Reading vowels in English

Learning English is simple and interesting. The main thing is to start right. Before plunging into the world of English-language movies, music and travelling to different countries, you need to immerse yourself in the world of letters and sounds of a new language. Proper reading and pronunciation of words will save you from likely funny situations, because there are many words in English that have only small differences in pronunciation, but a huge difference in meaning!

So, let's start with the phonetics of English language.


English words have several types of syllables. However, in order to understand the whole system, it is necessary to remember and distinguish between the following two: open and closed. Depending on the composition of the syllable, you can differentiate 4 types of reading.


I type of reading - The open syllable ends in a vowel: game, like, stone - the vowel letter in the word is read in the same way as in the alphabet.


II type of reading - The closed syllable ends in a consonant: pen, cat, bus - a vowel in the syllable gives a different sound.

Look at this table, which clearly shows the difference in reading vowel sounds in each type of syllable:               

  Open syllable Closed syllable





[æ] (э) cat





[о] (о) dog





[u], [Λ] (у,а) cup





[e] (э) pet





[i] (и) pig





[i] (и) system

e at the end of words is NOT read: take, make, cake

For example:



name, make,fade, have

back, cap, map,




rose, home  

pot, spot, top



[u], [Λ]

fuse, tune  

[u] - bush, put; [Λ] - sun, luck




she, see, key  

pen, men, bed  

i, y



type, try, smile, fine 

pin, fin, lynx, still  

The task:

 Read the following words (using the rule):

Note, lone, mice, rice, type, tune, shy, lay, say, he

Cap, pen, bed, ten, not, spot, lot, bad, rat, sit, send, test

III type of reading - a vowel + a letter "r", which affects the sound of a vowel in the root of the word, giving it some lengthening.

So, the words car, sort, term, fir, bird, fur sound like «ка: со:т, те:м, фё: бе:д, фё:» in Russian.

The task:

 Read the following words (using the rule):

stern, far, curt, hard, hart, car, card, cart, fork, cork, work, sort, term, first, furs, curl, her, curb, turn, girl, sir, burn, turn, word, born, torn, bird, form, serf, herb.


IV type of reading - vowel + "r" + vowel. The letter "r" in this case is also not pronounced; all three vowels in the aggregate sound as follows: care, store, mere, tire, cure - «кэа, сто:, миэ, таиэ, кьюэ».

The task:

 Read the following words (using the rule):

Fare, here, pure, rare, cure, during, mare, fire, bare, mire, stare, tire, sere, mere, store, core, more, care.

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