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Teaching Pronunciation

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching Pronunciation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching Pronunciation
Going beyond the “th” sound

2 Sharing Experiences A little about my experience
What experience have you had with teaching pronunciation? If you haven't taught it before, why not? In your view, what are your students' biggest pronunciation problems?

3 “A Thick Foreign Accent”
“A Thick Foreign Accent”

4 Pronunciation Myths Myth #1: Learning the pronunciation of English means learning how to pronounce the individual vowel and consonant sounds. Myth #2: It is difficult, if not impossible, for students to hear and pronounce some sounds, such as the difference between the vowel sound in ship and the vowel sound in sheep. Therefore, it is useless to spend time on pronunciation. Myth #3: Nonnative speakers of English cannot teach pronunciation. Myth #4: Pronunciation instruction is boring. (Wong, 1993,

5 Fact #1 There is much more to teaching pronunciation than individual sounds. What else is there? (Ideas?)

6 Segmentals vs. Suprasegmentals
vowels consonants Suprasegmentals stress rhythm (stress-timed vs. syllable-timed) intonation pausing (thought groups) linking

7 Fact #2 Yes, some learners may never learn to hear or produce some individual sounds. But... Students can at least be aware Pronunciation is again, much more than individual sounds Pronunciation is eye-opening and ear-opening! It improves listening, and can improve students' vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

8 Fact #3 Non-native speakers can be better pronunciation teachers than native speakers. Why? You know the needs and difficulties of your learners intimately You can help your learners focus on intelligibility You can provide an attainable model

9 Pronunciation can be the most fun part of class!
Fact #4 Pronunciation can be the most fun part of class!

10 Some General Guidelines
1. Listen first whenever possible The spoken form of the language is primary We don't always know the real sound of words Students need examples, preferably real examples in context 2. Mark up the text 3. Add an action

11 Individual Sounds It can be helpful to use some sort of sound transcription system—IPA, British Council, Simplified American, or simply the dictionary (online dictionaries are particularly useful). Build students' self-awareness. Let them say it and feel it. Mirrors and lollipops can help. Have students touch their throats to feel voicing. A piece of paper or a tissue can be great for aspiration. Websites with video and animation can help students see up close or inside the mouth set.html

12 The Color Vowel Chart Gives students the basic “menu” of vowel sounds and lets students start to make distinctions A good introduction is the activity on the website It helps students learn stress too: the color of the word is the sound of the stressed syllable

13 Stress and Rhythm Mark stress and unstress
Say a word and throw the ball on the stressed syllable, (i.e. fruits and vegetables) Rubber bands Tap, clap, lean, bend your knees, move your head, etc. Slap your thighs and raise your hands for the stress (good for long words)

14 Expanding Sentences KIDS PLAY BALL. DOGS CHASE CATS.

15 Identifying Stress

16 Stress Pattern Activity
Form groups with the same stress pattern. If you have a single word, you are the team captain. All other students in the group will have phrases or sentences.

17 Intonation Mark intonation with arrows or lines
Hum or use a kazoo—separate the segmentals from the suprasegmentals Students should trace the pattern in the air with their hands or pencils

18 Intonation Activity

19 Jazz Chants

20 Walk the Rhythm See handouts

21 Pronouncing Punctuation
See “Dear Jack” handouts

22 Further Resources Miller, S. F. (2007). Targeting Pronunciation. Boston: Heinle. Gilbert, J. B. (2001). Clear Speech from the Start. New York: Cambridge UP. Hancock, M. (2003). English Pronunciation in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Avery, P. & Erlich, S. (1992). Teaching American English Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford UP.

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