Sunday, 19 December 2021


This song was written  by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in reaction to television reports of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. It was first recorded in 1984 by Band Aid , a group of British and Irish  singers who got together to raise money for Ethiopia. Diphthong sounds are exploited this time in this song /aɪ/  /eɪ/  /əʊ/  /ɪə/  /ɒɪ/. 
-  Watch and listen to Do they Know it's Christmas and fill in the         gaps with  the missing words.
-  Can you guess who the singers are?

Saturday, 20 March 2021


The song If you were a sailboat composed and interpreted by the  Georgian-British singer, songwriter and musician  Katie Melua, will help us this time to sail through vowels /ɪ/  /ɪː/  /ʌ/  /ɑː/  /ɒ/  /ɔ:/  /ʊ/  /uː/, diphthongs  /aɪ/  /eɪ/  /aʊ/ and conditional sentences.

This post has been inspired by the work of the English teacher  José Álvaro Álvaro, who participated in the course  Phonetics Through Songs and the programme PhoTransEdit, used for the transcriptions in the matching activity.

There are two activities. Elementary and intermediate students should only do the first one, the gap-fill activity.  Upper-intermediate and advanced students can do both activities:

  • A gap-fill activity designed for elementary and intermediate students. Listen to the song and fill in the gaps using the "Clue" button, where the missing word is transcribed.  

  • A matching activity directed at upper-intermediate and advanced students. Once you've listened to the song and completed the gap-fill activity, try to remember the lyrics and  match the transcribed main clauses on the left with the conditional clauses on the right.

    Sunday, 22 November 2020

    PLOSIVE STORY /p/ /b/ /t/ /d/ /k/ /g/

    A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract.
    • Use the consonant chart on the right to hear and repeat each one of these plosive consonant phonemes /p/ /b/ /t/ /d/ /k/ /g/ in isolation as many times as you need to. To help you produce the sounds correctly, place a sheet of paper in front of you, you will probably notice that the paper moves (if you do it properly) as the air streem is released in the manner of a mini-explosion. Keep trying until the paper moves, it should move more with the voiceless consonants /p/ /t/ /k/ than with the voiced equivalents /b/ /d/ /g/.

    • You can now listen to the song The story composed by Brandi Carlile.Pay special attention to the pronunciation of plosive consonants. Once you have finished listening, you can do the matching activity just underneath the video. If you want to see the lyrics as you listen, click on this link: version with the lyrics superimposed on the video.

      Friday, 20 November 2020

      VIVA LA VI DA. VOWELS /iː/ /ɪ/ /ʊ/ /uː/ /e/ /ɜː/ /ɔː/ /æ/ /ʌ/ /ɑː/ /ɒ/

      This post has been designed principally for Spanish speakers, but it can also be useful for other nationalities by skipping the first activity and doing the rest.

       There are 46 sounds in the English sound system, 22 of which are vowel sounds. Compare this with Spanish, which has 5 vowel sounds, none of which are equivalent to any vowel sound in English. English vowels are difficult to identify and produce in most latin based languages.
      • First of all, note where the vowel chart is placed in the mouth cavity (Fig B) and then observe where each vowel is produced (Fig A) . Click on the chart on the right to hear and repeat the following vowel sounds /iː/ /ɪ/ /ʊ/ /uː/ /e/ /ɜː/ /ɔː/ /æ/ /ʌ/ /ɑː/ /ɒ/ as many times as you need to.

      The British band Cold Play will help to introduce some of the most confusing vowels /iː/ /ɪ/ /ʊ/ /uː/ /e/ /ɜː/ /ɔː/ /æ/ /ʌ/ /ɑː/ /ɒ/ with their song Viva la vida.
      • Listen to the song and do the matching exercise by dragging the words taken from the song on the right to the corresponding vowel sound they contain, on the left. Only one answer can be correct.

      Sunday, 1 March 2020

      PAST OR PRESENT? /s/, /d/ or /t/? RUN BABY RUN

      Here's a song, Run Baby Run, by Sheryl Crow to  help you identify present and past verb forms from the pronunciation of final consonants /s/,  /z/,   /d/  or  /t/.  Also to homage a good friend.

      Listen to the song and fill in the gaps with the correct verb form, present or  past, according to what you hear. Click first on the clue, the infinitive of the verb written phonetically.

      To practice with -ed form of regular past verbs, click here