I Speak English

"Practice Makes Perfect"

16 September, 2011

I improve my English pronunciation

Filed under: Phonology — csa1 @ 23:35




In English, French and Creole, vowels are pronounced differently.

All the sounds, words and sentences can be repeated by the students.

1. Short vowels

[ i ] – ship, pig, six, big, fish  -  This is Bill’s ticket.

[ e ]- bed, the best, hen,seven,ten  -  This is ten’s pen.

[ae] – cat, bag, apple, hat, cap   -   That’s Pat’s black cat.

[ʌ] – bus, sun, Sunday, one, cup, run   -   Here’s our bus, Mum.

[ɔ] - box,pot, dog, watch, clock, rock   -   That’s Tom’s new dog.

[u] – book, look, bull, foot   -   That’s a very good book. Look !

[3] – about, letter, remember,cupboard, September,…   -   Here’s a letter from Sylvia.

2. Long vowels

[ i:] – sheep, 3 – three,tree,leaf/leaves, beach   -   Here are some sweets for Rita.

[ a:] – car, glass, star,dark, arm   -   Here’s my father’s car.

  [ɔ:- door, horse, ball, 4-four, war   -   This ball is Paul’s.

[ u:] – new, two, blue, shoe, moon   - These areLuucy’s shoes.

[ 3:] – girl, bird, first, word, shirt, skirt   -   This is Herbert’s little girl.

3. Diphtongs

[ ei ] - same,cake, plane, 8 – eight   -   Look at David’s plane !

  [ ai ] – 5 – five, bike, time, life, fly, 9 – nine   -  Look at Mike’s new bike.  

  [3u] – road, coat, boat, only, coke, nose, bowl, old.   -   Look at Joan’s new coat.

  [ɑʊ] – now, brown, house, cloud, cow, mouse    -   Look at my brown blouse.

  [ɔi] - boy, voice, choice, toy, noise  -   Here ‘s Joyce’s little boy.

  []  – ear, hear, here, ear, beer, beard   -   Here are your earrings, dear .

  [ɜə- chair, pear, bear, stairs, there, their, hair, parents   -   Here are some pears for Mary.

  [ʊə] - poor, sure, tour, tourist, pure   -   Those poor tourists are thirsty.

  [uɔ] - cruel, dual, duel, fuel, jewel, renewal  -   His cruel opponent beat him in duel.

4. triphtongs

    [ai3] – fire, lion, quiet, tyre, violin, tired   -   Be quiet ! I’m tired of your violin. 

      [au3] – tower, our, flower, flour, shower, power   -   The queen went up the tower and scattered a shower of flowers.

      [ )i3 ]- royal, loyal, lawyer   -   The loyal lawyer went to the royal wedding.

      [3u3] – lower, lawn-mower  -  The lawn-mower slid lower on the slope.

      [ei3 ] – player, layer, prayer, payer   -   The player made a prayer to win the game. 

The letter “a” can be pronounced in 8 different ways : cat, car, square, village, warm, wash, face, about.

The same sound can be written in various ways : see, sea / war, wore / no, know.



The most important ones are :

[ ʃ ] - shoe, fish,ship, sheep, shirt   -   Brush your shoes, Sheila.

 [ ʧ ] – child, chair, cherish, which, witch    -   Take a chair, Charlie.  

[ ŋ] - ring, ping-pong, bring, sling   -   Bring the ping-pong balls.

[ θ ] - three, think, tooth, teeth, thank you    -   Edith has very nice teeth.

[ δ ] - this, that, these, those   -   Theses are Heather’s clothes.

[ ʤ] - gym, jeans, jug, page   -   Please fill this jug, Jill.  

[ j ] - yes, you, your, onion    -   You’ll see New York next year.

  Note that  [ j ]  is considered as a consonant in English.

[f ] – fat, foot, feet, fish, finger, find /found / found   -   Florrie found a new fish in her flat.

[h ]- hill  ( note that some “h” aren’t pronounced, like in French, they can be mute :  an hour)  -  Where’s Helen’s hat ?

[l ]- love, like, lake, lucky   -   Lucky Luke liked to loiter by the lake.

[m] – man, mother, mean / meant / meant, mouse / mice   -   My mother made  mince pies.

[ n ]- nut, neat, now, never, nevertheless, nimble   -   Noah never nibbles nuts.

[r] – red, rat, row, dress   -   Look at Rita’s green dress.

[s ]- saw,  see,  sea,  syrup, soap,  salt  -   I saw some syrup on her shirt.

[v ]- van, vein, vote, vinegar, vineyard, vanilla, vanish, varnish   -   All the vanilla vanished in the van.

[w] – wet, want, will, weeping-willow   -   Where’s Wendy’s watch ?

[z] – zoo, zero, zest, zebra, zip   -  The zebra zoomed past us with zest in the zoo.


The following consonants are pronounced in English with a little explosion – above all when they are at the beginning of the words.

[p]- pie, pot, paper, post, pipe, pool, put/put/put, pit, piece, peace   -   He put his pipe on a piece of paper.

[t ]- tea

[d] – desk

[b]- black

[k] – keep

[g] - goat, give, great, grow / grew / grown, grown-up,    -   Give this glass to Gilbert.

Learning phonetics can be a good way to revise the vocabulary or memorize new items.

The students can be asked to find new words with the same sound as you proceed. Just give them one example.

They can  use a dictionary in order to get familiar with phonetics when they are on their own.

You don’t need to teach them all the consonants that are pronounced like the French ones (the end of the list).

you can play games with phonetics :  in groups, they write a whole sentence ( from a text on their book) or just words in phonetics

then one of each group comes to write it down on the board. The others must find the right pronunciation,

then come to the board to write the good spelling. Each team gets points.



Silent letters 

These letters can occur at the beginning, middle or end of a word and are not spoken when pronouncing the word: 

[b] plumb, lamb, tomb, doubt, comb, thumb, numb, dumb

[c] scissors, scythe [ ... ] ( une faux) 

[ch] yacht 

[g] sign (but not in signal), gnat, gnash, gnaw 

[gh] bright, high, bough, through, eight, caught

[k] knock, knit/knit/knit, know/knew/known, knight, knee, kneel/knelt/knelt, knife 

[l] talk, yolk, folk, walk,

[m] mnemonics (a way of remembering facts :  ex : the colours of the rainbow or spectrum) 

Richard of  york     gained battles in         vain 

Red,orange,yellow, green, blue,    indigo, violet       

Richard of York (Plantagenet) won many battles against Henry VI 

But he never became king. His son became Richard III. 

[n] hymn, autumn, column, 

[p] pneumonia, psalm, receipt, 

[t] listen, glisten, whistle, often 

[u] biscuit, guard, build, built,built,(busy)

[w] write, wrist, wreck 

NB : [gh] can sometimes be pronounced  [f] as in :

cough, rough, laugh, enough, draught. 


to be continued



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