Tag: Pronunciation

Pronunciation of the Schwa Sound
Pronunciation of the Schwa Sound

The schwa sound is the most frequent sound in English. It appears in nearly every word, therefore, it is of paramount importance that students can hear and produce this sound correctly. To help them I have prepared this post. You will find several exercises to help your students produce and hear the schwa sound.

<!– wp:more –>


Schwa Sound – video

At the beginning of the lesson, play the following video by BBC Learning English. The formation of the sound is explained and demonstrated here. Moreover, you can practise the sound too.

Display the following picture and explain the position of the tongue and lips. The lips are opened but not too much and the tongue is relaxed in its natural position.
Give your students a chance to produce the sound.

Schwa sound picture

Schwa – listening

Here you can find a series of exercises to tune your learners´ ears to the sound. In the first exercise, students listen and count how many schwa sounds they hear.

In the second exercise, students listen and write the sentences they hear.

Schwa sound – speaking

Print the following exercise. Students fold the paper in the middle and they underline the places where they expect the schwa sound. Then play the recording and ask the students to check their answers. In the end, the students open the worksheet and check their answers.

Schwa sound worksheet

The recording of the story is here:

Then ask the students to read the text aloud and check that they use the schwa sound.

I hope you find this post useful. If you would like to see more of our pronunciation posts, go to the voiceless TH sound over here.

Pronunciation: Voiceless TH sound
Pronunciation: Voiceless TH sound

If you do not know a sound, your brain filters it out when you hear someone using it. That is why it is crucial to teach sounds that do not exist in students’ mother tongue. Moreover, Adrian Tennant at www.onestopenglish.com claims that you should learn to hear and say the new sounds at the same time as the fact that you can produce the given sound makes it simpler for you to hear it. Ideal for this is the book Ship or Sheep. But the book is rather expensive and so you can try out similar exercises here which are free.
[showmyads] The aim of this post is to teach the pronunciation of the sound /θ/ which is the voiceless realisation of th. You can find here a video, a mind map and two difficult exercises to practise the voiceless th sound /θ/. Are you ready? So, let’s start.

Voiceless th sound – video

At BBC learning English there are wonderful videos with pronunciation explanations and demonstrations. Here you can see the BBC video:

Source: BBC learning English http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/sounds/con_voiceless_6.shtml

Voiceless th sound – mind map

Here is a simple mind map explaining the production of the voiceless th sound.
[showmyads] th voiceless sound_mind map
If you find the picture of the mouth showing the production of the TH sound too small here is the same picture again in a bigger size:
voiceless th sound

Voiceless th sound – games

Now that you understand the theory and you can at least partially produce the voiceless th sound, it is time to test your ears. There are two games here in which you should recognise the correct sounds /s/, /f/ and /θ/. It is not going to be easy 🙁
The first game is a bit easier. First listen to the demonstration of the different sounds and then listen and complete the sentences with the correct words. If you pass the test you can play the game called Math Pop. But you have to pass the test first :-).

Voiceless th sound – Math pop

The second game is slightly more difficult. You will hear five sentences each time and you have to decide which sequence you have heard. If you pass this test you can reward yourself with the game called Angry finches. Good luck.

Voiceless th sound – Angry Finches