7 Tips for Targeting Consonant Sounds

It took me long enough, but I finally decided to create an overview of the 24 consonant sounds in English. The YouTube lesson is just over 15 minutes, and I include some insights and additional resources for learners at the end. I had created a whole playlist for American English vowel sounds back in 2011,…

Top Tips for Accent Reduction

How can you help over two hundred learners with pronunciation in real time? This was the fun challenge I faced at my latest live stream. These public events are very large, and I can only invite a handful of students to join me on camera one at a time. Nevertheless, I get a sense from…

A Realistic Path Toward Accent Reduction

I’m not a big believer in accent elimination. A successful pronunciation lesson of mine doesn’t guarantee a 100% “native-like accent.” I support progress towards accent reduction. The end goal is clear, natural, confident pronunciation. Reducing one’s foreign accent in English is about targeting a model closely enough so that variations don’t confuse or distract the…

Finding a Link Between Pronunciation Drills and Self-Expression

In a previous entry, I shared my approach to teaching linking to promote smooth speech. The exercise is helpful and meaningful, but the content is teacher-generated. I want to share a related activity I do when a learner has grasped the concept of thought groups and linking. The next step is to personalize the drills…

Which Pronunciation Should We Teach Our Students? [Part Two]

Let me address the teacher’s own speech in greater detail. This is an important factor to consider in answering our main question about which pronunciation we should teach our students. It is not so simple to say, for example, that standard American English should be taught in ESL programs in the U.S. It is also…

Making Pronunciation Exercises Meaningful: An Activity for Minimal Pairs

Vowel sounds can be troublesome for all language learners, beginner to advanced. The use of minimal pairs in classroom exercises helps develop recognition and production of vowel sounds. Some pronunciation textbooks offer exercises based on minimal pairs, but they are often limited to controlled practice. With the help of minimal pairs lists, such as the…