English pronunciation can be tricky, particularly for second language learners. You can start by introducing the way vowels and consonants are pronounced in English. There are some sounds that are rarely presented in other languages, so you need to clearly explain how students are to form unfamiliar sounds using their lips and tongue. Accentuation, rhythm, and intonation all express nuanced meanings, so you should provide plenty of examples of how these qualities work. Since a key skill is understanding the language patterns of native speakers, you should also help students recognize contractions, jargon, and the way words are put together.
Part 1 of 4: Introducing the Basic Sounds
Step 1. Review the basic rules of English phonetics
Start with the pronunciation of the Latin alphabet in English, distinguishing vowels from consonants and noting that in each syllable of each word there must be a vowel (note that Y is sometimes counted as a vowel). Talk about the general rules for recognizing whether vowels are long or short, and point out exceptions.
- For example, you can explain that a vowel will generally be short in a monosyllable word that ends in a consonant, as in the words "bad", "bed", "sit" ("sit"), "log" ("trunk") and "but" ("but"). You must flag exceptions, such as "told", "scold" or "child".
- When there are two vowels next to each other, usually the first one will be long and the second one will be silent, as in "bead" or "tried". Point out exceptions to the rule, such as "chief" or the past tense of "read."
- Here you can find resources on teaching phonetics and all aspects of English pronunciation.
Step 2. Teach students to produce sounds that combine consonants
Once you have entered the sounds of simple consonants (for example, R, L, and S), you can incorporate consonant combinations, such as "ch", "dr", "gr", "pr", "sh "," sl "," st "and" tr ". Combinations such as "th", "str", "sts", and "lth" may present a challenge for some students. Many of these consonant combinations are found in other languages, but some students may have trouble with sounds that are specific to English.
- For example, the "th" combination rarely occurs in other languages and can be difficult for most ESL learners to master.
- In general, native Vietnamese speakers have difficulty with consonant combinations "sts", "ts" and "str".
- Native speakers of Mandarin and Korean often struggle with combinations that include the letters R or L.
Step 3. Exaggerate the mouth, lips, and tongue to demonstrate the sounds
You must teach the students the exact way to use their mouth and tongue to produce phonemes; that is, the basic sounds of English. You can exaggerate the round shape of your mouth to pronounce the long O in the words "boat" and "low". Tell students how and where to position their tongue to pronounce sounds like the combination "th" and the letter L.
- Show students how the tongue curls up against the roof of the mouth to pronounce the L in the word "lid".
- Explain to them how you press your lips against each other to pronounce the B and then quickly form the L with your tongue for the word "blur".
- It exaggerates the way the tongue rubs and peeks out just past the upper front teeth to pronounce the combination "th" in "that".
Step 4. Encourage students to diligently practice unfamiliar sounds
Gently correct them if they use a sound that is more familiar to them when trying to pronounce one that is challenging or does not exist in their native language. Let them know that they shouldn't be discouraged if they have difficulties, and explain that it takes time to train their mouth and tongue to move in unfamiliar ways.
- The "th" sound is particularly difficult, and students often replace it with the letters T, F, or S. Some other difficult sounds might include the soft letters L, R, and G and J, although this will depend on the native language of the student. Also, students may have trouble differentiating between B and V or between B and P.
- Remind students that using familiar sounds instead of more difficult sounds can create significant differences in meaning. Let them know that they might inadvertently say something inappropriate or be misinterpreted by using one sound instead of another.
Step 5. Assign vocabulary words every week to help students memorize exceptions
While a good starting point is to cover the basic rules, English is known for strange exceptions to all the rules. Ask students to practice and memorize at least 10-20 words that don't follow the regular rules (although this will depend on their age level).
Examples include words that have the letter combination "ough", such as "though", "thought", "tough" and "bough" branch"). Other rare cases include the words "laugh", "caught", "friend", "build", "ocean" ") and" know "(" know ")
Step 6. Visualize voiced and voiceless consonants using rubber bands
Hold an elastic band between your thumbs. Keep them at a short distance to help students understand how a syllable with a voiceless consonant has a short sound. Then spread the rubber band to show how a syllable with a voiced consonant has a longer sound.
