro’s old shirt.

7. Pedro’s right sleeve had a big in it from his fall.

8. She her son to be careful when he plays next time.

9. The chicken that’s cooking in the kitchen has a nice .

10. The cat sometimes scratches the furniture with its .

11. Raymond measured and several boards for shelves.

12. Pedro is 12 years old and he’s is 5’6”. He’s very for his age.

13. His old don’t fit him anymore. So, he gave them away.

14. We’re ready to now. We’d like some of that chicken.

15. You can go to Larkspur and Sausalito round trip by ferry .

16. Your girlfriend . She said she couldn’t go to the party.

17. We’d like a of mushroom soup for an appetizer.

18. A good soccer player knows how to kick the very far.

19. I ten fish, but unfortunately, they were all small.

20. You don’t need a today. It’s very hot outside.

21. Rodger’s brother is graduating from school next June.

22. How many chairs did you buy for your new apartment? I three new chairs.

23. The plane is going to land in about one minute. That’s why it’s flying very .

24. Mr. and Mrs. Brown need a to start their new business. Where can they get a low interest rate?

25. Anna a very funny joke at dinner last night. Everyone in her family laughed.

26. Levels One and Two are beginning classes. Levels Three and Four are high beginning classes.

27. Every winter, it is very . That’s why we usually have a fire in the fireplace.

28. After William irons his clothes, he them carefully and puts them away.

29. people have to be careful in rooms with ceilings.

a. boate. foldi. toldm. sewedq. odoru. low
b. boughtf. faultj. talln. sawedr. orderv. law
c. coatg. coldk. bowlo. clothess. holew. loan
d. caughth. calledl. ballp. clawst. tallx. lawn

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Short "U" and Long "u". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

They're shopping for food.

1. I need to buy some at the supermarket today.

2. A is a small stream. You can go fishing there.

3. In 1968, the first humans visited the .

4. There is a small rock in my shoe. It hurts my .

5. The hall closet has where you can hang your coats.

6. This school doesn't have a swimming .

7. It is under the shade of that big tree.

8. We're glad that the janitor care of the problem.

9. We need to repair our because it was damaged by the rain.

10. Sometimes it is difficult to an occupation.

11. I like to read a good before I go to bed.

12. I use a to sweep the sidewalk in front of the house.

13. A furniture maker uses the best he can find.

14. During the earthquake, the house , and books fell off shelves.

15. When I found the word in the dictionary, I it.

16. He's an excellent carpenter. He always does work.

17. Carrots, radishes, and beets are vegetables.

18. Anna has one son in elementary and one daughter in
middle .

19. Don't leave your in the rain or they will get rusty.

20. I lost my keys in the building. I have to for them.

21. When does Stanley American food? He prepares it every Sunday.

22. The lunch break at our office starts at and ends at 12:45 PM.

23. After Paula lost weight, all her dresses were too .

24. I went to the dentist because I had a broken .

25. All of the students are doing very work in this class.

26. Healthy includes fruits, vegetables, and grains.

27. Sylvio went to Oakland last weekend. He BART. It was fast.

28. I think the janitor found your keys. You don’t have to for them anymore.

29. Did you injure your when you played soccer last week?


"eh" and "a" as in "hat". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

This iron railing won't bend easily.

1. I couldn’t come to school today. I to go to the doctor.

2. Bob is fifteen years old. He’s not an adult, he’s just a .

3. His brother is younger than he is. His brother is only years old.

4. He that he liked school a lot, especially math.

5. You can erase when you use a pencil, but not when you use a .

6. Bob is five years older his brother.

7. You can hang your jacket on the in the hall.

8. The railing is made of iron. It won’t easily.

9. When there is a teacher’s meeting, the class will early.

10. She likes vegetables: broccoli, celery, carrots.

11. My daughter plays the flute in the school .

12. You should wear a helmet to protect your when you ride a bicycle.

13. She felt when her boyfriend decided to break up with her.

14. First clean the table tops with a moist sponge, dry them with a dry paper towel.

15. Drunk drivers can’t drive safely and often their cars.

16. If you’re careful, you’ll get a sun instead of a sun burn.

17. After you put the oil in the , add the onions and garlic.

18. The manager me to the third floor to see the apartment.

19. It was a product, so we couldn’t sell it.

20. How many rooms does this apartment have? Only one. But it has a large kitchen.

21. The children like to play in the at the beach.

22. Tom has a lot of energy because he’s a young .

23. How many letters are you going to ? I have to five letters.

24. Maria’s children, all boys, are all grown up Now, they’re .

25. I enjoyed reading that book. It was more interesting the movie.

26. There was a traffic jam yesterday. Everybody to wait until the police cleared the off the highway.

27. When will the spring semester ? It will in the third week of May.

28. We need broccoli, bananas, bread, apples, lettuce, milk.

29. I didn’t hear you. What did you say? I , how was your weekend?

a. heade. meni. saidm. bedq. wrecku. led
b. hadf. manj. sadn. badr. rackv. lad
c. theng. sendk. peno. bends. tenw. end
d. thanh. sandl. panp. bandt. tanx. and

"ay" and "eh". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

He fell when he went skating.

