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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɔr / as in "sport" – American English Pronunciation

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Hello there!

This is the "Sounds American" channel.

In this video, we're going to talk about the American R-colored vowelr/,

as in the word "sport."

You can also hear this sound in words like

"four"-"orange" - "port" or "sword."

We'll be using special phonetic symbols — /ɔr/ — for this sound.

Let's recap what we've learned in the R-Colored Vowels Overview video:

Ther/ is one of the seven American R-colored vowel sounds.

Ther/ is an R-colored diphthong

and it's made by merging the /ɔ/ and the /r/ sounds.

As with all R-colored vowel sounds,

ther/ is often distorted by non-native English speakers.

The spelling forr/ could be confusing

as this sound is represented by several different combinations of letters.

Now, let's find out how to pronounce this R-colored vowel.

To make ther/ sound correctly,

focus on pronouncing two sounds

and making a smooth connection between them.

This is how you do that.

Start with making the /ɔ/ sound.

Open your mouth as wide as possible,

and round your lips.

Now, let's place your tongue in the correct position for the /ɔ/ vowel.

Flatten your tongue and pull it back.

Place your tongue very low in your mouth.

The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth.

By the way,

there are some variations

in how the vowel in thersound could be pronounced.

It's okay to place your tongue a little higher in your mouth

and not pull it back as far,

making a sound that falls somewhere in between the /oʊ/ and the /ɔ/ vowels.

For the rest of this video,

we'll stick with the /ɔ/ for the sake of simplicity.


connect the /ɔ/ to the /r/ sound with a long gliding movement.

Curl back the tip of your tongue.

Now, slightly lower the center of your tongue

and raise its back.

Your tongue should be tensed.

Now, let's color the /ɔ/ with the /r/ and blend the two sounds together:

Let's talk about the most typical mistakes that people make

when pronouncing ther/ sound.

Number one.

Many non-native English speakers reduce the /r/ sound in ther/ vowel.

This would be fine in British English,

but an American accent requires the /r/ to be pronounced.

So, if you reduce the /r/,

your Americanr/ sound will be distorted

and it may lead to misunderstandings.


Number two.

Some non-native speakers trill the /r/ inr/.

That's not how Americans pronounce this sound!

Remember, Americans never trill their R-colored vowel sounds.


How do you avoid trilling?

The tip of your tongue should never touch the alveolar ridge

when you pronounce the R-colored vowel sounds.

Remember, if you want to sound like an American,

don't reduce the /r/ when pronouncing the R-colored vowels

and avoid trilling them.

Now, let's practice ther/ sound in some words.

This is how we'll do it.

You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation.

Like this:

You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word.

Do your best and practice as many words as possible!

This is the only way to learn to speak with an American accent.

Let's begin!

You're done!


By the way,

did you know that ther/ sound

is represented by several combinations of letters?

Take a look:

Most often,

ther/ sound is represented by 'or'

as in "sport" or "north."

Less often by 'ar'

as in "warm" or "quarter,"


'oar' as in "board" or "roar."

There are quite a few words with 'our'

as in "four' or "source,"

and 'oor'

as in "door" or "floor."

And there are a couple of other variants,

like in the words "horrible" and "warranty."

While several of these combinations of letters

represent ther/ sound in some words,

they may also represent other R-colored vowels in other words.

Yes, it's confusing,

but you're used to it already, aren't you? :)

Click Like if you liked this video.

By the way,

did we say that we like your comments?

Like this one:

One of our subscribers with the nickname "linking932" said:

".. I thought /ɝ/ andr/ were the same things,

always learning new things with your videos."

We're always happy to help!

Yes, these are different sounds.


Share this video with your friends, pets and relatives.

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and stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!

The Description of R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɔr / as in "sport" – American English Pronunciation