The main purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness for L2 English learners of a new direct approach to segmental pronunciation instruction that combined articulatory instruction with abdominal enhancement techniques. The participants were Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong, where the school curriculum relies chiefly on indirect instruction within a task-based language teaching (TBLT) framework. Thus a second purpose of the study was to examine whether the direct approach may be a useful addition to the Hong Kong curriculum. Randomly-assigned experimental and comparison groups of recent school graduates completed pronunciation tasks embedded within a TBLT framework. However, the experimental group had direct attention drawn to the segmental sounds, including advice and feedback on how to produce them, while the comparison group did not. Both groups completed a pretest/posttest reading-aloud task. The segments targeted in this test (and in the instruction) involved selected long vowel/diphthong sounds, voiced fricative consonants, and /t/ and /d/ in syllable-final consonant clusters. Results showed the experimental group significantly outperformed the comparison group overall and in each of these segmental categories, highlighting the importance of the direct articulatory–abdominal instruction. The results also suggested such instruction should be given greater attention in the Hong Kong curriculum. Copyright © 2022 Routledge.