4 Fun English Pronunciation Exercises to Expand Your Vocabulary
English is a tricky language to master. Hidden sounds and homonyms are just the tip of the language iceberg. The English language features a wide variety of rules that even native speakers find difficult. With English spoken across the globe, though, it is a vital language to understand.
Indeed, with some dedicated study time each day, you can improve your skills and pronunciations in no time. Here are four fun and simple daily English exercises to maximize your language mastery.
1. Tongue Twister Madness
Aside from their nonsensical meanings and hilarious pronunciations, tongue twisters help speakers slow down and enunciate. Because of the importance of stressed syllables in English, tongue twisters are a great way to train yourself on how to use the proper stress points like a native speaker.
Tongue twisters come in many forms. Aside from the classic tongue twisters involving pepper pickers and woodchucks chucking wood, there are plenty of educational examples. For instance:
Betty Botter had some butter, “But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter, it would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter—that would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter, better than her bitter butter,
and she baked it in her batter, and the batter was not bitter.
So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
This tongue twister focuses on the plosive “B.” It forces the reader to enunciate each B-word, without the speech becoming mumbled. Another common tongue twister, “A Proper Cup of Coffee,” does the same for the sounds P, C, and F.
Tongue twisters are a great way to build enunciation skills. After time, they help build native speaking speed and comprehension when talking with others.
Mastering Homophones With Minimal Pairs
A major point of confusion within the English language is the homophone. These are words that sound similar, but have different meanings. Many of these cause grammatical issues, such as “they’re”, “their”, and “there.” Others are downright confusing, such as “read” and “read” (used in the past tense), or “lead” and “lead” (as in the chemical element).
One way to train the mind to understand the differences is through a fun language game. Minimal pairs focus on words that sound similar or identical. Best played with a friend, this game forces the reader to speak slowly to hear the difference between the words.
Not only do minimal pairs help highlight the subtle difference in pronunciation, they also allow speakers to understand others better through enhanced listening skills.
2. The Powers of Pronunciation
Alongside homophones, misused and mispronounced words inject a lot of difficulty into the English language. Even native speakers mispronounce common words and phrases all the time. Common examples include using “except” instead of “accept.” Or, saying “libary” instead of “library.”
One of the best ways to avoid mispronouncing words is to memorize the proper pronunciations. This mispronounced words worksheet is an excellent resource. It features many of the more commonly misspoken English words.
Play this exercise alone or with friends. In the end, you will have memorized common words that even native speakers often have difficulty pronouncing.
3. Rhyming Memory Flashcard Game
Rhyming exercises help teach similar sounds between different words. This helps speakers learn new words through connection. Often, the best way to teach these words is through repetition, and flashcards are perfect tools for repetitious lessons.
Print out this page of flashcards and then cut them out. You now have access to several forms of study. One of the best is the rhyming memory flashcard game. Place the cards face down. Choose one and read it, memorizing the word. Proceed to choose cards until you find the word that rhymes.
While you play, you will remember where the previous cards were. Once you memorize the words, you will be able to match them quickly.
Flashcards are a great way to memorize words and phrases. They force the reader to learn and remember the word. This is superior to recognizing a phrase, as it allows you to learn new words and phrases on your own.
English has many traps for the unsuspecting language learner. However, these handy exercises are fun resources to boost your English skills throughout the day. Wake up with some tongue twisters. Enjoy some rhyme matching at lunch. Involve the family, and have fun with homophones. The possibilities are endless.
Remember this: learning and studying are worthwhile endeavors, especially when you’re having fun doing so.
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