Here are more resources
to help students master
Pronunciation: Minimal Pairs
The link features a lesson on how
to teach minimal pairs and several
examples of other minimal pairs
Minimal Pairs for Spanish,
The website The Tiny EFL teacher
gives examples of sounds in English
that can be challenging for Spanish
and French learners (see the sepa-
rate links above). The links use some
phonetic symbols that you will need
to explain to students.
To find sound challenges specific
to other languages, search online
under the search terms “minimal
pairs for students.”
2. Create flashcards that students can use during the class activity.
can photocopy the sample flashcards that appear below. Or, in class, ask
students to create one flashcard each for the sounds they will practice.
3. Ask students to listen to the difference between the two sounds as you say
the first one and then the other (first the/l/ sound and then the /r/ sound).
4. Ask students to listen to the difference again.
This time, as you
pronounce the /l/ sound, raise the l flashcard. As you pronounce the /r/
sound, raise the r flashcard.
5. Read the first pair of words on the list
After you read each word,
ask the student to point to one of the flashcards to indicate which sound the
word begins with. If this is hard for students, demonstrate by saying each
word again and raising the appropriate flashcard.
6. Repeat the process with the first few pairs on the list.
7. When students understand what to do, begin alternating between
reading the /l/ word first or the /r/ word first.
8. Go back through the list, and have students repeat the words in pairs
9. Put the words into sentences so students can practice saying the two
sounds in sentences.