Pronunciation of

This syllable, has absolutely no counterpart in English.

One book says it's a “reduced schwa.” That helps a lot, doesn’t it?! They say to pronounce it like “uh-ee" said together quickly.

One web reference had the following formula, which I really like:

  1. Put your lips in position to say “ee”. Your lips will be stretched horizontally and you’ll be smiling (that’s why photographers tell you to say “cheese”).
  2. Keep your lips in the “ee” position.
  3. With the rest of your mouth, say “oo”.
  4. Out comes this weird sound, but it’s the one you want.

Step three is the hardest part. When you say “oo” your lips just want to spring back to a round O shape out of habit. You may actually have to hold your lips in place with your thumb and index finger the first few times you try this.

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