Norwegian Wood, by the Beatles- vowel sounds, diphthongs, weak forms

This is an activity I came up with long ago for a course on phonetics and pronunciation. Ask students to listen to Norwegian Wood by The Beatles, and have them fill in the gaps with the vowel sound/diphthong they hear. To do so, students can have a phonemic chart in front of them. [The same number in brackets means the same vowel sound or diphthong is being used]

  • Exercise– click here
  • Key to answers– click here

Students can listen to the song twice. Then, they can share their answers with the other members of their group, or partners if they’re working in pairs.

The objective is to increase their phonemic awareness, and help them tell the difference between some tricky vowel sounds (/ɪ/ and /iː/, for example). As a follow-up, students are also asked to spot weak forms of grammatical words. These are marked green in the answer key.

Penny Lane

Yes, you were right! Penny Lane is a song by The Beatles, based on a street in Liverpool by the same name. It’s one of my favourite ones. So, obviously, when I was in Liverpool, I walked down Penny Lane, and had my photo taken next to the street sign.

Click on the picture to listen to the song.



On that same topic, one of the year 1 students was wearing this T-shirt today:


That’s one sure way of keeping this teacher very happy!