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first to record the observation of children in speaking.

The Frenchman Franois Gouin is perhaps


the best known of these reformers.

Gouins approach to teaching was based on his observations of childrens use of language. They
recognized the need for speaking proficie ncy rather than reading or writing, and there was an
interest in how children learn languages. Attempts to develop teaching principles from observation
of child language learning were made but these new ideas did not develop into an educational
movement as there was not sufficient organizational structure in the language teaching profession
(i.e., in the form of professional associations, journals, and conferences). However, this would
change toward the end of the nineteenth century, when a more concerted effort arose in which the
interests of reform-minded language teachers, and linguists, coincided.

3.3.3. The Reform Movement: Sweet, Vitor and Passy. The role of phonetics.

As the names of some of its leading exponents suggest (C. Marcel, T. Prendergast, and F. Gouin),
the Grammar Translation method was challenged, and eventually, with no success due to a lack of
the means for wider dissemination, acceptance and implementation of their new ideas on language
teaching. However, toward the end of the nineteenth century, teachers and linguists began to write
about the need for new approaches to language teaching, and through their pamphlets, books,
speeches, and articles, the foundation for more widespread pedagogical reforms was set up. This
Reform Movement, as it is known, laid the foundations for the development of new ways of
teaching languages within the Direct Method and raised controversies that have continued to the
present day.

From the 1880s, an intellectual leadership gave greater credibility and acceptance to reformist ideas
thanks to linguists like Henry Sweet (1845-1912) in England, Wilhelm Vitor (1850-1918) in
Germany, and Paul Passy in France. Among the earliest goals of the association, we find the
leading role of phonetics within the teaching of modern languages; Sweet (1899) set forth
principles for the development of teaching methods based on sound methodological principles (an
applied linguistic approach). For Vitor, whose name is directly associated with a phonetic
method, speech patterns were the fundamental elements of language, stressing the value of training
teachers in the new science of phonetics . In general the reformers believed that grammar had to be
taught inductively, translation avoided, and a language learning based on hearing the language first,
before seeing it in written forms.

These principles provided the theoretical foundations for a principled approach to language
teaching, one based on a scientific approach to the study of language. However, none of these
proposals assumed the status of a method. They reflect the beginnings of the discipline of applied
linguistics. Parallel to the ideas put forward by members of the Reform Movement was an interest
in developing principles for language teaching out of naturalistic principles of language learning,
such as are seen in first language acquisition. According to Rivers (1981), this led to natural
methods and ultimately led to the development of what we know as the Direct Method.

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3.3.4. The Direct Method. Natural methods from Montaigne to Berlitz.

As we have stated before, these early reformers, who included Henry Sweet of England, Wilhelm
Vitor of Germany, and Paul Passy of France, believed that language teaching should be based on
scientific knowledge about language, that it should begin with speaking and expand to other skills,
that words and sentences should be presented in context, that grammar should be taught inductively,
and that translation should, for the most part, be avoided.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, linguists became interested in the problem of the best way to
teach languages. An increasing attention to naturalistic principles of language learning was given
by other reformers, and for this reason they are sometimes called advocates of a natural method.
In fact several attempts to make second language learning more like first language learning had
been made throughout the history of language teaching. For instance, if we trace back to the
sixteenth century, we find out that the Frenchman Montaigne described his own experience on
learning Latin for the first years of his life as a process where he was exclusively addressed in Latin
by a German tutor.

These ideas spread, and these natural language learning principles consolidated in what became
known as the Direct Method, the first of the "natural methods, both in Europe and in the United
States. It was quite successful in private language schools, and difficult to implement in public
secondary school education. Among those who tried to apply natural principles to language classes
in America were L. Sauveur (1826-1907) and Maximiliam Berlitz who promoted the use of
intensive oral interaction in the target language. Saveurs method became known as the Natural
Method and was seriously considered in language teaching. In his book An Introduction to the
Teaching of Living Languages without Grammar or Dictionary (1874), Saveur described how their
students learnt to speak after a month on intensive oral work in class, avoiding the use of the mother
tongue, even for grammar explanations. Berlitz, however, never used the term natural and named
his method the Berlitz method (1878), and it was known for being taught in private language
schools, high-motivated clients, the use of native-speaking teachers, and no translation under any
circumstances. In spite of his success, this method lacked a basis in applied linguistic theory, and
failed to consider the practical realities of the classroom.

In Europe, one of the best known representatives of language teaching was Gouin who, in 1880
attempted to build a methodology around observation of child language learning when publishing
L'art d'enseigner et d'tudier les langues. He developed this technique after a long struggle trying to
learn to speak and understand German through formal grammar-based methods. However, their
total failure and his turning to observations of how children learn a second language is one of the
most impressive personal testimonials in the recorded annals of language learning.

According to Richards & Rodgers (1992), although the Direct Method enjoyed popularity in
Europe, not everyone had embraced it enthusiastically. In the 1920s and 1930s, the British applied
linguist Henry Sweet and other linguists recognized its limitations. They argued for the
development of sound methodological principles as the basis for teaching techniques. These

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linguists systematized the principles stated earlier by the Reform Movement and so laid the
foundations for what developed into the British approach to teaching English as a foreign language.
This would led to Audiolingualism in the United States and the Oral Approach or Situational
Language Teaching in Britain. These models are the aim of next sections.

3.4. The twentieth century: A communicative approach.

In this section we offer an overview of English language teaching since 1900, and specially of the
teaching of English as a foreign or second language. Since language is a part of society, and a part
of ourselves, we find a relationship between linguistics and other fields of study that shed light on
the old patterns and new directions in language teaching. During the twentieth century, different
methods have resulted from different approaches to language and language learning, and also to the
influence of fields such as sociology and psychology on the study of language. Let us now turn to
the major approaches, teaching methods and theories on language acquisition that are in use today
and examine them according to how they reflect their methodology.

3.4.1. The Communicative Language Teaching Approach.

Communicative Language Teaching has its origins in two sources. First, the changes in the British
and American linguistic theory in the mid-late sixties and secondly, changes in the educational
realities in Europe. Therefore teaching traditions until then, such as Situational Language Teaching
in Britain and Audiolingualism in the United States started to be questioned by applied linguists
who saw the need to focus in language teaching on communicative proficiency rather than on mere
mastery of structures.

Meanwhile, the role of the European Common Market and the Council of Europe had a significant
impact on the development of Communicative language teaching since there was an increasing need
to teach adults the major languages for a better educational cooperation. In 1971 a system in which
learning tasks are broken down into units is launched into the market by a British linguist, D.A.
Wilkins. It attempts to demonstrate the systems of meanings that a language learner needs to
understand and express within two types: notional categories (time, sequence, quantity or
frequency) and categories of communicative function (requests, offers, complaints). The rapid
application of these ideas by textbook writers and its acceptance by teaching specialists gave
prominence to what became the Communicative Approach or simply Communicative Language
Teaching.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, there has been a variety of theoretical challenges to the audio-lingual
method. Scholars such as Halliday, Hymes, Labov and the American linguist Noam Chomsky
challenged previous assumptions about language structure and language learning, taking the
position that language is creative (not memorized by repetition and imitation) and rule governed
(not based on habits). For Hymes (1972), the goal of language teaching is to develop a

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communicative competence, that is, the knowledge and ability a learner needs to be
communicatively competent in a speech community. Halliday (1970) elaborated a functional theory
of the functions of language, and Canale and Swain (1980) identified four dimensions of
communicative competence: grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic competence.
Chomsky leveled some criticisms at structural linguistic theory in his book Syntactic Structures
(1957). He demonstrated that the fundamental characteristics of language creativity and
uniqueness of individual sentences- were not part of the structural theories of language.

This communicative view is considered an approach rather than a method which provides a
humanistic approach to teaching where interactive processes of communication receive priority. Its
rapid adoption and implementation resulted from a strong support of leading British applied
linguists and language specialist, as well as institutions, such as the British Council. However, some
of the claims are still being looked at more critically as this approach raises important issues for
teacher training, materials development, and testing and evaluation (Richards & Rodgers 1992).

3.4.2. The influence of sociology and psychology on language teaching.

Since language is not an isolated phenomenon, we are committed to relate it to other aspects of
society, behavior and experience through the development of a theory between linguistics and other
fields of study, such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophical linguistics, biological
linguistics, and mathematical linguistics. Among all the interdisciplinary subjects, two of them have
strongly contributed to the development of the study of language teaching, thus, sociology and
psychology. The former, sociolinguistics studies the ways in which language interacts with society
in relation to race, nationality, regional, social and political groups, and the interactions of
individuals within groups. The latter, psycholinguistics , focuses on how language is influenced by
memory, attention, recall and constraints on perception, and the extent to which language has a
central role to play in the understanding of human development.

Main researchers on the field of sociolinguistics are the American linguists Edwar Sapir and
Leonard Bloomfield within a tradition on Structuralism although they follow different lines. These
grammarians claimed that every language consists of a series of unique structures and that the
construction of sentences follows certain regular patterns. However, Sapir points out how linguistics
and anthropology reflects the social aspect of language when dealing with race, culture and
language, whereas Bloomfields contribution is more scientific, clearly influenced by psychology
theories.

In the field of psychology, behaviorism has had a great effect on language teaching as various
scientists in the early to mid-1900s did experiments with animals, trying to understand how animals
behaved under certain stimulus. Theorists as Ivan Pavlov and Skinner, believed that languages
were made up of a series of habits, and that if learners could develop all these habits, they would
speak the language well. Also, they believed that a contrastive analysis of languages would be
invaluable in teaching languages, and from these theories arose the audio -lingual method,
examined in the following sections.

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Another interdisciplinary overlap, as Crystal (1985) states is psycholinguistics. It is a distinct area
of interest developed in the early sixties and in its early form covered from acoustic phonetics to
language pathology. Most of its researchers have been influenced by the development of generative
theory where the most important area is the investigation of the acquisition of language by
children. Linguists such as R. Ellis or Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrells contribution show an
approach focusing on teaching communicative abilities and emphasizing the primacy of meaning
when second language acquisition is on study. Chomskys view of linguistics is another important
contribution to the study of the human mind, as a branch of cognitive psychology, apart from
showing the weaknesses of structural grammar. Regarding the teaching of languages, the
psychological approach is related to questions such as when and how children develop their ability
to ask questions syntactically, or when they learn the inflectional systems of their language.

3.4.3. Approaches and theories of language and language learning.

3.4.3.1. Approaches of language and language learning.

We saw in the preceding sections the relationship between method and approach. Within the study
of language different methods resulted from different approaches as responses to a variety of
historical issues and circumstances. Since ancient times, linguists and language specialists sought to
improve the quality of language teaching, elaborating principles and theories that came into force
from the nineteenth century on. Linguists such as Palmer, Skinner, Chomsky, and Krashen among
others, have contributed to this development of present-day approaches which developed in current
methods.

Following Richards & Rodgers (1992), theories about the nature of language and of language
le arning are the source of principles in language teaching. Within a theory of language, at least
three different theoretical views provide current approaches and methods in language teaching.

The first, the structural view, is the most traditional of the three. Within its theory, language is a
system of structurally related elements for the coding of meaning, and is defined in terms of
phonological and grammatical units, grammatical operations and lexical items. Some methods
have embodied this particular view of language over the years. Thus Audiolingualism, and
contemporary methods as Total Physical Response and the Silent Way, share this view of language.
Supporters of this view are linguists such as Edwar Sapir and Leonard Bloomfield within a tradition
on Structuralism although they follow different lines, thus anthropological and linguistic
respectively.

From the second, the functional view, language is seen as a vehicle for the expression of functional
meaning. A main tenet within this view is the notion of communication within a theory that
emphasizes the semantic and communicative dimension rather than merely the grammatical
characteristics of language. Content is also organized by categories of meaning and function rather
than by elements of structure and grammar.

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The third, the interactional view, sees language as a vehicle for the realization of interpersonal
relations and for the performance of social transactions between individuals. Its main tenet is the
creation and maintenance of social relations focusing on the patterns of moves, acts, negotiation,
and interaction found in conversational exchanges.

In the words of Rivers (1981), the eclectic approach must be included on language teaching theory
due to its prominence on our present educational system. For her, some teachers experiment with
novel techniques for more successful teaching, retaining what they know from experience to be
effective. This approach is supported by an honorable ancestry, thus Henry Sweet and Harold
Palmer. Its main tenets seek the balanced development of all four skills at all stages, while retaining
an emphasis on the early development of aural-oral skills. Their methods are also adapted to the
changing objectives of the day and to the types of students who pass through their classes.
Moreover, to be successful, an eclectic teacher needs to be imaginative, energetic and willing to
experiment. This approach is being currently applied to language teaching as part of our present
educational system, LOGSE, based on communicative methods.

3.4.3.2. Influential theories on language learning.

The four theories of language provide a theoretical framework to any particular teaching method
from a structural, functional, interactional and eclectic point of view. However, we must bear in
mind that they are incomplete in themselves and need to be complemented by theories of language
learning. It is to this dimension that we now turn.

A theory of language learning needs a psycholinguistic and cognitive approach to learning


processes, such as habit formation, induction, inferencing, hypothesis testing, and generalization.
Most of its researchers have been influenced by the development of generative theory where the
most important area is the investigation of the acquisition of language by children. The most
prominent figures in this field are, among others, Stephen Krashen, Tracy D. Terrell and Noam
Chomsky.

Stephen D. Krashen developed a second language acquisition research as a source for learning
theories. He distinguishes two concepts here, acquisition and learning , where acquisition is seen as
the basic process involved in developing language proficiency. For him, it is the unconscious
development of the target language system as a result of using the language for real communication.
Learning would be related to the conscious representation of grammatical knowledge and non
spontaneous processes. He developed the Monitor Model on which the Natural method was built.

Another theorist, Tracy D. Terrell is closely related to Krashen, since they both wrote a book
named The Natural Approach (1983), and their theories emphasize the nature of the human and
physical context in which language learning takes place. Their learning theory is supported by three
main principles. Firstly, they claim that comprehension precedes production (commonly known as
input); secondly, they state that production may emerge in stages and students are not forced to

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speak before they are ready; and thirdly the fact that the course syllabus consists of communicative
goals, thus classroom activities are organized, by topic, not grammar (Krashen & Terrell 1983).

Chomskys view of linguistics is another important contribution to the study of the human mind, as
a branch of cognitive psychology. Apart from showing the weaknesses of structural grammar,
Chomsky demonstrated that creativity and individual sentences formation were fundamental
characteristics of language, not part of the structural theories of language. His approach provides a
humanistic view of teaching where priority is given to interactive processes of communication.

We also find other less influential theories reflected on methods, thus the Counseling-Learning
and Silent Way method which focus on the conditions to be held for successful learning without
specifying the learning processes. James Ashers Total Physical Response (1977) centers on both
processes and conditions aspects of learning. Thus coordinating language production with body
movement and physical actions is believed to provide the conditions for success in language
learning.

Charles A. Currans approach, the Counseling-Learning (1972), focused mainly on creating the
conditions necessary for successful learning, such as a good atmosphere of the classroom, where
intimacy and security are a crucial factor together for students when producing language. The
Silent Way method, developed by Caleb Gattegno , is also built on a conscious control of learning
to heighten learning potential. We also observe some fringe methodologies sharing certain theories
of language and theories of language learning. For instance, the linking of structuralism and
behaviorism which produced Audiolingualism.

3.4.4. Language teaching methods.

3.4.4.1. The Oral Approach and Situational Language teaching method.

This approach dates back to the 1920s and 1930s and develops a more scientific foundation for an
oral approach than the one evidenced in the Direct Method. Its most prominent figures are the
British applied linguists Harold Palmer and A.S. Hornby, who developed the basis for a principled
approach to methodology in language teaching. The terms Oral Approach or Situational Language
Teaching are not commonly used today, but the impact of the Oral Approach has been long lasting,
and it has shaped the design of many widely used textbooks and courses, including many still being
used today.

Therefore it is important to understand the principles and practices of this oral approach which
resulted from a systematic study of the lexical and grammatical content of a language course. This
approach involved principles of selection, organization and presentation of the material based on
applied linguistic theory and practice. Thus, the role of vocabulary was seen as an essential
component of reading proficiency, and parallel to this syllabus design was a focus on the
grammatical content, viewed by Palmer as the underlying sentence patterns of the spoken
language. This classification of English sentence patterns was incorporated into the first dictionary

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for students of English as a foreign language, and some grammatical guides which became a
standard reference source for textbook writers.

The Oral Approach was the accepted British approach to English language teaching by the 1950s,
but in the sixties, another active proposal from Australia and termed situational, entered this
approach developing an influential set of teaching materials based on the notion of situation,
linking structures to situations. Its main leader was George Pittman, and its main characteristics
were as follows: material is taught orally before it is presented in written form; introduced and
practiced situationally; and reading and writing are introduced only when sufficient lexical and
grammatical basis is established. The skills are approached through structure.

This third principle became a key feature characterized as a type of British structuralism, in which
speech was regarded as the basis of language, and structure was viewed as being at the heart of
speaking ability. In the words of Richards & Roberts (1992), this theory that knowledge of
structures must be linked to situations has been supported by British linguists, giving a prominent
place to meaning, context, and situation. Prominent figures such as M.A.K. Halliday and Palmer
emphasized the close relationship between the structure of language and the context and situations
in which language is used.

3.4.4.2. The Audiolingual method.

The origins of this method trace back to the entry of the United States into World War II since the
government aimed to teach foreign languages to avoid Americans becoming isolated from scientific
advances in other countries. The National Defense Education Act (1958) provided funds for the
study and analysis of modern languages based on the earlier experience of the army programs such
as the so-called ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program). This program was established for
military personnel in 1942 in American universities, and its main objective was for students to
attain conversational proficiency in different foreign languages through significant drills.

