KT for Chinese Speakers

esl-studentsHere’s help for Chinese speakers to get a more American English sound.  When consonantsc” (k) and “t” are in the middle of a word (like “practice”), or between two words in a phrase. (like “take two”), hold out the vowel just before the “k” sound, then make a gentle, quiet “k” linked to the “t”.

DO NOT fully pronounce the ‘k’ sound or it will sound like pra  KA  tice (practice) or da KA tor (doctor).

Listen to the audio here.

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practice

pra——>  ktis

doctor

do——-> ktor

active

a——-> ktiv

factor

fa——>kter

Free printable list of KT words here.

 

 

Understanding Can and Can’t

Understanding Can & Can'tA student in English Pronunciation class asked how to make “can” and “can’t” different, because when she hears Americans use these words it’s hard to tell them apart! Sometimes you hear the T on “can’t”, but not always.  There is an easier way to know the difference:

When we use “can” (affirmative), the vowel often gets reduced, and sounds like “kin” or “kun”.

But with “can’t” (negative), the vowel never gets reduced.  It always sounds like a short A sound.

“I can [kin] do it.” “Can [kin] you call me?” “We can [kin] go.”

“I can’t [kant] do it.” “Can’t [kant] you call me?” “We can’t [kant] go.”

 

 

 

 

Pronunciation Apps & Internet Resources

Pronunciation Apps Listening Resources imageBe sure to use your tablet or computer for additional help with Pronouncing English. The following resources (free or cheap) focus on the North American English pronunciation.

MacMillan The Pronunciation App (free) This features words using the sounds of English with IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet).  It has practice and quizzes for reading, writing and listening.

K12Phonemes (free) Learn the sounds of English with sounds and words, plus a nice video of a real person speaking.

Sounds of Speech  ($3.00) This is from the Iowa Phonetics project.  You’ll see and hear sounds of English with a video illustration of the mouth saying the sounds/words.  The app is $2.99.  You can access the program for free with your laptop by going to the University of Iowa Phonetics home (available on a computer or laptop only, not a tablet.)

Dragon Dictation (free) Set it to American English. and the Dragon Dication computer program will try to recognize and turn your spoken sentence into printed text.  See how well you’re pronouncing English!

Here are free resources for listening.  Audio is in beginner, intermdiate and advanced levels, many with audio transcripts.

  1. Randall’s Listening Lab http://www.esl-lab.com/
  2. English Listening https://www.englishlistening.com/
  3. Many Things http://www.manythings.org/elllo/
  4. Talk English http://www.talkenglish.com/listening/listenbasic.aspx
  5. Agenda Web http://www.agendaweb.org/listening/intermediate_advanced.html
  6. Rong-Chang Listening http://www.rong-chang.com/listen.htm

Keep up the good work learning English!

Tongue Twister Fun

Tongue Twisters ESL English PronunciationTongue Twisters are poems that are tricky to pronounce, even for native speakers!

Trying to say a tongue twister poem fast often has hilarious results!  But they can be very good practice when you say them slowly.  Here are a few of my favorites: She Sells Seashells, Peter Piper and How Much Wood?

  • She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • The shells she sells are surely seashells.
  • So if she sells shells by the seashore,
  • I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Hear the audio clip She Sells Seashells.

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  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,
  • Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Hear the audio clip Peter Piper.

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  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
  • If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Hear the audio clip How Much Wood?

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Click here for a free printable worksheet – Tongue Twisters

Online Pronouncing Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary OnlineYou have a lot of choices with online dictionaries these days! I really like the Cambridge Dictionary Online which has an audio clip, often with both the British and the American pronunciation of words.

Access it on your computer or laptop here:

Cambridge Dictionary Online

See the free app in the app store (iPad and iPhone products) here:

Cambridge Dictionary App

There’s an app for that!

Check it out today.

 

 

Different Ways We Pronounce T

Different Ways We Pronounce American TIn American English, we have several ways we pronounce T in words, as well as sentences.

Beginning T in a word is always fully pronounced – ten, take, table

T in sentences, or in the middle or end of a word is reduced, and sounds more like a D, or it disappears altogether  –  water = wader, twenty = twenny

T with a Y sound is more like CH – nature + nachur, get you = getchu

Click for a free printable worksheet with T practice words, and click for the audio clip for practice. 

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Learn these different ways we pronounce T in English and you’ll improve your speaking and listening.

 

OR and ER Words with Tricky Spelling

How to Pronounce OR ER wordsStop relying on spelling to help you pronounce English words.  You must listen to native speakers.

Spelling rules were laid on top of spoken English so that we could tell the difference between to, two and too.  But they can be rather arbitrary and you must tune up your ears!  LISTEN to native speakers and imitate what you hear.

These words are all pronounced like ER (as in her or were) even though they are spelled with or:

  • worm
  • word
  • work
  • worry
  • worth
  • worthy
  • worship
  • world
  • doctor
  • actor
  • vendor

Hear the ER words here.

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These words are all pronounced like OR (as in for or more) even though they are spelled with ar:

  • war
  • warm
  • warn
  • ward
  • wart
  • wharf
  • warp
  • Warren

Hear the OR words here.

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S Family of Sounds Pronunciation Lessons

S Family of Sounds_English Pronunciation_ LessonsThis post is a collection of resources for the S Family of English Sounds.  You’ll learn about the correct way to pronounce English

S  Z  SH  ZH  CH and J

 

My Korean students have a hard time with these sounds, often substituting one for another.  This makes it very hard to understand their English.  But other foreign-born speakers of English need to learn these 6 different English sounds also.  Many of the resources also have audio and free printable handouts to practice the words.    I hope you enjoy these resources!

S Family – Tricky Words

S Family – Advanced Practice

S Family – Simplified

S Family of Sounds

J Sound in “Orange Juice”

Z Sound in “Wizard of Oz”

English ZH Sound

ZH – The French Sound in English

Z and ZH

 

 

Reducing Words with i – Audio

Reducing Words with i - audioSounding more like a native American speaker takes practice and our pronunciations lessons this month included practicing

reducing multi-syllabic words with “i”. 

Words like “president” and “silicon” would have a reduced “i” – that is the “i” in the weak syllable of each word would be reduced to an “uh” sound.

president  sounds like pre suh dent

silicon sounds like si  luh  con

accident acc   sə   dent
amplify am     plə fy
animal an     ə   məl
beautiful beau   tə ful
California cal     ə   for nia
capital cap ə təl
carnival car   nə   vəl
centipede cent     ə peed
dedicate de     də   cate
difficult dif   ə cult
episode ep     ə sode
fascinate fas     ə nate
festival fest   ə val
fortify for   tə   fy
halibut hal   ə bət
hesitate hes   ə tate
hurricane hurr     ə cane
indicate in     də cate
minister min   ə ster
monitor mon   ə tər
obligate o     blə gate
pelican pel   ə can
president pres   ə dent
primitive prim   ə tive
sacrifice sa  crə fice
satisfy sa   təs fy
sediment sed   ə   ment
silicon sil     ə   cən
similar sim   ə lər
terminal term   ə nəl
terminate term   ə nate
testify tes     tə fy
vertical ver     tə   cal

Get a free printable of these practice words for reducing words with i.

Listen to the audio here.

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And as always, keep up the good work learning and speaking English!