Awkward mistakes… Yes, I know. It happens.
Like – going to the beach (and not B**TCH)
or when you say a few years, and it sounds like… a few ears.
Usually, not a big deal. Most words with similar pronunciation are very different in meaning. So when in context, it’s still very clear.
But for your confidence and fluency (you know how it can throw you off when you notice a mistake in the middle of a conversation) it’s good to practice the difference in similar words.
Watch this week’s video: How to say ear, year and here.
Hi, it’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way, your way to finding clarity, confidence, and freedom in English.
Maria asked me to explain the difference between the two words, ‘ear’ and ‘year’. So I decided to take on the challenge and throw in another word – the word ‘here’.
All right, so the basic word here is ‘ear’, as in ‘open your ears’. To pronounce this word we begin with the ‘ee’ sound. To make the sound, push your tongue forward – ‘ee’ ‘ee’ – pull the lips to the sides a bit, and it’s a long vowel – ‘ee’.
Then you relax the tongue down and bring the tip of the tongue up to make the R sound – ‘ee-r’, round your lips a little bit at the end. ‘ee-r’. Do not blend the two sounds together cause then it’s going to sound something like ‘ur’, ‘ur’, and then it’s not clear.
So make sure you’re pronouncing clear, clean ‘ee’ sound at the beginning – ‘ee-r’. Also, it’s a diphthong, so you hear it in the intonation. It’s kinda like you’re going down the steps in terms of pitch: ‘ee-r’, ‘ee-r’, ‘ee-r’, ‘ee-r’.
Now, to make, to say the word ‘year’, we say, basically, ‘ee-r’ and then a ‘y’ sound at the beginning. ‘y’ as in “yes” or “yay”. Yay! ‘y’. So bring the back of the tongue up, and it’s so close to the upper pallet that you feel strong vibrations on the body of the tongue – ‘y’, ‘y’, ‘yee-r’, ‘yee-r’.
And then you move it to the ‘ee’ sound. Basically, it’s not a big change from the ‘y’ to the ‘ee’, it’s pretty close. But you need to make that distinction so it doesn’t sound like ‘ear’ – ‘yee-r’. Cause then when you say, “I’ve been working there for the past three ears”, it’s just sounds weird. Okay, we’re done here. Thank you.
Now let’s talk about the word ‘here’. Here, as well, the basic word is ‘ear’, but we add a ‘h’ sound, like an H sound – ‘hee-r’. Now since the body of the tongue is already high, getting ready for the high E, then it sounds like ‘h’ ‘h’. Do you hear it? ‘h’, ‘here’. It’s like the ‘H’ sound in German. It’s not a regular “here”, it’s ‘hee-r’. It’s like tight tense sound – ‘hee-r’.
All right, so we have ‘ear’, ‘year’, and ‘here’. That’s it. Thank you for watching. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please share it with your friends. And do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and to my website.
Come to my website and subscribe to get more great content every single week. Thank you for watching. I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.
I hope this was helpful.
See you all soon,