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Another minimal pairs game. Having introduced the idea and vocab, you'll need a list of ten words in two groups of five (eg, for /i/ vs /i:/ - fit, ship, lip, rip, tick; feet, sheep, leap, reap, teak). On the board - two lines of numbers, 0-4 on the left, 5-9 on the right. Beside 0-4 write one list of words, beside 5-9 the other. So for /i/ and /i:/ you might have this:
0 fit 5 feet
1 ship 6 sheep
2 lip 7 leap
3 rip 8 reap
4 tick 9 teak

Now read them your/someone's phone number in the code. Having given them some time and chances to translate the sounds into numbers, ask two or three students to give their versions of your phone number (it's usually about 50 per cent wrong), tell them how many mistakes there are, then read again. Gradually, they'll begin to tune-in more to the difference. Then, in pairs, students read phone numbers to each other - it's never failed and is always fun.


Idea for pronunciation work generally: the pronunciation snake. Being a sock with eyes and a leathery tongue, held on the hand as a glove puppet. The tongue is used to show the position of the tongue in the mouth - students (especially younger or shyer ones) love to practise minimal pairs with the snake, putting it on themselves and simultaneously making the sounds and moving the snake.

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