u: Sound: How to Pronounce the /u:/ Phoneme

This is the u: sound. As in the words:

  • to /tuː/
  • you /juː/
  • new /njuː/

u: sound

It is a Vowel sound and it’s technical name is the ‘Close Back Rounded Vowel’.

How to Pronounce the u: Sound

Remember that the key to pronunciation s physical and the name tells us about how the sound is made physically. In this case your tongue is high and back of your mouth. Rounded refers to your lips because they are pushed together like you are going to kiss someone.
All vowels are made through the mouth and are voiced so you vibrate your vocal chords to make the sound.
It is similar to the /ʊ/ sound, but the two little dots mean that it is a longer sounds.
/u:/ not /ʊ/.
To produce the u: sound put your tongue high and at the back of your mouth and lightly push your lips together while making a long voiced sound with your mouth closed.

How the u: sound is spelled

The u: sound is spelled in lots of different ways. Sometimes with the letter ‘o’ or ‘o-o’ as in the words:

  • who /huː/
  • too /tuː/

Or sometimes it is spelled with the letter ‘u’. As in the word:

  • use /juːz/

But it can also be spelled with the letters ‘ugh’ as in the word:

  • through /θruː/

Or with the letter ‘e-w’

  • few /fjuː/

Like with all vowels in English, the spelling can be very inconsistent and you will always find alternative and unusual spellings of the vowels sounds. It is one of the most difficult things in English but you just have to learn it.

Examples of the u: sound

Words don’t normally start with this sound but, here are some words that have the sound in the middle:

  • student /’stjuːdənt/
  • group /gruːp/
  • school /skuːl/
  • move /muːv/

Here are some words with the /u:/ at the end.

  • do /duː/
  • two /tuː/
  • view /vjuː/
  • value /ˈvæljuː/

So that is it for the u: sound but we have made additional videos on each of the groups of sounds Vowels, Diphthongs, Single Consonants, or Consonant Pairs as well as a video explaining the the phonetic chart.


2 Responses to “u: Sound: How to Pronounce the /u:/ Phoneme”

  1. Anh October 2, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Thank you very much for making these videos! I wish I have seen your videos earlier when I started learning English. The explanations are very clear and useful. Keep up the good work!

  2. Malik October 2, 2017 at 7:30 am #

    More examples:

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