Pronunciation Games

french girl speaking english with an accent
11 Apr Shelley Vernon 2 Comments

*First a calm listening game for any class size:

Pronunciation Hands Up


How to play


This listening game works with phonemes or pronunciation. The teacher repeats a word several times and then unexpectedly changes to another word using a different phoneme. Pick words that students have difficulty with.


The teacher says ‘lorry, lorry, lorry, lorry, lolly, lolly, lolly, lolly, lorry, lorry, lorry’. When the students hear the change, they raise their hands. When the change reverts to lorry, students lower their hands.


With a small group do this in pairs and award points to the first student to put his or her hand up. Deduct points for hands going up before the change!


With a bigger class, split students into teams. Count the number of times you say ‘lolly’ before all students on that team have their hands up. Repeat with team 2 and award the point to the team that was fastest.


• A big challenge is to let the students take over from you with the speaking. This certainly encourages them to focus on how they pronounce words.


• Try ship and sheep with Spanish students, pass and path with French pupils and lorry or lolly with Japanese learners.

Examples of words to compare and contrast in this game


Ship and sheep

Sink and think (th)

Eat and heat (h)

Earth and hers (th and s)

Right and light (r and l)

Cat and cart

Hour and are

Tail and tell

Bill and pill (b and p)


Now for a calm speaking game for any class size

child can't pronounce words so his tongue is twisted!


Pronunciation Pictures


How to play


Put a selection of words or pictures on the board in contrasting pairs or groups that you know your class have trouble with. Then, in pairs, let one child tell the other what to draw from those on the board. The children will understand how important accurate pronunciation is if their partner draws something different to what they thought they said! For example, a Japanese student may have difficulty saying lorry and lolly, so these would be two words or pictures to put up on the board.


If you write a selection of totally unrelated sounds, this activity will not be so effective. The idea is to put up very similar-sounding words so that children have to concentrate on saying them correctly so that their partner draws the correct item.


This can be a one-off activity or an ongoing one. The pictures could go on the walls, and the children add to them any time they think of another matching word.


Other blog posts on pronunciation:

Teaching-English: Will I ever improve my pronunciation?



Wonderful games! I'll try them with my adult students. They're always worried about pronunciation and they love playing as well
Thank you a lot for all your wonderful ideas, dear Shelley!!

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