Sunday, September 1, 2013


ELT Blog Carnival - Pronunciation

I am so happy with the turnout of the 34th ELT Blog Carnival! As a teacher I feel horribly ill trained to answer questions about teaching pronunciation in the classroom. Sure, I have a few ideas about using jokes for minimal pairs, but that's about it. I've done my fair share of Googling, but I have always felt that teaching pronunciation was my weakest area. After talking to other teachers, I discovered that many shared my feelings. Hence, when I volunteered to host this month's ELT blog carnival I was eager to get teachers everywhere to pitch in and help out with this tricky subject. Below you'll find an array of blogs on the topic of pronunciation. I hope that they help you feel more confident, as they have helped me grow as a teacher

That's enough chatting from me, let's get to what you came here to see! 18 blogs talking about pronunciation. That's like the whole 9 yards...twice!

To get to the relevant blog posts you can either click on the picture, or the relevant hyperlink in the summary. Enjoy!

These posts cover lesson ideas, or activities that you can use with your students! Be sure to add your own adjustments to the activities or just your general thoughts in their comments.

ESL hip-hop is a blog by Stephen Mayeux. He teaches English as a Second Language at UC Davis Extension and, like many of us, he enjoys music in the classroom, specifically hip hop. A lot of his blogs cover how to use hip hop when teaching pronunciation via a specific hip hop song. Sound discrimination with krs one is a specific lesson which covers a sample activity that shows how to teach sound discrimination (in this case /f/ vs /v/).

Beth Crumpler is a teacher with well over 10 years of experience adapting materials to best fit her students. Her blog post is about a presentation she gave which talked about taking the metaphor of a teacher as a conductor literally. Using a mix of music and teaching techniques she advises teachers on different ways they too can teach pronunciation using music.  If you want to develop your skills to become a master conductor, check it out!  

Nik Peachey's submission is an older blog post that was actually suggested by a teacher on LinkedIn. I tracked down Nik, who was glad that it was still useful, and happily contributed to the carnival. Nik has been in the ELT world for 20 years and is known for integrating technology into his lessons.  This post discusses using poetry and technology to help students practice pronunciation. Read more here.

  English central also submitted an older blog filled with  Pronunciation Tips. The blog includes a video with Janet Goodwin from UCLA who talks about different techniques she uses in her pronunciation classes. She covers things like reductions, modeling, etc. In specific, the post discusses how students were given their own minute to "own" and transcribe. Students were given additional activities using that minute of authentic English including recording it themselves. For more details you can view the blog here.

Danielle is a language teacher who has just started up her own blog! Before that she was so eager to participate in the carnival that she wrote a guest blog! Through the last 19 years she has taught a variety of levels including children, adolescents and adults from different countries: Mauritius, Maldives, India, France, Latvia, Russia, Italy and South Africa. She is currently an online tutor who has experience with children as well as adults. This means if you want the fun of an child's lesson with the practicality of an adult's lesson, then you should check out her post with a fun activity to help adult students practice the two different sounds th makes found here.

Vicki Hollet knows that many learners will comment on British vs American pronunciation. Here's a blog with an easy video to show your students just some of the differences. If you wait until the end (or read the description in YouTube) there's also an invitation to a free webinar on the topic. The blog also includes a free transcript for you so you can make your own worksheets to use with your learners looking to master one of the accents. If this seems like something you are interested in you can read more here.

Marsha Chan is currently at Mission College in California (as a California native, I approve). Her blog discusses getting students to practice vowel length with the use of a rubber band. I admit that I've heard about  using a rubber band to help with pronunciation , but I've never seen it before. Marsha's blog is easy to follow and includes three videos (and a link to others!) as well as an explanation of why and how to use these simple tools. You can see for yourself at her blog. 
Carissa Peck (yes that's me) is currently teaching at ITESM in Mexico and loves to laugh! This post is simply a collection of jokes which use elision. Teachers can use these jokes as examples when breaching the topic of connected speech with their students. This makes the rather intimidating topic seem more lighthearted and less droll. If you love to laugh, then your students probably do too! Click this link to go directly to the blog and get your daily dose of chuckles.

I hope that reading these blogs will give you insights that can help you feel more prepared to teach the topic of pronunciation. I invite you to share your own views by commenting on them and letting the author know what you think! 
Hugh Dellar has been teaching for 20 years! In addition to teaching he has co-written two textbooks. He wrote an interesting blog post on how pronunciation classes aren't really about teaching students proper pronunciation, rather those classes are about helping students learn to be better listeners.He discusses the physical aspects of pronunciation (how it is in essence a motor exercise) and says that it is OK if students don't show marked improvement immediately because really during pronunciation lessons we are practicing how to listen. For the whole article click here.  

Saundz (an accent reduction app) hosted this blog about The Long and Short Vowels of English by Jennifer Collins. This starts off by giving some examples that students struggle with in class. It continues to make the word geek in me happy by giving the history of the vowels and why some are long and some are short (it even touches on why we call them "long" and "short" vowels). Finally it gives a list of things to keep in mind when teaching these tricky vowels with students. Check it out here.
If you are new to teaching pronunciation Peggy has a blog post that really breaks down the steps you can choose to use when teaching while comparing the process to cooking! Peggy has taught ESL and EFL in the U.S., Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, and Mexico and now is primarily an accent coach. She starts by setting up a clear foundation for learners (with links and activities they can practice on their own), using the element of surprise, and practicing practicing practicing. To read more about her set up check out how to Teach Pronunciation Effectively, Efficiently, Confidently.

