Ship or Sheep?
Listen to the following words – what is the difference in their vowel sounds?
ship sheepThere are 2 key differences – i) the position of the mouth and ii) the length of the vowel.
The mouth is more relaxed in the < ship > vowel, which is normally shorter than the < sheep > vowel. Learners should focus on the mouth position of the vowel before thinking about length.
/ʃɪp/ vs. /ʃi:p/ – how do I know which to pronounce?
- The mouth position of the /ɪ/ in SHIP is between /i:/ and /ə/ – it’s quite relaxed.
- The /i:/ in SHEEP is produced with spread lips, the tongue is far forward and the jaw is quite closed.
- A single < i > in the spelling normally indicates that /ɪ/ should be pronounced.
- Two vowels such as < ee > or < ea > normally indicate the /i:/ vowel.
- The length of each vowel can change depending on the surrounding sounds and stress.
Repeat the words, the first in each pair is pronounced with /ɪ/, the second with /i:/:
wit/wheat pit/peat flit/fleet kits/Keats bin/been sin/seen
Decide whether each word is pronounced with /ɪ/ or /i:/:
L. beadA. /ɪ/ B. /i:/ C. /ɪ/ D. /ɪ/ E. /i:/ F. /ɪ/ G. /i:/ H. /i:/ I. /ɪ/ J. /i:/ K. /ɪ/ L. /i:/