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Dictation Boxes: a pronunciation game for the English 'th'

The English 'th' sound has two types: voiced and voiceless. Both these types are exemplified in two simple words: this and that. Do you know the difference?

Voiced and Voiceless

When you say "this", your tongue should leave your mouth. This is the voiced 'th'.
When you say "that", your tongue should should stay behind your front teeth. This is the voiceless 'th'.

Try it yourself.

Put your finger in against your lips (like you are shushing someone). Say "this". Your tongue should touch your finger.
Now, say "that". Your tongue shouldn't touch your finger.

Practice it with a game

The following language game practices both types of 'th' sounds. The English 'th' doesn't occur in many other languages, so these sounds are often a common difficulty among English language learners.

In order to play, you should create teams and each team should have three people. Then, each team has to complete the missing words before the other teams, but they can only pronounce the word. No spelling, no showing their teammates their word, and no sentences. The first team to accurately complete all three tables wins.

In other words, look at Table A below. The team member with Table A has to say "Thin". If you notice, team members with Table B and Table C don't have "Thin". By listening, they are to add all the words from Table A to their own respective tables. Repeat until all the tables are completed.
Table A
Thin _______ _______
Thorough _______ _______
This _______ _______
Then _______ _______
Thigh _______ _______
Table B
_______ lethal _______
_______ thwart _______
_______ smoother _______
_______ brother _______
_______ rather _______
Table C
_______ _______ breath
_______ _______ three
_______ _______ booth
_______ _______ breathe
_______ _______ loathe

A .pdf version of the complete instructions and tables can be found here.


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