Practising production and recognition of English sounds using Minimal Pairs

The teacher or student (A) reads out ONE word from each pair without telling whether he or she is reading from column one or column two. According to what is read out, Student (B) then says "column 1" or "column 2" or just ONE or TWO. A variation is for the teacher or Student (B) to read the same word aloud twice or else the two contrasting words. Student (A) says whether the words are 'the same' or 'different'. [Recommended for ALL language backgrounds = *]

All language backgrounds

57 common pronunciation problems

FIX PROBLEM ENGLISH SOUND - COMMON ERROR - PRACTICE MATERIALS
Relax the mouth and keep sound short. /ɪ/ "sit" /i:/ "seat" Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ or / i: / practice *

Relax the mouth; front of tongue should be higher. /ɪ/ "sit" /e/ "set" Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ or /e/ practice

Move tongue to a lower front position. /æ/ "man" /e/ "men" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /æ/ practice *

Keep tongue in fixed front position. /e/ "sell" /eɪ/ "sale" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /eɪ/ practice

Keep tongue front & low and jaws apart. /æ/ "ran" /ʌ/ "run" Minimal Pairs /æ/ or /ʌ/ practice *

Keep tongue front & low and jaws apart. /æ/ "cat" /ɑ:/ "cart" Minimal Pairs /æ/ or /ɑ:/ practice

Tongue lower and more central. Lips relaxed. /ʌ/ "but" /e/ "bet" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /ʌ/ practice

Keep mouth round and tongue back. /ɒ/ "cot" /ɔ:/ "caught" Minimal Pairs /ɒ/ or /ɔ:/ practice

Keep mouth round and tongue back. /ɒ/ "cot" /ɑ:/ "cart" Minimal Pairs /ɑ:/ or /ɒ/ practice *

Back of tongue high. Lips rounded but relaxed. Short. /ʊ/ "full" /u:/ "fool" Minimal Pairs /ʊ/ or / u: / practice *

Weak endings: e.g. "London" "England" /ə/ "the" (schwa)

Practise the neutral vowel /ə/
using spoken dialogues
*

Tongue low & back. Mouth large. Jaws together. /ɔ:/ "caught" /ɑ:/ "cart" Minimal Pairs /ɑ:/ or /ɔ:/ practice

Tongue low & back. Mouth large. Jaws together. /ɔ:/ "caught" /ɒ/ "cot" Minimal Pairs /ɒ/ or /ɔ:/ practice *

Tongue low & back. Mouth large. Jaws together. /ɔ:/ "four" /ɜ:/ "fur" Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ or /ɜ:/ practice *

Tongue low & back. Mouth large. Jaws together. /ɔ:/ "saw" /əʊ/ "so" Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ or /əʊ/ practice *

Fix tongue in central position. Not too far front.
Make sound longer.
/ɜ:/ "bird" /e/ "bed" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /ɜ:/ practice

Fix tongue in central position. Not too far down.
A longer sound.
/ɜ:/ "bird" /ʌ/ "bud" Minimal Pairs /ʌ/ or /ɜ:/ practice *

Fix tongue in central position. Not too far back.
A longer sound.
/ɜ:/ "bird" /ɔ:/ "board" Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ or /ɜ:/ practice *

Tongue moves from front centre to front high. /eɪ/ "late" /e/ "let" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /eɪ/ practice *

Start with tongue low front. /aɪ/ "buy"

Minimal Pairs /eɪ/ or /aɪ / practice

Tongue low front to high front to centre. /aɪə/=/aɪ/+/ə/ "fire"


Start with tongue low & back. /ɔɪ/ "boy"

Word list to practise /ɔɪ/ *

Tongue central. Then tightly round lips. /əʊ/ "note" /ɒ/ "not" Minimal Pairs /əʊ/ or /ɒ/ practice *

Tongue central. Then tightly round lips. /əʊ/ "bone" /ɔ:/ "born" Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ or /əʊ/ practice *

From low front vowel to lips tightly rounded. /aʊ/ "cow"

