Number one for English language teachers

Pronunciation skills: Off the map sounds /ɔː/ /æ/ and /e/

Type: Article, Reference material Video material

How can you teach pronunciation without using any sounds? In this video, Adrian helps show us by using mime to introduce us to some ‘off the map’ sounds and demonstrates us how we can identify sounds in relations to their neighbours on the phonetic chart.

Tip 1 /ɔː/ Same sound, different spelling

This phoneme is one of the vowel sounds that can be spelt in a number of different ways. When teaching it, show students the various vowel clusters that can produce this sound and then practise drilling the pronunciation with them. When you are happy that they have mastered the sound, put them in small groups and see if they can come up with more examples of words which contain the same vowel groupings and produce the same sound.

  • oa – abroad
  • ough - thought
  • a – water
  • aw - law
  • au – auction
  • or - north
  • ar - war
  • al - talk
  • oor - door
  • ore - more
  • our - four

Tip 2 /æ/ Words beginning with…

An excellent way to practise short vowel sounds is simply to ask your students to come up with a list of words that begin with that sound and also have the word stress on the initial syllable. Try modelling the sound first and getting your students to repeat it. Then ask them if they can think of any words that begin with that sound. If they can, board them and drill the word with the whole class. If they are not able to come up with any words, give them some suggestions (see below) and get them to practise together.

  • animal
  • angry
  • alligator
  • aspect
  • accent
  • ant
  • apple

Tip 3 /e/ Find the words which…

This is a simple but effective way to help students start to identify this sound. It also helps raise their aware that the letter ‘e’ does not always produce the phonetic sound /e/. On the board, draw a table (like the one below but with the answers highlighted) and ask students to work in pairs and identify the word on each line containing the /e/ sound.

    

serve

free

every

helpful

breath

before

recall

fiend

verb

earth

determined

elephant

prefer

slept

university

respond

earn

revise

dense

pretty

were

beggar

women

dessert

learner

her

extra

longest

behave

eatery

heard

leopard

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