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For each sound, I’ve included audio examples and practice phrases. Unless otherwise indicated, practice phrases are excerpted from Lexical Sets for Actors by Eric Armstrong under a creative commons license.


Words like BATH/TRAP         [ a ] or [ ɛ̝ ]

Words like BATH and TRAP will target towards an unrounded, back open vowel or a raised, unrounded, front open-mid vowel. 

00:00 / 00:24

PRACTICE: bath, trap, clasp, cat, have, capital

Words like FOOT           [ ʊ ]

Words like FOOT will target towards a fairly close, fairly back open vowel. The slight lip corner protrusion in the oral posture will help you find this sound.

00:00 / 00:13

PRACTICE: good, woman, look, cook, would, cushion

  1. The cat is good.

  2. The butcher put his hat in the path.

  3. The cook looks and laughs. 

Words like THOUGHT          [ ɒ̠ ] 

Words like THOUGHT will target towards a rounded, back open vowel with tongue root retraction. 

00:00 / 00:18

PRACTICE: Paul, thought, call, daughter, fought, small

  1. He caught the ball and trapped his foot.

  2. The man was lost in the woods.

  3. The woman danced with her good daughter. 

Words like STRUT        [ a ]

Words like STRUT will target towards an unrounded, back open vowel.

00:00 / 00:30

PRACTICE: strut, cup, mother, budge, love, study

  1. Mother took a bath in the small hall.

  2. Another love could gasp

  3. The young monk put his foot in the raft. 

Words like MOUTH        [ ɑu ]

Words like MOUTH will target the first vowel in this diphthong a little farther back in the vocal tract, and will glide into a rounded, back close vowel.

00:00 / 00:11

PRACTICE: mouth, sound, out, cow, town, house

  1. The nun took a small bath in the house.

  2. The loud cows should all study dance.

  3. Mother is out dancing with the tall butcher.

Words like GOAT       [ ɒ̜ ]

In words like GOAT, this diphthong will instead target towards a less rounded back, very open vowel.

00:00 / 00:25

PRACTICE: goat, roam, joke, clothes, home, clothe

  1. Don't put the mouse in the one small bath.

  2. The goat loves to dance out in the wood and water.

  3. The daughter on the boat clapped and shook the hand of the loud monk.

Words like FACE         [ ɛ̈ ]

Words like FACE target towards a single vowel, a centralized, front, open-mid vowel.

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PRACTICE: face, place, lady, station, mane, vague

  1. I used a safety-pin to tighten the waist of my bathing suit.

  2. What’s the name of the angel in that painting?

  3. David Rose explained that he didn’t have much to his name.


Rhoticity and Consonant /R/ 

If /r/ occurs in the first syllable of a word, the /r/ sound can sometimes be trilled or tapped. Or it can simply be produced  as an alveolar approximate [ ɹ ] with some tongue retraction/bracing. 


When /r/ occurs after a vowel, it can be dropped or produced as an alveolar approximate with some element of tongue retraction/bracing.

Russia tapped R
Russia postvocalic R

Velarized L       [ ɫ ]

The middle to back body of the tongue will arch towards the soft palate as it targets this sound. 

00:00 / 00:09

 Voiced /th/ Sounds

A voiced dental fricative [ ð ] will become dentalized, meaning the tip or blade of the tongue will make contact with the back of the front teeth for that consonant. 

Devoicing final consonants

Final consonants often become devoiced. 

PRACTICE: knob, plaid, shrug, give, choose, beige, judge

/h/ at the beginning of a word

If an /h/ occurs in the first syllable of a word, it will sometimes target to an unvoiced velar fricative [ x ].

00:00 / 00:08

-ING Endings

Words that end with the -ing suffix can be pronounced with a final [ k ] or [ g ] sound

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