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Get ready to learn: vowels
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Lesson 9 - Nasal sounds

əʊ (GOAT)

The GOAT vowel is a diphthong which means it has two distinct parts to its sound.

  • It starts with /ə/, the unstressed schwa vowel
  • It moves back towards /ʊ/, the FOOT vowel. You will be able to clearly see and hear this movement.

GOAT is a common sound in English. This means that if you are able to accurately pronounce this vowel it is likely to have a big impact on your overall sound.

The most common issues I hear with this sound is that the start of the vowel is too far back. It needs to be relaxed and unstressed. Some students will also round the lips too much which gives it an old-fashioned quality.

For some speakers, the GOAT vowel is different before L. There is more rounding in the lips. I have included work with GOAT + L in the videos.

Video 1: Introduction, including how to make the sound

Video 2: Individual words to practise

I have arranged these individual words in two ways:

  • First, the most common words with GOAT vowels in English
  • Second, words with GOAT vowel arranged by spelling

The most common words:

go, know, so, no, also, those, only, oh, over, own, most, old, show, hold, program, home, both, only, follow, ago, social, grow, open, moment, both, low, hope, process, whole, show, although, control, phone, role, photo, road, post

Words arranged by spelling:

soap, boat, oak, roach, loaf, oath, road, loathe, coal, roam, loan, boast, coax,…;

note, rope, joke, both, gross, robe, code, rogue, grove, clothe, rose, home, tone, so, no, toe, foe, don’t, host, noble, ocean, explosion,
brooch, beau

sew; dough, though, although.

bowl, own, tow, bow, know, grow, owe, Owen,…;
soul, poultry, mould, shoulder,…;

hole, dole, sole, role;

coal; old, bold, soldier,…;
roll, scroll, control,…;

Video 3: sentences

Finally, there are some sentences to practise.

  1. I don’t know.
  2. Can you sew this bow on my coat?
  3. I won’t go on the boat.
  4. The old rose won’t grow.
  5. I don’t roam around my home.
  6. Don’t go down that road.
  7. There are no loaves left though.
  8. The rope was tied in a bow and sewn on the coat.
  9. I won’t know until I go.
  10. I wrote the code on a note.


  1. The bowl is old and broken.
  2. This bread roll is mouldy.
  3. I can’t control these shoulder rolls.
  4. Although I own my own home, I don’t want to repair the hole in the roof.
  5. You know Owen – he’s the life and soul of the old place.