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In American English there are a few diphthongs which are ‘changing vowels’. Some speakers don’t pronounce the transition (because they never have to do it in their language) and then, you guessed it, different words would sound the same. Like sell-sale, get-gate, men-main…

Watch today’s video and learn how to make the /ei/ sound
and to distinguish between SELL and SALE:


Hello guys, it’s Hadar.
And today we’re going to talk about the vowel pair Sell vs. Sale, as my friend subscriber, Jewy Kah asked to explain.

Alright, so the “eh” vs. the “ei”. Sell- Sale. Get – Gate. Now, for some speakers, this is not a big deal, you’re probably listening and saying: “what’s the problem?” Get vs. Gate.

But for some speakers, and I get you guys, there is no distinction between those two vowels, cause the “ei” does not exist in your language.

So, what you tend to do is to shift that “ei” sound into a clean neutral “eh” sound. And then, words like “Get” and “Gate” sound the same. “Sell” and “Sale”. They both sound like “Sell”.

So, let’s look at the difference between the two. The first one is a clean “eh” as in “Red”. Get. You drop your jaw, and it’s a continuous sound, you are not changing anything from one consonant to another. Let. Men.

But then, for the “ei” as in ‘day’, you have a shift from one sound to another, it’s a diphthong, and it means you change the position of the tongue and the mouth as you pronounce the sound, listen. ‘eeeeeiiii’

So it shifts from an “eh” to “ei”. Day. Alright, is not ‘deh’, ‘deh’. Not one clean sound, but “Day”.

And therefore, it is not ‘sehl’, ‘sehl’, but “Sale”. So you wanna close your jaw and push your tongue forward, as you pronounce the vowel.
But, you know, I like those little hacks that can help you pronounce the sound without thinking too much of your tongue.

So what I want you to think about is just to add a “y” sound at the end. As a “y” as in ‘yes’. Alright? Think about it. It’s not ‘deht’, it’s ‘de(y)-‘ – alright, that’s the “y” sound – and then a “t”. ‘de(y)t’. “Date”.

So it’s not ‘sehl’. But if you’re adding a “y” sound – “Sail”. And yes, you can think about closing your jaw and pushing your tongue forward as well. Pale. Gate. Late. Main versus Men.

Now, if it feels exaggerated and artificial to you then, first of all great, cause you’re probably doing something that is a little different than what you’re used to. So that’s good.

But also remember that it doesn’t matter if it’s forced. At the beginning it’s going to be forced, until you make it your own. So you have to practice it a few more times until you get comfortable with it, and you don’t feel like it’s artificial anymore.

But also, even if you are pushing a bit, as long as you make a clear distinction between the two words, I think that’s better. I think you’re not gonna be mistaken, you’re not gonna be saying one thing and it’s gonna sound like another word.

So you’re gonna feel clear and it’s gonna be more accurate, and you’ll tone it down anyway with time and of course with practice. So, don’t worry about it. So let me know in the comments below, how was it – trying to practice it and trying to apply it in real speech. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

So that’s it, I hope this was helpful, Jewy Kah. And please share this video with your friends, and do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
123. How to pronounce Sell vs. Sale

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