ESL pronunciationHi everyone!
Do you feel like boosting your ESL pronunciation today?
We, here at, are sure that your perfect [r] and even [θ] and [ð] are hiding in your mouth. You know, just like a killer six pack can hide behind a flabby belly after Thanksgiving.
All you really need in both cases is a good workout. And here is your accent reduction program - simple and fun, but super effective.

Meet Your ESL Pronunciation Workout: 10 Tongue Twisters

The initial position: sit straight, relax and get ready to have fun.

  1. Rail road, rail road, rail road. This is the shortest one. Repeat it slowly at first and then as quickly as you can. Use the English [r] – slightly round your lips, and do not let your tongue touch the top of your mouth. Have your muscles warmed up? Cool!
  2. Red lorry, yellow lorry. A bit more practice for your perfect [r]. Do you notice how close to perfect you are getting at pronouncing this sound?
  3. Stupid superstition. This one is like a hurdle race. Do you feel the tension in your muscles? It’s your ESL pronunciation getting better.
  4. Can you can a can as a canner can can a can? The sound [k] can seem easy. And it really is. Just do not forget to make a small ‘explosion’ in your mouth adding air to this sound.
  5. World Wide Web. This one is very useful – you can even use it in everyday talk. To pronounce it right, get your lips together as if you were going to blow a candle or to kiss somebody.
  6. Very well. Slightly bite your lower lip to produce the sound [v] and get your lips together as if you were blowing a candle to produce the sound [w]. Wow – you’re doing good.
  7. Three things on this side and six things on that side. This is a tricky one. Touch your upper teeth with the tip of your tongue to pronounce the sounds [θ] and [ð] spelled as th. Make it a voiceless [θ] for the words ‘three’ and ‘things’ and make it voiced [ð] for the words ‘this’ and ‘that’.
  8. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
    If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
    Could you pronounce it even quicker? Wow – your ESL pronunciation is really good. Are you sure you’re not a native English speaker?
  9. How many cookies could a good cook cook if a good cook could cook cookies? Is your head spinning because of too many cooks and cookies? Don’t worry! We’re almost done.
  10. The sixth Sikh sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.
    The sick Sikh sheik’s slick sheep’s sixth.
    Do you know what just happened? You’ve pronounced the most difficult tongue twister according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Congrats! That’s what a good ESL pronunciation workout can do for you.

What is your favorite tongue twister?

Comments (1)

  • Leslie Denning Posted:

    Hi Julie. I use tongue twisters with my voice students. I have one that I’ve never been able to do very well: red leather, yellow leather.

    I have a Chinese student whose mom has been studying English, she says, forever. I told her that I really admire her, as I think it would be overwhelming to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. You are doing good work here.

    All the best,