Do you know why it is so important to practice pronunciation of English sounds – preferably at the very start of learning a language?
We need correct pronunciation to be understood. In English sometimes only the longitude of the sound distinguishes words of different meanings: remember for example words “sheep” and “ship”.
That’s why we should learn the correct pronunciation as early as possible, so that later you do not have to retrain.
In English there are some complex sounds that have no analogs in other foreign languages. So how to deal with them? How to teach your child to pronounce them correctly?
First of all, don’t worry! It is difficult for adults’ articulatory apparatus but for children learning new sounds is much easier. Especially if the training is not a boring obligation, but a fun game!
Today let’s learn the most complex sounds of English:
TH: [?] or [ð]
The literal combination “TH” is one of the most common in English. It can be read as dull sound [?] as in the word “thanks” and sonorous sound [ð] as in the word “that”. Both are articulated in the same way, that means that lips and tongue stay in the same position.
But these sounds have no analogs in other foreign languages and that is where the difficulty lies. Though there is the concept of “lisping” and it will help us.
Do you remember the sloth Sid from the cartoon “Ice Age” who cried “I’m so young to die!”?
Try to say the word “so” with your child. Please note that when you pronounce the sound [s], the tongue is behind your teeth. Now place the tip of your tongue between your teeth and say it again: “so”. Do you hear? This is the sound we need!
You can come up with a little funny fairy tale: “Once upon a time there was a little rabbit (tongue) who was afraid of everything, so he always sat in his house (in the mouth). But one day he decided to show the tip of the nose from his house (we stick the tip of the tongue between the teeth). First, he uttered a quiet [?], but then he became brave and leaned out more, and it turned out already sonorous [ð] ”.
And here is a game you can play. Imagine that you are an old goose, which stretches its neck, trying to scare everyone, but succeeds only in hissing. Learn this funny poem with your child, so you will be able to work out the right pronunciation and just have fun:
An old grey goose am I.
Th! Th! Th!
I stretch m? neck and cry
At puppies passing by!
I like to make them cry!
Th! Th! Th!
When puppies jump and run
Th! Th! Th!
I think it’s a lot of fun!
I’m sure they’d like to be
An old grey goose like me!
Th! Th! Th!
Do not expect that everything will turn out perfect right away, this sound is really difficult, it takes time to work it out.
Novakid school teachers also highly recommend tongue twisters. Here are the best for practicing sounds [?] or [ð]:
He threw three balls.
This is the sixth zebra snoozing thoroughly.
Thirty three thousand people think that this Thursday is their thirtieth birthday.
Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not. Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be not. We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, whether whether we like it or not.
Practice regularly and then your child will learn to pronounce even the most difficult English sounds clearly!
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