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  1. #1
    englishlearner1111 is offline Newbie
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    Unhappy Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    I can pronounce [ɜː] sound without any problem in a normal sentence such as "I come 10 minutes early."

    However, I have a problem when it is a question. For example:
    "Can you come 10 minutes early?

    It is difficult to pronounce [ɜː] sound when I try to raise the intonation.
    When I try to say it the sound gets nasalized too and I really cannot articulate the sound.

    Does anyone face the same issue?

  2. #2
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    Record yourself saying that sentence and post the recording below.
    You can use www.vocaroo.com

  3. #3
    englishlearner1111 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    Hi thank you for your reply. I feel too embarrassed to post my recorded voice.

    I realized that I was not rounding my lips (pushing the lips a little further forward) when I sound this.
    I thought this sound was "lax" and not "tense" but I sound it better when I tense a little bit.
    Is my understanding correct?

    I sound better and can raise intonation much easier when I tense my lips a little bit.

  4. #4
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    Why are you embarrassed? We don't bite!
    It would be much easier for us to help you if you posted a recording. I can't comment on what you do with your lips, I'm afraid.

  5. #5
    englishlearner1111 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    @teechar Hey thank you.
    (1)I guess it embarrasses me because I do not really like my own voice anyway, and I guess this feeling comes from the fact that my voice is revealing quite a lot about myself. My background, my education, my knowledge in English and so on...I did not realize how revealing my voice can be...
    Anyway, there you go.
    https://voca.ro/n5xLH1I84sN

    (2)In general, I learned that your lips flare when you make this sound.
    So you need a bit of muscular tension when you make this sound.
    But because you are rising the tone, you need to work on your muscles a little differently.

  6. #6
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    You pronounced "early" fine. Both the vowel and the intonation are good. I don't think you've used the British [ɜː] sound, as I hear the /r/ that most of us Americans pronounce in it. That's fine.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
    englishlearner1111 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    @GoesStation Good. Thank you.

    I have a question though.
    In American English when you slowly say "Or.." /ɔ:r/, maybe the sound /r/ gets higher intonation but not the /ɔ:/?
    In the similar vein maybe when you say /ɜːr/ in American English only /r/ has the rising tone?

    To word my question differently:
    Can /r/ be considered as a semi-vowel and can have a higher intonation?

  8. #8
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    Quote Originally Posted by englishlearner1111 View Post
    In American English when you slowly say "Or.." /ɔ:r/, maybe the sound /r/ gets higher intonation but not the /ɔ:/?
    In the similar vein maybe when you say /ɜːr/ in American English only /r/ has the rising tone?

    To word my question differently:
    Can /r/ be considered as a semi-vowel and can have a higher intonation?
    I'm not qualified to answer the last question, but I'm sure I've seen /r/ described as a semi-vowel in some circumstances.

    I can say "or" with rising, falling, or flat intonation throughout its duration. When I say /ɜːr/, which I think is an IPA representation of my pronunciation of the hedge word "er", I can only produce a flat intonation throughout.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. #9
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Rising intonation: Difficulty asking questions with [ɜː] sound

    Quote Originally Posted by englishlearner1111 View Post
    (1)I guess it embarrasses me because I do not really like my own voice anyway,
    You're not alone. Most people feel that way about their own voices.

    Quote Originally Posted by englishlearner1111 View Post
    and I guess this feeling comes from the fact that my voice is revealing quite a lot about myself. My background, my education, my knowledge in English and so on...I did not realize how revealing my voice can be...
    Not at all. Voice reveals nothing of the sort about a person.

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