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Fine tuning your speech with minimal pairs - Part 20_ Speak Global English Series

5 years ago174 views

Speak Global English Series with Heather Hansen
Part 20: Fine tuning your speech with minimal pairs

Today I'd like to share with you another fun way to practice your pronunciation.
Minimal pairs are words that are identical except for the one problem sound you are focused on practicing.

For example, if you have trouble with the sounds R and L you might practice reading a list of words like:
read / lead
road / load
fry / fly
fright / flight
and so on.

Slowly say these words out loud and really focus on the sounds and the way you use your voice. Here are some helpful hints to practicing minimal pairs:

1. Say the words in a mirror. Exaggerate your facial expressions. Watch your tongue, lips and jaw, and note the differences when you make the sounds.

2. Record yourself saying the pairs. Listen to the recording and see if you can hear a difference between how you pronounce the words.

3. Choose one word from each pair and say them out loud to a friend. Have your friend write down the words he/she hears. See if your friend heard the words you were trying to say.

Don't push yourself too hard. You might notice that after 15 minutes or so your brain and tongue just can't seem to communicate. That's normal. Take a break and go back to it later!

If you'd like to see more people in your company practicing their pronunciation, visit for information on training opportunities. Or, come join the revolution at

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