Pronouncing the “PUL” in “APPLE”

Pronouncing the PUL in APPLEWe have a common sound pattern in English – it’s the UL sound.

You can find pul in apple, shul in special and nul in final.  Even though we spell UL so many different ways – think oval, saddle, pencil… and we reduce the vowel sound to a schwa (that’s the most common sound in English) it will always sound like “ul”.

Learning the UL in English will help is so many words!

Try this free printable for practice – UL Words and Sentences.

Where’s the T in Pizza?

Question:  It’s spelled pizza.  Why do I hear it pronounced “peet suh“?

How to pronounce pizzaThis word comes to English from the Italian language.

Remember English has many words borrowed from other languages!

In Italian, pizza is pronounced with “ts”, and similar words are mezzo (pronounced met so) and piazza (pronounced pee at suh).

Korean speakers – be careful you use the Z sound in “pizza”, not ZH Like in “measure”.  If you use ZH your “pizza” will sound like “peacha” or “peetzha”.  🙁

More important than the pronunciation is the taste! Delicious! Try a pizza today!

Casual vs. Formal English

Casual vs. Formal EnglishWhat is “formal” and “casual” English?

Formal English is the careful and slower pronunciation of words and sentences.

Casual English is a less careful and faster pronunciation of words and sentences.

To use more casual speech you must learn English reductions.  Reductions are the reduced form of common words and phrases.  It is the informal or casual way we talk.  A very common reduction is when we mean, “I should have gone out,” and we say, ” I shoulda gone out.” Let’s remember:

Reductions are NOT how the words are spelled, but how they sound in connected speech.

DO NOT write reductions.  Instead use proper (formal) spelling and grammar when writing.

We often use proper (formal) English at work, when talking to our boss, or someone in authority over us, and often for formal occasions, in school or when giving a speech.  However, reduced (casual) English would be used with co-workers after work if you went out to a bar or restaurant, and out in the community, and when talking with family, familiar friends and children.

Casual English is NOT LAZY!  All American speakers use reductions!   It is very important for ESL and English pronunciation students to know reduced forms and understand them in the community.  Using reduced forms makes your American English sound more native.  It will be a sign of your wisdom and knowledge if you can use casual speech at the right times and places.

Learn some common reduced forms with this worksheet.

St. Patrick’s Day Songs for ESL

Irish Songs for ESLWe’re singing songs in ESL and this month it’s Irish songs in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

When Irish eyes are smiling,

Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring.

In the lilt of Irish laughter

You can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy,

All the world seems bright and gay.

And when Irish eyes are smiling,

Sure, they steal your heart away.

Oh Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From glen to glen, and down the mountain side

The summers gone, and all the flowers are dying

Tis you, tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow

or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow

Tis I’ll be here in sunshine and in shadow

Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love so.

Singing in ESL is always a good idea to aide learning, word and phrase memory and English pronunciation.  Using a printed song sheet allows your students to se, as well as hear and sing the words (multi- modality learning!) See the free printable lyrics sheet here.

How Linking Improves your Pronunciation

Linking English PronunciationPronouncing English words separately, in a sentence or in conversation, makes you sound like a robot!  And not like a native speaker of English.  You must link your words in a thought group.  Follow these linking rules:

1. Consonants to consonants = eight doctors sounds like [eidoctors]

2. Consonants to vowels = reach in sounds like [reachin]

3. Vowels to vowels = I am and so empty sound like [Iyam] and [sowempty]


We used this phrase in class “but in his old age”  See how we link it below.

…but in his old age…

…bu tin hi sol dage…

[bu  din  hi  zol dage]

This is what happens:

ending T (but) followed by a vowel sounds like D (not linking – this is reduction)

last sound of but links to first sound of in

last sound of his links to first sound of old

last sound of old links to first sound of age

…budin hizoldage…

Hope this helps, and keep up the good work learning English.

Free printable for linking rules here.