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English pronunciation is a mystery to the majority of learners. Some students give up learning the English language saying that pronunciation is hard to master. I totally agree with that. It really takes a lot of effort to learn how to pronounce the sounds of English.
Brazilian learners of English have problems with lots of sounds. An example is the sounds in “beach” and “bitch”. Most Brazilians think these two words are pronounced the same. However, they are not. The sounds are different. The sound for “ea” in “beach” is longer then the sound for “i” in “bitch”. Listen,
Pay attention to the vowel sounds in each of them:
Have you noticed that the sound for “ea” in “beach” is really longer? We say: “beach”. Now the sound for “i” in “bitch” is shorter: “bitch”. Listen to them once again:
The sounds we have here, according to the International Phonetic Alphabet, are /i:/ for “beach” and /ɪ/ for “bitch”. So, as you can see and hear there really is a difference when pronouncing “beach” and “bitch”. The same is true to the following words:
- sheet – shit
- leak – lick
- beat – bit
- feet – fit
- seat – sit
- meet – mit
- neat – knit
- heat – hit
- meal – mill
- feel – fill
- lead – lid
- bead – bid
So, how about that now? Can you repeat all of them with the correct sound? Remember the words on the left are pronounced with the sound /i:/ and the words on the right are pronounced with the sound /ɪ/. I hope you learn the difference and don’t mispronounce “beach” or “bitch” anymore. They are totally different in meaning and in the way they are pronounced.
Now, if you allow me, let me give a short piece of advice: don’t give up learning English because of pronunciation. I know it’s hard but if you give up, you’re never going to master it. So, keep studying hard and count on Inglês na Ponta da Língua to help you.