Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Pronunciation exercises for EAL students - no. 3

This third blog with exercises is on releases again, but this time it's about
identical plosive sequences.
When you say the sentence "he hit two cars", do you pronounce the phrase "hit two" like this: [hɪth thuː]? Or d'you prefer to say [hɪt thuː]? Well, usually the first /t/ is not released, i.e. you as a listener do not hear the puff of air when the speaker releases the closure, and you as a speaker silently manoeuvre from the word-final /t/ of hit to the initial /t/ of two.
Imagine you were to say the admittedly silly sentence "the two-toed toad took the two other toads to the top" and you were to aspirate each and every /t/ or /d/. What a 'spitting event' this would be! Listeners - put up your umbrellas!
"Two T's"; photo credit: https://himalayanpeople.com/products/

Identical plosives are consonants that share both place of articulation and voicing:
/-pp-/, /-bb-/, /-tt-/, /-dd-/, /-kk-/ and /-gg-/. If there's no speech pause between such a pair or no special semantic reason nor any reason why your speech should be very articulate, then do not release the first plosive audibly.
Coming back to the phrase "hit two", you form the approach stage of the first /t/, make an extra long hold stage - this will provide the listener with the cue that there are theoretically two t-sounds -, and then release the closure: [hɪt:huː].

Ready, steady, go!
  1. Stop prying eyes from looking at your screen.
  2. Ripe peaches don't belong in the fridge.
  3. Stop pushing him to his limits.
  4. This is a list of top products for fun in the sun.
  5. Try our kitchen sink and tap pack deals.
  6. This neutral coloured lip pencil creates fuller lips.
  7. Heat the fluid in a lab beaker.
  8. Grab both ends of the rope.
  9. We tested models from the biggest hob brands.
  10. Senator Bob Brown held a press conference.
  11. These pub bar stools are manufactured with a fine chestnut finish.
  12. The rib belt provides even compression of the rib cage.
  13. Repeat this eight times.
  14.  The story is a bit too close to reality.
  15. While driving drunk he hit two cars.
  16. Do you allow your cat to go outdoors?
  17. Red deer are the largest wild mammal in Britain.
  18. One-third of the world's land mass is an arid desert.
  19. She tried on a bridesmaid dress.
  20. The bread dough has to be rolled out.
  21. It's an attractive backyard design.
  22. With a gas grill, the lid down will hold in heat.
  23. Rabies is also called 'mad dog disease'.
  24. Why is it a sad day for you?
  25. Her black cat is the most wonderful thing in her life.
  26. I'm looking for a black car seat cover.
  27. This course in rock climbing is for beginners.
  28. Unfortunately, I forgot the lock code.
  29. The dock connector was introduced with the latest generation of iPods.
  30. Many people lack confidence in the present administration.
  31. Mike Clark is a well-known photographer.
  32. A single pack contains 20 cigarettes.
  33. A big game hunter has been trampled to death by an elephant.
  34. Dog gifts are something no pet owner can resist.
  35. Raising geese is a lot easier than you might think.
  36. Bog gardens are relatively easy to care for once they are established.
  37. Check back soon for the latest news on what's happening at Fig Garden Village.
  38. When the rag gets dirty, throw it in the laundry basket.


  1. 1. Glad to see you posting again.
    2. Rag rugs look cosy, but an identical plosive sequence is hard to find in no. 38. And does "hard to" count?

  2. ad 1. Thanks!
    ad 2: Thanks for spotting this. I've changed sentence 38.