Pronouncing /ai/ I (for Spanish and Basque speakers)

At times Spanish and Basque speakers can find some difficulty with English vowel sounds – even when the same sound is common in their own languages.  The card below is designed to lead learners from what they know – hay bocadillo and the name Aitor to English words with the same vowel sound.  I usually laminate these cards and give one to each student, then ask them to read all the words in a line or a column, they then nominate another student to read another line or column of words.  Continue until you are happy with their pronunciation.  The words ‘Why, high and sign’ all contain silent letters of these words it is only ‘sign’ that seems to cause some problems, if it does write ‘sine wave’ on the board and ask students to  repeat the words ‘sine, sign’ – the pronunciation is the same and usually students overcome the problem.

 

pie

why?

spy

fly

my

high

dry

eye

hay bocadillo

die

 

by

I

Aitor

cry

bye-bye

sky

 

whisky &

rye

hybrid

diagonal

 

sign

Ikea

When students later have problems with the pronunciation of the /ai/ phoneme I tend to write the words on the board  :

dIagonal, trIangle, [hIpotenuse]

In the case of ‘hypotenuse’ I always emphasise that [ ] contains what the word sounds like not how it is spelled.  Consistent use of colours brackets [sounds like] and slashes /ipa phoneme/is an important aid for the student.

 

 

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