Tuesday, August 27, 2013


GUEST BLOG Tongue Teasers from Danielle

Do your students look like this wihen they pronounce TH?
I am lucky enough to have Danielle contribute to this blog with a guest post she lovingly authored. You're sure to see this mentioned again at the 34th ELT Blog Carnival!
When I started to teach more adults, I realised that most learners wanted (or more precisely needed) to develop their pronunciation and find fun ways to practice (not like parrot learning).

So, inspired by my Creative language sessions with the kids, I developed a pronunciation activity that all my adult learners adore and said how helpful it has been/is for them.
The most common pronunciation demand or need is the digraph ‘th’ which most foreign learners have difficulty with.

So, I’ve listed down a list of common words with the 2 sound variations of ‘th.’
Step 1: To listen how it is pronounced, either with your teacher or on an audio online dictionary or pronunciation website.

Step 2: Pronounce loud & slowly the digraph ‘th’ words, then gradually (after getting used with each word) speed up the pace to train your brain and tongue do the connection of the sounds/graphic(letters).

Step 3: Do the same with the digraph ‘th’ words.

Step 4: Now that you are used with both digraphs, play with both columns alternatively: this, thumb, then, thin, with, three…etc.
Go slowly first, then gradually speed up the pace.

Ø  Both digraphs are pronounced with the tongue slightly pressed in between the teeth.
Ø  It’s very important to take the time to pronounce at the beginning. Just because your mind don’t recognize those sounds yet (as it may not exist in your mother tongue). Giving time to your mind sending the message to your mouth, how to position your mouth/tongue and teeth to produce the sound/s.
Ø  Another fun tip which proved to be working well is to do it in front of a mirror, for building up confidence in the language and also making the learning fun. As if you are acting out for a performance.
 About the Author
Danielle is from Mauritius Island (the forever Green Island found in the Indian Ocean) and a specialist Early Childhood Educator and certified TESOL Teacher, from INTESOL Worldwide Ltd, UK. For the last 19 years she has been exposed to teaching children, adolescents and adults from different countries: Mauritius, Maldives, India, France, Latvia, Russia, Italy and South Africa. She is the creator and owner of a Creative English Language School for kids which uses Jolly Phonics to introduce, practice and use English. If you'd like to see more activities like this from Danielle do stop by her website: or e-mail her at


  1. Thank you Carissa for is with real pleasure that I share one of my activities with everybody. At the same time for me it's 'une grande premiere' (french expression to say my first launching), as I am starting my website and blog.
    Cheers all

    1. Thanks for contributing Danielle! I look forward to tracking your blog as it progresses :)

  2. Thanks Danielle for this wonderful post. The "th" sound is one of the waterloo of my students. I'm going to teach pronunciation next week. I'm going to use your examples in my powerpoint. Cheers!

    1. Hannah I am so glad you found her examples useful! Let us know how your lesson goes :)


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