This fact had a significant effect on language teaching in America, and in fact, new approaches on
language teaching were soon developed, and toward the end of the 1950s a new approach emerged
under the name of Audiolingualism (term coined by Professor Nelson Brooks in 1964. It is based in
structural linguistics (structuralism) and behavioristic psychology (Skinners behaviorism).
Therefore, it is primarily an oral approach to language teaching and there is little provision for
grammatical explanation or talking about the language.

The audio-lingual method aims at teaching the language skills in the order of listening, speaking,
reading, and writing, and is based on using drills for the formation of good language habits. Thus
students are given a stimulus, which they respond to. If their response is correct, it is rewarded, so
the habit will be formed; if it is incorrect, it is corrected, so that it will be suppressed. As Rivers
(1981) states, material is presented in spoken form, and the emphasis in the early years is on the
language as it is spoken in everyday situations.

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It was a methodological innovation which combined structural linguistic theory, contrastive
analysis, aural-oral procedures, and behaviorist psychology. Therefore linguists such as Leonard
Bloomfield, developed training programs within an anthropological and linguistic tradition. The
best known of these programs was the informant method, based on a strict timetable (ten hours a
day during six days a week), fifteen hours drill with native speakers and almost thirty hours of
private study over nearly three six-week sessions. Statistics show that excellent results were often
achieved in small classes of mature and highly motivated students.

3.4.4.3. Total Physical Response.

Total Physical Response is linked to several traditions, such as psychology, learning theory, and
humanistic pedagogy. This method is built around the combination of speech and action and was
developed by James Asher, a professor of psychology. For him, including movements within the
linguistic production reduces learner stress, creating a positive mood which facilitates learning.
This emphasis on comprehension and the use of physical actions to teach a foreign language is not
new. In the nineteenth century, Gouin acknowledged a situationally based teaching strategy in
which action verbs served as a basis for practicing new language items.

This method owes much to structuralist or grammar-based views of language as most of vocabulary
items and grammatical structures are learned through an instructor. Asher still sees a stimulus-
response view as reminiscences of the views of behavioral psychologists, directed to right-brain
learning. The main goal is to teach oral proficiency at a beginning level through the use of action-
based drills in the imperative form.

This method is updated with references to more recent psychological theories and supported by
prominent theorists as Krashen because of its emphasis on the role of comprehension in second
language acquisition. However, Asher himself, points out the need for this method to be used in
association with other methods to be fully successful.

3.4.4.4. The Silent Way.

Caleb Gattegno introduced this classroom technique wherein the teacher remains silent while pupils
output the language through simulated experiences using tokens and picture charts as central
elements. For instance, a color-coded phonics (sound) chart called a fidel, with both vowel and
consonant clusters on it, is projected onto a screen to be used simultaneously with a pointer, thus
permitting the pupil to output continually the target language in a sequence of phonemes.

Brightly coloured rods are integrated into this method for pupils to learn spatial relationships,
prepositions, colors, gender and number concepts, and to create multiple artificial settings through
their physical placement.

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This method works effectively to promote small group discussion. Students are encouraged to
produce as much language as possible and to self-correct their pronunciation errors through manual
gesticulation on the part of the instructor. The greatest strength of this method lies in its ability to
draw students out orally, while the teacher listens. This inner criteria allow learners to monitor and
self-correct their own production. It is here where this method differs notably from other ways of
language learning.

3.4.4.5. Community Language Learning.

As the name indicates, this method follows a humanistic approach which was supported by
Charles A. Curran, a specialist in counseling and a professor of psychology at Chicago University.
His method is known as Counseling-Learning, and it redefines the roles of the teacher (counselor)
and learners (the clients) in the language classroom.

He developed a holistic approach to language learning, since human learning is both cognitive and
affective. For him, learning takes place in a communicative situation where teachers and learners
are involved in an interaction. One of its main tenets is for the student to develop his relationship
with the teacher.

This process is divided into five stages and compared to the ontogenetic development of the child.
Thus, feelings of security are established; achievement of independence from the teacher; the
learner starts speaking independently; a sense of criticism is developed; and finally, the learner
improves style and knowledge of linguistic appropriateness.

Curran wrote little about his theory which was to be developed by his student, La Forge . He built a
theory on basic sound and grammatical patterns which started with criteria for sound features, the
sentence, and abstract models of language in order to construct a basic grammar of the foreign
language.

Since these humanistic technique of counseling students engage the whole person, including the
emotions and feelings (affective part) as well as linguistic knowledge and behavioral skills, this
method has been linked to bilingual and adult education programs.

3.4.3.6. Suggestopedia.

In the 1980s and 1990s, an extremely esoteric method was developed by a Bulgarian psychiatrist-
educator called Georgi Lozanov. The most outstanding features of this mystical method are,
according to Rivers (1981), its arcane terminology and neologisms, and secondly, the arrangement
of the classroom to create an optimal atmosphere to learning, by means of decoration, furniture, the
authoritative behavior of the teacher and specially, through the use of music. Therapy theories are
the reason of using music in the classroom as Lozanov calls upon in his use to relax learners as well
as to structure, pace, and punctuate the presentation of linguistic material.

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Lozanov acknowledges following a tradition on yoga and Soviet psychology, borrowing techniques
for altering states of consciousness and concentration, and the use of rhythmic breathing. In fact,
teachers are trained in a special way to read dialogues, using voice quality, intonation, and timing.
Lozanov also claims that his method works equally well whether or not students spend time on
outside study and promises success to the academically gifted and ungifted alike.

In the own words of Lozanov (1978), Suggestopedia prepares students for success by means of
yoga, hypnosis, biofeeback or experimental science. Its main features such as scholarly citations,
terminological jargon, and experimental data have received both support and criticisms. However,
Suggestopedia is acknowledged to appear effective and harmonize with other successful techniques
in language teaching methodology.

4. NEW DIRECTIONS ON LANGUAGE TEACHING.

Whats now, whats next? The future is always uncertain when anticipating methodological
directions in second language teaching, although applied linguistic journals assume the carrying on
and refinement of current trends within a communicative approach. They are linked to present
concerns on education, and they reflect current trends of language curriculum development at the
level of cognitive strategies, literature, grammar, phonetics or technological innovative methods.
The Internet Age anticipates the development of teaching and learning in instructional settings by
means of an on-line collaboration system, perhaps via on-line computer networks or other
technological resources.

A critical question for language educators is about "what content" and "how much content" best
supports language learning. The goal is to best match learner needs and interests and to promote
optimal development of second language competence. The natural content for language educators is
literature and language itself, and we are beginning to see a resurgence of interest in literature and
in discourse and genre analysis , schema theory, pragmatics, and functional grammar propose an
interest in functionally based approaches to language teaching.

Also, "Learning to Learn" is the key theme in an instructional focus on language learning
strategies. Such strategies include, at the most basic level, memory tricks, and at higher levels,
cognitive and metacognitive strategies for learning, thinking, planning, and self-monitoring.
Research findings suggest that strategies can indeed be taught to language learners, that learners
will apply these strategies in language learning tasks. Simple and yet highly effective strategies,
such as those that help learners remember and access new second language vocabulary items, will
attract considerable instructional interest.

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5. CONCLUSION.

On revising the literature on language teaching theories, it is possible to get a sense of the wide
range of proposals from the 1700s to the present, with their weaknesses and strengths, from
grammar-based methods to more natural approaches. There is still present a constant preoccupation
for teachers and linguists to find more efficient and effective ways of teaching languages. This
proliferation of approaches and methods is a relevant characteristic of contemporary second and
foreign language teaching, and is only understood when the learners need is approached from an
educational perspective. These approaches have been called natural, psychological, phonetic, new,
reform, and direct, among others.

In the middle -methods period, a variety of methods were proclaimed as successors to the then
prevailing Situational Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual methods. These alternatives were
promoted under such titles as Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Community Language Learning, and
Total Physical Response. In the 1980s, these methods in turn came to be overshadowed by more
interactive views of language teaching, which collectively came to be known as Communicative
Language Teaching. These CLT approaches include The Natural Approach and Community
Language Learning.
Special attention has also been paid to the role of the teacher as a commander of classroom activity
(e.g., Audio-Lingual Method, Natural Approach, Suggestopedia, Total Physical Response) whereas
others see the teacher as background facilitator and classroom colleague to the learners (e.g.,
Communicative Language Teaching, Cooperative Language Learning).

Language learning theories have approached second language learning on adults and children
around first language acquisition model. Schools such as Total Physical Response and Natural
Approach claim that second language learning must be developed in the same way as first language
acquisition although this is not the only model of language learning we have. However, the Silent
Way and Suggestopedia schools claim that adult classroom learning must be developed in a
different way children do, due to different cognitive and psychological features.

Bibliography, in a final section, will provide a source for readers to detail differences and
similarities among the many different approaches and methods that have been proposed

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6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Introduction to the study of language


- Jespersen, O. 1922. Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin . London: Allen and Unwin.
- Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.
- Baugh, A. & Cable, T. 1993. A History of the English Language. Prentice-Hall Editions.

On origins and evolution of language teaching


- Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. 1992. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Howatt, A. (1984). A history of English Language teaching . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

On approaches to language teaching and the teaching of English as a foreign language


- Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Krashen, S. D., and Terrell, T. D. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the
Classroom. Oxford: Pergamon.

New directions in language teaching


- Revistas de la Asociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA): De la Cruz, Isabel;
Santamara, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2001. La Lingstica Aplicada a finales
del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcal.
- Celaya, M Luz; Fernndez-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa.
2001. Trabajos en Lingstica Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona.
- Moreno, Ana I. & Colwell, Vera. 2001. Perspectivas Recientes sobre el Discurso. Universidad de
Len.

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UNIT 2

GENERAL THEORIES ON LEARNING AND ACQUISITION OF A


FOREIGN LANGUAGE. THE CONCEPT OF INTERLANGUAGE.
THE TREATMENT OF ERROR.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.
2. A HISTORY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING.
2.1. The nature and origins of foreign language learning.
2.2. The influence of Greek and Latin on foreign language teaching.
3. GENERAL THEORIES ON LEARNING AND ACQUISITION OF A FOREIGN
LANGUAGE.
3.1. Key issues in language learning.
3.1.1. Acquisition vs learning.
3.1.2. Mother, second, and foreign language.
3.1.3. Competence vs performance.
3.2. General theories on language learning.
3.2.1. First approaches.
3.2.2. Present-day approaches.
3.3. General theories on second language acquisition.
3.3.1. Six theories of Second Language Acquisition.
3.3.1.1. The Acculturation Model.
3.3.1.2. Accommodation Theory.
3.3.1.3. Discourse Theory.
3.3.1.4. The Monitor Model.
3.3.1.5. The Variable Competence Model.
3.3.1.6. The Universal Hypothesis.
3.3.2. The Natural Approach and Language Acquisition.
3.3.2.1. The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis.
3.3.2.2. The Monitor Hypothesis.
3.3.2.3. The Natural Order Hypothesis.
3.3.2.4. The Input Hypothesis.
3.3.2.5. The Affective Filter Hypothesis.
3.3.3. Factors which influence Second Language Acquisition.
3.3.3.1.Second Language Aptitude.
3.3.3.2. The Role of the First Language.
3.3.3.3. Routines and Patterns.
3.3.3.4. Individual Variation.
3.3.3.5. Age Differences.
4. THE CONCEPT OF INTERLANGUAGE.
5. THE TREATMENT OF ERROR.
6. NEW DIRECTIONS ON LANGUAGE LEARNING ACQUISITION.
7. CONCLUSION.
8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

The aim of this study is to provide a thorough account of what is known about the way people learn
langua ges. A historical background will give a framework for general theories on learning from its
origins to present-day trends, in an attempt to depict the major and minor approaches and theories in
language learning. At this point, key issues will be useful to review so as to clarify the nuances
between some concepts such as acquisition and learning, or terms such as mother, second, and
foreign language within a theory of learning. The same overview approach is used to set the link
between a language learning theory and the concept of interlanguage. Furthermore, the treatment of
error will be described from ancient roots to present-day trends within a positive framework.
According to the learners needs, new contributions on a language learning theory are offered
through current applied linguistics journals. A final section will conclude with an overview of the
development of most influential theories on language learning.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Introductions to a historical background to language learning include Baugh and Cable, A History of
the English Language (1993); David Crystal, Linguistics (1985); and Howatt, A History of English
Language Teaching (1984); On approaches to the teaching of English as a foreign language, see
Jack C. Richards and Theodore S. Rodgers, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching
(1992), and Wilga M. Rivers, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills (1981). An influential introduction
to general theories on learning and acquisition of a foreign language, still indispensable, is Krashen,
S.D., Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning (1981); and Krashen, S. D.,
and T. D. Terrell, The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983). Among
the many general works that incorporate the the concept of interlanguage and error treatment, see
especially Corder, S. Error Analysis and Interlanguage (1981a). The most complete record of
current publications is the annual supplement of AESLA (Asociacin Espaola de Lingstica
Aplicada) and the following collections from Universidad de Alcal y Universidad de Barcelona
respectively, Universidad de Alcal, La Lingstica Aplicada a finales del Siglo XX. Ensayos y
propuestas (2001); Universidad de Barcelona, Trabajos en Lingstica Aplicada (2001).
Bibliographical sources are fully presented at the end of this work.

2. A HISTORY OF LANGUAGE TEACHING.

2.1. The nature and origins of foreign language teaching.

The history of foreign language teaching goes back to the earliest educational systems whose main
aim was to teach religion and to promote the traditions of the people. These practices trace back to
the temple schools of ancient Egypt where the principles of writing, the sciences, mathematics, and
architecture were taught. In ancient India, much of the education was carried on by priests with the
Buddhist doctrines that later spread to the Far East. In ancient China, philosophy, poetry and
religion were taught regarding Confucius and other philosophers teachings. The Greeks focused on
the state and society in preparing intellectually citizens and the concepts they formulated served in
later centuries as the basis for the liberal arts, philosophy, aesthetic ideals, and gymnastic training.
Roman education provided the Western world the Latin language, classical literature, engineering,
law, and the administration and organization of government.

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The ancient Jewish traditions of the Old Testament also played an important role in formation of
later education systems. The foundation of Jewish education is the Torah (the Biblical books of
mosaic law) and the Talmud, which set forth the aims and methods of education among Jews.
Jewish parents were urged by the Talmud to teach their children such subjects as ethics, vocational
knowledge, swimming, and a foreign language. During the Middle Ages (15th-16th century), the
early educational systems of the nations of the Western world emanated from the Judea-Christian
religious traditions, which were combined with traditions derived from ancient Greece philosophers
like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

2.2. The influence of Greek and Latin on language teaching.

In the context of language teaching and learning, a clear influence of the Greek and Latin language
is present. In Greece, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics examined carefully the structure of language as
part of the general study of dialectic. This study had a major influence on subsequent grammatical
thinking which was taken over by the Romans with very little change.
In the sixteenth century the status of Latin changed from a living language that learners needed to
be able to read, write in, and speak, to a dead language which was studied as an intellectual exercise
(Richards & Rodgers 1992). The analysis of the grammar and rhetoric of Classical Latin became the
model language teaching between the 17th and 19th centuries, a time when thought about language
teaching crystallized in Europe.

It was not until the eighteenth century that modern languages began to enter the curriculum of
European schools where they were taught using the same basic procedures that were used for
teaching Latin. Still nowadays, many of the features of modern language learning theories can be
traced back to this early period, and are considered beneficial legacies from the past.

3. GENERAL THEORIES ON LEARNING AND ACQUISITION OF A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

3.1. Key issues in language learning.

A relevant characteristic of contemporary second and foreign language teaching is the proliferation
of approaches, methods and theories so as to search for more efficie nt and effective ways of
teaching languages.

Many theories about the learning and teaching of languages have been proposed from a historical
perspective, and have been influenced by developments in the fields of linguistics, psychology,
anthropology, and sociology. The study of these theories and how they influence language teaching
today is called applied linguistics. As we have seen in the preceding sections, many of our modern
practices find their roots, or at the least are inspired, in the practices of our predecessors.

The extent and importance of the teaching of English as a foreign language, and therefore, the
development of language learning theories, make it reasonable to define some key concepts within
this issue.

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3.1.1. Acquisition vs learning.

These two concepts underlie a theory of learning, and are one of the main tenets of Stephen
Krashens theory of second language acquisition. For him, there are two distinctive ways of
developing skills and knowledge (competence) in a second language. Thus, acquisition refers to
the natural way of picking up a language by using it in natural, communicative situations. This
term is used to refer to an unconscious process by which language is acquired similarly as children
acquire their first language, and probably second languages as well.

The term learning, by contrast, means having a conscious knowledge about grammar, and
conscious rules about a language are developed. In this context, formal teaching and correction of
errors are necessary for learning to occur. We refer to conscious grammar rules only to make
changes when correcting. It is important to bear in mind that learning, according to the theory,
cannot lead to acquisition

3.1.2. Mother tongue, second, and foreign language acquisitio n.

In learning languages, a distinction is usually made when referring to mother tongue, second
language, and foreign languages. In the seventeenth century, the theologian Jan Amos Komensky
(1592 - 1670), commonly known as Comenius, already established a distinction referring to those
terms. Thus, he claimed that man fell from his original state due to the loss of the original tongue, at
the Tower of Babel. For him, the beginning is the learning of the mother-tongue (first language
acquisition); there is no point in learning another language if one has not mastered one's own. After
that, one should learn the languages of one's neighbours (second language); and only after that
should one take on the learning of one of the classic languages, such as Latin, Hebrew, Greek or
Arabic (foreign language).

