Central Vowels, Polar Views

My next challenge on YouTube will be to present the central vowels. The difficulty is that not everyone agrees on what the central vowels are. I see four points that I must address: 1) /ɑ/ vs. /ɔ/           I’ve already explained to viewers in my video on back vowels that not all native speakers in…

Back again: “Sentence Generations” for back vowels

As I got ready to publish the latest lesson in my YouTube series Pronunciation of English Vowel Sounds, I realized that a classroom activity for back vowels was needed. I decided to recyle and modify Sentence Generations for this small group of four vowels: /u, ʊ, oʊ, ɔ/. Click on the link below to go…

December Celebrations: Learning linking through holiday poetry

“December Celebrations” is a children’s poem by Helen H. Moore. I used it once in a pronunciation class, and I recently rediscovered my copy of the simple yet warm verses. Not surprisingly, I’ve found a few U.S. schools that have posted the poem on their sites to share with their communities. Here’s one copy. You’ll find that the language is …

Pronunciation Profiles: Putting Target Sounds into Meaningful Practice

Level: Intermediate to advanced. STEP 1 – Select your target sound(s). For instance, /r/. Create word lists, trying to include words with the target sound(s) in different positions and in different letter combinations. Write a total of 10-12 words. (If you’re targeting consonant sounds, you can decide whether to include challenging clusters.) Examples:                 read                       hurry                     share    …

Using the Sense of Touch in Pronunciation Instruction

I’ve shared tips for teaching vowel and consonant sounds in an earlier posting. One addition to that list is the benefit of using our sense of touch. Some may describe this instruction as tactile or hands-on. Whatever you wish to call it, the idea is to get students to understand sound production by placing their…

Making Pronunciation Exercises Meaningful: 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…