Vowel Sound / ʊ / as in “put” – American English Pronunciation

Vowel Sound / ʊ / as in “put” – American English Pronunciation

Hello there! This is the “Sounds American” channel. In this video we’re going to talk about the American vowel sound /ʊ/, as in the word “put.” You can also hear this sound in words like “push,” “book,” “wolf,” or “could.” We’ll be using a special phonetic symbol – /ʊ/ – for this sound. The /ʊ/ sound exists in less than 20% of the world’s languages that’s why people often confuse it with the /u/ sound, as in the word “blue.” Let’s see if you can distinguish between them Can you tell the difference? If you’re not quite sure, let’s start with learning how to make the /ʊ/ sound. OK. To pronounce the /ʊ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your jaw, lips, and tongue. Slightly open your mouth, round your lips, and relax them. Pull your tongue back in your mouth and relax it. Lift the back of your tongue toward the roof of your mouth. Remember, the /ʊ/ is a relaxed sound, so your tongue and lips should be relaxed, and your tongue should be pulled back. Now let’s try saying it: /ʊ/ /ʊ/ /ʊ/ Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on a screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this: You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word, if you want to. [sound prompt to start speaking] Let’s begin! You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, did you know that the /ʊ/ sound is most frequently written as the letter ‘u’? The /ʊ/ sound is represented by the letter ‘u,’ as in the word “put,” in 45% of cases. Almost the same percentage of words with this sound is written as the combination of the letters ‘oo,’ as in the word “book.” The remaining 10% are split between the letter ‘o,’ as in the word “wolf,” and the combination of the letters ‘ou,’ as in the word “could.” Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!


  1. Can you make a video on N'T contractions? Because I've seen native speakers omitting the T. BTW, the quality of your videos might be the best I've seen on YouTube compared to other pronunciation YouTube channels. Content is great too.

  2. I speak Spanish and for me this is the hardest vowel sound, but now I think it's easier. Thank you so much, good job.

  3. The question is to know when to use it. Is there any rule or tip to differenciate between the usage of these two "uh" sounds?

  4. Thank you for your video. It really helps me to learn how to pronounce English word. Could I ask you a favor? If you don't mind, could make a video on contrasting sound between long oo and short oo?

  5. I'm struggling with pronunciation of these two words: "soot" and "suit". Generally, I know the difference between these vowels and usually can hear the difference in other word examples, like "pull" and "pool", or "full" and "fool". But I can't really hear much difference between "soot" and "suit". Or even if do hear it sometimes, I can't bring my lips to copy the sounds I hear.
    I tried googling about it, but have yet to find any videos. Can you please help me?

  6. Hello, Sounds American. First of all thank you for all of your work, it's really helpfull. I was wondering if, will you make a comparative video about the difference between the /u/ sound and the /ʊ/ sound? I would find it very helpfull.

    Thank you very much.

  7. I thing that you could may videos about the spelling and the pronunciation. I mean you could say that the paragraph oo is #% pronounced /u/, and #% pronounced /ʊ/.

  8. Thank you so much. You guys are doing a unique job. The percentages you show at the end is very helpful and unique. Nice job!

  9. I've watched almost all videos in this excellent channel and I was able to distinguish between any two similar sounds. The exception is here. The sounds in "brook" and "bull" seem really different for me in this video. When I hear "bull" in the video, it is clear that the taught / ʊ / sound was used. But for "brook" and some other words, the vowel sound really seems a long u. I know I must be missing something, and this is not probably easy to explain. Anyway, I would appreciate if someone could point out some of my mistakes in this perception.

  10. yes it was very useful perfect video for me because I was practicing my pronunciation for application on call center agency so its very useful for my practice and study

  11. I found some american pounce the [ʊ] [ə] same.Such as pool full . Is that correct?

  12. Hi,
    Very helpful video indeed!
    Especially for a beginner in the discipline of Phonetics and Phonology like myself, this really proves to be a nice learning exercise.
    But main doubt remains is how to distinguish between [u] and this sound. Can you explain it in a bit elaborate manner? Thanks! 🙂

  13. Thanks so much for your video, it really helps me a lot. One question, in vowels, it doesn't include "ʊr", like words "tour", which is extremely hard for me to pronunce correctly. Pls can you help to offer some advice. Many thanks!

  14. English can be a litle bit tricky, this sound is similar and is used almost like the U sound, but they are diferent sounds, so tricky, thank you for teaching me the diference.

  15. I think there is a mistake, or my ears are off. I use this with my students and the FULL / FOOL distinction doesn't sound right to me: when you say FULL, I hear FALL

  16. I thought poor was pronounced /pɔr/ just like the words “pore” and “pour” by most speakers rather than /pʊr/. Any thoughts?

  17. Thanks so much!!! I'm Spanish and I',ve been trying to pronounce this sound without success for years!!! Nobody has been able to teach me properly!!! Thanks to this video I can do it much better now!!!

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