Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners

Pronunciation is one of those things in language teaching that can very often be neglected. Or at least that’s the case here, in Croatia. Along with tongue twisters, you can make your students aware of how complex, important and interesting pronunciation is by showing them some really fun stuff on the internet.

Here you can find a list of some of the most commonly mispronounced brand names and their correct pronunciation. The list is not English specific and can be a great lead in into a lesson about pronunciation. 

There is also a poem about pronunciation which is called the same as this post. You can read it here and have a lot of fun doing it out loud.  

Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners
By Anonymous

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through?
Well done! And now you wish perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird;
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead —
For goodness sake don’t call it ‘deed’.
Watch out for meat and great and threat.
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

A moth is not a moth in mother,
nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose —
Just look them up — and goose and choose.

And cord and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart —
Come come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive,
I’d mastered it when I was five!

Another variant of ending:
A dreadful language? Why, man alive!
I’d learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five.

Even more fun is this poem, which can make you dizzy if you try to read it out loud as fast as possible. Tell your students that if they can correctly pronounce every word in this poem, they will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labor to reading six lines aloud. After hearing this, they will want to try and read the poem themselves 100%.
For sports fans and guys especially, you can use this slideshow which deals with pronunciation of names of Euro 2012 soccer players. 

If you want to make your students reconsider their already acquired pronunciation of certain words, try discussing this list of the most difficult words to pronounce in English language. You'd be surprised how many commonly used words have made it.

All in all, these sources are not necessarily too serious and maybe cannot help your students with their daily English pronunciation, but can be a great starting point for a lesson in which you will actually practice pronunciation, or a closing point for relaxation after something not so fun.

Do you like these? How do you teach pronunciation?


  1. Pronunciation is considered to be a dead giveaway. That’s why it is extremely important to promote the developing of the pronunciation skills. The verse is very cool. It totally explains how various the language can be in its expressions and how powerful you become once you have mastered the art of speech. I will definitely recommend these techniques to all the people who are concerned about their pronunciation for them to be sure the world understands them perfectly well. I am, on the other hand, more concerned about developing the writing skills. I am always hoping to order an essay online and combine writing and pronunciation skills.

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