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Individual sessions will focus on ear training; you will learn to hear the difference between your pronunciation and that of Standard American English (neutral, mainstream, unaccented).

You will be instructed in the placement of your articulators - your lips, your teeth and your tongue - to facilitate easy production of your new sounds.

Through the use of carefully crafted drill sheets, you will practice the new sounds in words and sentences. You will be provided with immediate feedback and correction, so that you can gain confidence and consistency in producing your new sound.

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Accent Reduction | Pronouncing the /y/ Sound

Many English learners are confused when it comes to pronouncing the letter /y/. Their confusion is not surprising as /y/ can be both a consonant and a vowel in the phonetic alphabet, which makes up the sounds of English. In fact, when /y/ is a vowel, it has more than one pronunciation. The good news is that there are specific rules to help you determine which pronunciation you should use when you see a word containing the /y/ sound.

Pronouncing /y/ as a Consonant

First, it is helpful to understand that /y/ is a voiced sound (your vocal cords are vibrating) when it is both a consonant and a vowel. The /y/ is a consonant when it occurs at the beginning of a word. Examples of this placement are as follows: yes, you, young, yogurt, yellow. In addition, /y/ is a consonant when it is the first letter of a syllable, usually occurring before a vowel. The following words demonstrate this placement: kayak, beyond, canyon, crayon, and mayonnaise. The most common occurrence of the /y/ sound is when it is in the beginning of words.

Pronouncing /y/ as a Vowel

As mentioned earlier, /y/ can also be considered a vowel in certain placements. The /y/ sound can be a long /ai/, a short /ih/, a long /eee/ or a long /ay/ sound. In a one-syllable word, /y/ is pronounced as an /ai/ (I) sound, such as in the words: my, fly, try, cry, shy. If you have a /y/ in the first syllable of a word it is pronounced as a short /ih/ sound. An example of this pronunciation occurs in the words cyst, Lynn, gym, and gymnasium. When /y/ is at the end of a two-syllable word, it is pronounced as a long /eee/ as seen in the words funny, very, baby, and happy. Finally, /y/ is usually pronounced as a long /ay/ when it is in a single syllable words that has an /ay/ in it such as play, way, day, say, and maybe. Of course, English is a very inconsistent language and there are always exceptions to these rules.

Practice the /y/ in sentences

Try the following sentences and notice how you are pronouncing the /y/ sound:


  • The little puppy liked the color yellow.
  • Yesterday, Lynn met me at the gym.
  • The baby started crying when we left the gym.
  • We were very happy that we were able to try the kayak today.
  • Did you say that you wanted to taste the yogurt or the mayonnaise?



When you are reading, look for the letter /y/ and see if you can figure out how it is pronounced based on the rules that you have just learned. Hopefully, this sound, which is either a vowel or a consonant, will now be easier for you to identify and to pronounce.


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