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Pronunciation Whispers – pronunciation activity

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Listen carefully!

Pronunciation Whispers is a quick and effective variation on the Chinese Whispers/Telephone game where students pass a message along a line to practice pronunciation.

Pre-Teaching

First, identify a pronunciation issue with your class. This will depend on their background and level, but for example the class may have difficulties with the various vowel sounds so you might write up this list on the board:

  • SHEEP
  • SHIP
  • SHOP
  • SHAPE

(Depending on your class, write up a list of very similar words which will help them practice pronunciation.)

Next, go through the pronunciation with the class. Explain how the different sounds are formed and with them practice the pronunciation. Make sure they can say the words well.

Erase the words from the board.

Running the Activity

Get the class into several lines. Get the first students up to your desk and show them a random word from your initial list on a piece of paper; you can, if appropriate, quietly check their pronunciation of that word.

They go back to their respective lines and whisper the word to the next student who whispers it to the next and so on until the last student in the line writes it down on a piece of paper. When they’re all done, the first student comes up again for the next word.

After they’ve done all the words the whole class checks to see who has the words in the correct order you gave out.

Variations on a Theme

Make the words into sentences. These can either be straight sentences:

I saw a SHEEP on the horizon.

Or they can be “tongue twister” type of sentences:

The ship’s sheep went to a shop for a shape.

Useful Links

Telephone – Chinese Whispers‏‎ – whispering game

Minimal Pairs‏‎ and Teaching English

IPA – International Phonetic Alphabet

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