Phonetic exercises to pronounce English sounds


When learning English, pronunciation becomes a big problem for beginners. Beginners are embarrassed to speak English and do not pay due attention to the phonetics of the language and the correct pronunciation. But this is a fatal mistake, because. It is impossible to practice a language without communication! Therefore, the sooner you start practicing your pronunciation, the faster you will progress in your studies. And if you are embarrassed by your “Russian” accent, then we suggest that you first correct the pronunciation. And special phonetic exercises for the pronunciation of English sounds will help us in this, to which today's material is devoted. Let's get to work!

Contents [ Hide ]

  • General recommendations for setting English pronunciation
  • Articulation of hard-to-pronounce English sounds
    • th [ð]
    • th[θ]
    • ng [ŋ]
    • w[w]
    • h[h]
  • Phonetic exercises for the pronunciation of English sounds
    • Vowels
    • phonetic exercises. Task number 2
    • phonetic exercises. Task number 3
    • Consonants
    • Phonetic exercises for consonants. Task number 2
    • Phonetic exercises for consonants. Task number 3
    • letter combinations
  • Tongue Twisters

General recommendations for setting English pronunciation

The phonetics of the English language is very far from our native speech: for 26 letters of the alphabet, the English have 44 sounds, some of which do not even have remote matches in Russian. Therefore, we advise you to immediately abandon all analogies and study the sounds of English from scratch.

First of all, let's note the English articulation. It is characterized by the following features:

  1. When a word is spoken, the tongue is slightly pulled back and flattened.
  2. The lips are slightly stretched, and the exhalation of air is sharp and jerky.
  3. Vowel sounds, depending on the position in the word, can be pronounced long or, conversely, briefly.
  4. The clarity of most consonants is achieved by resting the tip of the tongue against the alveoli (upper palate). There are no soft consonants.

These are general English pronunciation rules for beginners. In general, each letter has its own articulation features and we advise you to carefully work with them. You should start by getting to know the alphabet and the sound of individual letters. Then various letter combinations and types of syllables are studied, which also affect the correct pronunciation of the word.

The theory about the rules of pronunciation of English letters with examples and detailed explanations is presented in the adjacent article. And in this material there is a simplified English phonetics for children with pictures and audio that will attract the attention of the kids and will not let them get bored. Today we are waiting for a small speech gymnastics for complex phonetic situations, and then practical work for all the sounds of the English language.

Articulation of hard-to-pronounce English sounds

The biggest difficulty for beginners is represented by sounds that are never found in Russian speech at all. For example, th [ð], [θ]; ng [ŋ], w[w], h [h] . The pronunciation of these sounds is already hard to get used to, and, unfortunately, they are often used in popular English words. The recommendations below will help beginners understand how to accurately pronounce the listed sounds and work them out to automatism.

th [ð]

A voiced sound that forms a combination of th. Most often it occurs at the beginning and end of words or in the middle between two vowels. But there is no general rule as such. Only the transcription mark [ð] helps to determine the correct sound, therefore, to set the pronunciation, it is important to be able to work with transcription and know all its signs by heart.

To the ear, the sound [ð] is somewhat reminiscent of the Russian “z”, only less clear and extended. To achieve the correct sound of the English [ð], it is necessary to hold the tip of the tongue between the teeth, leaving a small gap, and exhale strongly, pronouncing the Russian “З”. At the same time, you will feel a slight tickle of air on your lower lip, and a slight vibration in your throat. As a result, when pronouncing, the effect of a certain lisp will be obtained, and the sound will vaguely resemble the buzzing of a bee.


And this icon means a deaf sound. For its pronunciation, we do everything exactly the same as in the previous paragraph, but instead of "z" we pronounce the Russian "s". It turns out something muffled, vaguely reminiscent of a snake whisper "ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss."

Practice pronunciation of the letter combination th, alternating between different options :

  • think [θɪŋk], the [ðə], mother [ˈmʌðə(r)], nothing [ˈnʌθɪŋ], weather [ˈweðə(r)], clothes [kləʊðz], fifteenth [ˌfɪfˈtiːnθ].
More English Topics: Possessive Pronoun Exercises

ng [ŋ]

This letter combination resembles the Russian "n" when it is pronounced by people with a bad cold. When we have a cold, we say “on the nose”, and this is exactly what is needed for the correct English pronunciation [ŋ]. Naturally, we do not call on anyone to get sick on purpose, just learn to pronounce "n" by exhaling air through the nose. If th could be compared with a lisp, then ng is nasal in its purest form.

And a few words for practice:

  • reading [ˈriːdɪŋ], king [kɪŋ], speaking [spiːkɪŋ], interesting [ˈɪntrəstɪŋ], singer [ˈsɪŋə(r)], ring [rɪŋ].


Contrary to popular belief, w is not a pronounced "v" at all, but rather a drawn out "y". This is exactly the sound you get if you fold your lips into a tube, exhale sharply and spread your lips into a smile. To practice the correct movements, you can take a candle, light it and, pronouncing [w], extinguish the wick with a jet of air. With the correct pronunciation, the sound is powerful enough and the wick immediately goes out.

Try to practice like this with the words below :

  • what [wɒt], weekend [ˌwiːkˈend], water [ˈwɔːtə(r)], west [west], swimming [ˈswɪmɪŋ], want [wɒnt], twenty [ˈtwenti].


A very weak sound [h], which many confuse with a distinct Russian “x”. In fact, it’s not even a purposeful sound, but just a light exhalation. We say something similar when we breathe into our hands, trying to warm them in the bitter cold. It is very easy to learn such a sound, because it is enough just to exhale for a long time.

