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Teacher’s Guide to Pronouncing the Sounds

It is very important to pronounce the speech sounds as accurately as you can.

The problem:

Let’s say you are a beginner who has learned that the letter B makes
the ‘buh’ sound.

Now, imagine trying to sound out ‘bat'
if you are trying to pronounce ‘buh-at.’

Do you see the problem?

The poor beginner has never heard of buh-at.


Here is the background to help you understand how the sounds work

Voiced or Whispered Sounds:

Some sounds in speech are ‘voice-on,’ or ‘voiced’ sounds.

They make your voice box buzz.

Feel your Adam’s apple when you say ‘Ah-h-h-h.’

You can feel the vibration that is your voice.

That’s the feeling of a voiced sound.


Voiceless Sounds

Other sounds in spech are ‘voice-off,’ or ‘voiceless’ sounds.

They are whispered.

Open your mouth and breathe out: ‘h-h-h-h.’

As you feel your Adam’s apple, there should be no buzz at all in your voice box.

That’s the feeling of a whispered sound. Memorize it.


Many sounds come in pairs: a voiced and a whispered partner.

All vowels are voiced.

Ayy, eee, ie, oh, you, oy, ow . . .
any vowel sound is produced with the voice ‘on.’
As a matter of fact, a vowel is just a mouth shape and a voice.

On the other hand, many consonant sounds have a voiced and a whispered version.

The tongue, lips and jaw do just the same thing
when we say /t/ and when we say /d/.

But the /t/ is a whispered sound.

The /d/ is the voiced version of the same tongue movement.



Here is a list of whispered sounds and their voiced 'partners.'

You don’t need to memorize this list.
Just notice how the mouth moves in the same way,
while the
voice turns off or on.

Whispered Partner






/k/ (or 'c')


Voiced Partner



'j' as in 'joy'


'zh' as in 'leisure'


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