Lesson:L vs R

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r

rock /rɒk/

l

lock /lɒk/

  • Pronunciation of /l/ and /r/ (through listening practice learning to hear the difference)
  • 10 min, 20 min, 30 min — break it into two 15 minute lessons with at least a day's rest between

Pronunciation contrast of /l/ and /r/

Purpose[edit]

This lesson may be helpful to students who are having difficulty clearly pronouncing /l/ and or /r/ or differentiating between them. Students who are not having this difficulty will be bored by this lesson. Ascertain their need before using this.

Materials[edit]

Print out the following four graphics to put on board:

Or use a toy frog and a lock and key, for more fun! :-)

Notes[edit]

Pronunciation lessons require a high level of concentration from students. So break this lesson into two 15 minute sessions with at least a day's rest between. If the first session goes badly, you might want to just not do a second session of it. ONLY do this lesson with students who need help pronouncing /l/ vs /r/!

For Attention pointers — minimal pairs — draw a big rock with a "green" frog on it and a big paddle lock with a "gold" key in it, on the blackboard. Or even better, for realia bring a rock and a lock to class. My Chinese university class liked it when I used the realia.

For Inductive generalization draw diagrams of the tongue's position in the mouth for /r/ and /l/ respectively, on the blackboard (/r/ curls back inside the mouth and /l/ touches the tip of the tongue to the alveolar ridge — the gum just behind the teeth).

You can print this lesson out and take it to class with you. Have fun.

You may also use this lesson plan as a model for other minimal pair pronunciation lesson plans. It takes some time to think up the minimal pair words. Share your lesson plans and ideas here on Wikigogy.org.

Abbreviations
T — teacher speaking
SS — students speaking
S1, S2, S3... — student 1, student 2, student 3... speaking

Introduction for students[edit]

Introduce this lesson to students before plunging into it so that they know what to expect. Let them know that:

  • This is a listening lesson
  • Focused on the difference between /l/ and /r/
  • Students will learn to hear the difference
  • This will help them learn to pronounce these sounds clearly and distinctly
  • This lesson trains their ears so that they can use their ears to train their voices themselves

Attention getter[edit]

If students have no difficulty with this Attention getter step, you should skip the rest of the lesson! Pay CLOSE ATTENTION to how students handle the following and just drop the lesson with congratulations all round if they have no trouble with it! You DO NOT want to bore them with drills they don't need.


Bring students' attention to these sounds, /l/ and /r/

T: Notice the first sounds in these words:

T: lock (Teacher points to a picture of a lock, or holds up a toy lock)
T: lock (Teacher writes "L" on the picture, or on the board)
T: rock (Teacher points to a picture of a rock, or holds up a rock)
T: rock (Teacher writes "R" on the picture, or on the board)

Have students repeat some minimal pairs after you to try /l/ and /r/ out on their ears and tongues.

T: Please repeat after me:

Initial Position Medial Position Final position

lock rock
lamp ramp
light right
lent rent
lies rise
load road
lack rack
loot root

flog frog
plowed proud
climb crime
gloom groom
bloom broom
elect erect

dial dire
gold gourd

bowling boring
hold hoard

tool tour

pole pour
deal dear
real rear
heal here

Note that the pairs in the lower half have slightly different vowels in addition to the L/R difference.


If students had no difficulty hearing and pronouncing the above, THEY ARE DONE! Congratulate them and move on to something else. Don't bore them with pronunciation drills they don't need! :-)

How to say /l/ and /r/[edit]

A large illustration of the oral cavity will help you in pointing out the following details. Without the visual many students might not understand.

T: Does the tip of your tongue touch your gum ridge when you pronounce /l/ in "lock"? SS (and T): Yes
T: Does the tip of your tongue touch the back of your front teeth when you pronounce /l/ in "lock"? SS (and T): No
T: Does the tip of your tongue touch your gum ridge when pronouncing /r/ in "rock"? SS (and T): No
T: Do you raise the tip of your tongue and curl it back without letting it touch the top of your mouth when you pronounce /r/ in "rock"? SS (and T): Yes

T: Yes, when you pronounce /r/ in "rock" (pointing at the picture of a rock) you raise the tip of your tongue and curl it back inside your mouth, without letting it touch the top of your mouth. (Use a picture of the oral cavity to illustrate the tongue position.)

Hear /l/ and /r/[edit]

Same or different?[edit]

T: Tell me if the sounds you hear (pointing out the /l/ and /r/ on the board once) are the same or different:

(Calling on whole class at first, then individual students)

T: lock rock ---- SS: different
T: lock lock ---- SS: same
T: lock rock ---- SS: different
T: light right --- SS: different
T: ramp ramp --- S: same
T: rent lent ------ S: different
T: lies rise ------- S: different
T: gold gourd --- S: different

T: room room ----- S: same
T: frog frog ------ S: same
T: tool tour ------ S: different
T: loom room --- S: different
T: gold gourd --- S: different
T: dear deal ---- S: different
T: pole pour ---- S: different
T: kneel near --- S: different


T: Very good. Now let's try it with sentences:

(Calling on whole class at first, then individual students)

T: This is a tough lock. This is a tough rock. SS: different
T: We need a bigger room. We need a bigger room. SS: same
T: What a marvelous tour. What a marvelous tool. SS: different
T: I lent them my house. I rent them my house. S: different
T: Calvin peeled into the classroom. Calvin peered into the classroom. S: different
T: This is a marvelous tour. This is a marvelous tour. S: same
T: She needs a room. She needs a loom. S: different
T: Kneel to the Queen. Near to the Queen. S: different
T: I rent him three horses. I rent him three horses. S: same
T: Those trucks have big loads. Those trucks have big roads. S: different

Name that sound[edit]

T: Tell me which sound you hear. Say "L" when you hear /l/. Say "R" when you hear /r/.

