Other Areas of Pronunciation

Pronunciation does not stop at a student’s ability to hear and repeat individual sounds through drilling and using minimal pairs. There are some other areas to consider.

Aspiration

Some sounds in English produce a puff of air when the sound is produced. These include /p/, /t/, /k/, /b/ and /ch/. Many nationalities have difficulty producing such sounds because they have far fewer of this type of sounds in their own language, so they don’t recognise what they need to do to be able to produce them. A good (and fun) way to practise that is to get students to hold a piece of paper in front of their face and give them a set of words that start with the above letters. Explain that their task is to push the paper, or make it move every time they pronounce the word.

Mouth positioning

A well used method for explaining physically how to produce a sound is to either verbally explain or draw a picture of what happens in the mouth when the desired sound is produced. For example, /th/ can be explained by getting the students to push the tongue between their teeth and produce a /f/ with the tongue being pushed back as the sound is produced. Teacher walks around the room giving a physical demonstration.