English Pronunciation Exercises: minimal pairs [æ/ɑ] cat/cart, hat/heart, am/arm

Hello everyone!

Today is a beautiful day to practice pronunciation! These days I have been volunteering at an English conversation group downtown that I discussed in an earlier video. One thing that I notice a lot is that there is a very big difference between people’s English vocabulary/grammar knowledge and pronunciation. Most people have a really good knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, but pronounce words incorrectly so it sounds like they don’t know much English. On some rare occasions there are people with really good pronunciation but very small vocabulary/grammar abilities.

The difference between these two groups is interest and focus. The first group spends all of their time studying vocabulary and grammar at school or at home every day, and the second group mostly just enjoy hanging out with Western people, watch a lot of movies/TV shows and/or play English games often. The key to being a good English speaker is finding a balance between these things!

Onto today’s pronunciation practice! First, here are the sounds we practised written in regular English:

cat/cart, hat/heart, had/hard, chat/chart, am/arm.

And here they are written in the phonetic alphabet:

kæt/kɑrthæt/hɑrthæd/hɑrdʧæt/ʧɑrtæm/ɑrm.

Remember! Practice makes perfect. If you want to be proficient in English pronunciation you need to practice every day!

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Adam