Free lesson from Maria’s course: How to produce the /u:/ sound
How do you produce the /u:/ sound?
In this section I’m going to show you step by step what your lips and tongue must do to produce the /u:/. First, let’s see the /u:/ in action. Press Play to watch this short video:
Now let’s see what your lips should look like when you’re saying the /u:/:
And this is the position of the tongue. If you need help understanding this image, go here.
Let’s listen again to the /u:/ and its sample word:
Do you want to have a go? Place the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth; then shape your lips like in the picture below, and say /u:/ a couple of times.
Listen again to the /u:/ said by a native speaker. Play it several times to get used to the /u:/, and then say it out loud along with the recording. Make sure your /u:/ is a long sound.
To make sure you’re saying the /u:/ right, use a mirror to compare your lip shape with this image:
Let’s have another go at the /u:/. Make sure your lips are rounded and almost closed, like in the picture above, and your tongue is high at the back. Now, say the /u:/.
There should be a gap between the tip of your tongue and your bottom front teeth. Let’s see again how it should look:
Notice that the middle part of your tongue should be more than halfway up, while the tip is behind your bottom front teeth and the back is high.
You can check those positions by doing this exercise in front of a mirror:
- While saying /u:/ move the tip of your tongue forward to check that it’s behind your bottom front teeth.
- Then, while saying /u:/ again, raise the middle part of your tongue to check the distance from the palate.
- If it’s too low, close your mouth a little and it’ll rise.
You can do this exercise with me in my Live English Classes.
Let’s say some words with an /u:/ sound
Let’s now say three words with an /u:/. First, play each word a few times and listen to it carefully. Remember that /u:/ is a long sound.
Now it’s your turn to speak. Press Play and say these three words out loud after the recordings:
When practising words, make sure you say them out loud, as if you were talking to me. To train your lips and tongue to produce the English sounds, it’s essential that you say words out loud, not just quietly in your head.
Have another go:
Let’s play those flashcards again
To master the /u:/, come back to this page every now and then to remind yourself of the lip shape and tongue position.
To master it even faster, go through this page one more time now. Click here to flip all the flashcards and play them again.
Would you like to practise the /u:/ with me?
You can get more tips on how to produce the /u:/ always right in my Live English Classes.
There, you also get to do more pronunciation exercises with me.
In the next section I show you the spellings for the /u:/.