Learn to Stress and Shape Your Vowels: Say Create, Idea, and People Correctly

Little changes can make a big difference in how natural you sound when speaking English.

In this short-and-sweet video, I tackle three of the most difficult-to-pronounce words in English: idea, people, and create.

Even though these are short words, many non-native English speakers have trouble saying them correctly because of two factors: word stress and vowel shaping.

(I give more guidance on stress and pronouncing vowels inside my free five-day email course, Sound More Natural in English. Be sure to sign up!)

Words like idea, people, and create require you to combine both word stress *and* vowel shaping to produce the right sound.

One syllable of these short words must be longer, louder, and higher in pitch, like so: i-DE-a, PEO-ple, creATE.

The syllables need to be connected by a slight “y” sound created by shaping your mouth. (It looks similar to a smile – watch the video on pronouncing long vowels to get it right.)

Learning to combine both word stress and vowel shaping will improve the overall clarity of your speech.

When you reduce the choppiness between vowels and syllables, you’ll notice an immediate difference in your accent.

Now that you’ve learned the trick, you’ll start noticing these types of words everywhere!

I suggest you make a list and work through the words one by one. Small steps = big progress.

Remember, the goal isn’t perfection – it’s making consistent changes that enable you to speak more clearly and feel more certain that your meaning will be understood.

(Getting this right also helps you improve your intonation and master connected speech, but we’ll talk about that another day! 😆)

Your Turn

Did this trick help you improve how you sound when speaking English? Have you started to collect words that have a lot of vowels you need to connect?

After watching the video, leave a comment letting me know any other challenging words you’re struggling with. (You might just get some help in a future video!)

Share on Pinterest:

2 thoughts on “Learn to Stress and Shape Your Vowels: Say Create, Idea, and People Correctly”

  1. I found that when I’m singing, the E vowel and Yah sound, it’s more clear and simple when I’m smiling, if you try to sing E vowel in high note with closed or jaw dropped mouth, or oval shaped lips you’ll not hit it, and in turn it helped my speech ability, but the stressed syllable is something I was missing..Thanks it’s helpful.

    • I’m so happy to hear this helped you, Jay! You’re completely right – without opening your mouth to the right shape, it’s going to be quite challenging to get the right tone. Pitch is absolutely essential to word stress and intonation and will definitely help you sound more like a native speaker. I appreciate hearing that you’ve noticed this while singing, too!


Leave a Comment

You agree to share your name and email address with Kim in order to leave a comment. The data from this comment form will only be used to respond to your comment.