Japanese language backgrounds

32 common English pronunciation problems

FIX PROBLEM ENGLISH SOUND - COMMON ERROR - PRACTICE MATERIALS
Relax the mouth and keep sound short. /ɪ/ "sit" /i:/ "seat" Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ or / i: / practice

Move tongue to a lower front position. /æ/ "man" /e/ "men" Minimal Pairs /e/ or /æ/ practice

Tongue more central. Lips relaxed. /ʌ/ "cup" /æ/ "cap" Minimal Pairs /æ/ or /ʌ/ practice

Tongue low central. Lips relaxed. /ʌ/ "cup"

Minimal Pairs /æ/ or /ʌ/ practice
Minimal Pairs /ʌ/ or /ɜ:/ practice

Back of tongue high. Lips rounded but relaxed. Short. /ʊ/ "full" /u:/ "fool" Minimal Pairs /ʊ/ or / u: / practice

Weak endings: e.g. "London" "England" /ə/ "the" (schwa)

Practise the neutral vowel /ə/
using spoken dialogues


Back of tongue high. Lips rounded but relaxed. Short. /u:/ "fool" /ʊ/ "full" Minimal Pairs /ʊ/ or / u: / practice

Fix tongue in central position. Long. /ɜ:/ "bird"

Minimal Pairs /e/ or /ɜ:/ practice
Minimal Pairs /ʌ/ or /ɜ:/ practice
Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ or /ɜ:/ practice

Tongue moves from front centre to front high. /eɪ/ "late" /e/ "let"
Tongue low front to high front to centre. /aɪə/=/aɪ/+/ə/ "fire"


Tongue central. Then tightly round lips. /əʊ/ "note" /ɒ/ "not"
Tongue central. Then tightly round lips. /əʊ/ "bone" /ɔ:/ "born"
Tongue low front. Then round & unround lips. /aʊə/=/aʊ/+/ə/ "flour"


Tongue from high front to centre. Not too low. /ɪə/ "beer" /i:/+/ə/ "be / are"
Tongue from centre front. Draw back to centre. /eə/ "bear"


Start with lips tightly rounded. Unround. /ʊə/ "tour"


Voiced. Vibration. Trap air with lips. /b/ "bet" /v/ "vet"
Make friction with top teeth & bottom lip. /f/ "fill" /h/ "hill"
Voiced. Friction with top teeth & bottom lip. /v/ "vet" /b/ "bet"
Voiceless. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /θ/ "thin" /s/ "sin" Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /ð/ practice
Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /t/ practice
Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /d/ practice
Minimal Pairs /θ/ or /s/ practice

Voiced. Friction. Tongue between teeth. /ð/ "they" /d/ "day" Minimal Pairs /ð/ or /d/ practice

Voiceless: tip of tongue behind top teeth. Friction. /s/ "mass" /ʃ/ "mash"
Voiced: tip of tongue behind top teeth. Friction. /z/ "rise" /s/ "rice" Minimal Pairs /s/ or /z/ practice

Voiceless. Friction. Front of tongue to palate. /ʃ/ "push" /s/ "puss"
Voiced: Front of tongue to palate. Friction. /ʒ/ "confusion" /ʃ/ "Confucian"
Quickly push air from throat out of mouth. /h/ "hot"
"ch" in "loch" Minimal Pairs /h/ or silent "h" practice

Tongue touches hard palate. /l/ "light" (clear) /r/ "right" Minimal Pairs /l/ or /r/ practice

Contact. Brief "schwa" after release. /ɫ/ "tall" (dark l)


Back of tongue to back roof. Nasal. /ŋk/ "think" /ŋ/ "thing" Minimal Pairs /ŋ/ or /ŋk/ practice

Start with lips tightly rounded. Unround & glide. /w/ "west" /v/ "vest" Minimal Pairs /w/ or /v/ practice

Start with lips tightly rounded. Unround & glide. /w/ "will" /f/ "fill"


EXTERNAL LINKS: Non-native pronunciations of English: Japanese L1
Engrish and L & R in Consonant Clusters