Practice "warm up" on the following words:

  • heavy [ˈhevi], hurt [hɜːt], hair [heə(r)], honest [ˈɒnɪst], vehicle [ˈviːəkl], hour [ˈaʊə(r)], hotel [həʊˈtel], home [həʊm].

So, we once again analyzed the most difficult cases in English phonetics, and we are ready to perform practical exercises in English for the pronunciation of all sounds with all weapons. The tasks are selected for beginners, so they should not cause any particular difficulties.

Phonetic exercises for the pronunciation of English sounds

In this section, we present to your attention small tasks that will help you work out English pronunciation to automaticity. Let's start with individual sounds, and then move on to letter combinations and mixed words.


Task number 1. Read the words, checking your pronunciation with the transcription and pronunciation.

Word Transcription Pronunciation
yellow [ˈjeləʊ] Audio player
time [taɪm] Audio player
present [ˈpreznt] Audio player
dirty [ˈdɜːti] Audio player
union [ˈjuːniən] Audio player
evening [ˈiːvnɪŋ] Audio player
home [həʊm] Audio player
hurry [ˈhʌri] Audio player
start [stɑːt] Audio player
parents [ˈpeə.rənts] Audio player
well [wel] Audio player
under [ˈʌndə(r)] Audio player
engine [ˈendʒɪn] Audio player
more [mɔː(r)] Audio player
shop [ʃɒp] Audio player
Do the vowel sounds in English.


Task number 1. Read the words, checking your pronunciation with the transcription and sound.

Word Transcription Pronunciation
reason [ˈriːzn] Audio player
mirage [mɪˈrɑːʒ] Audio player
clean [kliːn] Audio player
best [best] Audio player
system [ˈsɪstəm] Audio player
window [ˈwɪndəʊ] Audio player
task [tɑːsk] Audio player
help [help] Audio player
horizon [həˈraɪ.zən] Audio player
never [ˈnevə(r)] Audio player
game [ɡeɪm] Audio player
exercise [ˈeksəsaɪz] Audio player
just [dʒʌst] Audio player
vivid [ˈvɪv.ɪd] Audio player
cinema [ˈsɪnəmə] Audio player
Complete the tasks on the consonant sounds of the English language.

letter combinations

Task number 1: Read the words, checking your pronunciation of vowel combinations and diphthongs with transcription.

Word Transcription Pronunciation
brown [braʊn] Audio player
they [reɪ] Audio player
sleep [sliːp] Audio player
boy [bɔɪ] Audio player
sea [siː] Audio player
ice [aɪs] Audio player
earn [ɜːn] Audio player
foot [fʊt] Audio player
enough [ɪˈnʌf] Audio player
bowl [bəʊl] Audio player
war [wɔː(r)] Audio player
yesterday [ˈjestədeɪ] Audio player
mouse [maʊs] Audio player
bread [bred] Audio player
gate [ɡeɪt] Audio player

Task number 2: Read the words, checking your pronunciation of consonant letter combinations with transcription.

Word Transcription
knife [naɪf] Audio player
breath [breθ] Audio player
wrong [rɒŋ] Audio player
chamber [ˈtʃeɪmbə(r)] Audio player
situation [ˌsɪtʃuˈeɪʃn] Audio player
thing [θɪŋ] Audio player
shadow [ˈʃædəʊ] Audio player
wheel [wiːl] Audio player
other [ʌðə(r)] Audio player
judge [dʒʌdʒ] Audio player
what [wɒt] Audio player
rich [rɪtʃ] Audio player
knight [naɪt] Audio player
this [ðɪs] Audio player
phone [fəʊn] Audio player

Tongue Twisters

We hope that you easily coped with all the tasks and did not make mistakes. And at the end of our today's lesson, we offer a little work with tongue twisters.

Tongue twisters are a very effective method for setting clear diction, as well as excellent phonetic exercises for the correct pronunciation of English sounds with children. Quick phrases in which you need to be able not to get confused cause excitement and delight among the children. Therefore, with the tongue twisters below, English children will definitely not be bored in class.

  1. Jill helped Ted,
    Ted helped Tim,
    Tim helped Jim,
    And Jim helped Jill.
  1. Missis King is bringing something pink for Mister King to drink.
  2. The black cat sat on a mat and ate a fat rat.
  3. Whether the weather be fine
    Or whether the weather be not.
    Whether the weather be cold
    Or whether the weather be not.
    We'll weather the weather
    Whatever the weather
    Whether we like it or not.
  1. A big black bug bit a big black bear, a big black bear bit a big black bug.
  2. Thirty-three thousand people think that Thursday is their thirtieth birthday.
  3. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
  1. She sells seashells on the seashore, the shells that she sells are seashells, I'm sure. ( more about the tongue twister ).
  2. William always wears a very warm white vest in winter.
  3. Who ran across a rough road?
    Ray Rag ran across a rough road.
    Across a rough road Ray Rag ran.
    But where is the rough road Ray Rag ran across?
  1. Paul, please pause for proper applause.
  2. A twister of twists once twisted a twist,
    and the twist that he twisted was a three twisted twist.
    Now in twisting this twist, if a twist should untwist,
    Would the twist that untwisted untwist the twists.

Add work with tongue twisters to every English lesson, and very soon there will be no trace of your Russian accent. It will not take much time (literally 5-10 minutes), and the effect will be colossal.

Good luck in learning English and see you soon!