Front vowels listening

A list of icons: a book with the letters ENG; a piece of paper with a pencil; an audio symbol; a speech bubble, and some blocks depicting the letters "a, b, c" - the audio symbol is highlighted in blue

Sometimes the distinction between the front vowels is difficult to hear. Here are some minimal pairs with /e/ and /æ/ . See if you can recognize which of the two words you are hearing. All tasks are in one recording, but you can pause or rewind as necessary.

Many thanks to Susan Lasche for the recordings!

When you are satisfied with your comprehension, you might want to go back and try repeating the words aloud to hear the difference in your own voice. Alternatively, you can try some listen-and-repeat exercises for
/e/ and /æ/ here.

If you are having trouble, or want to review the front vowels, you will find some introductory information and a video here.