Minimal Pairs /əʊ/ or /aʊ/ practice *

Tongue low front. Then round & unround lips. /aʊə/=/aʊ/+/ə/ "flour"

Minimal Pairs /aʊ/ or /aʊə/ practice *

Tongue high and front. Move to centre. /ɪə/ "beer" "bear" Minimal Pairs /ɪə/ or /eə/ practice *

Tongue from centre front. Draw back to centre. /eə/ "bear"

Minimal Pairs /ɪə/ or /eə/ practice *

Start with lips tightly rounded. Unround. /ʊə/ "tour"

Minimal Pairs /eə/ or /ʊə/ practice *

Unvoiced. Use more air. Trap it with lips. /p/ "pit" /b/ "bit" Minimal Pairs /p/ or /b/ practice

Tip of tongue behind top teeth. /d/ "made" /t/ "mate" Minimal Pairs /t/ or /d/ practice *

Voiced stop: back of tongue to back roof. /g/ "game" /k/ "came"
Voiced. Friction with top teeth & bottom lip. /v/ "van" /f/ "fan" Minimal Pairs /f/ or /v/ practice *

Voiceless. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /θ/ "thin" /t/ "tin" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /t/ practice *

Voiceless. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /θ/ "thin" /d/ "din" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /d/ practice *

Voiceless. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /θ/ "thin" /s/ "sin" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /s/ practice *

Voiceless. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /θ/ "cloth" /ð/ "clothe" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /ð/ practice *

Voiced. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /ð/ "clothe" /θ/ "cloth" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /ð/ practice *

Voiced. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /ð/ "they" /d/ "day" Minimal Pairs /ð/ or /d/ practice *

Voiced. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /ð/ "clothe" /z/ "close" /z/ *
Voiceless: tip of tongue behind top teeth. Friction. /s/ "rice" /z/ "rise" Minimal Pairs /s/ or /z/ practice *

Voiced: tip of tongue behind top teeth. Friction. /z/ "rise" /s/ "rice" Minimal Pairs /s/ or /z/ practice *

Quickly push air from throat out of mouth. /h/ "hot"
"ch" in "loch" Minimal Pairs /h/ or silent "h" practice *

Tongue touches hard palate. /l/ "light" (clear) /r/ "right" Minimal Pairs /l/ or /r/ practice *

British /r/ is weaker & sometimes silent. /r/ "sir"
"sirrrr"
Contact. Brief "schwa" after release. /ɫ/ "tall" (dark l)


Lips tightly together. Nasal. /m/ "home"


Tongue touches alveolar ridge. Nasal. /n/ "sun"


Back of tongue to back roof. Nasal. /ŋk/ "think" /ŋ/ "thing" Minimal Pairs /ŋ/ or /ŋk/ practice *

Voiced stop: back of tongue to back roof. /ŋ/ "thing" /ŋk/ "think" Minimal Pairs /ŋ/ or /ŋk/ practice *

Voiceless. Friction. Front of tongue to palate. /ʃ/ "sherry" /ʧ/ "cherry" Minimal Pairs /ʃ/ or /ʧ/ practice *

Unvoiced: Tip to alveolar. Front to palate. /ʧ/ "cherry" /ʃ/ "sherry" Minimal Pairs /ʃ/ or /ʧ/ practice *

Unvoiced: Tip to alveolar. Front to palate. /ʧ/ "watch" /t/ "what"
Voiced: Tip to alveolar. Front to palate. /ʤ/ "Jerry" /ʃ/ "sherry" Minimal Pairs /ʃ/ or /ʤ/ practice *

Voiced: Tip to alveolar. Front to palate. /ʤ/ "wage" /t/ "wait"
Glide /j/(i:) the tongue quickly to next sound /j/ "yam" /ʤ/ "jam" Minimal Pairs /ʤ/ or /j/ practice *

Start with lips tightly rounded. Unround & glide. /w/ "west" /v/ "vest" Minimal Pairs /w/ or /v/ practice *


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