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Listening: Aural Discrimination of Confused Sounds

For a quick (but telling) exercise in aural discrimination of often-confused sounds,

-- Dictate pairs or triads of minimally different words (e.g., "seat / sit" or "sit / set / sat," "tag / tack."). Dictate at least five pairs / triads, each focusing on the same sounds. Vary what you dictate--sometimes using two or three different words, sometimes dictating the same word two or three times. ("peak / pick; seek / seek; stick / stick; lick / leak") Ask students to mark S or D (for "same" and "different") to describe what they have heard.

-- If you've dictated triads and the group was "D," you can also ask students to mark how many different (i. e., 2 or 3) sounds they heard. ("pet / pat / pet: D--2; bait / bait / bet: D--2; mat / mat / mat: S")

-- If students' listening skills are good, the above could be expanded to minimally different sentences ("He bought a peck of tomatoes" / "He bought a pack of tomatoes"); use the same "S" / "D" technique.

The above requires a different kind of focus, on the students' part, from that of simply repeating minimal pairs or triads; it can be very revealing as to what sounds are being confused.

Name: Dennis
Email: [email protected]
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA

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