Sound Contrast: /ɛ/ vs. /ə/

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Listen to the difference between the vowel sounds (/ɛ/ vs. /ə/) in the following pairs of words.

  • bed bed | bud bud
  • beg beg | bug bug
  • bet bet | but but
  • check check | chuck chuck
  • deck deck | duck duck
  • dredge dredge | drudge drudge
  • fend fend | fund fund
  • flesh flesh | flush flush
  • hem hem | hum hum
  • pen pen | pun pun
  • rent rent | runt runt
  • rest rest | rust rust

Depending on your native language distinguishing the difference can be very easy or very difficult.

Test your ability to hear the difference between /ɛ/ and /ə/.

Instructions: listen to the word and then pick the best match.


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