What are Long and Short Vowel Sounds? Learning Concepts
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Sounds

Concept: Long and Short Vowels

What Are Vowels?

  • A vowel is a letter of the alphabet that illustrates an open sound. A letter that produces sound by allowing the breath to come out of the mouth without any interference.
  • Vowels are five vowels in the English Alphabet. They are a, e, i, o, and u.

A vowel has more than one sound. Vowels can be divided into two parts based on their sounds – a) Long vowel sound and b) Short vowel sound.

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a)Long Vowel

When a vowel is said, sometimes the sound it makes is that of a long vowel sound.

There are two ways when long vowel sounds are used.

i. A long vowel sound is made when two vowels sit next to each other in a word.

Examples:

1. When ‘e’ and ‘a’ sit together, it makes a long /e/ sound.

huge plate plate
head bread beach

2. When ‘i’ and ‘e’ appear next to each other it makes a long /i/ sound.

huge plate plate
pie tie lie

3. If we put together ‘a’ and ‘i’, the word makes a long /a/ sound.

huge plate plate
jail mail rail

3. If two ‘o’s sit together, it makes a long /u/ sound.

huge plate plate
moon zoo pool

5. When two ‘e’s sit together in a word, it makes a long /e/ sound..

huge plate plate
green knee cheese

6. When ‘o’ and ‘a’ sit together, a word makes a long /o/ sound .

huge plate plate
boat goat toad

Short Vowels

Some vowels make a short sound as these sounds are not stretched.

The short vowels always come at the beginning or middle of the word. It never is at the end of a word.

Examples:

huge plate plate
tap web pin
huge plate
top mug

The vowels in the words say their sounds - /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/. Therefore, these words are making short vowel sounds.

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  6. Common mistake

    i. Some vowels may still make long vowel sounds when used by itself. One such letter is ‘u’ also produces long vowel sounds.

    Examples:

    huge plate plate
    huge plate bike

    The vowel ‘u’ in ‘huge’ makes a long /u/ sound.

    The vowel ‘a’ in ‘plate’ makes a long /a/ sound.

    The vowel ‘i’ in ‘bike’ makes a long /i/ sound.

    2. Don’t get confused between the short ‘i’ vowel sound and the long ‘e’ vowel sound.

    Example:

    Short 'i' Long 'e'
    igloo eel
    fin key
    pin tea
    iguana eagle
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