Practicing Pronunciation through ProverbsYi Yang
yangyi [at] gse.harvard.edu
Sentences with several words involving the same sound are good materials for practicing that sound. Many proverbs contain the rhetorical devices related to sound such as alliteration, rhyme and repetition, and thus very suitable for pronunciation exercises (For instance: Practice makes perfect. / Where there is a will, there is a way.) Repeating a sound two or more times in a short sentence can give the student a deeper impression, and the euphonic rhythm can keep the boredom away.
The following is a list of proverbs that can be used for pronunciation exercises. Sounds are marked with boldface instead of being represented by phonetic symbols because the American and British symbols are different, and some symbols may be distorted on the internet.
- A friend in need is a friend indeed.
- Every bullet has its billet.
- A good wife and health is a man's best wealth. / East and west, home is best.
- A drowning man will catch at a straw.
- He laughs best who laughs last.
- He who has an art has everywhere a part.
- A little pot is soon hot. / A spot is most seen on the finest cloth.
- New lords, new laws. / Walls have ears.
- One man beats the bush, another man catches the bird.
- Well begun is half done.
- Finders keepers, losers weepers.
- Kind words are the music of the world. / The early bird catches the worm.
- Haste makes waste.
- Little strokes fell great oaks. / As you sow you shall mow.
- Good advice is beyond price. / Might makes right.
- An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of learning.
- No joy without annoy.
- Constant dripping wears away a stone.
- Penny wise, pound foolish./ Practice makes perfect.
- There is nothing which has been bitter before being ripe.
- Time and tide wait for no man.
- A bird in hand is worth two in the wood. / Every dog has his day.
- Care killed the cat.
- A good name is better than a golden girdle.
- Fair feathers make fair fowls. / Birds of a feather flock together.
- Even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea.
- Something is better than nothing. / Birds of a feather flock together.
- Least said, soonest mended. / More haste, less speed.
- A lazy youth, a lousy age.
- No sunshine but hath some shadow. / Better be sure than sorry.
- Labor is often the father of leisure.
- Work has bitter root but sweet fruit.
- There is no royal road to learning.
- It is hard to be high and humble. / Do on the hills as you would do in the hall.
- Everybody has his merits and faults.
- No garden without its weeds.
- Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
- Every Jack has his Jill.
- Try before you trust.
- Better be drunk than drowned.
- A miss is as good as a mile. / Many a little makes a mickle.
- A stitch in time saves nine.
- Seeing is believing. / Everything must have a beginning.
- Look before you leap. / A cracked bell can never sound well.
- Willful waste makes woeful want. / Where there is a will, there is a way.
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. V, No. 3, March 1999