(Calling on whole class at first, then individual students)

T: lock (SS: "L"); T: rock (SS: "R") T: lent (SS: "L"); T: rent (SS: "R")
T: tour (S: "R"); T: tool (S: "L") T: lies (S: "L"); T: rise (S: "R")
T: lamp (S: "L"); T: lamp (S: "L") T: leak (S: "L"); T: reek (S: "R")
T: near (S: "R"); T: kneel (S: "L") T: peel (S: "L"); T: peer (S: "R")
T: road (S: "R"); T: load (S: "L") T: light (S: "L"); T: right (S: "R")
T: ramp (S: "R"); T: ramp (S: "R")

Hear that sound and reply[edit]

Pseudo communication drill

T: Excellent, very good. Now, when I ask you, "Which is the lock?" you answer, "There's a gold key in it." (point at the lock), and when I ask you, "Which is the rock?" you answer, "There's a green frog sitting on it." (point at the frog).

T: Ok--which is the lock? SS: It has a gold key in it.

Calling on individual students (mix this up as you like — it's in no particular order)

T: Which is the rock? SS: It has a green frog sitting on it
T: Which is the lock? SS: It has a gold key in it
T: Which is the lock? S1: It has a gold key in it
T: Which is the rock? S2: It has a green frog sitting on it
T: Which is the lock? S3: It has a gold key in it
T: Which is the rock? S4: It has a green frog sitting on it
T: Which is the rock? S5: It has a green frog sitting on it
T: Which is the lock? S6: It has a gold key in it

Say /l/ and /r/[edit]

Production drill

Practice saying minimal pairs[edit]

Have students repeat after you. Cue them two words at a time, in minimal pairs.

Call on the class as a group for the first few pairs, then call on individual random students if you know their names or in order of seating maybe if you don't their names.

T
Please repeat after me
lack rack
lamp ramp
lent rent
lies rise
light right
liver river
load road
lock rock
long wrong
loot root
row low
bloom broom
climb crime
gloom groom
flog frog
plowed proud

The following words are not minimal pairs because the vowel is changed due to the R.

T
Please repeat after me
gold gourd
bowling boring
hold hoard
tool tour
pole pour
deal dear
real rear
heal here

Reverse the sound[edit]

Opposite drill — mixed recognition and production

T: Please repeat after me but when I say "rock," you say "lock" (point to each picture as you say its name); and when I say "lock," you say "rock."

T
rock
lock
ramp
lent
right
load
rack
boring
plowed
bloom
hoard
bold
dear
leer
SS
lock
rock
lamp
rent
light
road
lack
bowling
proud
broom
hold
board
deal
real

That last one is a double switch (leer -> real)

Repetition in phrases and sentences[edit]

T
Please repeat after me, everyone:
His illness delayed him from completing the work. SS . .(repeat)... . .
The law was repealed by the legislature. SS . . . .
His life seemed to be a series of long illnesses. SS . . . .
The view of the hills across the valley from here is perfect. SS . . . .
Some languages read from right to left, rather than from left to right. SS . . .
He who laughs last laughs best. SS . . . .
Della's umbrella lay floating in the lake. SS . . . .
The last line of the poem caused a good deal of laughter. SS . . . .
The leaves turn yellow in early autumn. SS . . . .
Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes. SS . . . .
Every Friday Roger and Lisa go roller skating in Leonardo Park. SS . . . .

Correct me[edit]

Correcting — mixed recognition and production

T
I am going to say some sentences. If you hear a mistake, say the correct word or phrase I should have used.
Please be sure to rock the door behind you. SS lock the door
That's a heavy road, let me help you carry it. SS a heavy load
He rolls heavy barrels down a lamp. SS down a ramp
She works at the boring alley. S1 the bowling alley
Roger was elected Chairman of the bold. S2 of the Board
I am plowed of my friend Lucy's stellar performance. S3 I am proud of
Turn left, then right, then light again, you wont miss it. S4 then right again
How many frogs are on the lock? S5 on the rock
Last Mid Autumn Festival I went on a grand tool to the Great Pyramids! S6 tour to the Great Pyramids!
Turn left at the stop light, then go two blocks down. The Post Office is kneel the Fire Station. S7 is near the Fire Station
Light the lamps, right the ramps. The rolling and roaring circus tigers are criming out of their cages. S8 climbing out of their cages
Two wrongs don't make a light. *Proverb* S-9 right

Resources[edit]