Connected speech is one of my favorite aspects of teaching pronunciation. Rachael (who has been teaching English for over 20 years) wrote this amazing blog which is a great resource! It goes over the different types of connected speech as well as the different ways to teach them (including helpful tips). This is really a must read for anyone wondering how to implement pronunciation practice into the classroom or teachers unaware of connected speech. If that sounds like you, check out helping students with connected speech

The Internet can be a big and scary place. Luckily we don't have to explore it alone. These blogs all focus on helping teachers find the best sites to use as resources when teaching pronunciation. If you love their list, be sure to leave them a comment telling them! 
No ELT Blog Carnival would be complete without an entry from Larry Ferlazzo! This is an "oldie but goodie" from 2008 and lists his TOP TEN resources for teaching pronunciation to Beginning and Early Intermediate English Language Learners.  Even though it is a top ten list, it also includes suggestions from other people making the list closer to twenty than ten. Check out some of the suggestions here.

Bárbara P. García Roberti has been teaching since the early 1990s! She's a big fan of sharing resources and has this great post filled with 10 different sites she has used with great success for teaching pronunciation. The list includes interactive IPA charts, Pronunciation Podcasts, Minimal Pair Practice and more! You too can check out these ten great sites, just click here.

David Deubelbeiss is a name that you are probably familiar with if you have spent any time looking into Web 2.0 and English. He comes to us with another blog post that is a golden oldie on pronunciation resources. Unlike the other lists of multiple sites he focuses on just one. His post goes over a great pronunciation resource in great deal including how to get to it, how to use it, and why it rocks. If you are looking to be amazing at the wonders of the Internet check out this post here
Eva Buyuksimkesyan hosted the last blog carnival about music. This time around she didn't have time to write anything current, but she managed to pull a great older post from her past. This post briefly talks about different activities you could do in class and then gives some amazing links. Make sure to read the comments when you read it here too! 
Claudie's blog tracks her time through a pronunciation course she took. She includes links to sites she found interesting and helpful.  She wrote a special blog for this carnival on the five quirkiest pronunciation resources she's every come across. Interested in what she chose? You can read all five here.

Annie Ruden is a licensed and certified Speech Language Pathologist who currently specializes in accent reduction. Her blog post discusses her opinion that EFL teachers (and learners) could really benefit from the wisdom speech pathologists have to offer. One of her suggestions is that teachers use online curriculum developed by speech pathologists to supplement their own teaching. If this interests you read her blog!

So there we go, an easy list of 18 different blogs to help you become a pro at pronunciation classes!

If you participated, thank you SO much for being a part of this carnival. Now's the fun part. You can share the link. You can comment on the blogs. Best of all, you can be inspired by different teachers and adapt ideas to best fit your students.
Be sure to keep your eyes on the ELT Blog Carnival's home page so you can participate in the next one.


  1. Hi Carissa,

    This carnival rocks and I think will become a "go to" for learning about how to teach pronunciation. Just browsing the posts this time - seems like the best of the best.

    Thanks for hosting and appreciate you great reviews of each post!


    1. It was fun getting to read everyone's contributions! Thanks for all your help forwarding contributions and contributing yourself.

  2. Great to read this. Thanks for including my blog.

    1. Thanks again for letting us use it. It is surely a great addition!

  3. Carissa..indeed the Carnival really rocks!!!!
    I am taking time and pleasure reading each of them.
    So many interesting and meaningful ideas and strategies about Pronunciation.
    It's true that loads of us are not really concentrated on the Pronunciation practice, but it was brilliant idea for this carnival!!!
    Keep up dearest, I'm with you!!!
    And thank you again for that amazing initiative.
    Cheers...Viva The ELT Blog Carnival

    1. Thanks again for contributing your post. You are right so many students struggle with the "th"

  4. Great job Carissa :)
    As I said pronunciation is a bit neglected in my classes but now I have great ideas. Thanks a lot.

    1. I still feel it is my weakest area, but at least now it has a fighting chance!

  5. I'm so happy you've identified an often overlooked area of ELT. Thanks for collecting all of these practical and creative activities! And many thanks for including my blog, too :-) Stay in touch!!

  6. I'm so happy you've identified an often overlooked area of ELT. Thanks for organizing the Carnival and also for including my lesson! Let's stay in touch and exchange more ideas on pronunciation.

    1. I really feel like I am actually quasi-confident about this stuff now. I'll be in touch!

  7. This is an amazing Carnival. Thanks for organizing it!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to check it out Alex!

  8. The sites here are amazing. I'm bookmarking and going to use them as a point of reference for pronunciation. You are right, pronunciation is often overlooked. Thanks for thinking of it Thanks again Carissa for including my post.

  9. Carissa these are amazing. I'm going to bookmark this and use it as a point of reference to show other teachers as well. Thanks for working on this and thanks again for including my post.

    1. Again! Thank you so much for your contribution. I really appreciate the time and effort you have put into your writing and sharing this post with others :)

  10. I'm proud we are a part of it.
    Thank you for coming up with such a great idea!

    Looking forward to the next one ;)


    1. Thanks again for participating! Without such great writers I would have just had my own boring blog; this was MUCH better!

  11. Hi, Great post! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful sites. If you or your readers are interested in the RP British accent pronunciation, then you may find my blog of interest. Its:
    Thanks once again

    1. So glad you liked it Alison. I hope that some of my readers find your blog helpful!

  12. Wow Carissa! This is such an awesome list. This will definitely eat my time in a good way. I'm really looking forward to reading all the blogs here. Thanks for summarizing links about pronunciation. I will definitely use this in my pronunciation lessons.

    1. Sally I am SO glad that you enjoyed it! Let me know if you manage to use any of these in your lessons!


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