Speakers of many languages in Sub-Saharan Africa have problems distinguishing between different vowel sounds.
This confusion is often between long and short vowels, which means the following words are often pronounced the same:
- ‘bed’ and ‘bird’
- ‘cat’ and ‘cut’
- ‘pull’ and ‘pool’.
One way to help learners understand the difference is through a game called Test the teacher.
On the board write a set of words that have confusing sounds. For example:
- head heard
- bat but
- hat hut
- full fool
- fit feet
- lips leaps
- red read
- sun soon
Say: ‘I will ask you to say a word from the list on the board. I will point to the word I hear. If I am correct, say “Well done!” If I point to the wrong word say “No” and say the word again.’
Point to a learner and say: ‘Say a word.’ Repeat the process with other learners.
Once they understand, learners can then play this in pairs or small groups.