Vowel number 11 is the last long vowel sound of the twelve monophthongs or pure vowels / 3:/. You can read about how to teach all the other long sounds on our blog
3: cannot be found in most Nigerian languages, hence it is quite difficult for non-native speakers to produce. In Nigeria, many English speakers simply replace the sound with what is most convenient for them. /e/ that is why you hear people say /fest/ instead of /f3:st/, / sket/ instead of /sk3:t/ or / ae / thus you would hear /konfam/ instead of /konf3:m/.
Vowel number 11 is one of the most difficult to teach sound for both learners and educators.
It is important to note that almost all the spelling variants for the / 3:/ sound have the letter r in them.
In order to produce this sound correctly, you should practice saying /ә/ and linger on it. Remember that / 3:/ is a long sound.
How to teach Vowel Number 11 /3:/ to Beginners
Write the words skirt and shirt on the board. Ask learners to pronounce both words
Write the sound / 3:/ on the board and letters ‘ir’ in front of it. Start with /ә/ and encourage them to linger on the sound.
Explain that letters ‘ir’ say /3:/ in skirt and shirt and very many other ‘ir’ words, but that other letters can also make the sound /3:/. Give other word examples (term, learn, burn, journey, turn)
Ask learners to supply more word examples. Use the dictionary to confirm whether the given words have the vowel or not.
Have learners say /3:/ in isolation and then practice writing it down in their notebooks. You may also have learners pronounce the words slowly at first then rapidly, have them write and read out simple sentences containing words with the /3:/ sound.
More /3:/ Word Examples
Vowel number 11 /3:/ has many spelling variants. These include, er, ear, ir, our, o, ur. Some word examples are shown below.
Fern /f3:n/ germ / dʒ3:m/
Learn /l3:n/ yearn /j3:n/
Dirt /d3:t/ firm /f3:m/
Courtesy /k3:təsi/ journey /dʒ3:ni/
Colonel /k3:nəl / Kernel /k3:nəl /
Burn /b3:n/ turn /t3:n/
Now Take the Quiz to see if you can identify the nine words with the /3:/ sound at first try.
Flip if you think the card has the /3:/ sound