What is a Homophone?

I see the sea? This week, in one of our biggest Pronunciation Clinics yet we learned about homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same when we say them, but they have different spellings and also different meanings. Can you think of any homophones? Some homophones are pretty well-known, such as ate/eight, sea/see, and be/bee, but other ones surprised the group of students. Many people found out that they had been saying the word “pear” incorrectly. A homophone of “pear” is “pair.” We also learned other ones like threw/through, so/sew, caught/cot and more. Learning about homophones can help you to improve your pronunciation because you can learn to say difficult words. You also can realize that, unfortunately, words in English don’t always sound the way they are spelled. Another thing you can find out is that you might be saying words incorrectly and, therefore, making them homophones. For example, some of the students couldn’t pronounce the difference between “tree” and “three”. These words are not homophones, but if you don’t say the [th] correctly, they could accidentally sound similar. Also, the words “bear” and “beer” are not homophones. They have different vowel sounds. But, “bear” and “bare” are homophones. Next week, come join our free pronunciation class so that you can learn about things like homophones and also practice saying words in English!

5 Quick Pronunciation Tips

At EC Miami, we always hold Pronunciation Clinic on Tuesday afternoons and it is a great opportunity to have a free class and learn about the sounds in English. While some of you do come to the clinic, others of you are busy sunbathing at the beach. We understand that Miami Beach has plenty of distractions from learning English, but pronunciation is still important if you want native speakers to understand what you are saying. So, even if you don’t have time to spend 45 minutes at the clinic, you can spend 5 minutes reading our 5 quick pronunciation tips here! 1)      If you have trouble pronouncing the [h] sound, the best trick involves a piece of paper. Hold the paper in front of your mouth and say the word “horse.” If the paper moves, you are saying the sound correctly. You can also do this with your hand; you have to feel breath on your hand. It is important that you blow air out of your mouth to make the [h] sound. This is especially important for all of you French speakers! 2)      If you have trouble pronunciation the [th] sound, look in mirror. You must be sticking out your tongue to say the sound correctly. Put your tongue between your teeth and blow out. If you spit a  little too, that is actually a good thing! This is an important tip for many different languages, but especially for German speakers. Watch this video for more information about tips 2 and 3: Th Pronunciation Video. 3)      Just to confuse you more, there are two different [th] sounds. There is the sound of the word [think] and the word [this]. You stick your tongue out for both sounds, but one is voiced and the other is unvoiced. To find out … Read more