- For example, you can keep the rubber band short to pronounce the word "rice" and then extend it to pronounce the word "rise". In both cases, the words end with an S sound, but the S is voiceless in the word "rice" and voiced in the word "rise". Notice how it takes a little longer to pronounce the voiced S and that it has a sound more similar to that of the Z.
- The difference between the short A in "bat" ("bat") and the long A in "base" ("base") can be heard relatively easily. However, it can be more difficult to distinguish between voiceless and voiced consonants.
- Using rubber bands to practice syllable length is a good way to transition from teaching basic sounds to incorporating rhythm and stress.
Part 2 of 4: Practice Rhythm and Accentuation
Step 1. Compare the languages of accentual isochrony and syllabic isochrony
In case you teach English as a second language, you should bear in mind that, in many cases, the native languages of your students will be languages of syllabic isochrony. Mention to your students that they may be used to stressing every word or syllable evenly. Explain that certain words and syllables are stressed in English to convey meaning, focus, and emotion.
For example, in Romance languages (such as French, Spanish, and Italian), speech is fast and words blend into one another with almost no accentuation. In Mandarin, tones and frequency can change the meaning of an individual word, although rhythm and stress have no impact on the message of a statement or the emotions it conveys
Step 2. Describe the differences between content words and function words
Teach your students that content words are essential to the main idea of a sentence. These words are generally accentuated more than functional words. The latter are used for grammatical purposes.
For example, a child might use the content words "Mama, juice!", While a complete and grammatically correct sentence would be "Mama, I want some juice" ("Mama, I want some juice "). In English, the focus word (that is, the word with the most accentuation) is usually the last word of content in a sentence (like "juice" in the case of this example)
Step 3. Use a kazoo as a way to show students how to stress words and syllables
Give them sample sentences in English and, with a kazoo, hum their stress and changes in pitch. This will give clear clues to students who have a hard time recognizing the emphasis and rhythm in speech on its own. Also, students can use their own kazoos to practice accentuation and rhythm.
- For example, you can hum the rhythm of "I'm having a won derful day" and "I'm having a horrible day."
- Also, the kazoo will be helpful when teaching students about ascending and descending intonations in declarative sentences and questions.
Step 4. Show how emphasis can change the meaning of a sentence
Recite a sentence containing the same words but changing the emphasis with each repetition. Explain to students that a change in the stressed word changes the implicit meaning of the sentence.
- For example, "Did you go to the store?" Might imply "I asked you to go to the store and I wanted to know if you carried out this task."
- "Did you go to the store?" It could mean "Did you go to the store or some other place?"
- "Did you go to the store?" Implies "Did you go to the store or was it someone else?"
Part 3 of 4: Teach proper intonation
Step 1. Prove the descending intonation at the end of a declarative sentence
Explain that intonation tends to decline at the end of a complete idea. The speaker lowers his tone to indicate that he has finished making a declarative statement. Hum the intonation of the example sentences using a kazoo to make it easier for students to recognize changes in pitch.
- Declarative sentences affirm or assert something. Imperative sentences give a command and, in these sentences, the intonation is also usually decreasing at the end.
- The other type of prayer is interrogative sentences, which ask questions, and exclamatory sentences, which state something with emotion or enthusiasm. The intonation is usually ascending at the end of these sentences.
Step 2. Explain how the intonation waves after a clause in the middle of the sentence
Demonstrate how the intonation ripples (that is, it rises and falls slightly) to anticipate statements that come after a clause or that follow in a list. Provide examples, such as stand-alone comma-delimited clauses, comma-separated enumeration lists, and phone numbers.
- For example, you could recite, "He bought apples, oranges, and bananas". He exaggerates the way he modules the words "apples" and "oranges" as a way of anticipating the next word on the list and then lowers his tone when saying "bananas" ("bananas") to indicate that you finished the idea.