At this point, it is relevant to define these concepts in modern terms. For instance, a mother tongue
is considered to be the first language one learns as a child whereas a second language is acquired
under the need of learning the language of another country. On the other hand, when languages are
acquired in school, it is considered as a foreign language. The acronyms ESL and EFL stand for the
learning of English as a Second and as a Foreign Language.

3.1.3. Competence vs performance.

A distinction is often made between competence and performance in the study of language.
According to Chomsky (1965), competence consists of the mental representation of linguistic rules
which constitute the speaker-hearers internalized grammar whereas performance consists of the
comprehension and production of language. Language acquisition studies both first and second-
are interested in how competence is developed. However, because second language acquisition
focuses on performance, there is no evidence for what is going on inside the learners head. This is
one of the major weaknesses of second language acquisition research.

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3.2. General theories on language learning.

3.2.1. First approaches.

From a historical perspective foreign language learning has always been an important practical
concern. Whereas today English is the worlds most widely studied foreign language, five hundred
years ago it was Latin, for it was the dominant language of education, commerce, religion, and
government in the Western world. In the mid-late nineteenth century, opportunities for
communication increased among Europeans and there was a high demand for oral proficiency in
foreign languages.
Second language learning has always tended to follow in the footsteps of first language acquisition
and, in fact, throughout the history of language teaching, we find several attempts to make second
language learning more like first language learning. The importance of meaning in learning, and the
interest on how children learn languages as a model for language teaching were the first approaches
to a language learning theory. Thus, if we trace back to the sixteenth century, we find out that the
Frenchman Montaigne described his own experience on learning Latin for the first years of his life
as a process where he was exclusively addressed in Latin by a German tutor. In the nineteenth
century, he was followed by individual language teaching specialists like the Frenchman C. Marcel,
the Englishman T. Prendergast, and the Frenchman F. Gouin (Howatt 1984).
Prendergast was one of the first to record the observation of children in speaking, followed by
Gouin, one of the best known representatives of language teaching due to his observations of
childrens use of language. In 1880 Gouin attempted to build a methodology around observation of
child language learning when publishing L'art d'enseigner et d'tudier les langues, which turned
out to be a total failure. However, his turning to observations of how children learn a second
language is one of the most impressive personal testimonials in the recorded annals of language
learning.

Attempts to develop teaching principles from observation of child language learning were made but
these new ideas were not sufficient within the educational movement at that time. However, toward
the end of the nineteenth century, the interests of reform-minded language teachers, and linguists,
coincided and first attempts to language learning theories were to be taken into consideration.

3.2.2. Present-day approaches.

Regarding the learning of languages, three main theories have approached, from different
perspectives, the question of how language is learnt. Thus, behaviorism emphasizes the essential
role of the environment in the process of language learning whereas mentalist theories give priority
to the learners innate characteristics from a cognitive and psychological approach. A third
approach claims for relevant concepts such as a comprehensible input and a native speaker
interaction in conversations for students to acquire the new language.
Hence, mentalist accounts of language acquisition originated in the rejection of behaviorist
explanations of. Chomsky emphasized the role of mental processes rather than the contribution of
the environment in the language acquisition process. This "Chomskian revolution" initially gave
rise to eclecticism in teaching, but it has more recently led to two main branches of teaching
approaches: the humanistic approaches based on the charismatic teaching of one person, and
content-based communicative approaches, which try to incorporate what has been learned in recent

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years about the need for active learner participation, about appropriate language input, and about
communication as a human activity.
Following Richards & Rodgers (1992), prominent figures in this field, such as Stephen Krashen,
Tracy D. Terrell, and Noam Chomsky developed the language learning theories which are the
source of principles in language teaching nowadays. A psycholinguistic and cognitive approach is
necessary to understand learning processes, such as habit formation, induction, inferencing,
hypothesis testing, and generalization.

The advances in cognitive science and educational psychology made by Jean Piaget and Lev
Semenovic h Vygotsky in the first half of the century strongly influenced language teaching theory
in the 1960s and 1970s. Their theories were intended to explain the ineffectiveness of the traditional
prescriptive and mechanistic approaches to language teaching and later serve as a basis for the new
natural-communicative approaches. Beginning in the 1950s, Noam Chomsky and his followers
challenged previous assumptions about language structure and language learning, taking the
position that language is creative (not memorized), and rule governed (not based on habit), and that
universal phenomena of the human mind underlie all language.

In addition to Chomsky's generativism, new trends favoring more humanistic views and putting a
greater focus on the learner and on social interaction, gave way to the Natural (USA) and
Communicative (England) approaches. Psychologist Charles Curran's Community Language
Learning and Krashen's and Terrell's Natural Approach (in the 1980s) are very representative of this
latest trend in language teaching.

Stephen Krashen and Tracy D. Terrell have proposed ideas that have influenced language teaching.
Thus, Krashen studied the way that children learn language and applied it to adult language
learning. He proposed the Input Hypothesis, which states that language is acquired by using
comprehensible input (the language that one hears in the environment) which is slightly beyond the
learner's present proficiency. Learners use the comprehensible input to deduce rules. Krashen's
views on language teaching have given rise to a number of changes in language teaching, including
a de-emphasis on the teaching of grammatical rules and a greater emphasis on trying to teach
language to adults in the way that children learn language. While Krashen's theories are not
universally accepted, they have had an influence.
Most recently, there has been also a significant shift toward greater attention to reading and writing
as a complement of listening and speaking, based on a new awareness of significant differences
between spoken and written languages, and on the notion that dealing with language involves an
interaction between the text on the one hand, and the culturally-based world knowledge and
experientially-based learning of the receiver on the other.

3.3. General theories on second language acquisition.

According to Ellis (1985), second language acquisition is a complex process, involving many
interrelated factors. The term Second language acquisition (SLA) refers to the subconscious or
conscious processes by which a language other than the mother tongue is learnt in a natural or a
tutored setting. It covers the development of phonology, lexis, grammar, and pragmatic knowledge,
but has been largely confined to morphosyntax.

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According to research in this field, it is thought that acquisition can take place only when people
understand messages in the target language, focusing on what rather than how it is said. There are
affective prerequisites to acquisition such as a positive orientation to speakers of the language, and
at least some degree of self-confidence, as well as a silent period before any real spoken fluency
develops. The amount of skills and know ledge, called competence, will be acquired through input,
and certainly the initial production will not be very accurate. The study of SLA is directed at
accounting for the learners competence but in order to do so has set out to investigate empirically
how a learner performs when he or she uses a second language.

3.3.1. Six theories of Second Language Acquisition.

3.3.1.1. The Acculturation Model.

The term acculturation is defined as the process of becoming adapted to a new culture (Ellis
1985). This is an important aspect of Second Language Acquisition since language is one of the
most observable expressions of culture and because in second language settings, the acquisition of a
new language is seen as tied to the way in which the learners community and the target language
community view each other. A central premise on this model is that a learner will control the degree
to which he acquires the second language.

3.3.1.2. Accommodation Theory.

This theory derives from the research of Giles and focuses on the uses of language in multilingual
communities such as Britain. It operates within a socio-psychological framework and its primary
concern is to investigate how intergroup uses of language reflect basic social and psychological
attitudes in interethnic communication.

3.3.1.3. Discourse Theory.

This theory is proposed by Halliday (1975) and his view of first language acquisition. It derives
from Hymess description of communicative competence in which communication is treated as the
matrix of linguistic knowledge. Hence, language development should be considered in terms of how
the learner discovers the meaning potential of language by participating in communication. Halliday
shows in a study how his own child acquired language and puts forward that the development of the
formal linguistic devices for basic language grows out of the interpersonal uses to which language is
put. One of its main principles is that there is a natural route in syntactical development.

3.3.1.4. The Monitor Model.

Krashens Monitor Model is one of the most prominent and comprehensive of existing theories in
second language acquisition. It is an account on language-learner variability within the framework
of the Monitor Model. It consists of five central hypotheses, and related to them, a number of
factors which influence second language acquisition. Although this model will be discussed in next
sections, we will offer a brief account of it.

The five hypotheses are first, the acquisition-learning hypothesis where the terms acquired and
learnt are defined as subconscious and conscious study of language; secondly, the natural order
hypothesis which affirms that grammatical structures are acquired in a predictable order; thirdly,

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the monitor hypothesis, where the monitor is the device that learners use to edit their language
performance; fourth, the input hypothesis by which acquisition takes place as a result of the
learner having understood input a little beyond the current level of his competence; and finally, the
affective filter hypothesis, where the filter controls how much input the learner comes into contact
with, and how much is converted into intake. The term affective deals with motivation, self-
confidence, or anxiety state factors (Ellis 1985). This theory will be approached in detail in the
following section.

3.3.1.5. The Variable Competence Model.

This model is proposed by Ellis (1984) and extends on the work of Tarone and Bialystok. It claims
that the way a language is learnt is a reflection of the way it is used. Therefore, two distinctions
form the basis for this model, one refers to the process of language use, and the other to the product.

The product of language use deals with unplanned and planned discourse. Unplanned discourse is
related to the lack of preparation or forethought, and also to spontaneous communication. On the
other hand, planned discourse requires conscious thought and gives priority to expression rather
than thought. The process of language use is to be understood in terms of rules and procedures, that
is, linguistic knowledge and the ability to make use of this knowledge. (Ellis 1985)

3.3.1.6. The Universal Hypothesis.

In the words of Ellis (1985), this hypothesis states that second language acquisition is determined
by certain linguistic universals. Those working on this tradition argue that there is a Universal
Grammar that constrains the kind of hypotheses that the learner can form and that it is innate. The
relationship between Universal Grammar and acquisition of the first language is, in fact, a necessary
one, as Chomskys primary justification for Universal Grammar is that it provides the only way of
accounting for how children are able to learn their mother tongue.

3.3.2. The Natural Approach and Language Acquisition.

In 1977, a teacher of Spanish, Tracy Terrell, and an applied linguist, Stephen Krashen, both from
California, developed a language teaching proposal that incorporated the statements of the
principles and practices of second language acquisition. In their book, The Natural Approach
(1983), we find theoretical sections prepared by Krashen and sections on classroom procedures,
prepared by Terrell.
Their method focuses on teaching communicative abilities and the primacy of meaning, following a
communicative approach. Since they see communication as the primary function of language, they
rejected earlier methods of language teaching which viewed grammar as the central component.
Krashen and Terrells view of language consists of lexical items, structures, and messages.
This method has been identified with traditional approaches based on the use of language in
communicative situations without recourse to the native language. The term natural refers to the
principles of language learning in young children in the Natural Method, and similarly in Krashen
and Terrells principles found in successful second language acquisition.

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However, the fact that the Natural Approach was related to the older Natural Method does not mean
that they are synonymous terms. In fact, the Natural Method became known as the Direct Method
by the turn of the century. Although they share the same tradition and the same term natural, there
are important differences between them. Thus the Direct Method places emphasis on teacher
monologues, direct repetition, and formal questions and answers, focusing on accurate production
of target language sentences. In the Natural Approach there is an emphasis on exposure, or input,
rather than practice, that is, what the language learners hear before they try to produce language.
Moreover, there is an emphasis on the central role of comprehension (Richards & Rodgers (1992).
The theory of the Natural Approach is grounded on Krashens views of language acquisition, which
is based on scientific studies (Krashen and Terrell 1983). Therefore it is relevant to present first, the
fourth principles on which this theory is based on, and then, the five hypotheses that account for this
method.

The first principle is that comprehension precedes production. The second general principle
accounts for production to emerge in stages, where students are not forced to speak before they are
ready. The third general principle is that the course syllabus consists of communicative goals,
organizing classroom activities by topics, not grammatical structures. The final principle is that
activities must foster a lowering of the affective filter of the students, encouraging them to express
their ideas, opinions, emotions and feeling. A good atmosphere must be created by the instructor.
The five hypotheses represent the principal tenets of Krashens theory and are examined in the next
section.

3.3.2.1. The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis.

The Acquisition-Learning distinction is the most fundamental of all the hypotheses in Krashen's
theory and the most widely known among linguists and language practitioners. The
Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis claims that there are two independent systems of second
language performance: the acquired system and the learned system. Acquisition refers to a natural
and subconscious process very similar to the process children undergo when they acquire their first
language in order to develop a language proficiency. Speakers are, then, concentrated not in the
form of their utterances, but in the communicative act through a meaningful interaction in the target
language or natural communication.

According to Krashen (1983), learning refers to a process of conscious rules for meaningful
communication which results in conscious knowledge about the language. This proa non natural
way, as a product of formal instruction. According to Krashen 'learning' is less important than
'acquisition'.

3.3.2.2. The Monitor Hypothesis.


The Monitor Hypothesis emphasizes the role of grammar, as the learned knowledge to correct
ourselves when we communicate, but through conscious learning, in both first and in second
languages. This may happen before we actually speak or write. However, the Monitor use itself is
limited to three specific requirements. Thus, the performer first, has to have enough time to think
about rules; secondly, the learner has to focus on form , on what rather than how; and finally, the
learner has to know the rule.

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According to Krashen (1983), the role of the monitor should be used only to correct deviations from
speech and to polish its appearance. Hence, it appears that the role of conscious learning is
somewhat limited in second language performance.

It appears that the role of conscious learning is somewhat limited in second language performance.
According to Krashen, the role of the monitor is - or should be - minor, being used only to correct
deviations from 'normal' speech and to give speech a more 'polished' appearance. Krashen, then,
establishes an individual variation analysis among language learners regarding their monitor use.

3.3.2.3. The Natural Order Hypothesis.


According to the Natural Order Hypothesis, the acquisition of grammatical structures takes place
in a predictable order in which errors are signs of naturalistic developmental processes. This order
seems to be independent of the learners age, first language background, conditions of exposure,
and although the agreement between individual acquirers was not statistically similar. All these
features reinforced the existence of a natural order of language acquisition.

In general, certain structures tend to be acquired early such as grammatical morphemes, or


function words and others to be acquired late such as the third person singular morpheme or the
s possessive marker. However, Krashen (1983) points out that this hypothesis is not a language
program syllabus, and in fact, he rejects grammatical sequencing when the goal is language
acquisition.

3.3.2.4. The Input Hypothesis.


The Input Hypothesis is Krashens explanation of how second language acquisition takes place,
and is only concerned with acquisition, not learning. This hypothesis points out the relationship
between the learners input and the language acquisition process, where the speaking fluency
emerges after the acquirer has built up competence through comprehending input. This hypothesis
claims that listening comprehension and reading are of primary importance in a language program,
and that speaking fluently in a second language come on its own with time.
According to this hypothesis, learners improve and progress along the natural order when receiving
second language input. Since not all of the learners can be at the same level of linguistic
competence at the same time, Krashen (1983) suggests that natural communicative input is the key
to designing a syllabus, ensuring in this way that each learner will receive the appropriate input for
their current stage of linguistic competence.

3.3.2.5. The Affective Filter Hypothesis.


In the Affective Filter Hypothesis, Krashen (1983) gives a framework to the learners emotional
state or attitudes that may pass, impede, or block the necessary input to acquisition. These affective
variables are usually related to success in second language acquisition and they contribute to the
concept of low affective filter. Among the positive variables, we may include motivation, a good
self-image, and a low level of anxiety. It means that the performer is open to input, and that having
the right attitudes, such as confidence and encouragement, second language acquisition will be a
complete success.

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On the contrary, low motivation, low self-esteem, and debilitating anxiety can combine to raise the
affective filter and form a mental block that prevents comprehensible input from being used for
acquisition. In other words, when the filter is up, it impedes language acquisition.

3.3.3. Factors which influence second language acquisition.


The five hypothesis seen in the preceding section form the core of the second language acquisition
theory that underlies the Natural Approach. We will consider now the implication of the theory to
several issues such as second language aptitude, the role of the first language, the role of routines
and patterns, individual variation, and age differences in second language rate and attainment
(Krashen & Terrell 1983).

3.3.3.1. Second Language Aptitude.


Supported by empirical studies, the idea of second language aptitude is related to rapid progress in
second language classes, and for those students that have this aptitude, a better performance in
foreign language classes. The speed of learning is measured by grammar-type tests that involve a
conscious awareness of language, where the ability to consciously figure out grammar rules will
lead students to success. Aptitude differences play a large role if grammatical accuracy is
emphasized.

3.3.3.2. The Role of the First Language.


The role of the first language in second language performance is closely related to the term
interference, which can recast as a learner strategy (Corder 1981). This concept implies that
second language acquisition (SLA) is strongly influenced by the learners first language (L1) when
we try to speak a second language (L2).
It was claimed that there is a fall back on first language grammatical competence when students
have to produce in second language. It should not be thought, according to Krashen (1983) that any
approach will completely eliminate this mode of production. When students try to express
themselves in the target language beyond their acquired ability, they will tend to fall back on the
L1.

During the last decades, there has been considerable disagreement among researchers about the
extent of the role of L1 due to behaviorist which see SLA as a process of habit-formation. Hence,
according to this theory, errors were the result of interference from the habits of the L1. The
Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis was an attempt to predict the areas of difficulty that learners
experienced, and eliminate the chance of error. But it did not prove to be successful. As the
learners proficiency grows, L1 influence will become less powerful.

3.3.3.3. Routines and Patterns.


Routines and patterns are sentences spoken by performers who have not acquired or learned the
rules involved, thus Whats your name? They may be helpful for encouraging input in the real

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world, as well as to manage conversations. Patterns are partially memorized and may be of
considerable indirect benefit. Correctly used, routines and patterns can help acquirers gain more
input and manage conversations, and on the contrary, they can lead to trouble if not used effectively
as they cannot be used for every situation.

