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'Ship or Sheep?' has no 'sewer' sound practised

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:43 am
by asajones
Dear all,

I have a question about Ann Baker's Ship or Sheep book (ISBN 052128354X). Why does the book not cover one sound found in the diphthongs section of the phonemic chart? It is the sound in the word 'sewer' and is between the sound 'ear' and 'air' on the chart. I have looked through the book and can't see it practised anywhere.

Please could someone advise me on where I can find practice activities for this sound and why it was left out of the book.

I am very keen to know the answer.

Warm Regards,

Asa Jones (TEFL teacher in Taiwan).

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:23 pm
by Lorikeet
Hmm I don't have the book, but it seems the word "sewer" could be one of two:

(Warning: American English)

To me, a "sewer" (where the waste water flows) is two syllables. The first one is /su/ and the second one is /er/ but the /u/ sound (like in the word "two") has a /w/ sound at the end, so it occurs in the middle of the word.

Or, a "sewer" (a person who sews clothing) would also be two syllables, with /so/ being the first syllable.

Anyone see "sewer" as a one syllable word?

WARNING (hee hee)

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 5:01 am
by revel

(Sorry Lori, couldn't resist...)

I am with Lorikeet on the pronunciation of Sewer, but I am also American. Perhaps the sound that asa is looking for is that "quaint" dipthong that the English use when saying words like "new". They insist on sticking a (for lack of international phonetic alphabet symbols on Dave's) long e sound before the long u sound, so that the word sounds like "Kneeyou". When I insist that it is just "noo" ("oo" as in "shoot"), I am often contradicted by little Spanish students who have had the BE version drilled into their heads by their non-native EFL teachers in school, who have also had the BE version drilled into THEIR heads by another non-native EFL teacher in university. No problem, I've stopped arguing with them, it doesn't matter in the end as long as they recognize the difference. So perhaps the sound that asa is missing is "eeyou" and she/he is pronouncing that word as "seeyouare".

Nope, Lorikeet, don't see the word as single sylable.


Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:23 am
by fluffyhamster
Hey, come on, revel, we Brits aren't being difficult or "quaint" or "insisting" on anything when we use say "nyu" rather than "nu" (for 'new', not sure what all this has to do with 'sewer'), and I bet there are plenty of Americans who say the former rather than the latter...or do you all like to sound like Michael Rapaport (actor) when he's playing the more "common" man? :o I mean, how do you pronounce 'newer', for Gawd's sake?! Or, for that matter, 'few', 'fewer' or 'manure'? :D :lol: :wink:

Being American....

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:34 pm
by revel
Sorry, fluffy, being rather greengo there....

I say "nuwer" (where the "u" sounds like a cow vowel), though I do say "fiuer" (where the "i" is "eeeee" and the "u" is still that cow singing). But I say "manur", probably because I was raised around cows and that's what they produce that stinks so badly.

Finally, as I repeat once a day to my students, English is not written as it is pronounced, nor is it pronounced as it is written!

Didn't mean to be unfair to the English on the board. :twisted:


Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 7:40 am
by asajones

Thanks for the thoughts so far.

I've found out it's not actually the sound in sewer - well only if you pronounce it a certain way. The sound is in the standard UK pronunciation of 'pure' and 'lure' - although some regions don't say it with this sound in. And I don't say it either.

It's the sound in the dipthongs section of the IPA chart, the second one down in the first column (between 'ear' and 'air'). I've emailed CUP press but haven't got a reply. So I hope this helps more. I still don't know why it's not in the book.


Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:34 pm
by fluffyhamster
I'm British and I must admit to probably favouring the American pronunciation of 'lure' (have been using the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary's CD-ROM to check); regarding 'pure', both varieties begin /pj.../, and I suspect that British speakers are not entirely consistent when it comes to the dipthong (vs /pjur/). It might have been one point that the author decided wasn't important enough to spend much if any time on.