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Pronunciation Drilling Activity for Native Speakers of Arabic

by May Salameh |

The activity takes a brief look at some of the problematic sounds Arabic native speakers face when they learn English. It also includes a drilling activity for some of the challenging sounds the students face.

Resource Type: Activities

Audience: Elementary, Secondary, Adult, University, Teacher Training

Audience Language Proficiency: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Duration: 10 minutes


The activity helps Arabic-speaking students practice difficult-to-pronounce sounds in English.


The students will have better confidence when they succeed in pronouncing the sounds. They will be able to produce English words and sentences that are sufficiently understood. 

Activity Description:

Some English sounds are not found in the Arabic language, and as a result students may face difficulties in producing these foreign sounds.

Some differences:

-The ‘p’ is pronounced as ‘b’.

-The ‘ch, t ʃ’ may be pronounced as ‘sh, ʃ’, or as a /k/ sound.

- The present continuous ending (ing, ŋ) is pronounced as (i, n, g, students highlight the /g/ sound without assimilating the -ing together).

Pronunciation Activity for teachers: 


To break the habit of repeating the same wrong sounds by Arabic-speaking students, use drilling actively with some minor corrections here and there so not to overwhelm the students or frustrate them.

1- Write on the board words that have the / p, b/ or /ch,sh/ or words that have the /ing/ sounds, pronounce them and ask the students to repeat after you.

2- Give the students a paper that has the target words, give them time to read and prepare, and then ask some to pronounce them.

Example words:



















Repeat this activity as a warmup ( at the beginning of the class), or as an exit slip (which are small activities that the students have to do at the end of the class, before they leave to be allowed to exit the room. Exit slips are indicators of the effectiveness of the teaching approach and student understanding), or even just to freshen the class up.  This activity is great because it gets the students to hear themselves and their classmates repeat the same words/sounds. Repetition makes perfect.


All About Adolescent Literacy. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2021, from

Alsabaan, M. S. (2015). Pronunciation support for Arabic learners (Master's

thesis, University of Manchester, England, 2015). Manchester: University

of Manchester. EXT.PDF

Marian, J. (n.d.). English words in which 'ch' is pronounced as 'sh'. Retrieved

May 28, 2021, from


Useful Link: EXT.PDF ch-is-pronounced-as-sh-an-exhaustive-list/

TESOL Interest Section: Speech, Pronunciation and Listening

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