3.3.3.4. Individual Variation.


The theory of second language acquisition posits a basic uniformity in the way we all acquire
language. It also predicts that acquirers will vary only in certain ways, thus in the rate and extent of
acquisition. This is due to two factors: the amount of comprehensible input an acquirer obtains, and
the strength of the affective filter. We can also observe variation with respect to routines and
patterns use with respect to classroom activities. Students who have no aptitude for grammar or who
simply are not interested in grammar, will concentrate almost completely on acquisition activities.

3.3.3.5. Age Differences.


Age is the variable that has been most discussed when dealing with second language acquisition
because of the belief that children are better language learners than adults. There has been
considerable research on the effect of age on this field. The available evidence suggests that age
does not alter the route of acquisition, and according to Ellis (1985), child, adolescent, and adult
learners go through the same stages irrespective of how old they are.
However, rate and success of SLA appear to be strongly influenced by the age of the learner. Where
rate is concerned, it is the older learners who reach higher levels of proficiency. Literature research
shows that although age improves language learning capacity, performance may peak in the teens,
and that age was a factor only when it came to morphology and syntax. Where success of SLA is
concerned, the general finding is that the longer the exposure to the L2, the more native-like L2
proficiency becomes.

4. THE CONCEPT OF INTERLANGUAGE.

In this section we will relate the concept of interlanguage to its background in mentalist views on
language acquisition and the sequence of development in second language acquisition. Closely
related to interlanguage is the nature of errors, but we will examine it in next section.

The term interlanguage was first coined by Selinker (1972) and refers to the systematic knowledge
of a second language which is independent of both the learners first language and the target
language. The term is related to a theory of learning that stresses the learner-internal factors which
contribute to language acquisition, and it was the first attempt to examine empirically how a learner
builds up knowledge of a language.

Interlanguage was a construct which identifies the stages of development through which L2
learners pass on their way to proficiency. The question was to what extent the order of development
paralleled that in L1 acquisition. Mentalist accounts of first language acquisition (FLA) stressed the
active contribution of the child and minimized the importance of behaviorist concepts, such as
interference, imitation and reinforcement. One of the most prominent figures in this field, Noam

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Chomsky, claimed that the childs knowledge of his mother tongue was derived from a Universal
Grammar which consisted of a set of innate linguistic principles to control sentences formation.

Another mentalist feature that needs mentioning is that the child builds up his knowledge of his
mother tongue by means of hypothesis-testing. Corder (1981) suggests that both L1 and L2 learners
make errors in order to test out certain hypotheses about the nature of the language they are
learning. He saw the making of errors as a strategy. This view was in opposition to the view of the
SLA presented in the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis where L2 errors are the result of differences
between the learners first language and the target language. In the following section, we will offer
an account of the treatment of error.

5. THE TREATMENT OF ERROR.

Earlier records on error treatment trace back to the early seventeenth century, when universities of
most European countries started to exchange and spread their scientific and cultural knowledge.
Children entering grammar schools were initially given a rigorous introduction to Latin grammar
(Howatt 1984) and errors were often met with brutal punishment.

Since then, error analysis has been approached from a quite different perspective. Prior to the early
1970s, it consisted of little more than collections of common errors and linguistic classification. In
the first half of the twentieth century, behaviourist accounts approached the concept of error as a
sign of non-learning, as they were thought to interfere with the acquisition of second language
habits. The goals of traditional Error Analysis were pedagogic, in order to provide information to be
used for teaching or to devise remedial lessons. There were no serious attempts to define error in
psychological terms.

Error Analysis declined because of enthusiasm for Contrastive Analysis proposed by Chomsky. The
strong form of the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis claims that differences between learners first
language and the target language can be used to predict all errors whereas the weak form claims
that differences are only used to identify some of the errors that arise. In accordance with
behaviorism, the prevention of errors was more important than mere identification.

It was not until the late 1960s that there wa s a resurgence of interest in Error Analysis. It involves
collecting samples of learner language, identifying the errors in the sample, describing and
classifying then according to their hypothesized causes, and evaluating their seriousness. One of the
dominant figures in this field, Corder (1981), helped to give this error treatment a new direction.,
elevating the status of errors from undesirability to that of a guide on language learning process.
According to the Natural Order Hypothesis, proposed by Krashen (1983), the acquisition of
grammatical structures takes place in a predictable order in which errors are signs of naturalistic
developmental processes. Errors are no longer seen as unwanted forms but an active learners
contribution to second language acquisition. This is one of the main tenets of our current
educational system where errors are seen as a positive contribution to language learning, and give
LOGSE students an active role on language learning process.

6. NEW DIRECTIONS ON LANGUAGE LEARNING ACQUISITION.

Current research questions are approached from a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects. Thus,
language acquisition current research has brought about an exceptionally concise portrayal of

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changes in language teaching methodology and a focus on form. During the 1970s previous
methodological approaches, such as audiolingualism or grammar-translation were under pressure
from more communicative approaches. In addition, approaches to second language acquisition
research were added to emphasize the need to engage acquisitional processes within an interaction-
driven approach to interlanguage development, and special attention to the concept of interference
when dealing with languages in contact from a sociolinguistic perspective.

There has also been a longstanding concern among researchers, educators, and parents about the
intellectual development of children and a focus on cognitive processes. Current research focus on
actual effect that bilingualism has on childrens cognitive development across a number of areas of
thought. The attempt is to identify what aspects of cognition are affected by childhood.

On learning and acquisition of languages, we find an interest on Spanish Language approaches,


writing analysis of second language performance, the role of second and foreign language
classroom settings, and research on advanced learners interaction in a foreign language context,
where the concepts of input and feedback are addressed.

There is a considerable interest on curriculum design and language teaching approaches within the
classroom context. The terms acquisition and learning are still present in most articles on language
teaching methodology regarding writing and selectividad test skills.

Another current concern turns on new technologies, such as practising language learning on the web
for distance courses. The traditional home study methods for distance learning have been replaced
in the last few years by the use of computers and CD-ROMs. New exciting possibilities become
availa ble via Internet and much literature is being written about it as a way to enhance learning
through technology.

7. CONCLUSION.

Over the centuries, many changes have taken place in language learning theory with the same
specific goal, the search of a language teaching method or approach that proves to be highly
effective at all levels. In the preceding sections we have examined the main features of language
learning proposals in terms of approach and theories from the most traditional approaches to the
present-day trends.

We have been concerned in this presentation about the approach to second language learning on
adults following language learning theories on children. One set of schools (e.g., Total Physical
Response, Natural Approach) notes that first language acquisition is the only universally successful
model of language learning we have, and thus that second language pedagogy must necessarily
model itself on first language acquisition. An opposed view (e.g., Silent Way, Suggestopedia)
observes that adults have different brains, interests, timing constraints, and learning environments
than do children, and that adult classroom learning therefore has to be fashioned in a way quite
dissimilar to the way in which nature fashions how first languages are learned by children.

Another key distinction turns on general theories on language learning, and language acquisition,
paying special attention to those theories that have developed into present-day methods for second
language acquisition, such as the Natural Approach. The concept of interlanguage has been

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approached in order to understand its current importance in the field of language teaching, and
hence, the treatment of error as an important part in the process of learning.

Chomsky challenged the behaviorist model of language learning with a cognitive approach. He
proposed a theory called Transformational Generative Grammar, according to which learners do
not acquire an endless list of rules but limited set of transformations which can be used over and
over again. For Chomsky, behaviorism could not serve as a model of how humans learn language,
since much of that language is not imitated behavior but is created anew from underlying
knowledge of abstract rules. In his own words, language is not a habit structure.

Chomskys theory of tranformational grammar proposed that the fundamental properties of


language derive from innate aspects of the mind and from how humans process experience through
language (Richards & Rodgers 1992). His theories brought about the mental properties on language
use and language learning existing within the learners competence, that is, his ability to generate
sentences from abstract rules.

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8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

A historical background to language learning


- Baugh, A. & Cable, T. 1993. A History of the English Language. Prentice-Hall Editions.
- Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.
- Howatt, A. (1984). A history of English Language teaching . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

On approaches to the teaching of English as a foreign language


- Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. 1992. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

On general theories on second language acquisition and learning


- Krashen, S. D. 1981. Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford:
Pergamon.
- Krashen, S. D., and Terrell, T. D. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the
Classroom. Oxford: Pergamon.

On the concept of interlanguage and error treatment


- Corder, S. 1981a. Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

New directions in language teaching


- Revistas de la Asociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA): De la Cruz, Isabel;
Santamara, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2001. La Lingstica Aplicada a finales
del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcal.
- Celaya, M Luz; Fernndez-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa.
2001. Trabajos en Lingstica Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona.

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UNIT 3
THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS. FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE.
LANGUAGE IN USE. THE NEGOTIATION OF MEANING.
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.


1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS.

2.1. Earlier approaches.


2.2. Language and communication.
2.3. Types of communication: verbal vs non-verbal.
2.4. Characteristics of communication.
2.4.1. Elements of the communication process.
2.4.2. The human vocal tract.

3. FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE.

3.1. The role of functionalist theories.


3.2. Models of communication: a linguistic classification.
3.2.1. Saussures model.
3.2.2. Bhlers model.
3.2.3. Hallidays model.
3.2.4. Jakobsons model.
3.2.4.1. Jakobsons Model of Communicative Functions.
3.2.4.2. Jakobsons Constitutive Factors.

4. LANGUAGE IN USE AND THE NEGOTIATION OF MEANING.

4.1. A theoretical background to language in use and the negotiation of meaning.


4.1.1. Three fundamentals on a theory of language.
4.1.2. The influential role of semantics and pragmatics.
4.1.3. The influential role of sociolinguistics.
4.1.4. Approaches to language use and the negotiation of meaning.
4.2. Language in use.
4.2.1. On defining language in use.
4.2.2. Two levels at language in use.
4.3. The negotiation of meaning.
4.3.1. On defining the negotiation of meaning.
4.3.2. Strategies and tactics in the negotiation of meaning.
4.3.3. Key concepts in the negotiation of meaning: register and discourse.

5. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN THE COMMUNICA TION PROCESS.


6. CONCLUSION.
7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

For a broad introduction to the relationship of language to the concept of communication, the study
will survey the origins and emergence of language within human biological and cultural evolution
in order to understand the instrumental role of language for humankind. Upon this basis, human
language and other non-human systems of communication will be overviewed, and we will also
consider the main characteristics involved in the study of the communication process, such as its
elements and the role of the human vocal tract.. An overview of approaches to the structure of
language will provide a background for the main models of communication, and therefore, the
active functionality of language will also be approached within the most outstanding models of
language theory. In an effort to understand language in use and the negotiation of meaning , we
will offer a theoretical background which includes the most important aspects involved in these
processes. Finally, the presentation will conclude with the most relevant aspects on present-day
directions in the communication process.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

An influential introduction to the relationship of language to the concept of communication is


provided by David Crystal, Linguistics (1985), as well as the study that surveys the origins and
emergence of language within human biological and cultural evolution in order to understand the
instrumental role of language. Among the general works that incorporate the characteristics of the
communication process, see especially Halliday, Explorations in the Functions of Language (1975),
and Wilga M. Rivers, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills (1981). Of great historical importance and
permanent value on models of communication is the translation to Ferdinand de Saussures work
under the title Cours de linguistique gnrale (1983) and Halliday, An Introduction to Functional
Grammar (1985). For a theoretical background to fundamental levels of language, see Rivers
(1981). Introductions to linguistic approaches and the influence of semantics, pragmatics and
sociolinguistic on language, include Halliday (1975), and Hymes (1972). Classic works on language
in use and the negotiation of meaning are given by other founders of modern linguistics such as
Ellis (1985) and Hymes (1972). For current statistics and references, see the journals Asociacin
Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA) listed in the section of bibliography. For further
references, see Revista CERCLE del Centro Europeo de Recursos Culturales Lingsticos y
Educativos (Servicio de Programas Educativos. Consejera de Educacin y Cultura) and within a
technological framework, see http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/teachers/txeurope.htm

2. THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS.

There is more to communication than just one person speaking and another one listening. Human
communication processes are quite complex. We differentiate verbal and non-verbal, oral and
written, formal and informal, and intentional and unintentional communication. In addition, there is
human and animal communication, and nowadays we may also refer to human-computer
communication.

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In this chapter, we will first briefly provide a historical background for the need of communicating
and the way of presenting reality through messages. We will also provide a link to the relationship
of language and communication, and on defining the concept of communication, we will describe
the main features within the communication process. Another section will examine the concept of
language from a linguistic theory; and finally, the distinction verbal and non-verbal will be
approached in terms of the communication process, and elements involved in it.

2.1. Earlier approaches.

Since ancient times the way of improving communication preoccupied humans beings as they had a
need to express some basic structures of the world and of human life, such as feelings, attitudes and
everyday situations. This development in the direction of the study of meaning was labelled during
the last century under the term semantics, which had a linked sense with the science related to the
study of signs, semiotics.

Studies of symbolism began in the modern sense of the word only when people had learned to
analyse the content of a message from the form. Thus, G.F.W. Hegel (1170-1831) laid down the
road for later research in the field when he considered Babylonian and Egyptian architecture to be
the best exponent of early symbolism when linking nature to religious thoughts. In fact, the earliest
real study on the logic of symbolism was given by Edmund Burke (1729-97) in his work A
Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful from 1757. In it,
Burke gives numerous examples of architecture linked to expressing feelings.

The first attempt to formulate a science of signs dates from the late nineteenth century, when a
French linguist, Michel Bral, published Essai de smantique (1897), which was a philological
study of language. Some years later, Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 - 1913) divided language into
two components, symbols, and syntax as it is stated in his book, Cours de linguistique gnrale
(trans.1983). It is relevant to mention that, in the first half of the twentieth century, phonology and
grammar were included in the study of meaning as another branch of linguistics.

Grammar and phonology were included as post-Saussurean semantics in the study of meaning as a
branch of linguistics. Both were concerned with relations within language (sense) and relations
between language and the world (reference). Generally, their study is known as structural or lexical
semantics. Reference is concerned with the meaning of words and sentences in terms of the world
of experience: the situations to which they refer or in which they occur.

2.2. Language and communication.

The human curiosity concerning language is no modern phenomenon. Language has been examined
by linguists and philosophers for several millennia. Therefore, we can look back on a respectable
stock of literature on the topic originating from the times of Ancient Greece until the present day.
The result is a compendium of linguistic disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, neurology, and
even computer science.

The concept of language has been approached by many linguists, but the most outstanding
definition comes from Halliday (1973) who defines it as an instrument of social interaction with a
clear communicative purpose. At this point, it is relevant to establish a distinction between human

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language and other systems of communication, such as animal communication systems. For
Malinowsky, a relevant anthropology figure, language had only two main purposes: pragmatic and
ritual. The former refers to the practical use of language, either active by means of speech or
narrative by means of written texts. The latter is concerned with the use of language associated to
ceremonies, and also referred to as magic.

Among the design features of human language in opposition to other systems we may mention first,
an auditory-vocal channel which only humans are endowed with. Secondly, the possibility for
individuals to reproduce messages to say anything in any context, that is, interchangeability of
messages. This ability is only restricted in certain ceremonial contexts such as church services,
business meetings, and so on, where a fixed form is expected to be followed. Thirdly, productivity,
as there is an infinite number of possible messages to be expressed, including the possibility to
express invented things or lies. Fourth, displacement since we may talk about events remote in
space or time, ni contrast to other animals that have no sense of the past and the future. Although
some animals seem to possess abilities of displacement, they lack the freedom to apply this to new
contexts, thus a bee to indicate a food setting. Fifth, duality as sounds with no intrinsic meaning
may be combined in different ways to form elements with meaning. We talk about the concept of
arbitrariness by which words and their meaning have no a priori connection. And finally, a
traditional transmission, since language is transmitted from one generation to the next by a process
of teaching and learning.

2.3. Types of communication: verbal vs non-verbal .

Following Crystal (1985), one of the main characteristics of language is that it is an essential tool of
communication. Hence, the importance of studying ways and means of improving communication
techniques through history with a highly elaborated signaling system, both spoken and written,
which has had an immense impact on our everyday life. Thus, writing a letter, having a
conversation, watching a play, or reading a magazine, among others, are instances of verbal
communication by means of language. However, other means should be also taken into account,
such as gestures, facial expressions, body language, touch and so on, given that non-verbal symbols
are also components of the communication process.

Nevertheless, language may be studied as part of a much wider domain of enquiry, that is semiotics.
This field investigates the study of signs in communication processes in general. It concerns itself
with the analysis of both linguistic and non-linguistic signs as communicative devices and with their
systems. Therefore, it deals with patterned human communication in all its modes and in all
contexts.

When the act of communication is verbal, the code is the language. Regarding the structured use of
the auditory-vocal channel, it may result in speech, but also non-verbal communicative uses of the
vocal tract are possible by means of paralanguage, such as whistling or musical effects.
When we refer to non-verbal communication, visual and tactile modes are concerned. They may be
used for a variety of linguistic purposes such as the use of sign languages. For instance, the receiver
may get the message by sound (as in speech and birdsong), by sight (as in written language,
reading, morse or traffic signs) or by touch (as in the Braille alphabet of the blind or secret codes).

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2.4. Characteristics of communication.

For most of its history, the concept of communication has always been approached from different
disciplines, such as anthropology, psychology, or sociology among others, in order to provide an
appropriate definition for the term. Still, communication is traditionally understood as the exchange
and negotiation of information between at least two individuals through the use of verbal and non-
verbal symbols, oral and written, and production and comprehension processes (Halliday 1973).

From this definition we may conclude that the main features of the communication process are as
follows. First, it is a form of social interaction, and therefore it is normally acquired and used in
such an interaction. Secondly, it always has a purpose, that is, to communicate. Thirdly, it involves
a high degree of unpredictability and creativity, and therefore, a successful and authentic
communication should involve a reduction of uncertainty on behalf of the participants. Finally , the
communication process involves both verbal and non -verbal language, such as gestures or body
language.

