AA vs. EH Sounds

Today I want to compare the ‘aa’ as ‘bat’ and ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ vowels. There are a few differences in the mouth and tongue position. First, the corners of the mouth: aa: they are raised a little higher than on eh. Aa, eh. and this is due to the pulling up of the mouth here. The second change is in the jaw position. The jaw is more dropped on the aa, aa, and it’s sort of more of a back and down: aa. On the eh, it is dropped but in a more relaxed manner, just straight down. Eh, aa. The third change is with the tongue. I find this the hardest to describe because I can’t actually see what is happening beyond what I can see through my open mouth. Aa, eh. And as you can see through the open mouth, there is a bit more relaxation in the eh The aa: you see more of the tongue as a wall. And the way that I would describe the difference, is in the aa, aa, it — from the root of the tongue it seems to lift out of the throat more before it comes down and forward. Aa, aa, eh, eh. And the eh is more relaxed than that. It’s not doing this raising up out of the throat.

Here, you can see a comparison of the aa and eh sounds. As you will notice, on the aa on the left, the jaw is a bit more dropped. Also, it is difficult to see, but the mouth is pulling in this direction. This comparison comes from speaking an entire sentence, in other words, I was not just saying the sound itself. I choose this because it illustrates better the lifting of the top lip. As you can see, there is more of the top teeth showing because of this raise. Here, you see the sounds in profile If you look at the corner of the mouth, you can see that in the aa, there is more of a gap back where the lips meet than in the eh, where the jaw has a more relaxed dropping. As you can also see, this results in the jaw dropping more. There is a larger gap between the top teeth and the bottom lip in the aa as in bat. Here, the white arrows illustrate the movement of the corners of the mouth.

Eh, aa. Bed. Bat. I’m going to bed. He was at bat. Some sample word pairs: bad/bed. Lad/lead. Dad/dead. Japanese/jeopardy.

Xem thêm:

Battle vs. Bottle

Listen + Repeat Exercises: ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’

Listening Comprehension: ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’

The Letter A

How to Pronounce the Letter I

EH vs. AA Vowels

Lesson: the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ Sound

[æ] ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’

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