Number one for English language teachers

Pronunciation skills: Monophthongs and consonants

Type: Article, Reference material Video material

In this video, Adrian provides a handy overview of the monophthong sounds and provides a brief guided tour of the consonant sounds, showing how each sound relates to its neighbour on the chart and how it is produced in the mouth.

Tip 1 monophthongs

Explain to your students that monophthongs are single vowel sounds produced by air escaping through the mouth. They are all voiced (this means the vocal chords vibrate to cause the sound) and they are distinguished from each other by the shape and position of the jaw, lips and tongue. To help your students practise each monophthong, demonstrate the jaw, lip and tongue position needed to produce each sound and then encourage them to try and think of high frequency words which use this sound either in beginning, middle or end position.

Tip 2 consonants Minimal pairs

The major difficulty that many students encounter with consonant sounds is confusing minimal pairs, sounds that are similar and can be tricky for various nationalities to pronounce. To solve this issue, try to practise these sounds together so you can model the difference, giving examples of each sound and words using each sound.

/b/ and /v/ berry very

/b/ and /p/ buy pie

/l/ and /r/ liver river

/k/ and /g/ came game

/f/ and /v/ fan van

/f/ and /θ/ free three

/s/ and /θ/ sink think

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