The communication process involves certain elements and the use of linguistic symbols that mean
something to those who take part in the process. These symbols are spoken words in oral
communication and alphabetical units in written communication. Let us have a brief look at these
elements in the next section.

2.4.1. Elements in the communication process.


One of the most productive schematic models of a communication system emerged from the
speculations of the Russian linguist Roman Jakobson (1896-1982). Jakobsons model of language
functions is not the only one. We may find other linguists models such as Bhlers tripartite system
and Bronislaw Malinowskis theory, to be examined in next sections.

Jakobsons model clarity has made it become the best-known model to be followed on language
theory. Following Jakobson (1960), this model can be used for a number of different purposes in the
study of language and communication. It was introduced to explain how language works as the code
of communication. Jakobson states that all acts of communication, be they written or oral, are based
on six constituent elements. In his model, each element being primarily associated with one of the
six functions of language he proposed, thus referential, emotive, conative, phatic, metalingual, and
poetic, to be broadly examined in the next section, but now we will concentrate on the six elements
in Jakobsons model. They are as follows.
Any particular act of communication takes place in a situational context, and it involves a sender
(or addresser) and a receiver (or addressee). It further involves a message which the sender
transmits and which the receiver interprets . The message is formulated in a particular code, and for
the whole thing to work, sender and receiver must be connected by a channel through which the
message is sent. In acoustic communication it consists of air, in written communication of paper or
other writing materials.

As we have stated before, each of these elements has a correspondent in the functions of language,
which we will be dealing with in the following section. But before, we will provide a brief overview
of the relationship between the components and their functions. Thus, the referential function refers
to the context, to what is being spoken of and what is being referred to. The attitude of the
addresser (or encoder) is related to the emotive or expressive function through emphasis,
intonation, loudness, or pace, etc. On the other hand, the response in the addressee (or decoder) is

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associated to the connative function. The poetic function focuses on the message by means of
associations (equivalence, similarity and dissimilarity, synonyms and antonyms); repetitions of
sound values, stresses, accents; and the word and phrase boundaries and relationships. The
metalinguistic function is related to the use of the same codes for the message to be understood.
Finally, the channel is associated to the phatic function, enabling both addresser and addressee to
enter and stay in communication.

2.4.2. The human vocal tract.

For human beings, a relevant aspect is to communicate verbally, expressing thoughts with words.
For the speaker to produce many differentiated sounds, only humans have been endowed with a
highly sophisticated speech organ. Hence, this complex organ consists of consonants and vowels
which are part of our vocal apparatus as a limited set of speech sounds.
However, it enables us to use our language in a very economic way for a virtually infinite
production of linguistic units. Linguistically speaking, the distinctive speech sounds are called
phonemes which are meaningless by themselves. However, we can assemble and reassemble
phonemes into la rger linguistic units, commonly called words. In spite of our limited capacity to
produce new phonemes, our capacity to produce vocabulary is unlimited.

3. FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE.

On defining the word function (Jakobson 1960), we may say it is considered to be a synonym of
use. However, when dealing with language, it is related to the way people use language. Therefore,
when we refer to the functions of language, we are actually talking about the properties of language,
and the purposes it is used for by individuals.
Several classifications of linguistic functions have been attempted by different scholars through
different disciplines to be examined in this section. Given the communicative interaction aspect of
language, it is absolutely necessary to establish the different purposes for which communication
may serve. Thus, linguistics focuses on syntax and the forms of language; semantics, on the
meaning of language, and finally, pragmatics is related to the use and function of language itself.

3.1. The role of functionalist theories.

Most theories of language development have approached the issue from one of two broad
viewpoints. Thus, behaviourist linguists such as Skinner claimed that language is learnt by
imitation, and innatist, as Chomsky, believed that we are born with the necessary cognitive
equipment to learn language. However, these theories are not truly complete accounts of language
development because they only begin to study from the first appearance of words and syntax; none
considers how the child gets to this stage.

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This is where functionalist theories attempted to redress the balance; by concentrating on the
functions, or uses, of language, they hope to understand why and how a child begins to use
language. For a functionalist theory the intention to communicate should be present before language
itself appears. Another important feature is the crucial central role of the caretaker , usually the
mother, in the child's linguistic development, as from the earliest moment she treats the child as a
conversational partner, gradually shaping the infant's behaviour. Hence, the child is well-equipped
with the knowledge of the social functions of language by the time he actually begins to speak.

3.2. Models of communication: a linguistic classification.

In this section, relevant figures on a theory of language and their models of communication are
approached in terms of a classification of linguistic functions so as to answer the question of why
people use language. In order to do so, the different purposes of communication are provided by
different disciplines such as linguistics, which focuses on syntax and the forms of language;
semantics, focusing on the meaning of language; and finally, pragmatics, which is related to the use
and function of language itself in particular contexts.
Historically speaking, Plato was said to be the first to discuss an instrumentalist definition of
language, and according to this definition, language primarily serves the purpose of communication,
as it is a linguistic tool. Some centuries later, an anthropological perspective, brought about by
Bronislaw Malinowski in his book The problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages (1923), states
that language has only two main purposes: pragmatic and ritual. For him, the pragmatic function
refers to the practical use of language, either active by means of speech or narrative by means of
written texts. The ritual function is concerned with the use of language associated to ceremonies,
and also referred to as magic. Further instances of linguistic and semantic purposes are broadly
overviewed below within other linguists models.

Among all the proposals mentioned in next sections, coming from linguists such as Malinowsky,
Saussure, Bhler, Halliday and Jakobson, we highlight the considerable impact of Jakobsons work
in all the literary and linguistic fields to which he contributed, such as anthropology, psychoanalysis
discourse analysis, and especially in semiotics, where the structure of sign systems is studied. His
influence was decisive on literary theory as there are still important works based on Jakobsons
theory, becoming a somewhat unusual afterlife theoretical writing.

3.2.1. Saussures model.

Saussure (trans.1983) devised a circular communication model on the basis of two premises. On the
one hand, the first premise claims that communication is linear in that two people communicate in a
way that a message is conveyed from one to the other. On the other hand, the second premise states
that the participants in the communication process are both simultaneously active, in the way that
they do not only listen, but they may answer or at least show some reaction.

On the basis of this understanding, Saussure shows the mechanisms of a dialogue. First, acoustic
signals are sent from a speaker to a receiver. Saussure outlined two processes within this
framework. The first one is phonation where the sender formulates mental signs in the mind and

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then gives acoustic shape to them. The second one is audition, and it is the opposite process of the
receiver transforming the acoustic message into mental signs.

Part of the Saussurean model of the speech circuit consists of his model of the linguistic sign whose
most important feature, is namely the division into acoustic shape, or acoustic image, and the idea
related to the image, the mental concept. Hence, concept and acoustic image are transported in
communication.

3.2.2. Shannons and Moles communication models.

In the second half of the twentieth century, we find two prominent figures within American literary
theory, whose communication models inspired other linguists models on communicative functions
as we will see in next sections. Thus, we refer to Shannons and Moles theory on communication
process.
In 1949 a model on communicative function was developed by the American engineer Claude E.
Shannon in his work A Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949). For him, communication is
basically explained by certain elements such as a sender, a receiver, a channel, a message shaped in
the way of input and output, and finally, external factors such as noise.
The first one, the input, is the intended message that is sent by a sender via a channel. Hence, the
message received becomes, in turn, the output. During their transmission, both input and output
may be altered in quality by external circumstances to the process of communication. Thus, noise
usually affects the channel of a telephone communication line, which in turn, affects the output as
the outcome of the message.

Shannon devises various components of the communication process that will be described in detail.
First of all, the input, that makes up the content of the message within a communicative intention;
secondly, the sender, who encodes the message giving expressio n to the content; the third element
is the channel, through which the message is sent. Thus, in oral communication we refer to air, and
in written communication, we mean paper or writing material; in fourth place, noise which is
considered in a communicative sense under phenomena such as a crushed or stained paper; fifth, the
receiver who decodes the incoming message; and finally, the content, decoded by the receiver
becomes the output.

During the 1960s, another American linguist, Moles, added the code as a crucial element for sender
and receiver to communicate successfully. Shannons model served, then, as the basis for an
improved model. For Moles, the sender and receiver must have a fundamental set of codes in
common for successful communication. No matter if the speakers share or not the same language.
Both of them have to rely on known words when communication is hardly impossible.

3.2.3. Bhler.

From Platos instrumental approach, Karl Bhler devised a model which described the
communicative functions according to the instrumental approach given by Plato. From this

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instrumental approach, the main purpose of language is to communicate. Bhler defines the term
language according to the Greek term organum which means tool. He claims that language is an
organum for one person to communicate with another about general things. Hence, the three main
functions of language Bhler distinguishes in his model are representation, expression, and appeal.
Which function applies to which communicative action depends on which relations of the linguistic
sign are predominant in a communicative situation.
As a psychologist, Karl Bhler, established three functions within the framework of grammar from
the point of view of the individual, thus, expressive, conative and representational functions.
Bhler's communication model is described as the process between a sender and a receiver by
including a third element, the objects or states of affairs. Each act of communication is then
attributed to a communicative function, depending on which of the three components involved was
intended to be highlighted.
The expressive function is oriented towards the speaker, addressed to in first person. The conative
function is oriented towards the addressee in second person, and finally, the representational
function is oriented towards the rest of reality in third person. For Bhler, there is a distinction
which portrays the two key features of the relationship between the sign and its physical realization.
These are the phenomenon of the sound, that is the actual word spoken, and the linguistic sign. Both
of them share common space in some functions of language, and extend beyond in other areas.

When the phenomenon sound contains more acoustic information than the sign does, Bhler defines
it as abstractive relevance. For him, we are capable of highlighting the relevant information without
being hindered by the elements of casual conversation, for instance, the "ahs" and "ehms". Bhler
also claims for an apperceptive enlargement. This means that part of the message may be lost, due
to either misspellings or omissions on the part of the sender, or because the channel is subjected to
noise. When this happens, we are still able to fill in the gaps to create a meaningful message,
gathering somehow what we lost in conversation.

3.2.4. Hallidays model.

In 1985, Halliday declared in his work An Introduction to Functional Grammar, that the value of a
theory lies in the use that can be made of it. The functional grammar model is concerned with a
sociological model, that is, the ways in which language is used for different purposes and in
different situations. Halliday emphasizes the functions of language in use by giving prominence to a
social mode of expression, as register influences the selection from a languages system. At this
point, meaning is considered as a product of the relationship between the system and its
environment, constructing reality as configurations of people, places, things, qualities and different
circumstances.

To Hallida y (1985), language bridges from the cultural meanings of social context to sound or
writing, by moving from higher orders of abstraction to lower ones, thus, semantics, lexicogrammar
and phonology. Accordingly, messages combine an organization of content according to the
receptive needs of the speaker and listener, and the meaning they are expressing. For Halliday, there
are three macro-functions that, in combination, provide the basic functions on learning a foreign
language. Thus, the macro-functions are mainly three, the ideational, the interpersonal, and the
textual.

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Ideational meanings, in the words of Halliday (1985), represent our experience of phenomena in the
world framed by different processes and circumstances which are set in time by means of te nse and
logical meanings. Interpersonal meanings are shaped by the resources of modality and mood to
negotiate the proposals between interactants in terms of probability, obligation or inclination, and
secondly, to establish and maintain an ongoing exchange of information by means of grammar
through declaratives, questions, and commands. Textual meanings are concerned with the
information as text in context at a lexicogrammatical level. Phonology is related arbitrarily to this
function as its abstract wordings includes intonation, rhythm and syllabic and phonemic
articulation.

On combining these interrelated functions, Halliday proposes seven basic functions on language use
and they are listed as follows. Firstly, the instrumental to express desires and needs. Secondly, the
regulatory where rules, instructions, orders, and suggestions are included. Thirdly, the
interactional, where we may include patterns of greeting, leave-taking, thanking, good wishes, and
excusing. Fourth, the personal function which encourages students to talk about themselves and
express their feelings. Fifth, the heuristic function focuses on asking questions. Next, the
imaginative function, which is used for supposing, hypothesizing, and creating for the love of sound
and image. Finally, we find the informative function which emphasizes affirmative and negative
statements.
Hallidays functional grammar model provides a description of how the structure of English relates
to the variables of the social context in which the language is functioning. In this way, it is uniquely
productive as an educational resource for teaching how the grammatical form of language is
structured to achieve purposes in a variety of social contexts.

3.2.5. Jakobsons model.

3.2.5.1. Jakobsons Model of Communicative Functions.

Jakobson extended other linguists models to his theory of communicative functions. For instance,
he adapted Bhler's tripartite system of communicative functions, adding three more to his, and
somehow his model reminds us of those of Moles', except for one, namely context. Jakobson states
that a common code is not sufficient for the communicative process, but rather a context is
necessary from which the object of communication is drawn. This context resembles Bhler's object
correlate. Jakobson allocates a communicative function to each of the components which may be
active simultaneously in utterances. They are as follows.
The emotive function focuses on the first person, and reflects the speakers attitude to the topic of
his or her discourse. It resembles Bhler's expressive function. The addresser's own attitude towards
the content of the message is emphazised by means of emphatic speech or interjections.
The conative function is directed towards the addressee, and it is centred on the second person. We
may find in Literature where the most explicit instance is illustrated by two grammatical categories,
the vocative and the imperative. This function is similar to Bhlers appelative function.
The referential function refers to the context, and emphasizes that communication is always dealing
with something contextual, what Bhler called representative. This function can be equated with the

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cognitive use of language, which highlights theinformational content of an utterance, and virtually
eliminates the focus on the speaker or on the addressee.

The phatic function helps to establish contact between two speakers, and refers to the channel of
communication.

The metalinguistic function deals with the verbal code itself, that is, on language speaking of itself,
as an example of metalanguage. The aim is to clarify the manner in which the verbal code is used,
for instance, when the code is misunderstood and needs correction or clarification through questions
such as "Sorry, what did you say?"

The poetic function deals with the message as a signifier within a decorative or aesthetic function of
language. This is achieved by means of rhetorical figures, pitch or loudness.

3.2.5.2. Jakobsons Constitutive Factors.

In this section the functional structure of Jakobsons Constitutive Factors Model (1960) is briefly
explained as the elements of the communication process have been already overviewed in previous
sections. According to Jakobson (1960) a message is sent by an addresser to an addressee, and for
this to occur, a common code must be used by the addresser and addressee, as well as a physical
channel, or contact, and the same frame of reference, or context.

Each of the constituent elements of the communicative process has a corresponding function where
the message has to be located it. The constitutive factors are as follows. When the message deals
with context, its relationship is representational; with the speaker is expressive; with the addressee
is conative; with the channel is phatic; with the code is metalingual; and finally, the relationship
between a message and itself is poetic.

4. LANGUAGE IN USE AND THE NEGOTIATION OF MEANING.

This section, in briefly reviewing the concept of language, mainly as a tool and as a process, will
provide, first, a common background to the notions of language in use and the negotiation of
meaning, respectively. Although these two notions may be examined individually, they share
common links to particular disciplines such as semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. Thus,
language as a tool or language in use operates upon conveying our intentions and our personal
meaning within semantics whereas language as a process goes beyond linguistics into pragmatics
and social psychology (Rivers 1981). The most relevant contributions in terms of concepts and
approaches will be provided by the most prominent specialists in this field. Secondly, language in
use and the negotiation of meaning will be examined, in turn, by offering a definition of the term
itself, its most relevant features and key concepts, and present-day approaches related to the issue.

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4.1. A theoretical background to language in use and the negotiation of meaning.

4.1.1. Three fundamentals on a theory of language.

According to Rivers (1981), historically speaking, language teaching has been based on three main
views of language, thus, language as a product, language as a tool and language as a communication
process. These three levels of language have links to acknowledged disciplines according to their
underlying theories of language. Thus, the former level, language as a product, turns language into
an object of study within the discipline of linguistics. Here language is analyzed in phonological,
syntactic, morphological, and semantic terms regarding parts of speech and syntactic rules. Within
the second level, language as a tool, our intentions to convey meaning are given prominence, and
the ways we can use language are described in terms of semantics, expressing a wide range of
personal meanings such as asking, denying, persuading or stating. The latter level, language as a
process, deals with how to formulate messages to express specific meanings whether in oral or
written form in order to effect our purposes and avoid misleading in particular situations.

As speech is a social event, it can be learned only through experience with language in use. We may
understand a language system and be able to combine its linguistic elements to express specific
meanings, but we may still not understand a word or feel unable to say what we really want to say.
There is a need for internalizing the intrinsic aspects of a language, that is, a need for a negotiation
of meaning, for instance, how to greet each other, make polite enquiries, ask conventional
questions, congratulate or just keep interaction moving. Speakers need to know what levels of
language they should use in different circumstances such as when to speak or remain silent, and
also how to grasp covert meanings behind words and gestures. To Rivers (1981), our timing is an
essential issue in order to provide a solution to this problem, and disciplines such as pragmatics,
social psychology, and semantics are intended to shed light on these situations for speakers to be
successful at all levels of communication.

At this point it is relevant to introduce the issue of next sections such as the relationship of language
to semantics, pragmatics and sociolinguistics in order to give a framework to language in use and
the negotiation of meaning.

4.1.2. The influential role of semantics and pragmatics.

Both pragmatic and semantic fields play an important role within the notions of language use and
negotiation of meaning. The former, semantics, refers to the study of the meaning of words and the
use a speaker may make of it, including distinctions about the meaning and use of words such as
their connotations, denotations, implications, and ambiguities. The latter, pragmatics, deals with the
relation between signs and the listeners interpretation of them and examines how listeners
perceives the speakers intentions. Recently, pragmatics deals with those aspects that cannot be
included within a conventional linguistic analysis.

