Testing Guides

Download the PDF documents to assist you with testing students.


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Download: TABLE ONE [PDF 7kb]

The understanding of Table One should now be quite easy.

  • On the left are single consonant sounds which begin English words.
    In the middle is a selection of English vowels.
    On the right are single consonant sounds which end English words.
  • When using the table as a reference for teaching proceed as described in AREA ONE: TESTING BEGINNING SINGLE CONSONANTSAREA TWO: TESTING ENDING SINGLE CONSONANTS. Give students practice until you judge that the new movement skills are firmly established.
  • When students are clearly quite able to pronounce ending combinations of sounds (such as AVV, EVV, IVV and so on) then they should be given exercises on a reasonable number of nonsense words such as SHEV, WEV, JEV and so on with the consonantal beginnings selected from the left of Table One.
    A small amount of drill practice along these lines each day will help the student to get his tongue around the English system of spoken sounds.
  • HOMEWORK along these lines is also especially beneficial and can be assigned if you record your articulation lessons on a voice recorder.
  • THE VOICE RECORDER is perhaps your most valuable tool to help the tonal language student to consolidate his new learning and to review his own progress. Do please remember that new ‘speech’ muscles almost always take some effort to rouse up from a lifetime of inactivity.

Most classroom situations will be unable to afford enough time for you to give your student the amount of practice he actually needs to get these ‘speech muscles’ working to maximum effectiveness.
So homework with a voice recorder is mandatory in many cases.

Download: TABLE TWO [PDF 7kb]

Table Two introduces consonant combinations which begin English words.

  • The testing method is that as outlined on AREA ONE: TESTING BEGINNING SINGLE CONSONANTSAREA TWO: TESTING ENDING SINGLE CONSONANTS. Here however the student is required to say a selection nonsense words which begin with combinations of consonants such as:
  • The purpose of this testing is to get a rapid insight of a preliminary nature as to which combinations of consonants prove difficult for the student to say.
  • When teaching to fluency it is advisable for you to remember that if a student cannot say for example the nonsense word SHRABLE, get him to say – RABLE first and then return to SHRABLE.
  • Be cautious however. The student may need special attention in pronouncing the SH sound in isolation before being required to place it next to another consonantal sound.
  • It is sometimes easier to start practice on a sound such as the SH sound when it is in word ending position.
  • It is generally good teaching practice to leave the teaching of the more difficult sounds and combinations of sounds until the easier ones have been mastered.
  • The student should practice his new speech movement patterns with nonsense words a little each day until fluent.
  • YOUR VOICE RECORDER remains the most valuable teaching tool for the purpose of enabling some students to get the amount of practice that they actually need to consolidate their new learning.
Download: TABLE THREE [PDF 7kb]

When testing, do as outlined at AREA ONE: TESTING BEGINNING SINGLE CONSONANTS & AREA TWO: TESTING ENDING SINGLE CONSONANTS but with a selection of combinations only.
Here however, put an ending combination after the PA – – to form nonsense words such as those below. Refer to Table Three.

  • When teaching bear in mind the following: Some students may initially appear unable to hear or say for example, the differences in
    UST USK and USP. Something of the background to this phenomenon A TIMELY RECAPITUATION
  • This difficulty can be overcomes almost always by actually teaching the student to hear with his eyes.
  • This sounds like an odd thing to do… but here is how you do it.
  • Copy onto the classroom chalkboard the particular section of Table

Three that is causing difficulty. See below


POINT to the letters in correct sequence, left to right, and get the student to sound out the vowel and consonant letters as you go.


In practice, many students who initially appear quite unable to either hear or say the sound combination when it is spoken, will be enabled to say it when they see it. Hence the coining of the expression hearing with eyes.
Somewhat later, the same students will be quite able to both hear and say the difficult sound combinations within normal everyday speech communication.
At this stage the process of hearing with their eyes will have outlived its usefulness.

Download: TABLE FOUR [PDF 7kb]

The combinations of ending consonant sounds on Table Four are the most common in spoken English. This is because they feature the
inflexional t d s and z sounds. With very few exceptions they effect all English nouns and verbs.

  • When testing, follow the procedure as for Table Three. Simply substitute the ending combinations from Table Four. It is a good idea to test only a selection.
  • On a photocopy of the table you might like to record the student’s individual differences.
  • When teaching, bear in mind the following.

The ending consonantal combinations to the right of the table are often best practiced section by section in the manner outlined earlier:
e.g. Take the top group on the right hand side of Table Four and copy it onto the classroom chalkboard as follows:
As you point to the letters, get the student to say as follows:
AFF then AFT
EFF then EFT
IFF then IFT
OFF then OFT
UFF then UFT
Do the same with the remaining items: th sh p k and ch.


Continue to emphasize that it is, in a sense, possible to hear with your eyes when the ears of your tonal language students just do not seem able to pick up the sounds.
As mentioned earlier, the sounds TH SH and CH are often not found at all in some tonal languages. So proceed with caution here.

Download: TABLE FIVE [PDF 7kb]

The combinations of consonants on Table Five do not yet exhaust all the consonantal combinations which do exist in spoken English.
But they are sufficient to keep even most English born articulatory gymnasts quite challenged, especially if they experiment with matching up complex beginnings like STR or SPR with complex endings like —ISPS or —ESKS or —OLMZ or —ULVD.

Three consonants at the ends of words challenge most newcomers to the country so proceed with caution with all manner of newcomers.


  • Test a selection of combinations in the manner previously outlined.
  • Teach small section by small section in the manner shown for Tables Three and Four.
  • With ESL students do not initially combine complex beginnings on the left with complex endings on the right unless it is for ‘fun’ purposes!
  • I have found it useful to make a small set of home practice charts based on the right hand side combinations on Table Five. See two examples below.


  • Recording the students’ areas of difficulty on copies of Tables One to Five.
  • Using voice recorders for self tutoring following your lessons that you record whilst you are teaching. To get the dormant speech muscles of tonal language students up and working properly for the first time, often requires much more practice than you are able to give in the classroom.

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