- This would be a more complex example: "When you go to the store, which is on your way home from work, please buy apples, oranges, and bananas" please buy apples, oranges and bananas "). The intonation flickers subtly in the words "store" and "work" to anticipate the next clauses of the sentence, and it goes up and down as you number the fruits.
Step 3. Show students how intonation rises at the end of a question
Note that in some cases the statements are simple, such as "How was your day?" Or "Will you hold this for me?" However, it is possible for a speaker to end a statement that appears to be declarative with an ascending tone as a way of requesting clarification or making an exclamation.
- For example, while "I should go to the store" sounds like a declarative sentence, a speaker might raise the pitch on the word "store" as a way of saying " Do you want me to go to the store? "
- Also, rising intonation can be a sign of shock, surprise, or confusion. In general, exclamations such as "I am so proud of you!" Or "Get out of the way!" sharp than the regular speech of a speaker. The intonation usually rises suddenly at the end of the exclamation.
Step 4. Provide examples of subtle clues in intonation that express meaning
Mention that speakers might end a question with a lower tone as a way of expressing dissatisfaction or sarcasm. These examples can be subtle, so you can exaggerate the descending pitch or use a kazoo to clearly dial in that lower pitch.
- An example might be "Why did you do that" as if to say "It frustrates me that you did that."
- In the case of "What did they do now", the intonation could be lower and the length of the syllables longer in the word "now", which implies exasperation.
Step 5. Recite the same dialogue in a flat, enthusiastic intonation
To demonstrate the importance of intonation, conduct two versions of a sample dialogue with a student. Ask him to ask you questions, and he responds in a varied and enthusiastic intonation. Then carry out the same dialogue and answer their questions in a flat, disinterested or sarcastic intonation.
- Imagine that the first question is "Are you going to the game?" Explain how one expresses enthusiasm by saying "I am" ("Yes") with an ascending intonation, while responding with a descending intonation, this may indicate disappointment or disinterest.
- Use your facial expressions and body language to clarify how different tones convey emotions.
Part 4 of 4: Explain Bound and Reduced Sounds
Step 1. Describe the sound of the schwa and the role it plays in natural English pronunciation
The schwa has a sound similar to a short U, as in the word "cup" or like the A in the word "about". It is the most common sound in English and its use makes pronunciation sound more natural. Native speakers often use it in place of precise pronunciation, and so it can also be challenging for ESL learners.
- Examples of the schwa include the second O in the word "doctor" ("doctor"), the A in the word "wizard" ("magician") and the E in the word "summer" ("summer").
- The schwa is often used to reduce words and syllables. Point out examples such as "wanna" instead of "want to", "gonna" instead of "going to" and "gotta" instead of "have a" or " have got to "(" have to ").
Step 2. Use magnetic blocks and phonetic writing to explain how words are put together
Write words on magnetic blocks or other sticky objects and then glue the blocks together to demonstrate how vowels and consonants join each other when using the words in a sentence. Also, if you write the sentences phonetically, this will help the students understand the links; that is, the way the words are integrated.
For example, if the same consonant is found at the end of one word and at the beginning of another, it is usually pronounced only once: "Sam made that" or "Sammade that." If a consonant is at the end of a word, it will usually be attached to the vowel that the next word begins with: "Sam made that at school" or "Sammade thatat school"
Step 3. Help students to recognize contractions through listening exercises
You can play various clips from movies, TV and radio shows, podcasts, and other types of media. The examples you choose should use contractions frequently. After you've played a short sample, ask students to identify the contractions they heard.
Students may find it easy to recognize “what’ll” or “they’re” contractions in writing, but it will be more difficult to understand contractions in real conversation
Step 4. Play back recordings to expose students to slang and idioms
Aside from contractions, slang and idioms can also be significantly challenging for second language learners. You should employ a range of media examples to give students a choice of individual and regional peculiarities of the language. You can test their understanding by replaying a part of a recorded conversation and then asking students to respond in their own words.