Which sound do you make when you’re having a massage? And what is the noise of having a whole orange in your mouth? In this video, Adrian answers these unusual questions and uses mime to help demonstrate the physicality of each sound.

Tip 1 /ɑː/ and /ʌ/

Long sounds and short sounds: pronunciation chain

One way to help students improve their pronunciation of vowel sounds is to help them differentiate between long and short sounds. This can be applied to specific sounds but also to all long and short sounds. A good game is to split the class into two teams and give both teams a list of both long and short sounds. Give them 5 minutes to try and divide the sounds up into different phonemes then call out a sound and each group must pick a word using that vowel sound, long or short. Continue so teams can build their chain of words. The team with the longest chain wins. If a team gets the answer wrong, they must go back and start their chain again.

Long soundsShort sounds

daughter, call, heart, laugh, four, teeth, large, horse, aunt, thought, archer, bath, door, water, scarf, leave, turn, taught, horse, bird, teach, mean, sharp, shirt, turn, boot, tree, spoon, class, warm, grass, heart, lose, girl, talk, choose, week, word, sleep, green, seat, feel, soon, fast

letter, sun, fish, son, many, spell, clock, cat, egg, kiss, bed, sick, met, wish, leg, bad, sit, dead, red, mum, six, very, luck, fun, carry, bit, lips, head, much, since, hot, fit, sub, cut, desk, box, wet, fact, test, hat, ugly, nut, cot, gaff, ship, pen, job, ladder, stress, blood, hymn, fat, back

Tip 2 /ɒ/

The odd one out

Pronunciation of vowel sounds is often easier for students when they can see each sound compared to other sounds. A good way to do this is through an old favourite: odd one odd. Make a list of words, three with the same sound and one without and get the students to pick the odd one out. This is also good because it enables students to see that different spellings can produce the same sound. With more advanced students, you can ask them to make the lists for each other.