It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that semantic and pragmatic approaches rose in importance
when several works on first-language acquisition proved to be more readily explicable in semantic
terms regarding early utterances of young children. Prominent researchers like Roger Brown and
Schlesinger found that the semantic and pragmatic way of negotiating and interpreting meaning,
that is, the rules of language in use, was seen to be dependent to a large degree on the situations in
which speech acts occurred.

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Language teachers found this functional approach of more value for application than some of the
more abstract linguistic models of preceding decades. There was a growing emphasis on designing
classroom activities, so that the language use would reflect normal purposes of language in
interactional contexts. Learners of a language had to know how to express their intentions
appropriately in many contexts as there is no meaning without context .

Teachers began to recognize the artificiality of many language exercises and adapt them so that they
reflected more authentic uses of language (Rivers 1981). For instance, practicing the interrogative
would be replaced by students asking each other or the teacher questions of some relevance to their
daily life and activities, or going out of class to ask a native speaker questions about his or her life
and work. Materials writers began to pay more attention to the communicative act and the levels of
language within which the students needed to operate in order to respond appropriately with
different interlocutors in different circumstances.

4.1.3. The influential role of sociolinguistics.


The origins of this branch of linguistics began during the 1960s and 1970s, when several studies on
sociology focused their interest on the study of the context in which language is used, thus,
biological, psychological, personal, functional, and social, and also how these contexts affect and
are affected by language. The field of sociolinguistics concerns itself particularly with the way
language is used for communication within the social group in terms of language use, speech
varieties within a community, the language behavior of ethnic groups, bilingualism and
multilingualism.
Hence, many important studies have been developed within this discipline in order to help students
develop a feeling for appropriate language use in different situations. Thus, during the 1970s, an
influential linguist on communicative language interaction, the American anthropologist Hymes
(1972), claimed that the most novel and relevant aspect that sociolinguistic brought to light about
language within a community, was to establish what a speaker needs to know to communicate
effectively in culturally significant settings. He coined, then, the concept of communicative
competence which soon began to affect the language-teaching community, as it dealt with the
underlying students knowledge of the rules of grammar and how to use them in socially
appropriate situations. Materials writers and classroom teachers realized that students not only
needed to know how to express ideas in correct grammatical patterns, but also to know the
culturally acceptable ways of interacting orally with others.

Another relevant concept to a sociolinguistic approach on language use and the negotiation of
meaning is the concept of register. From Latin registrum, that is, a list or catalogue, it defines a
variety of language according to social use, thus, scientific, journalistic, religious and formal style.
This term was given relevance by the British linguist Michael Halliday (1975) and defines an
acceptable type of language in a community for certain situations and for special purposes. Since
registers differ, we may find different types of discourse regarding oral and written format; formal
and informal style or the social purpose as for instance, scientific papers.
Since the study of the culture in which the second language is embedded is an important aspect of
foreign-language teaching, the students need opportunities to interact with native speakers in natural
settings through different activities such as exchange and study abroad programs. This interaction
will help students to use appropriate questions and comments with the appropriate stress and
intonation to avoid causing offense and giving wrong impressions by mixing elements from several
registers in speech and writing.

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4.1.4. Approaches to language use and the negotiation of meaning.
Among the most prominent scholars in this field, we may mention Hymes, Noam Chomsky,
Halliday, and Canale and Swain, who, on challenging previous behaviorist assumptions about
language structure and language learning, shed light on a theory of language use by taking the
position that language is creative, rule governed and with a communicative value.
It was in the 1970s when the notion of communicative competence comes into force. The American
anthropologist Dell Hymes (1972) was linked to this sociolinguistic term that refers to the speakers
underlying knowledge of the rules of grammar and their use in socially appropriate circumstances.
For Hymes, the goal of language teaching is to develop a communicative competence which allows
a learner to be communicatively competent in a speech community. This term differs from
Chomskys dichotomy between competence and performance, where competence is the knowledge
of grammar rules and performance, how those rules are used. Hymess concept of communicative
competence brings about the nuance of situational contexts where learners have to apply their
knowlegde and ability in a foreign language to choose what levels of language they should use in
different circumstances.
Halliday (1970), as we have seen in previous sections, elaborated a functional theory on the use of
language, giving prominence to a social mode of expression in which the value of language lies in
the use that the speakers make of it and their selection from the language system, thus, from three
main macrofunctions such as ideational, interpersonal, or textual, he establishes other seven basic
functions to be described later in the section on Negotiation of meaning. Hence, meaning is, for
Halliday, a product of the relationship between the system and its environment. Similarly, Canale
and Swain (1980) went further within the purposes of real communication and negotiation of
meaning by identifying four dimensions of communicative competence, thus, grammatical,
sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic competence.

4.2. Language in use.

In this section, a definition of language in use will be provided, and then, we will describe the two
levels at which language works, thus , combining elements and adapting them to a certain situational
context. Here we will highlight the importance of a situational context for successful
communication to take place since the notion of language in use is linked to the influence of
sociolinguistics.

4.2.1. On defining language in use.

According to Rivers (1981), historically speaking, language teaching has been based on three main
views of language, thus, language as a tool, language as a product and language as a communication
process. The former, and the one we are dealing with in this section is language as a tool, which
deals with the ways we can use language to convey our intentions and personal meaning. This level
highlights the ways language is used to operate upon the environment by means of things, people
our ourselves, in order to express nuances and subtleties of meaning; the second, language as a
product, turns language into an object of study; and the latter one, language as a process, is linked to

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our next section named Negotiation of Meaning to be dealt with afterwards. This function deals
with how to formulate messages to express speacific meanings.

On defining the term use, it is worh mentioning that this concept traces back to Aristotle, and
emphasizes the ways we can use a language to operate upon the environment, that is, upon things,
upon people, and upon ourselves in the self -directive function of thought. The language we learn is
intended to be internalized as an instrument as it will provide us with the appropriate means to
express nuances and subtleties of meaning. The concept use has been defined by Brune, among
others, as a powerful determinant of rule structure. For Halliday (1985), the value of a theory lies
in the use that can be made of it. Hence, his the ory on language use results from the link between
the language system and a social mode of expression, that is, different circumstances.

When dealing with language as a tool, we refer to the different ways in which we can use language
according to, first, our intentions and personal meaning, and secondly, the circumstances in which
the act of communication takes place. Secondly, regarding language as a process, we may
understand the way we use our language to effect our purposes, whether in oral or written form, in
different circumstances.

4.2.2. Two levels at language in use.

In the early part of the twentieth century, emphasis was given to the intellectual aspect of language
learning and written skills whereas in the mid-1960s, there was a revolutio n of language teaching
methods which brought about an early cultivation of the speaking skill, as well as the production on
meaningful sentences by analogy and variation. This approach, in the words of Ellis (1985), was
considered to be consistent with native-language use, where speakers use language without
conscious effort and without rules to their language production. Since artificial samples of the
foreign language stopped students from communicating effectively, the aim was for students to be
able to create new utterances at will to convey their personal message and to know how to use
those utterances in different circumstances.
In order to produce fluent language users at an authentic speech level, a wide range of approaches
claimed for a competent use of the foreign language, that is, avoiding the unsystematically and
uncomprehensible use of language. Rivers (1981) states that we may identify two levels of language
use. The first level refers to the manipulation of language elements, combining and varying them in
order ot express our meaning comprehensibly according to the demands of the language system.
Here we refer to phonology, orthography, syntax, lexicon, and semantics. The second level deals
with the expression of personal meaning by selecting appropriate means with infinite possiblities of
expression. The selection depends on the type and degree of intensity of the message to be
conveyed, the situational context in which the utterance takes place, and the relationship between
speaker and listener.

From the 1980s on, there was an increasing emphasis on language functions. The term use was to
be defined within the framework of a foreign-language situation for students to use their knowledge
and ability in genuine communication. In an act of communication, we are influenced by
environmental factors as well as by our own intentions, and therefore, the speakers will select,
according to the circumstances, a set of linguistic means in order to express their own purposes.
They needed to know which levels of the language they should use in different circumstances and
how to negotiate meaning by means of asking acceptable questions. This selection reflects the

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complexity of the use of human language, as there are infinite aspects of meaning both within
language and in the relation between language and world.

4.3. THE NEGOTIATION OF MEANING.

This section is intended to define the notion of negotiation of meaning within a linguistic
approach on second language acquisition. Some key concepts such as register and discourse will be
defined in order to give a relevant framework to the notion of negotiating meaning. As we shall see
later, the linguistic environment that speakers and learners are exposed to plays an important role in
this interactive process.

4.3.1. On defining negotiation of meaning. Communication strategies.

Problems of communication affect us all in many aspects of day-to-day living, and can cause
serious trouble. It is incredibly easy to be unintentionally misunderstood, or to speak ambiguously,
or vaguely. In the words of Crystal (1985), to initiate communication is one thing whereas to make
it successful is another. An excellent example of difficult communication is in the doctor-patient
relationship, where most patients find it very difficult to get the right words to describe their
symptoms whereas for doctors, the problem is to formulate a diagnosis in words which the patient
will understand. They may use a term which has negative associations for the patient and could
cause unfortunate side-effects. Within this interaction, there is a need and a wish for a mutual
understanding.
When communicating, speakers often experience considerable difficulty when their resources in
their foreign or native language are limited. This effort to overcome communicative difficulties in
order to secure a mutual understanding is known as the negotiation of meaning. This is a major
feature of conversations involving second language acquisition, as strategies and tactics are
involved in this process on the part of the native speaker and the learner. Communication strategies
will be the issue of our next section.

4.3.2. Strategies and tactics in the negotiation of meaning.


Communication strategies were discussed in psycholinguistic terms as they were treated as the
mental phenomena which underlay actual language behaviour. In the words of Tarone (1981), they
are characterized by the negotiation of an agreement on meaning between interlocutors. Since
Selinker (1972) coined the term communication strategy, there has been a steady increase of
interest in the learners communication strategies since they are said to be responsible for the
interaction in the communication process. Two main features characterize strategies, first, to be
potentially conscious and secondly, to be problem-oriented, that is, that they are employed to
overcome a communication problem.
Strategies and tactics can help to expand resources as their main contribution is to keep the channel
open, facilitating the acquisition of new lexis and grammatical rules. Among the main
conversational devices the speaker use to avoid problems, within strategies we may mention
checking meaning, predicting, and selecting a topic. Within tactics used to solve the problem, we

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mainly mention asking for clarification and repetition, and topic switching. To sum up, we may say
that communication strategies are psycholinguistic plans which are part of the speakers
communicative competence, combining strategies and tactics in order to negotiate meaning to
achieve successfully their communicative purposes (Ellis 1985).

4.3.3. Key concepts in the negotiation of meaning: register and discourse.

In an act of communication, we do not always use the appropriate level of language within a certain
situation, and we often have expectations towards the response of the person to whom we are
addressing the message because some of our expectations are culturally based. If we do not choose
our words carefully, and our anticipation of the reaction of the receiver is ill founded, the message
decoded may be quite different from the message we intended to convey (Rivers 1981). Two
receivers may decode two different messages from the same signal. Then, misinterpretation is likely
to occur, and even more when using a non-native language.

The cultural associations of the linguistic items, and of the accompanying prosodic, paralinguistic,
and kinesic elements such as intonation, stress, tone of voice, facial movements, and gestures, may
be quite different for listener and speaker. In fact, in the words of Crystal (1985), there are areas
where the implications are of world importance, such as political and philosophical terms which
describe ideals and norms of behaviour with different meaning in different countries. The meaning
of terms like freedom, communist, and democratic have good or bad or neutral overtones
depending very much on which part of the world you were brought up in, and similarly with issues
such as religion, and business among others.
It is within this cultural embedding that key concepts such as register and discourse come into
force. Both of them claim for differences in grammar and lexis appropriate for a variety of
situations. The term register was first given broad currency by the British linguist Michael Halliday
(1975) and defined as a certain type of language which is acceptable in a community, for certain
situations and for special purposes. Registers were, then, subclassified into three domains to be
included in a discourse definition: field of discourse, referring to the subject matter of the variety;
manner of discourse , referring to the social relations between the participants, as shown by
variations in formality; and mode of discourse, referring to the choice between speech and writing,
and the choice of format;

Therefore, the term discourse is to be defined as a subclassification of register which, in linguistics,


refers to a unit or piece of connected speech or writing that is longer than a conventional sentence.
In general, it is a formal term for institutionalized forms of talk, conversation, dialogue, lecture,
sermon, and communicative events in general. Halliday emphasizes in his systemic linguistics the
social functions of language and the thematic and informational structure of speech and writing. He
also relates grammar at the clause and sentence level to situational constraints, referred to in
discourse as fields when dealing with the purpose of communication (technical, scientific or
advertising); manner, regarding the relationship between the participants (formal or informal); and
mode, referring to channels of communication (literary or non literary texts).

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5. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS.

This section looks at present-day approaches on the communication process from an educational
approach, and therefore, within the framework of a classroom setting. This type of formal
instruction in language teaching addresses the role played by our current educational system,
L.O.G.S.E., in providing the foundations for attempts at real communication from an eclectic
approach.

Since we are dealing with a communicative approach, it is relevant to mention the objectives that
our current educational system searches for. First, a focus on fluency to promote an interactive
groupwork in the classroom. Secondly, as communicative approaches claim for, to provide students
with genuine interactions in order to increase their learning in the foreign language. The aim is for
students to acquire a communicative competence, where their knowledge and ability in the foreign
language will help them get the meaning of a sentence, even if the different functions of language
make it difficult. Finally, students are provided with strategies and techniques to overcome their
communicative problems in an attempt to make communication as real as possible in a formal
setting.

This authentic communicative interaction is approached within our current educational system
through specific projects and programmes proposed by the European Community, especially
designed to provide students a genuine communicative interaction. At present, projects such as
Comenius and Socrates are intended to promote international exchanges within the European
Community, and projects such as Plumier are designed to promote the use of new technologies to
communicate with other students worlwide. These three projects are designed for students to
practice and increase their learning in the foreign language. Plumier Quite recently, the Spanish
Educational System, and in particular, Murcia educational institution, establishes in its curriculum
several literary contests to be developed in a foreign language, such as The 20 th Anniversary of
Murcia as a Province, and tour-guided visits in a foreign language to museums, such as Salzillos
museum and Ciezas museum. Furthermore, bilingualism schooling and programmes have become a
reality nowadays in our regional secondary schools providing students with a natural setting within
a classroom context.

6. CONCLUSION.

As a summary of the previous discussion on a detailed account of the communication process, we


may highlight the importance of functionalist theories on the different communication models
presented in this study, following the premise that a language is learnt in order to fulfil more
efficiently the functions of communication, and to develop structures out of these functions from
the environment. This is the main issue within the section of language in use, which considers the
role of semantics, pragmatics, and especially sociolinguistics as one of the basis of a functionalist
theory of language development, as they focus more on the intent or purpose behind an utterance
than on its grammar or syntax.

The following section is devoted to the notion of negotiation of meaning in which concepts such as
register and discourse are under revision. Strategies and tactics for learners to put in practice their
knowledge and ability in a foreign language are also under discussion from a communicative
approach in a formal setting. This section gives us an overview on how people who are not native
speakers of a language, may not communicate successfully with other people when their cultural
competence is not appropriate in the interaction within a specific setting.

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On the communication process and the elements involved in it, we may say it is worth repeating
that in a communicative interaction, grammar and vocabulary resources are not enough to convey a
personal message. We are intended to select the linguistic elements to express it so as to arouse in
the receiver the meaning we are trying to convey, bearing in mind that we are influenced by the
social and cultural context as well as by our own intentions. It is, therefore, relevant to hightlight the
importance of the cultural embedding we are dealing with, as it will help us avoid misinterpretations
with native speakers of the foreign language. Other elements can help us to transmit a message
successfully, such as prosodic, kinesic and paralinguistic elements, in order to convey our attitude
to the basic message. Thus, being humorous, ironical, disapproving or cautious. Eventually, as the
emitters of a message, we choose the form and choice of items in our message in order to be
successful in the communication process.

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

On the communication process


Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.
Halliday, M. A. K. 1973. Explorations in the Functions of Language. London: Edward Arnold.
Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

On functions of language
Saussure, F. 1916. Cours de linguistique gnrale (Course in General Linguistics, trans. Roy Harris,
1983). New York: Philosophical Library.
Halliday, M. A. K. 1973. Explorations in the Functions of Language. London: Edward Arnold.
Halliday, M.A.K. 1985. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

Introduction to language use and the negotiation of meaning


Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

On semantics, pragmatics and sociolinguistic influence on language


Brown, R. 1973. A First Language: The Early Stages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Halliday, M. 1975. Learning How to Mean. London: Edward Arnold.
Hymes, D. 1974. Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press.

On language use and strategies


Ellis, R. 1985. Understanding Second Language Acquisition . Oxford University Press.
Hymes, D. 1972. On Communicative competence. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

For current statistics and references


Revistas de laAsociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA):
De la Cruz, Isabel; Santamara, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2001. La Lingstica
Aplica da a finales del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcal.
Celaya, M Luz; Fernndez-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa. 2001.
Trabajos en Lingstica Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona.
Moreno, Ana I. & Colwell, Vera. 2001. Perspectivas Recientes sobre el Discurso. Universidad de
Len.
Revista de CERCLE, Centro Europeo de Recursos Culturales Lingsticos y Educativos.
Web pages: http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/teachers/txeurope.htm

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UNIT 4
COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE. ANALYSIS OF ITS
COMPONENTS.
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE: ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT.


