Voiced palatal approximant
Common words[edit | edit source]
The sequence /juː/ is very common in English and it has special spellings: "u", "ue", "eu" and "ew". Before other vowels /j/ is normally spelled "y".
- /j/ as "y"
- Kenya, yard, yarn, year, yellow, Yemen, yes, yesterday, yet, yield, yolk, York, you, young, your, youth, yo-yo
- beyond /bɪˈjɒnd,  biˈɒnd/
- Before /uː/. Main article: IPA phonetic sequence /juː/
- "u" as /juː/: accumulate, Cuba, cute, distribute, stimulate
- "ue" as /juː/: argue, continue, hue, value
- "ew" as /juː/: few, Matthew, nephew
- "iew" as /juː/: interview, review, view, preview
- Before /ʊə/
- "ur" as /jʊə/: cure, curious, pure, security
- Before /ə/
- "u" as /jə/: accumulate, failure, formula, popular
- "ia" as /jə/: California, Spaniard
- "ie" as /jə/: Daniel
- "io" as /jə/: behavior,AmE behaviour,BrE million, onion, opinion
Uncommon words[edit | edit source]
- canyon /ˈkænjən/
- cognac: /ˈkɒnjæk,BrE ˈkəʊnjækAmE/
- emu /ˈiːmjuː/
- fjord /ˈfjɔːrd/
- hallelujah /hælɪˈluːjə/
- lasagna,AmE lasagne,BrE /ləˈzænjə/
- pinata, piñata /pɪnˈjɑːtə/
- savior,AmE saviourBrE /ˈseɪvjər/
- yacht /jɒt/
No /j/[edit | edit source]
Many words that have "y" in their spelling don't have a /j/ phoneme in their pronunciation. This in practice means there might be subtle differences in syllabification or a difference in vowel quality. For example "kayak" is /ˈkaɪ.æk/ and not  See IPA phonetic symbol [j]. The pronunciation shown by Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary is shown in square brackets.. In some cases there are alternate pronunciations, as in "lawyer". Note, however, that the realization of some of these vowels may contain a [j] sound, as in royal pronounced [ˈrɔjəl].
|Phoneme||/ɪ/ is [j] according to Merriam-Webster’s||Even Merriam-Webster’s uses [ɪ]||Several dictionaries use /j/|
|/aɪ/||buyer: /ˈbaɪ.ər/ [ˈbajɚ]||coyote: /kaɪˈəʊ.tiː/ [kaɪˈoʊti], /ˈkaɪ.oʊt/,AmE /kɔɪˈəʊ.tiː/BrE
kayak: /ˈkaɪ.æk/ [ˈkaɪæk]
|papaya: /pəˈpaɪə/ [pəˈpajə], /pəˈpɑːjə/|
|/eɪ/||player: /ˈpleɪ.ər/ [ˈplejɚ]||crayon: /ˈkreɪ.ən, ˈkreɪ.ɒn/ [ˈkreɪɑːn]|
|/ɔɪ/||employer: /ɪmˈplɔɪ.ər/ [ɪmˈplojɚ]
royal: /ˈrɔɪ.əl/ [ˈrojəl].
|employee: /ɪmˈplɔɪ.iː/ [ɪmˈploɪiː]||lawyer: /ˈlɔː.jər/ [ˈlɑːjɚ], /ˈlɔɪ.ər/ [ˈlojɚ]|
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit | edit source]
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
Spanish[edit | edit source]
While /j/ is very similar to the "i" in the Spanish diphthongs "ia", "ie", "io" and "iu", most Spanish speakers pronounce the initial /j/ in words like "yes", "young" and "university" like /dʒ/, i.e. they do not distinguish between "yet" and "jet" or "use" and "juice". This problem can be solved by making them notice that several Spanish words have initial /j/, such as hiato or ion, which are different from or .
Conversely, Spanish speakers tend to use /j/ before a vowel where English uses /iː/ (or /ɪ/ in some accents). For example vegetarian might be pronounced instead of /ve.dʒəˈteər.iː.ən/, blending the last two syllables into one.