|Introduction||The 20 Vocalic and Diphthongal Sounds|
|Saving the Audio Files to Your PC||The 24 Consonantal Sounds|
|Problem Sounds for Japanese Learners|
In an attempt to take some of the pain out of learning the kind of clear English pronunciation that prevents communication problems, I have here devised a set of memorable sentences as practice drills. The full range of English sounds is gone through systematically and spoon-fed in a form overseas students will want to repeat to themselves and then to the world. They might think it's just a form of entertainment, but before they know it they'll be speaking like a native!
David V. Appleyard
Saving the Audio Files to Your PC
- Start by creating a new folder with a simple name like "Pronunciation" or "Drills".
- Right-click any MP3 you wish to keep, select "Save target as..." or "Save link as..." from the drop-down menu and direct the download to your designated folder.
- Once you're done, go back to your new folder to confirm the downloaded files are all there.
- Go up one level and right-click the folder itself.
- Select the "Play with Windows Media Player" option from the drop-down menu, just as you might do with a music album. (If this option is missing, you have skipped step 3 and the PC hasn't detected any MP3s!)
- With the Windows Music Player open in full-screen format, left-click the "Now Playing" tab followed by the small arrow underneath it to access a new drop-down menu.
- Under "Visualizations" select "Album Art" to display the phonetic symbol of each sound being practised.
- On your keyboard you can press Ctrl+Shift+C to activate (or deactivate) the hidden captions feature. When selected, the full text of each pronunciation drill will display during playback like a movie subtitle.
The 20 Vocalic and Diphthongal Sounds
|/ ɑ: /||Famous stars smoke cigars in cars and bars.|
|/ æ /||That fat cat sat on a rat. Now it's flat as a mat!|
|/ aɪ /||Mike likes bikes with spikes to ride on ice.|
|/ aʊ||I doubt he'll clout the lout who stole his trout. He'll shout out loud!|
|/ e /||The clever never ever say "Never ever!".|
|/ eɪ /||If there's a delay, they pay to stay another day.|
|/ eə /||They dare to stare at fair hair because it's
|/ ɪ /||
If the stick
isn't thick, you'll split
it when you hit
|/ i: /||Don't freeze the cheese, please, Louise.|
|/ ɪə /||It's clear the beer is dear here.|
|/ ɒ /||Doctor Oscar often operates on opposition politicians.|
|/ əʊ /||Joan won't go
home to Rome by boat
|/ ɔ: /||She caught her daughter in the water with a naughty boy.|
|/ ɔɪ /||The noise from Roy's toys annoys other boys.
|/ ʊ /||The cook shook when he took a look at the cook book.|
|/ u: /||Whose two new blue shoes did Sue lose?|
|/ ʊə /||If the water on the tour isn't pure, you can't be sure there'll be a cure.|
|/ ɜ: /||Bert wasn't hurt but got dirt on his shirt.|
|/ ʌ /||If
Mother had another brother, I'd have another
|/ ə /||A moment ago he announced a new address.|
The 24 Consonantal Sounds
|/ b /||
beer was a
|/ p /||Pete persuaded Pam to pick up Paula's parcel at the post office.|
|/ d /||
droppings in the
|/ t /||Toddlers' toilet training takes time.|
|/ dʒ /||Jolting gelignite is generally jolly dangerous!|
|/ tʃ /||Charles said cherries, cheese and chocolate are cheap in China.|
|/ ð /||It's
|/ θ /||A
Theo for his
|/ v /||Vera values the variety of vitamins in vegetables.|
|/ f /||Inefficient
|/ g /||The
grip on themselves.
|/ k /||Cairo kids quickly catch colds in Canada.|
|/ z /||The
through the Zurich
|/ s /||Super salesmen soon succeed in selling something.|
|/ ʒ /||We should treasure leisure for its immeasurable pleasure!|
|/ ʃ /||
|/ h /||When
|/ j /||
|/ l /||Larry lured lots of lovely ladies to his lair.|
|/ m /||
|/ n /||I'll
Naples like my
|/ ŋ /||Karaoke king Bing sang a long song in Hong Kong.|
|/ r /||Ronald Reagan wrecked his red Rolls Royce.|
|/ w /||
We await snowy
The Japanese language has roughly half as many sounds as English, but this doesn't prevent it from eagerly soaking up vast quantities of western words and expressions. This process is uniquely facilitated by the existence of the katakana phonetic script, which basically compresses foreign words into the same limited range of sounds available for native ones. The Japanese themselves think that this system is very smart. The downside is that school children face an almost impossible task unlearning it when approaching real English in the classroom. They fail to distinguish between the separate English sounds in, for example, birth, bus and bath — all of which for local convenience are similarly transcribed in the katakana syllabary.
After more than a decade of teaching English in Japan, I have come up with the following series of contrastive sounds that Japanese speakers really need to learn to tell apart if they are to avoid comprehension difficulties with English speakers who are unfamiliar with Japanese.