2.1. The notion of communication: a basis for a theory of communicative competence.
2.1.1. Communication and language teaching.
2.1.2. Communicative competence: an issue in foreign language education.
2.1.3. A communicative approach to language teaching.
2.2. On defining communicative competence: a linguistic and pragmatic approach.
2.2.1. Fluency over accuracy.
2.2.2. The introduction of cultural studies: a basis for an etnography of communication.
2.3. A historical overview of the development in a model of communicative competence.
2.3.1. Earlier approaches: Hobbes (1651), Schweiter and Simonet (1921), and Lado
(1957).
2.3.2. Chomsky (1965): competence and performance.
2.3.3. First reactions to Chomskys model: Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972),
and Hymes (1972).
2.3.4. Sandra Savignon (1972, 1983)
2.3.5. Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978).
2.3.6. Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983).
2.3.7. On revising Hymes and Canale and Swains models: Wolfson (1989) and Bachman
(1990).
2.3.8. Present-day approaches: B.O.E. (2002).

3. AN ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE COMPONENTS.


3.1. On the analysis of communicative components: a model assessment.
3.1.1. Grammatical competence.
3.1.2. Discourse competence.
3.1.3. Sociolinguistic competence.
3.1.4. Strategic competence.
3.2. Related areas of study.
3.2.1. Discourse analysis.
3.2.2. A speech act theory.
3.2.3. Interactional competence.
3.2.4. Cross-cultural considerations.

4. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE.


4.1. Multimedia and hypermedia contexts.
4.2. Implications into language teaching.

5. CONCLUSION.
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

The aim of this unit is to offer a broad account of the concept of communicative competence, and
its importance in society, and especially, in the language teaching community, from its origins to
present-day studies. This presentation will start by offering the most relevant bibliography in this
field as a reference for the reader, and by presenting our study in three different sections.

The first section will start by reviewing the origins and nature of the communication process in
order to provide a link to the concept of communicative competence through, first, the notion of
language, and then, through a theory of foreign language teaching. Within this framework, key
concepts related to communicative approaches will be under revision, such as proficiency,
competence and performance. In a second section, this theoretical background accounts for a theory
of communic ative competence from a linguistic and pragmatic point of view, and suggests the
issues we will refer to in analyzing the development of communicative competence models. From
this anthropological perspective we are also able to see that the concerns that have prompted
modern theories of communication were similar to those that, at other times when language was not
developed yet, have always been concerned with how to communicative successfully. Besides, an
overview of the origins and nature of the term will lead us to provide a socio-cultural approach
within the introduction of culture studies to foreign language teaching, known as the etnography of
communication, in which a foreign language is approached from a pragmatic and linguistic point of
view.
Within the third section of our discussion, we shall provide an acccount of the development of the
most influential models within a theory of communicative competence, the most relevant figures in
this field and their contributions will be overviewed, together with an assessment model of
communicative competence. Furthermore, we will give an account of related issues to this model
theory. A fourth section will be devoted to present-day directions in the communication process
within a classroom and natural setting, regarding the evolution of media use for the development of
communicative competence among foreign language learners. Besides, we will offer some of the
implications of this approach to language teaching. Finally, a conclusion will be offered in order to
broadly overview our present study, and bibliographical references will be presented in a last
section by means of sections on each issue.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Several sources have contributed to provide a valuable introduction to the origins and nature of
communication and to the concept of language. Thus, David Crystal, Linguistics (1985), Halliday,
Spoken and Written Language (1985), Halliday, Explorations in the Functions of Language (1975)
and Wilga M. Rivers, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills (1981). The theoretical background to the
relationship between the communication process and language teaching is given by Larsen-
Freeman, An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research (1991); and Widdowson,
Teaching Language as Communication (1978). Four generally excellent surveys of both a theory of
communicative competence, and a communicative approach on language teaching are Ellis,
Understanding Second Language Acquisition (1985); Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of
communicative appro aches to second language teaching and testing (1980); Canale, From
Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy (1983); Hymes, On
communicative competence (1972); and Richards & Rodger Approaches and methods in language
Teaching (2001). A precious background to the introduction and influence of cultural studies on

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language towards an ethnography of communication, is provided by Hymes, Foundations in
Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach (1974) and Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of
communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing (1980). Among the general
works on communicative competence models and approaches, see the most relevant surveys on the
issue. Thus, Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language
teaching and testing (1980); Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965); Halliday, Linguistik,
Phonetik und Sprachunterricht (1972), and An Introduction to Functional Grammar (1985);
Hymes, On communicative competence (1972); Munby, Communicative Syllabus Design (1978);
Savignon, Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice (1983); and Celce-Murcia,
Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (1979). Since the spread of multimedia use in a
classroom setting is al rgely a matter of study, the question of techological developments is of
importance. For current statistics and bibliography, see Krashen and Terrell, The Natural Approach:
Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983). For applications of a communicative competence
theory to both classroom and natural settings, see the studies and surveys on the journals of
Asociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA) published by the Universities of Alcal,
Barcelona and Len, listed in the bibliography section. The advanced student may consult a
compendium of information on both traditional and recent topics on Internet. For further references
on specific projects offered by the Ministry of Education, see Revista CERCLE del Centro Europeo
de Recursos Culturales Lingsticos y Educativos (Servicio de Programas Educativos. Consejera de
Educacin y Cultura) and within a technological framework, see http://www.britishcouncil.org.

2. A THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE: ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT.

This section, in briefly reviewing the origins of the communication process, provides a background
for discussion of a theory of communicative competence, and suggests the issues we will refer to in
analyzing the development of communicative competence models. From this anthropological
perspective we are also able to see that the concerns that have prompted modern theories of
communication were similar to those that, at other times when language was not developed yet,
have always been concerned with how to communicative successfully.

2.1. The notion of communication: a basis for a theory of communicative competence.

From an anthropological perspective, the origins of communication are to be found in the very early
stages of life when there was a need for animals and humans to communicate basic structures of the
world and everyday life. It is relevant to establish, then, a distinction between human and animal
systems of communication as their features differ in the way they produce and express their
intentions. Before language was developed, non-verbal codes were used by humans to convey
information by means of symbols, body gestures, and sounds, as it is represented in pictorial art and
burial sites. However, since prehistoric times the way of improving communication preoccupied
human beings as they had a need to express their thoughts with words. This non-verbal code was to
be developed into a highly elaborated signaling system, both spoken and written, which became an
essential tool of communication for human beings (Crystal 1985).

Historically speaking, various attempts have been made to conceptualize the nature of
communication and to explore its relationship to human language regarding types, elements and
purposes. For several millennia many linguists and philosophers have approached the concept of
language from different domains of knowledge, such as philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and
sociology among others, in order to offer an account of the prominent features of human language
in opposition to other systems of communication.

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Hence, regarding types (Halliday 1985), the field of semiotics distinguishes verbal and non -verbal
communication as part of the analysis of both linguistic and non-linguistic signs as communicative
devices in all modes and contexts. Thus, when the act of communication is verbal, the code is the
language, which may result in oral or written form, as when we are watching a film, having a
conversation, or reading a magazine. When we refer to non-verbal communication, visual and
tactile modes are concerned, such as gestures, facial expressions, body language, or touch, and even
some uses of the vocal tract are possible by means of paralanguage, such as whistling or musical
effects.

According to Halliday (1975), language may be defined as an instrument of social interaction with a
clear communicative purpose. Among the most prominent design features of human language, an
auditory-vocal channel is to be highlighted in opposition to tactile, visual or other means of
communication. Human beings are also able to reproduce and produce an infinite number of
messages in any context of space and time, thanks to the arbitrariness of language which allows
humans to combine sounds with no intrinsic meaning so as to form elements with meaning. And
finally, we may mention as the last feature, a traditional transmission, since language is transmitted
from one generation to the next by a process of teaching and learning. This feature is the aim of our
next section which links communication and language teaching in order to provide a meaningful
framework to the notion of communicative competence.

2.1.1. Communication and language teaching.


From a historical perspective, Howatt (1984) has demonstrated that many current issues in language
teaching are not particularly new. For instance, in the seventeenth century, the theologian Jan Amos
Komensky (1592-1670), Comenius, who was said to be the founder of didactics , that is, the art of
teaching, already stated the reasons for learning a foreign language. He claims that th rough
language, we come to a closer understanding of the world since language refers to things in the
world. Upon this basis, he claims that for men to retrieve something of their old collective wisdom,
it is necessary for them to learn each others languages. Therefore, first, there is no point in
learning another language if one has not mastered one's own, and secondly, that we also have to
learn the language of our neighbours so as to be able to communicate with them. He states that only
after that, should one take on the learning of one of the classic languages, such as Latin, Hebrew,
Greek or Arabic. On the practice and use of communication, he adds that the grammar rules should
aid and confirm usage, so that the learner, then, can have frequent opportunities to express him or
herself, in different situations.

In the words of Widdowson (1978), these opportunities Comenius mentions to communicate with
others, have to do with the ability to communicate in a foreign language and the ability to interpret
and produce meaning, which is an important goal for language learners, especially for those who
need to fulfill roles as family members, community members, students, teachers, employers or
employees in an foreign language speaking environment. While there are many influential factors in
second language learning, as the learner characteristics such as age, personality, and intelligence,
the critical dimension in language learning is interaction with other speakers.

Similarly, in the words of Larsen-Freeman (1991), one learns to do by doing, since people learn to
walk by walking and they learn to drive by driving. Therefore, it makes sense, then, that people
learn to communicate by communicating, and similarly, those learners who engage in the regular
use of their second language and receive the greater quantity of input will most likely demonstrate a
greater ability to use their second language. Learners must actively work and practice extensively

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on communicating to develop skills in communication. It follows, then, that learners should be
provided with as much speaking time as possible, both in and out of the classroom. However, we
should not forget that communicating successfully implies not only a correct use of structure and
form, but also to communicate intelligibly and appropriately for students to achieve a successful
interaction. This ability to communicate is the aim of our next section where we will provide an
approach to the notion of communicative competence and its relationship to language teaching.

2.1.2. Communicative competence: an issue in foreign language education.


In this section, it is relevant to conceptualize first some key issues related to the concept of
communicative competence in order to fully understand the term and its relevance in foreign
language teaching. Therefore, the concepts of proficiency, competence and performance will be
under revision as follows.
Within a language teaching theory, many approaches and theories stem from a fundamental
question which addresses the way we, teachers, can help students who are learning a second
language in a classroom setting, become proficient in that language. Another question arises, then,
in relation to what it means to be proficient in a language, and to what a learner has to know in
terms of grammar, vocabulary, sociolinguistic appropriateness, conventions of discourse, and
cultural understanding in order to use a language well enough for real world purpose. Following
Ellis (1985), we may define proficiency as the learners knowledge of the target language viewed as
linguistic competence or communicative competence. Common synonyms for the term are
expertise, ability, or competence within implications at a high level of skill, well-developed
knowledge, and polished performance. As we have seen, the term proficiency brings about the
notions of competence and performance which must be also reviewed.
These two notions of competence and performance are one of the main tenets in Chomskys theory
of transformational grammar (Richards & Rodgers 2001). This distinction addresses competence as
the idealized native speakers underlying competence, referring to ones implicit or explicit
knowledge of the system of the language whereas performance addresses to an individual
performance, referring to ones actual production and comprehension of language in specific
instances of language use. Chomsky believed that actual performace did not properly reflect the
underlying knowledge, that is, competence, because of its many imperfections at the level of errors
and hesitations.

This fundamental distinction has been at the centre of discussions of many other researchers, and in
fact, it has been reviewed and evaluated since then from various theoretical perspectives which will
be examined in the section devoted to the development of a communicative competence model
(Canale & Swain 1980). However, we will highlight in this section one of the main rejections to
Chomskys view of language, proposed by the American anthropologist Dell Hymes in his work On
communicativ e competence (1972). Here he felt that there are rules of language use that are
neglected in Chomskys approach, as native speakers know more than just grammatical
competence. Hymes, with a tradition on sociolinguistics, had a broader view of the term which
included not only grammatical competence, but also sociolinguistic and contextual competence. For
Hymes, the notion of communicative competence is the underlying knowledge a speaker has of the
rules of grammar including phonology, orthography, syntax, lexicon, and semantics, and the rules
for their use in socially appropriate circumstances. Therefore, we understand competence as the
knowledge of rules of grammar, and performance, they way the rules are used.

The verbal part of communicative competence comprises all the so-called four skills: listening,
reading, speaking and writing. It is important to highlight this, since there is a very common
misunderstanding that communicative competence only refers to the ability to speak. It is both

5/25
productive and receptive. All of us have developed communicative competence in our native
language, oral proficiency and later, possibly, written proficiency. The acquisition of
communicative competence in a foreign or second language therefore takes place on the basis of the
fact that we already have a native language. So we are dealing with the development of two systems
that interact. The question of how this occurs has been investigated in research on fields such as
bilingualism (Canale 1983). Another issue under study is the importance of fluency over accuracy
when developing communicative competence in a foreign language, to be discussed in our next
section.

2.1.3. A communicative approach to language teaching.

The period from the 1950s to the 1980s has often been referred to as The Age of Methods, during
which a number of quite detailed prescriptions for language teaching were proposed (Canale &
Swain 1980). Situational Language Teaching evolved in the United Kingdom while a parallel
method, Audio-Lingualism, emerged in the United States. Both methods started to be questioned by
applied linguists who saw the need to focus in language teaching on communicative proficiency
rather than on mere mastery of structures.
In the middle -methods period, a variety of methods were proclaimed as successors to the then
prevailing Situational Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual methods. These alternatives were
promoted under such titles as Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Community Language Learning, and
Total Physical Response. It was in 1971 when a British linguist, D.A. Wilkins promoted a system in
which learning tasks were broken down into units. This system attempted to demonstrate the
systems of meanings that a language learner needs to understand and express within two types:
notional categories (time, sequence, quantity or frequency) and categories of communicative
function (requests, offers, complaints). In the 1980s, the rapid application of these ideas by textbook
writers and its acceptance by teaching specialists gave prominence to more interactive views of
language teaching, which became to be known as the Communicative Approach or simply
Communicative Language Teaching.

In the 1970s and 1980s, an approach to foreign and second language teaching emerged both in
Europe and North America focusing on the work of anthropologists, sociologists, and
sociolinguists. It concentrated on language as social behaviour, seeing the primary goal of language
teaching as the development of the learner's communicative competence. Parallel to the influence of
the Council of Europe Languages Projects, there was an increasing need to teach adults the major
languages for a better educational cooperation within the expanding European Common Market.
Learners were considered to need both rules of use to produce language appropriate to particular
situations, and strategies for effective communication. The movement at first concentrated on
notional-functional syllabuses, but in the 1980s, the approach was more concerned with the quality
of interaction between learner and teacher rather than the specification of syllabuses, and
concentrated on classroom methodology rather than on content. This promoted a view of language
as creative and rule governed within the framework of communicative approaches. Scholars such as
Hymes (1972), Halliday (1970), Canale and Swain (1980) or Chomsky (1957) leveled their
contributions and criticisms at structural linguistic theories claiming for more communicative
approaches on language teaching.
Among the most relevant features that Communicative Language Teaching claimed for, we will
highlight a set of principles that provide a broad overview of this method. The first principle claims
for students to learn a language through using it to communicate. Secondly, there is an emphasis on
authentic and meaningful communication which should be the goal of classroom activities. Thirdly,

6/25
fluency is seen as an important dimension of communication. Fourth, communication is intended to
involve the integration of different language skills, and finally, the principle that claims for learning
as a process of creative construction which involves trial and error.

However, this communicative view is considered an approach rather than a method which provides
a humanistic approach to teaching where interactive processes of communication receive priority.
Its rapid adoption and implementation resulted in similar approaches among which we may mention
The Natural Approach, Cooperative Language Learning, Content-Based Teaching, and Task-Based
Teaching. It is difficult to describe these various methods briefly and yet fairly, and such a task is
well beyond the scope of this paper. However, several up-to-date texts are available that do detail
differences and similarities among the many different approaches and methods that have been
proposed (see Richards & Rodgers, 2001).

2.2. On defining communicative competence: a linguistic and pragmatic approach.


The aim of this section is to approach the notion of communicative competence from an emphasis
on fluency rather than on linguistic accuracy, since learners need many different opportunities to
communicate without having to concentrate on structure and form. Upon this basis, the introduction
of cultural studies is under revision as an important aspect of communicative competence. As far as
background knowledge and cultural expectations on the foreign language are concerned,
communicating with people from other cultures involves not only linguistic appropriateness but also
pragmatic appropriateness in the use of verbal and non-verbal behavior. This issue is examined
within an ethnography of communication theory in order to approach a foreign language from a
pragmatic and linguistic point of view.

2.2.1. Fluency over accuracy.

Today, communicative competence is the central aim of foreign and second language teaching,
providing a number of suggestions as to how teachers can give pupils optimum frameworks for
acquiring a good communicative competence. This notion no longer describes just a particular
proficiency or skill, but makes reference to more than listening and speaking, reading and writing. It
is the ability to use appropriately all aspects of verbal and non-verbal language in a variety of
contexts, as would a native speaker (Canale 1983). There are, then, two components to
communicative competence under review.

The first component is linguistic competence, which involves the mastery of several features. Thus,
first, the sound system and the written system in order not to sound unusual to the cultural and
linguistic ear although the grammar may be perfect. Secondly, the syntax, or word order of
interactions where perhaps the word meaning is correct, but the word is out-of-date or awkward, or
simply that a phrase is not appropriate in the context. Thirdly, the stress, pitch, volume, and juncture
as a passage from one sound to another in the stream of speech. Finally, the semantics, or meanings
of words and phrases, and the how, when, where, and why they are used in a language. This usually
takes place when we think of childrens amusing or embarrassing comments as they learn to
communicate, or we deal with a person whose writing or speaking is different to the native
language. This feature is to be found culturally implied, not explicitly taught.

