The different sounds of ‘ea’

What different sounds come to your mind when you see the letter combination ‘ea’? Do you think there is only one sound or many? Can we simply add the sound of ‘e’ and ‘a’? Let us explore.

We have explored earlier about learning English spellings through Phonics. Also, we have learned about sounds of ‘a, sounds of ‘s, and sounds of ‘v and w’.

Sounds of ‘ea’

In this article, let us look at the sounds of the phonogram ‘ea’. It makes 3 different sounds, as listed below. Each sound is accompanied by the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) notations.

Sound 1 – as in ‘head’            ĕ (AHD)           ɛ (IPA)

Other examples – deaf, dead, meant, bread, dread, death, sweat

Sound 1

Sound 2 – as in ‘peas’            ē (AHD)                       iː (IPA)

Other examples – sea, eat, tea, leaf, neat, heat, eager, weave

Sound 2

Sound 3 – as in ‘great’            ā (AHD)                       eɪ (IPA)

Other examples – break, steak

Sound 3

Listen to this audio with all the 3 sounds.

Sounds of ‘ea’

Can you think of more different sounds of ‘ea’? Share your thoughts and let us know.

Until next time, continue to stay curious!


All the articles related to Phonics on our blog can be found here. Did you know that the NumberNagar® Phonics method follows the widely acclaimed Orton-Gillingham approach?


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Dr. Soumya Sreehari

Co-Founder and Specialist at NumberNagar®
Dr. Soumya is an Educator and Researcher with a passion for reading, writing and teaching. She holds a PhD in Chemistry (Michigan Technological University, Houghton, USA). Her experience as a student and a teacher in two countries led her to pursue a career in Education. Her core work at NumberNagar® involves quality delivery of product and services at every stage of the customer life cycle. She leads the team that makes this happen. Previously she has taught Chemistry to first year undergraduate students at Michigan Technological University. She is a voracious reader and challenges herself to read 50 books every year.

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