Go ahead and Ask: What color is “egg”?

January 18, 2015 by admin

A reader asks…

I see that you have ‘egg’ as a GRAY word on your website.  I would categorize it as a RED word.  When using your tool (which I think is very creative and innovative), is regional pronunciation ok? 
– Jennifer Fitzgerald, K-12 ESL Teacher
Manchester Essex Regional School District, MA

Karen answers…

Thanks for getting in touch, Jennifer! Your question is a great one, and our answer is YES– in fact, regional pronunciations are more than ok, they’re what spoken English is all about!  The Color Vowel™ Chart supports positive and productive conversations about accent variation.

  • Consider the word ‘egg.’ For me (raised in California), egg is a RED word.  For my co-author Shirley (who is from Michigan), egg is GRAY.
  • Another example is the word ‘want.’ For me, want is MUSTARD. For my colleague from Vermont, it is OLIVE.
  • A third example is the word ‘roof’. For me, roof is BLUE.  For my friend from New Jersey, it is WOODEN, and for a third friend, roof is MUSTARD.

The Color Vowel Chart 4th Edition binder insertNow look at all those color options, and you’ll notice something:

  • RED and GRAY share a border on the Color Vowel Chart
  • MUSTARD and OLIVE share a border as well
  • BLUE, WOODEN and MUSTARD touch one another on a border or a corner.

We’ve designed the Color Vowel™ Chart to mirror the continuum of movement in jaw/lips/tongue precisely so that we can convey the ‘rightness’ of accent variation: that if you say egg with GRAY and I say it with RED, we still understand each other without a hitch despite this slight difference in vowel quality.

Learn more!

 

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