ESL Pronunciation Exercises Part 1: Warm Ups

August 2, 2013

ESL pronunciation exercises are a key component to any ESL class. My specialty is pronunciation, and every semester pronunciation ends up being my student’s favorite part of class. Pronunciation is one tool that builds the ESL student’s confidence immensely. When students learn to sound more like native speakers they are motivated to be a part of the local community, search for jobs, and learn more English.

Most of these exercises gets the class laughing, moving and bonding. What more could you ask for in a classroom?

For more reading on ESL Pronunciation please check out my other articles:
Teaching ESL Pronunciation
ESL Pronunciation Exercises Part 2: Tongue Twisters
ESL Pronunciation Exercises Part 3: Online Vocal Recordings

ESL Pronunciation Exercises

I. Work Your Muscles

I always tell my students that we have to “exercise” the muscles of our face. Most ESL students’ mouths have been trained to work in a completely different way than the English language requires. Therefore we often see ESL students under-articulate and under pronunciate. I always tell my students that Lazy mouths = unintelligible speaking. We have to work hard to be effective English Speakers.

We usually start out pronunciation class doing traditional acting or singing mouth exercises.

1. Neck Rolls

Rotate your head very slowly clockwise and reverse-clockwise. Also do some shoulder rolls by rotating them forward and backward. This warms up your neck and throat muscles.

2. Tongue Warmup

Stick your tongue out as far as you can. Try to reach your chin, the tip of your nose, and your ears.

4. Mouth Muscle Exercises

Bring your lips together in a kissing shape and then make a very wide smile. Continue this for 30 seconds. Then make mouth circles starting from kissing lips and opening into a wide “O” for 30 seconds.

I also tell students this is yoga for the face and a great alternative to plastic surgery!!

3. PKTK BDGD

Practice saying: PTKT (pronounced as puhh tuhh kuhh tuhh) and BDGD (pronounced buhh duhh guhh duhh) over and over fast.

For more reading on ESL Pronunciation please check out my other articles:
Teaching ESL Pronunciation
ESL Pronunciation Exercises Part 2: Tongue Twisters
ESL Pronunciation Exercises Part 3: Online Vocal Recordings