How many Vowels does English have?

Did you know English has 17 to 20 vowel sounds depending on how they are counted? Certain consonants can change the pronunciation of vowel. "L", "R",  "NK", and "NG" affect preceding vowel sounds. "W" can change the vowel after it (wash, work, war)

In addition to the sound of vowels, English has various spellings for vowels. Vowel teams can be used to form long vowels (pain, bee, cow). Archaic vowel team spellings used before the Great Vowel Shift remain in many everyday words (they, piece, four). Digraph vowels use two letters to indicate a unique vowel sound (auto, joy, brown). 

Additionally, syllable patterns indicate which vowel sounds are pronounced. These include closed syllables for short vowels, (did, frog, batch), open syllables (become, table, title), Silent E (make, smile, vote), -Cle syllable (apple, little, middle), and vowel plus two consonants (find, old, truth). Spelling combinations and syllable patterns should be taught to English learners.

Although all languages have vowels, not al languages write vowels. Glyph languages like Chinese do not write vowels or consonants.

Most English speakers know there are short and long vowel sounds. Some remember learning about Digraph Vowels with 2 letters. However, native speakers often are unaware of R-Controlled Vowels.

English Language Learners

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