I am a strong advocate of the physical approach to pronunciation teaching. I mean, how can you pronounce a sound if you have no idea about what’s involved in the process? Articulation comes first, and only then it is followed by imitation. So if you want to teach pronunciation physically and visually, here is the list of 10 invaluable resources for you to use:
- Introduction to Articulatory Phonetics: Vowels and Consonants.
These are two short but informative videos aimed at teachers and linguistics students that give you insight into how vowels and consonants are articulated.
- Seeing Speech
This is a product of collaboration between researchers at six Scottish universities, including my alma mater, Edinburgh University. The sounds on this website are visualised in three different ways: MRI, ultrasound, and animation. This is a great tool to use in class.
- SPAN: Speech Production and Articulation Knowledge Group
This is a project similar to the one above. Some differences are: MRI only; separate words and sentences are recorded as well.
- Tools for Clear Speech and Sounds of Speech
These are two different resources for animated versions of English IPA sounds. Both of them are using American English, which means that some vowel sounds are missing though.
- Interactive Pronunciation Animations
This one is good for introducing the sounds of British English to young learners. Funny cartoons contextualise each sound and make it memorable.
- English Club’s Learn English Pronunciation
This page offers a range of resources, from an interactive phonemic chart to various pronunciation games, that will keep your students engaged.
- The Sounds of English
This is basically a ready-made British English pronunciation course on YouTube. Not a single sound is missing! What I like the most about these pronunciation videos is that they focus on contrasting sounds and minimal pairs as well. Can be used both in class and at home.
Good for practising minimal pairs and getting ready-to-use lessons on American English pronunciation.
This is an amazing website that lets you listen to the pronunciation of whole sentences, not just single words. You can search for any phrase, e.g. a famous movie quote or just some common everyday expression, and listen to all possible pronunciations. Other resources you can use for this purpose are TubeQuizard and Playphrase.me (the second one is limited to three phrases per search).
- Tongue Twister Database
I personally think that tongue twisters are a great way of practising pronunciation, from single sounds to the features of connected speech to stress and rhythm. This is probably the biggest tongue twister database out there.
- BONUS! A 15-minute morning pronunciation practice with the amazing Hadar Shemesh. As someone who is taking singing classes and studied drama and acting (for a short while though), I know that your vocal apparatus needs to be warmed up before you can use it fully. This video introduces a range of exercises for the muscles involved in speech articulation. A tip from me: don’t resist yawning – it’s unavoidable!
Know any other useful resources? Give me a shout, and I’ll add them to the list 🙂
Have a question? Get in touch, and I’ll help you out 🙂
10 thoughts on “My Top-10 Resources for Teaching Pronunciation Physically and Visually”
I like Sounds: The Pronunciation App because it includes an interactive phonemic chart for American English in addition to the traditional British one.
Hi Martin, thank you for leaving a comment.
Oh yeah, I know this app! I used to have it on my phone for some time until I needed to free up some space. I feel like I want to explore it again though.
Martin, that link doesn’t work for me…can you check it? Thanks!
Unfortunately it looks like the app has been discontinued. 😦 It doesn’t appear on Google Play either.
Great article! These are fantastic resources for students and teachers alike. I like to use the Pronuncian app for my students since I teach American English.
Hi Jamje, I’m glad you liked it!
Lina, I know you attended the PSLLT conference. There was a good “teaching tip” from Lara Wallace about using physicality to indicate stressed, unstressed, and reduced stress for various syllables. You might like it. It’s a very simple technique. I loved it. (I can’t remember the title of it, but if you search Lara’s name, you’ll find it…it’s a descriptive title) Thanks for all these tools!
I recommend, in addition, the Color Vowel Chart and its applications. Best thing I’ve ever found (and there is a British version, though I don’t know too much about it.)
Hi Liz, it’s great to see you here! I’ll definitely watch Lara’s teaching tip. I’ve been to her other presentation but no the teaching tip one.
I’m not sure I’m fit for writing about the Color Vowel Chart as I’ve never used it myself and can’t possibly evaluate its advantages and disadvantages. So I’ll leave it to those teachers who’ve been using it and can provide a more experience-based account 🙂