Sound Contrast: /ɛ/ vs. /æ/

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

  • bet bet | bat bat
  • end end | and and
  • head head | had had
  • lest lest | last last
  • men men | man man
  • peck peck | pack pack
  • pen pen | pan pan
  • pep pep | pap pap
  • rent rent | rant rant
  • said said | sad sad
  • send send | sand sand
  • set set | sat sat

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 /æ/.

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


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