Learn how to lớn hear the difference between MAN & MEN, and pronounce the two words correctly. MEN has a pure EH <ɛ> vowel, but MAN can be especially tricky!
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to lớn go over the difference between the words ‘man’ và ‘men’.
These two words are similar, but not the same. Thanks khổng lồ those out there in the Rachel’s English community who have suggested this comparison.
These words have a different vowel sound. ‘Man’ has the AA, and ‘men’ has the EH. But it’s actully not quite as simple as just comparing these vowel sounds. When the AA vowel is followed by a nasal consonant, lượt thích N, the sound changes a little bit. We’ll get to see that when we watch these words up close and in slow motion.
For ‘men’, the lips start closed & we engage the vocal cords for the M. Mmmm. Then we mở cửa into the EH vowel, me-. The jaw drops a good bit for this vowel. The tongue tip is forward và down, lightly touching the back of the bottom front teeth. The middle/front part of the tongue lifts towards the roof of the mouth, but it doesn’t get too close. Make the middle of the tongue wider as it lifts. Eh, men. Then the front of the tongue simply goes up khổng lồ the roof of the mouth for the N, men. It stays wide and flat, the back is relaxed. Men, men.
‘Man’ starts the same way, with the lips closed, mm. Now we have the AA vowel, which changes into the UH vowel before we get khổng lồ the N. So for the AA vowel, the jaw drops and the tongue tip stays forward, lightly touching the back of the bottom front teeth. The back part of the tongue stretches up, aa, maa-, maa-, maa-. Lift the đứng top of the lip just a little bit. If we were making this a pure vowel, it would sound lượt thích this: AA, man. But that’s not how we say it. Even though that’s what it says in the dictionary, Americans relax it before making an N. So it sounds và looks lượt thích this: ma-uh-n. Did you see how every thing relaxed? My lips relaxed, & my tongue relaxed down, ma-uh-n. We bởi this with the AA vowel when it’s followed by N. Then, khổng lồ make the N, the front part of the tongue simply goes up lớn the roof of the mouth, ma-uh-n. It stays wide & flat, the back is relaxed.
So the difference between these two words is: ‘men’ has a pure EH vowel. Và ‘man’ has a modified AA vowel, where we start with the AA but relax into the UH sound.
Let’s compare these two words up close & in slow motion.
Here, the tongue position is almost the same. For the AA vowel, the back of the tongue is a little higher. Now we’re just going lớn play the EH vowel. Notice how the tongue flips up lớn the roof of the mouth for the N. Now we’ll play the ‘man’. See how the tongue relaxes down in the back before the N.
Now we’ll watch the two together. The word ‘man’ takes a little longer because the vowel changes.
Here, the tongue position is almost the same. For the AA vowel, the back of the tongue is a little higher. Now we’re just going khổng lồ play the EH vowel. Notice how the tongue flips up to lớn the roof of the mouth for the N. Now we’ll play the ‘man’. See how the tongue relaxes down in the back before the N.
Now from the front. Again, the tongue position looks almost the same here. But the tongue does look a little higher in the back for ‘aa’. Now watch how ‘man’ take a little longer as the tongue relaxes in the back.
Men. Man. <2x>
I hope this video clip has made the difference in these two words clear. If there’s a word comparison you’d like to see, put it in the comments below.
Also, I’m very excited lớn tell you that my book is now on sale. If you liked this video, there’s a lot more khổng lồ learn about American English pronunciation, & my book will help you step by step. You can get it by clicking here, or in the mô tả tìm kiếm below.
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That’s it, và thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.