This vowel is usually stressed, as in these words:
However, /uw/ can also be unstressed. In an unstressed syllable, /uw/ is pronounced quickly and softly.
Note: In English, some words have a /y/ sound before /uw/. This sound is “invisible” – it’s not shown in spelling.
If the /uw/ is spelled “u,” “eu,” "eau," or “ew,” there is usually an invisible /y/, unless the syllable begins with “j”, “r”, or "ch."
Words with invisible /y/:
Words without invisible /y/:
For other words, there may be variation in whether speakers pronounce an invisible /y/ before /uw/. For example, invisible /y/ is usually pronounced after the "n" in "menu" but may or may not be pronounced after the /n/ in "newspaper" or "nutrition." This variation occurs when /uw/ is spelled "u," "eu," "eau," or "ew" and comes after "t," "d," "s," "x," "l," or "n."
Now, practice /uw/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. interview – new – Tuesday I have an interview for a new job on Tuesday. 2. blueberries – fruit – juice We need blueberries for the fruit juice. 3. beautiful - truly - unique Your art is beautiful and truly unique. 4. confused – rules – amusement I’m confused by the rules at the amusement park. 5. blue – shoes – cute Those blue shoes are really cute. 6. June – too – humid The weather in June is too humid.
To practice with different varieties of English, choose another native English speaker by clicking one of the links below: