12 songs to practice the pronunciation of -ED endings

As you know, the “-ed” endings of regular past tense verbs can be pronounced in three different ways: /t/, /d/ and /ɪd/, which is the one most students tend to overuse. Click here for an overview of the rules.

Over the years, I have found that /t/ and /d/ are easier to notice and to produce if the verb comes immediately before a word beginning with a vowel sound:

liked it – /laɪktɪt/
dreamed of – /driːmdəv/

To help students get their tongues around the two sounds, I usually ask them to move /t/ and /d/ to the front of the vowel sound. This makes it obvious that there’s no room for /ɪ/:

liked it – /laɪk tɪt/
dreamed of – /driːm dəv/

Out of all the ideas and techniques I’ve used in class, this has probably been the most effective.

So I decided to put together a 7-minute video containing 12 song excerpts you can use to help your students notice how /t/ and /d/ are linked to the vowel sounds that follow. There’s a good mix of recent and older songs, which should appeal to lots of different students.

The video is suitable for late A2, B1 and B2 students, who will have learned the basic -ED rules, but may still struggle to produce the sounds accurately. The on-screen activities are all self-explanatory.

You will notice that the activities do not test whether students can choose between /t/ and /d/. The difference is barely audible in fast connected speech, and it rarely causes misunderstandings. Also, since most students tend to overuse /ɪd/ and avoid /t/ or /d/, the song excerpts focus on the latter, rather than the former.

By the way, if the video is out of synch, go back to the beginning and / or refresh the page.

Thanks for reading – and watching.

James Bond rents a car!

This is a video-based lesson for intermediate students, suitable for both teens and adults. It focuses on skill development and introduces / reviews quite a lot of functional language students might find useful. These are the three key principles underlying the activities:
1. The first viewing task should allow students to actually watch (and enjoy) the video without too many distractions.
2. Subsequent viewing tasks should enable students to “squeeze the video dry” and understand as much as realistically possible without necessarily having to watch the whole thing again. In this day and age, when video is so ubiquitous, class time should be devoted to helping students do things they’re not naturally inclined / able to do on their own. So, in that sense, settling for general comprehension is clearly not enough.
3. Important as skill development is, it’s not tangible enough for most students to perceive as “real learning.” This is why skills development should, as a rule, be accompanied by some sort of language input: lexis, functional language, grammar or pronunciation.

The actual lesson starts here. Continue reading James Bond rents a car!