1. They when they went skating yesterday.

2. I a lot of nice people when I went to the party.

3. They’re getting married. Their will be in June.

4. He worked for three days at their house, but he hasn’t been yet.

5. This recipe calls for a quarter of a teaspoon of .

6. You’ll find the gardening tools in the in the back yard.

7. A will help you to buy travelers’ checks.

8. There are too many women at the dance and not enough . That’s why the women are dancing with each other.

9. Don’t worry. If your attendance is good and you study hard, you won’t the test.

10. It’s very . It’s past 1:00 AM. I must leave the party soon.

11. The sun is very hot. It’s cooler under the of a tree.

12. To write the dictation, you need a pen and .

13. They have a cat. She sleeps all the time. She’s a quiet .

14. The hostess a delicious fruit salad for the party.

15. When I put gas in my car, I also the oil to see if I need more.

16. When I read a story, I always look for the idea .

17. I’m sorry we’re late. How long have you been for us?

18. There are a lot of office buildings on Street.

19. If you can’t find clothes that fit, you need to see a .

20. Did you hands with the interviewer before you sat down?

21. Flight Number 342 to Chicago is now boarding at 33.

22. How long will it take this plane to to New York? About four hours.

23. I a very interesting book about the future of computers.

24. You can get a cheaper for long distance calls. Talk to the phone company.

25. Sharon’s father didn’t her stay out past midnight.

26. Maria works at the Bank of America. She’s a .

27. The waiter put too much on my salad. I need a glass of water.

28. Excuse me. How do I to 24th and Mission Street from here?

29. Sylvia a new shirt for her husband. She gave it to him for his birthday.

a. madee. paperi. shakem. paidq. shadeu. gate
b. metf. paperj. checkn. petr. shedv. get
c. failg. Maink. waitingo. tailors. latew. rate
d. fellh. menl. weddingp. tellert. letx. read

Vowel Contrast: Long "e" and Short "i". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

He's sleeping late.

1. Arnold is sleeping late today because tired.

2. Will you see your old friends when you’re and famous?

3. I’m sorry you didn’t like the salad. wasn’t very fresh.

4. My wife and I are going on a trip. be flying to Madrid.

5. He didn’t get up early because alarm clock is broken.

6. They’re going to Rover. They opened a can of dog food for him.

7. I’m glad you like the pie. a little more. Have another piece.

8. We’re going to see some friends when we New York.

9. You should out the application form right away.

10. Our TV is broken. you be able to fix it?

11. Take this medicine. You should better in a couple of days.

12. I know these shoes will me. They’re the right size.

13. Be careful. I just mopped the floor. Don’t .

14. They should go to the airport now because their plane will soon.

15. She used to in New York. She lives in San Francisco now.

16. This should be taken on an empty stomach and with water.

17. If you get seven or eight hours , you won’t be tired.

18. We’re going to be very busy this . We’re going to study verbs.

19. He dropped a banana on his way to the garbage pail.

20. I like your new . It fits your head better than the old one.

21. Is this taken? Yes, I’m afraid it is. Somebody is sitting there.

22. The on this jar won’t open. Try holding it under hot water.

23. I’ll you to the supervisor’s office. Follow me.

24. I can’t the ceiling and I need to change a light bulb. Do you have a ladder?

25. Did you in New York before? Yes, I lived there for four years.

26. If you don’t have anywhere to , you can use one of the chairs in the office.

27. you see your friend Marge soon? If so, you give her this address book? She lost it yesterday.

28. You didn’t the birds today. They’re really hungry now.

29. Julio’s neighbors helped him move last week. furniture is very heavy.

a. we'lle. leavei. leadm. reachq. feelu. sleep
b. willf. livej. lidn. richr. fillv. slip
c. weekg. peelk. he'so. feeds. eatw. seat
d. wigh. pilll. hisp. fitt. itx. sit

This is a very good video for learning how to tell the difference between these two vowel sounds.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diphthong Review: "ai", "ow", and "oi". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

This man is reading the paper
while he's having breakfast.

