Judy's Pronunciation Clubs Continue

I made this website for the wonderful students who participated in my "Pronunciation Clubs" at United International College in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, where the students are taking all of their college courses in English. I was privileged to work with approximately 100 students who attended three different hour-long clubs held twice a week for five weeks. Many also took advantage of the 28 half-hour individual or small group sessions scheduled each week.

Judy's Clubs focused only on "speaking" American English. Of course there is much more to learning English than working on pronunciation. Although we did learn several new vocabulary words, we did not focus on building vocabulary or on reading, writing, or understanding, skills that are all very important parts of learning another language.

I hope you continue to practice pronunciation using the many practice materials we worked on in our classes. Two pieces of equipment that might help you are 1) a small mirror to watch your pronunciation, and 2) a device that helps you listen to what you are saying. You can buy a small mirror for 1 or 2 RMB. I found a good one in a shop near the Dragon Union. Watch your mouth as you say each sound, comparing how you are saying the sound with how American speakers say the sound. You can make one of the listening devices by going to a shop where they sell plumbing (PCV) pipe. There are many shops in Tanjia. Have them cut a piece of pipe about three inches long and buy two elbow joints that have the same size opening as the pipe to attach to each end. I paid about 18 RMB for one, but maybe you are better at bargaining than I am! Hold one end next to your ear and talk into the other end. This device is very good at helping you listen to how you are saying the sounds.

Now that I have returned to the United States, I hope this page of websites will help you to continue working on pronunciation of American English. Use the following websites to practice American English pronunciation on your own or with your friends who were part of my clubs. There are pictures of some of you below. Email me sometime to tell me how you are doing! (Judy Kuster)

Below are pictures of many good websites to use. The live links to the pages listed are marked with

Pinyin table with the four tones in Mandarin Chinese combining initial consonants and final vowels. Nice audio that helped me understand some of the pronunciation differences combining Mandarin Chinese and American English!

Common problems between American English and the Chinese language that helped me focus on several specific problem areas.

Phonetics: The Sounds of American English - the sounds of spoken language. Choose American English - shows an animation with audio how each sound is produced by itself. Puts each sound into a word beginning, middle and end positions with a person demonstrating how the sound looks on the lips and sounds.

  • Eric Johnson's IPA Charts - hear how all phonetic symbols are pronounced.

    English Pronunciation/Listening includes MANY interactive lesson plans and worksheets introducing several sounds second language learners have problems with in English, including lessons for the two "th" sounds; "l" and "r"; /i/ and /I/; "s" "sh" and "ch"; "v" and "w"; and many more

    Authentic American Pronunciation has words with all the sounds of American English, pronounced clearly as well as many other practice lessons

    Judy pronounces words and provides a sentence for each of the American English vowel sounds.

    mid-sagittal sections and IPA transcriptions - by Daniel Currie Hall

    "American" Clear Speech Sounds has good illustrations and exercises

    Videos and information on how to pronounce English sounds with practice words for each sound

    English Sounds and Functional phrases - video lessons on YouTube.

    pronunication of American English vowels

    several pages of minimal pair words illustrated with audios provided

    English Club: Vowels in seat and sit with audio examples to practice

    practice in LISTENING to American English - choose the correct word from minimal pairs presented

    Minimal pairs for English - by John Higgins is a great site for finding minimal pairs for both vowels and consonant sounds

    listening for stress patterns and other pronunciation strategies

    Intonation - British English with some helpful audio files of intonation patterns

    Listen and Repeat Machine for daily practice to improve your intonation, rhythm and pronunciation.

    A couple examples from ESL Teachers

    Examples of American radio talk shows from all 50 U.S. states to hear some of the different American dialects

    Script and audio for more advanced practice. Read out loud pronouncing as the reader pronounces:

    Two spots on the internet that will pronounce words for you

  • Phonemic Inventories Across Languages

    Some places to look for idioms online

  • English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions (www.learn-english-today.com/idioms/idioms_proverbs.html) lists idioms used in everyday conversational English, with their meaning.

  • American English Idioms (http://funeasyenglish.com/american-english-idioms.htm) from FunEasyEnglish

  • Pocket English Idioms provides an alphabetical dictionary with keywords in the idiom and a sentence illustrating the idiom. (www.GoEnglish.com/EnglishIdiomsPhrasesLearningDictionaryKeywordsIndex.asp)

  • Idiom Site (www.idiomsite.com/) lists many common idioms and their metaphorical meanings.

  • Learning Idioms (www.authorstream.com/Presentation/Breezy-18084-idioms1-Glowing-Stars-Presents-Idioms-Meaning-call-IDIOM-think-drawing-represents-as-Entertainment-ppt-powerpoint/) match idioms with their metophorical meanings and identify idiom drawings.

  • Self-Study Idiom Quizzes (http://a4esl.org/q/h/idioms.html) has several quizzes with the idiom illustrated in a sentence.

  • The ESL Idiom Page by Dennis Oliver (www.eslcafe.com/idioms/id-mngs.html) provides a long list of idioms and their the definitions, followed by an illustrating sentence.

  • English idioms and quizzes (www.idiomconnection.com) - Idioms A (e.g. "all thumbs") to Z (e.g. "zonk out") in addition to twenty-five category idioms (e.g. school idioms such as "book worm" and "school of hard knocks.") Each set also provides quizzes for putting idioms into sentences.

  • Idioms quizzes for beginners (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/idioms-beginner.htm), intermediate (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/idioms-intermediate.htm) or advanced (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/idioms-advance.htm).

  • TicTacToe (match the idiom and meaning to score points) about relationships (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/tictactoe.htm), medicine (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/tictactoemedical.htm), business (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/tictactoebusiness.htm) education (www.onlinetutoringworld.com/activities/tictactoeeducation.htm)

  • Idiom worksheets (www.cccoe.net/social/SAIdiomintro.htm)

  • and one more - some Chinese idioms (http://chineseculture.about.com/library/extra/idiom/blidiom.htm)

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    created by Judy Kuster
    March 8, 2009
    last updated February 23, 2016 copyright 2016