1. He was reading the newspaper he was eating breakfast.

2. The TV screen is square, and the clock on the wall is .

3. She didn’t get the job she wanted. She was .

4. My doctor’s is at 11:30. I must not be late.

5. An is a bird that stays awake at night and hunts mice.

6. After I take a bath, I use a to dry myself.

7. There are twelve fluid in a can of soda.

8. Don’t worry about my dog. He looks dangerous, but he won’t

9. Matt Henson a flag at the North Pole.

10. Mary’s son is an excellent student. She’s very of him.

11. When you go on a job interview, you should dress neatly and act

12. I dislike traffic. I driving downtown whenever I can.

13. Many people think there is intelligent life on other planets, but I

14. I don’t laugh out loud at jokes, but I often .

15. When there is too much outside, it is difficult to study.

16. At the formal dance, he wore a tuxedo, and she wore an evening

17. Nutmeg and cinnamon are that you can buy at Safeway.

18. 208 to New York is leaving from Gate 31.

19. The mosquito buzzed around my ears and me.

20. It is very on the buses when there is a BART strike.

21. This is a very good guitar. It makes a beautiful .

22. I heard what you said. You don’t have to . You’re hurting my ears.

23. There are a lot of tourists here. They’re going seeing.

24. Maria go to Mexico for vacation or she go to New York. She can’t decide.

25. This is very good. The plants will grow easily.


Here is a video by Jennifer ESL that explains the diphthongs very well:

The Sound of "ai". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

This furniture won't last. It's made of ice.

1. We need your signature. Please your name on this line.

2. He’s going to for that salesman job. His interview will be this Friday.

3. If your leak, you should call a plumber.

4. My child doesn’t go to public school. He goes to school.

5. I would like a cup of tea and a piece of , please.

6. These shoes fit very well, and I like the very much.

7. are you going to L.A.? I’m going there because I want to visit my cousin.

8. She goes to Mission School. She’s in the 10th grade.

9. It was eight o’clock an hour ago. Now, it’s o’clock.

10. Do you need stamps? What of stamps do you want to ?

11. When I go to the bank, I usually have to wait in a long .

12. I have change. Do you want a quarter or two and a nickel?

13. Could you tell me the ? I’m sorry, I don’t have a watch.

14. Does your baby when she is tired? No, only when she’s hungry.

15. He wants to learn English. He goes to City College every .

16. There are a lot of tourists here. They’re going seeing.

17. These shoes are too . Do you have a larger size?

18. Jack doesn’t know how to a car. He wants to learn.

19. If you want a cold drink, you need some .

20. Are you going to to New York or take the bus?

21. David go to Canada for vacation or he go to Hawaii. He can’t decide.

22. I on the jacket, but it didn’t fit. So, I took it back to the store.

23. How do you get downtown? I BART and get off at Powell Street Station.

24. Stand on this scale while I measure your weight and your .

25. After I buy a book, I write my name and phone number in it. That way, I can prove it’s .


The Sound of "ow". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

This is a grazing cow.


1. She’s going tomorrow. She’s going to shop at Macy’s.

2. I want to buy two of ground meat. I’m going to make hamburgers for dinner.

3. Your stereo is too . Would you please turn it ?

4. Last year, she lived in Mexico City. She lives in San Francisco

5. Every morning, the buses on Mission Street are very .

6. There is a bathtub and a in the bathroom.

7. do I get to Mission and 24th Street from here?

8. I this umbrella yesterday. Who does it belong to?

9. Los Angeles is about 400 miles of San Francisco.

10. Daisy is a very good . She gives a lot of milk.

11. If the bananas are green, they aren’t ripe yet. If they are , they aren’t good.

12. We are studying the English now. We’re learning the International Phonetic Alphabet.

13. This is a very good guitar. It makes a beautiful .

14. Mary likes to grow in her back yard. That’s why her garden is beautiful.

15. You can cut lumber quickly with a saw.

16. Those pillows are square, but this one is .

17. Where is a good restaurant? We want to go for dinner.

18. I heard what you said. You don’t have to . You’re hurting my ears.

19. I’m going to the bank. I want to open a checking .

20. You paid us the wrong . You gave us too much money. We owe you five dollars.

21. The word “work” can either be a verb or a .

22. I’m not sure I want to buy that . I will think it.

23. Coit is a famous San Francisco landmark. It’s near North Beach.

24. California had a when there was no rain for a long time.

25. There is a household furnishings sale at Macy’s. Sheets and are twenty percent off the regular price.


The Sound of "oi". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

I can't find a pearl in this oyster.

1. Did you your weekend? Yes, I did. I had a lot of fun.

2. Our ‘s name is Mr. Parsons. He’s a very nice person.

3. How many are there in your factory?

4. I need eight gallons of gas and one quart of motor .

5. You might find a job at the agency. They have a lot of listings.

6. My children like to play with .

7. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have three children; two girls and one .

8. You should turn off the burner. The water is .

9. After one month, all the new employees must the union.

10. I’m perspiring. My forehead is . I need a handkerchief.

11. The clown danced. The child at him and laughed.

12. The machine doesn’t accept dollar bills, only .

13. This is very good. The plants will grow easily.

14. I can’t sleep because my neighbors always make too much .

15. He graduated from law school. Now, he’s a .

16. Do you have a skin rash? You should put on some .

17. I’m late for my interview. My is at 3 o’clock.

18. She’s a terrific singer. She has a great . Everybody applauds when she sings.

19. If you wrap the leftover chicken in , it will stay fresh.

20. You can sometimes find a pearl in an .

21. beans are a very good source of protein. I like tofu.

22. Because I had to wait for a long time at the bank, I was very

23. The earthquake a lot of homes in Nicaragua.

24. The traffic downtown is usually very heavy. I try to driving there.

25. Please the extension cord before you put it away.


Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sound of "aw". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

After a long night, finally the dawn has arrived.

1. I a powerful new vacuum cleaner. It cost $200.00.

2. In San Francisco, the weather is the warmest in the .

3. I you yesterday, but nobody answered. Were you home or not?

4. What color do you want to paint these ? I suggest you paint them yellow.

5. I threw the to him and he it. He’s a good baseball player.

6. Jim is going to school. He wants to be an attorney.

7. I a very interesting movie last week. It was called “Ants.”

8. Tom the application form back yesterday, but he forgot to sign it.

9. Do you have a pain in your ?

10. She’s going to sing a Mexican for us. She has a beautiful voice.

11. Marcia is teaching English now. She English last year too.

12. of those job applicants are excellent. I can’t decide who to hire.

13. David is short, but his brother Tom is very .

14. The traffic accident was my . I drove too fast.

15. This soup is a little too bland. I think it needs more .

16. The mail carrier has to get up before every day.

17. He needs to cut a lot of boards. He needs to use a power .

18. I like to eat vegetables. That’s why I enjoy salads.

19. This dress fit me last year, but now it’s too .

20. Did you to the employer yesterday? Yes, I did. He said I got the job.

21. You’ll find the keys in the top of the desk.

22. Those two cats never . They just looked at each other and growled.

23. I’m sorry. I’m in the wrong classroom. I this was room 304.

24. What that loud noise? It sounded like a car crash.

25. I want to thank you asking all those good questions.


Jennifer ESL talks about the pronunciation of "back" vowels

The Sound of long "o". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

Those dogs want the same bone.

1. The farmer rice and vegetables on his farm.

2. You can’t buy my car because I already it.

3. It’s very in this room. Please, turn on the heater.

4. I’ll you the apartment. It’s on the top floor. Follow me.

5. Does it ever in San Francisco? No, but it rains a lot.

6. Do you what time it is? No, I don’t have a watch.

7. I use a washing machine to wash my .

8. This bank opens at ten o’clock. It at three o’clock.

9. How much gasoline will this can ? Only one gallon.

10. After Sonia irons the shirts, she always them neatly.

11. You’re opening a new store? I you will be successful.

12. I want to tie something on my car. I need some .

13. We have to wash our clothes. We need more laundry . We don’t have enough.

14. I found this book yesterday on the desk where you sat. Is it yours?

15. This kitchen is very modern. It has a new refrigerator and a new .

16. They can buy the house. The bank will give them a .

17. Why are those dogs fighting? They both want the same .

18. I’m not going to take the bus to New York. It’s too . I’ll go by plane.

19. Mark up at four o’clock this morning. He had to be at work early.

20. For breakfast, he had , orange juice, eggs, and coffee.

21. The is ringing. Will somebody please answer it?

22. Who are you going to for in the next election? Al Gore or George Bush?

23. After I finish my morning classes, I usually go and have lunch.

24. The comedian a very funny story. Everyone in the audience laughed.

25. My zip is 94110. I live in the Mission District.



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