The second component includes pragmatics competence which deals with knowing the
appropriateness of communication formats, verbal and non-verbal responses and interactions in
many contexts. Among an endless list of skills, we shall highlight first, the appropriateness of action
and speech in view of the speakers roles, status, ages and perspectives. Secondly, the use of non-

7/25
verbal codes, such as frequency and pattern of eye contact and facial expressions, or personal space
and body movement. Next, another feature is to establish rapport, taking turns, and not to talk
excessively, as well as initiating, contributing relevance to, and ending a conversation. Fourthly, we
may highlight the fact of being comprehensible, supplying all necessary information and requesting
clarific ation when necessary. And finally, it is important a feature that involves creating smooth
changes in topic, and responding to timing and pauses in dialogue.
These pragmatics elements are so powerful that the message can become distorted if some of them
are missing, making the speaker feel perplexed, uneasy or distrustful. In developing communicative
competence, learners need many opportunities to communicate without having to concentrate on
structure and form, as being understood is much more important than using correct vocabulary or
grammar. Todays classrooms often have a wide diversity of skills, abilities, experiences, cultures,
lifestyles and languages that can provide a wonderful opportunity for students to expand and
enhance their communicative competence by means of providing our students with fullydeveloped
experiences concerning acceptable communication.

In communicative language teaching, the emphasis is on fluency and comprehensibility as opposed


to accuracy. Fluency in speaking can be thought of as the ability to generate and communicate ones
ideas intelligibly and with relative ease but not necessarily with accuracy (Canale & Swain 1980).
Experiencing fluency also builds a sense of comfort, confidence, and control in those learners who
lack strong pragmatics competence. We, teachers, can provide opportunities for students to develop
context-sensitive behaviour in order to become more aware of, and more adept at responding
appropriately to social contexts. Since pragmatics competence is a crucial survival skill in life and
in the workplace, students need to develop this competence in an appropriate conversational
context. Therefore, we shall examine some cultural implications within this issue in our next
section.

2.2.2. The introduction of cultural studies: a basis for an etnography of communication.


As we have mentioned in the preceding section, communicative competence also covers conditions
that affect communication by means of socio-cultural competence in order to facilitate
comprehensible interaction or to provide general knowledge of the world and of human nature. Yet,
speakers draw on their competence in putting together grammatical sentences, but not all such
sentences can be used in the same circumstances. Thus, Give me the salt! and Could you pass me
the salt, please? are both grammatical, but they differ in their appropriateness for use in particular
situations. Speakers use their communicative competence to choose what to say, as well as how and
when to say it. It is fair, then, to highlight again the importance of being understood rather than
using correct vocabulary or grammar.
Hymes (1974) and others have stated that second language acquisition must be accompanied by a
cultural knowledge acquisition in addition to communicative competence. Communicating with
people from different cultures implies not only choosing the appropriate words but also using the
appropriate verbal and non-verbal behaviors. So far, the more knowledge the learner has to facilitate
understanding about a topic from a different culture, the easier it is for the learner to be an active
participant, and to speak with ease and fluency. This often involves acquiring information about life
experiences such as driving rules, etiquette, family life, business, or how justice works. Once the
constraint of a lack of background knowledge and information is eliminated, the learner has an
opportunity to work on developing fluency and building communicative competence.

There are several important strategies that a student should learn about the underlying cultural rules
that guide conversation in the environment where they are speaking, such as using gestures, taking

8/25
turns, or maintaining silence. By means of using these verbal and non-verbal communication
strategies, the learner may enhance the effectiveness of communication (Canale and Swain 1980).
These strategies vary from culture to culture, and they make relevant, therefore, the acquisition of a
cultural knowledge in order to communicate effectively.

This tradition on cultural studies was first introduced in a language teaching theory in the early
1920s and improved in the 1970s by the notion of the ethnography of communication, a concept
coined by Dell Hymes. It refers to a methodology based in anthropology and lin guistics allowing
people to study human interaction in context. Ethnographers adhering to Hymes' methodology
attempt to analyze patterns of communication as part of cultural knowledge and behavior. Besides,
cultural relativity sees communicative practices as an important part of what members of a
particular culture know and do (Hymes 1972). They acknowledge speech situations, speech events,
and speech acts as units of communicative practice and attempt to situate these events in context in
order to analyze them.

Hymes' (1972) well-known SPEAKING heuristic where capital letters acknowledge for different
aspects in communicative competence, serves as a framework within which the ethnographer
examines several components of speech events as follows. S stands for setting and scene (physical
circumstances); P refers to participants including speaker, sender and addresser; E means end
(purposes and goals); A stands for act sequence (message form and content); K deals with key
(tone and manner); I stands for instrumentalities (verbal, non-verbal and physical channel); N refers
to norms of interaction (specific proprieties attached to speaking), and interpretation (interpretation
of norms within cultural belief system); and finally, genre referring to textual categories.
This interpretation of communicative competence can serve as a useful guide to help second
language learners to distinguish important elements of cultural communication as they learn to
observe and analyze discourse practices of the target culture in context. As for actual ethnographers,
second language learners must have the opportunity to access the viewpoints of natives of the
culture being studied in order to interpret culturally defined behaviors. The issue of culture under
study will be discussed in our next section where different interpretations of communicative
competence are examined from early approaches to present-day studies.

2.3. A historical overview of the development in a model of communicative competence.


The present section considers the relationship between culture and language as a constant concern
of second and foreign language researchers and educators worldwide. These two terms, culture and
language, are directly related to the notion of communicative competence as cultural and linguistic
studies provide the basis for a communicative approach in language teaching. Therefore, upon this
basis, this section is aimed to provide a historical account of the different approaches to the
development of a communicative competence model by considering the contributions of the most
prominent linguists within this field from the very beginnings to present-day studies,

2.3.1. Earlier approaches: Hobbes (1651), Schweiter and Simonet (1921), and Lado (1957).

The notion of communicative competence and its development is linked to the dialectical
relationship between language and culture which has preoccupied linguists, philosophers and
researchers for many years. However, it was not until the early twentieth century that a systematic

9/25
introduction of cultural studies enters the second language teaching curriculum, and for the first
time, traditional views on language system are challenged.

One of the first references to language, as a system of signs, and the necessity of an appropriate
context of communication was provided by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1651. On revising
the natural condition of mankind regarding counsel, Hobbes unconciously offered in his work The
Leviathan (chapter XXV) an ethnographic approach to the nature of language. Thus, he explains
how fallacious is is to judge of the nature of things, by the ordinary and inconstant use of words,
appeareth in nothing more, than in the confusion of Counsels, and Commands, arising from the
imperative manner of speaking in them both, and in many other occasions besides. For the words
Doe this, are the words not onely of him that Commandeth; but also of him that giveth Counsell;
and of him that Exhorteth; and yet there are but few, that see not, that these are very different
things; or that cannot distinguish between them, when they perceive who it is that speaketh, and to
whom the Speech is directed, and upon what occasion. This occasion makes reference to an
emphasis on social action rather than on texts in order to achieve the effectiveness of
communication.

Some centuries later, in 1921, Shweiter and Simonet also challenged the view that language is only
a system of signs and that language awareness included only the knowledge of grammar, lexicon,
and phonetics (Bloomfield 1933). They argued about the necessity of including a system of basic
information into second language teaching, which involved a wide range of general topics, among
which we may find geography, history customs, traditions, holidays and rituals of a foreign
language country. Though the range of the topics may seem very limited nowadays, the reader must
bear in mind that this was the first challenged to the old traditional view of language system.

Another approach traces back to the middle of the twentieth century, when the American linguist
Robert Lado (1957) argued that knowledge of a foreign language culture is essential for foreign
language learners to create the same atmosphere of native speakers interaction. This approach,
proposed by Lado, emerges from a method on comparing first and second language cultures in
order to help learners get a better understanding of the second language realities. However, Lados
method was not to be applied to a classroom setting as audiolingual and grammar translation
methods were the dominant approaches in second language teaching by that time. Therefore, his
theoretical discoveries were not to be considered again until the 1970s, when social sciences started
to emerge as a relevant issue within the field of language teaching. Parallel to these theoretical
challenges, we find our next linguist under consideration, Noam Chomsky, who also challenged,
but this time successfully, behaviourist models of language learning.

2.3.2. Chomsky (1965): competence and performance.

As we have previously mentioned, there was a variety of theoretical challenges to the audio-lingual
method in the 1960s, among which we may mention, apart from Lados, that of the linguist Noam
Chomsky which became a turning point in the development of subsequent theories on language
learning. Chomsky proposed in his work Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), a theory called
Transformational Generative Grammar, according to which learners do not acquire an endless list
of rules, but limited set of transformations with which language users can form an unlimited number
of sentences.
Chomskys theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely
homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such
grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and
interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of the language in actual

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performance (1965 p.3). For him, then, there are two main concepts under revision, competence and
performance. To him, competence refers to the innate knowledge of language an ideal speaker-
listener has in an homogeneous speech community, and performance refers to the actual production
and rules of language use. According to Chomsky, then, within his theory of linguistic competence
and performance, being respectively, grammaticality and acceptability, linguistic knowledge is
separated from sociocultural features. His distinction served as basis for work of many other
researchers as it is stated in the following sections.

2.3.3. First reactions to Chomskys model: Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972) and
Hymes (1972).

In the 1970s, there was an increasing interest and, therefore development, in social sciences,
particularly sociology and anthropology, which resulted in a considerable broadening in scholars
understanding of the concept of culture. There were reactions to Chomskys notion of linguistic
competence. Mainly three approaches showed a disagreement that went on in the early 1970s, and
centered on whether communicative competence included grammatical competence or not. Thus,
Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972), and Hymes (1972). They thought that there were
rules of language use that were neglected in Chomskys view of language, and that linguistic
competence represented only part of what one needs to know to be a competent language user.

With respect to Campbell and Wales approach, we may say that they felt that appropriateness of
language is even more important than grammaticality. They accepted the distinction proposed by
Chomsky regarding competence and performance, but pointed out that Chomsky neglected the
appropriateness of utterance to a particular context of situation or, in other words, its sociocultural
significance. Therefore, they referred to Chomskys view as grammatical competence and to theirs
as communicative competence. For them, the idea of communicative competence was the ability to
produce utterances which are not so much grammatical but, more important, appropriate to the
context in which they are made (1970).

In relation to Halliday (1972), we shall mention that he rejected Chomskys dichotomy of


competence and performance as he thought the potential of meaning was covered both by knowing
and doing. To Halliday, language is a mode of human behavior, and therefore, a mode of social
interaction. Besides, he proposed the notion of language functions by means of which the context
of a situation provides a first approximation to the specification of the components of the
communication situation (1985). Thus, three macro-functions, such as the ideational, interpersonal,
and textual, were the basis for another set of seven micro-functions, listed as follows. Firstly, the
instrumental to express desires and needs. Secondly, the regulatory where rules, instructions,
orders, and suggestions are included. Thirdly, the interactional, where we may include patterns of
greeting, leave-taking, thanking, good wishes, and excusing. Fourth, the person al function which
encourages students to talk about themselves and express their feelings. Fifth, the heuristic function
focuses on asking questions. Next, the imaginative function, which is used for supposing,
hypothesizing, and creating for the love of sound and image. Finally, we find the informative
function which emphasizes affirmative and negative statements.

Regarding Dell Hymes approach, he also pointed out that Chomskys competence-performance
model did not provide an explicit place for sociocult ural features, adding that Chomskys notion of
performance seemed confused between actual performance and underlying rules of performance.
Hymes recasts the scope of the competence concept because there is a lack of empirical support in
Chomskys model, and he feels that there are rules of use without which the rules of grammar
would be useless. Hymes introduced the concept of communicative competence, paying special
attention to the sociolinguistic component, which connected language and culture.

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Hymes (1972) stated that native speakers know more than just grammatical competence. So far, he
expands the Chomskyan notions of grammaticality (competence) and acceptability (performance)
into four parameters subsumed under the heading of communicative competence as something
which is first, formally possible; secondly, feasible in virtue of the available means; thirdly,
appropriate , in relation to a context in which it is used and evaluated; and finally, something which
is in fact done, and actually performed. A linguistic example of these parameters is provided by a
sentence that may be grammatical, awkward, tactful and rare, representing the users knowledge
and ability in communicating.

Hymess model is, then, primarily sociolinguistic, but includes Chomskys psycholinguistic
parameter of linguistic competence. It is also primarily concerned with explaining language use in
social contexts, although it also addresses issues of language acquisition. As a result, Hymess
model for communicative competence included grammatical, sociolinguistic and contextual
competences. Hymess model inpired subsequent model developments on communicative
competence, such as those of Canale and Swain (1980) and Bachman (1987), as we shall see in
further sections.

2.3.4. Sandra Sa vignon (1972, 1983).

Simultaneously to Hymess introduction of the concept of communicative competence as a reaction


to Chomskys theory, the first well-recognized experiment of communicative language teaching
was taking place at the University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign. The American linguist, Sandra
Savignon (1972), was conducting an experiment with foreign language learners, particularly
adults, in a clasroom at a beginners level. It was an attempt towards an interactional approach
where learners were encouraged to make use of their foreign language in a classroom setting, by
means of equivalents of expressions such as Excuse me..., Please, repeat..., How do you say this
in Italian...? in order to communicate rather than feign native speakers.

Regarding the scope of communicative competence, Savignons experiment is considered to be one


of the best-known surveys as it shed light on the development of research in this field. She
introduced the idea of communicative competence as the ability to function in a truly
communicative setting - that is, in a dynamic exchange in which linguistic competence must adapt
itself to the toal informational input, both linguistic and paralinguistic, of one or more interlocutors
(1972).

She included the use of gestures and facial expression in her interpretation and later refined her
definition of communicative competence to comprise of the following six relevant aspects (1983).
Thus, the first feature is the individualss willingness to take risks and express themselves in foreign
language and to make themselves understood, that is, the notion of the negotiation of meaning.
Secondly, the fact that communicative competence is not only oral, but written too. Thirdly, an
approach to appropriateness as depending on context. Here we refer to the appropriate choices of
register and style in terms of situation and other participants. Fourthly, she states that only
performance is observable as it is only through performance that competence can be developed,
maintained, and evaluated . In the fifth place, she claims for communicative competence to be
relative, and not absolute, as it comes in degrees because it depends on the cooperation of all
interlocutors. Finally, she talks about degrees of communicative competence which, for her, is
difficult to measure.

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Savignons model was not the only result of those theoretical and empirical investigations which
were carried out in the early 1980s in the field of communicative language teaching. Among other
models of communicative competence currently used worlwide, we shall mention those of Canale
& Swain (1980), van Ek (1986), and Bachman (1990). Though not able to agree on operational
definitions of the components of communicative competence, all scholars recognized the
sociocultural component to be an inseparable part of foreign language communicative competence.

2.3.5. Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978).

In the 1980s, extensive research in Communicative Language Teaching served as a theoretical and
methodological basis for the emergence of several approaches that aimed to co-teach language and
culture. Since language is the means of expression of ones identity, the sociocultural environment
played, then, an important role in an individuals cultural identity development. Parallel to this
approach, cultural literacy, ethnographic, and sociocultural studies established a connection
between language and culture, although they differed in the context of application. As a result, there
was a need to examine a number of issues connected with identity, culture, and language teaching in
order to prepare students for adequate intercultural communication, and to help them overcome and
eliminate generalizations about a foreign language culture and society.

Many researchers, among them, Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978), claimed that, in
communication, the way people use the language may affect the way they are most likely to be
perceived by others. The issues linked to identity, culture, and language teaching were presented as
multiple deviations from the norm within a cultural diversity of the modern world. Thus,
approaches to discourse analysis, a speech act theory, interactional competence and cross-cultural
considerations were examined as a sociocultural phenomena. These issues become especially
important when we are talking about foreign languages, as they propose possible ways of increasing
the effectiveness of foreign language communication.

Within this theoretical background and from a discourse-based approach, Widdowson (1978)
proposes a distinction between the concepts of use and usage. According to him, both concepts are
to be linked to the aspects of performance, as usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of
a language system whereas the notion of use means the realization of the language system as
meaningful communicative behavior. This duality is based on the notion of effectiveness for
communication, by means of which an utterance with a well-formed grammatical structure may or
may not have a sufficient value for communication in a given context. Therefore, he claimed that
whether an utterance has a sufficient communicative value or not is determined in discourse.

Similarly, Munby (1978) contends that grammatical competence should be included in the notion of
communicative competence under two main theoretical basis. First, he states that grammatical
competence and communicative competence need to be developed separately and secondly, he goes
further by saying that grammatical competence is not an essential component of communicative
competence. The main tenets of his Communicative Competence model are presented under the
basis of a linguistic encoding, a sociocultural orientation, a sociosemantic basis of linguistic
knowledge, and a discourse level of operation.

However, reactions to this approach soon emerged from linguists in this field, as for instance, the
influential theorists Canale and Swain, among others. They claimed that both grammatical
competence and sociolinguistic competence are important elements within this framework, and that
teachers who agree that grammatical competence is part of communicative competence might still
separate them in teaching (1980). However, they added that second language learning would

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proceed more effectively when grammatical usage is not abstracted from a meaningful context. For
a detailed account of this approach, we shall move on to our next section.

2.3.6. Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983).

As we have previously mentioned, the development of Hymes theory of communicative


competence was one of the reactions to Chomsky's somewhat limiting definition of the scope of
linguistic theory on communicative competence. Communicative competence, as Hymes proposed
it, goes further than just grammatical knowledge and includes psychological and socio-linguistic
factors that address the fact that communication takes place in a context. It seems a particularly
relevant idea to those interested in second language learning, as the relevance of a theory of
communicative competence to language by means of testing was first noted by Cooper (1968) and
explored by Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983). Language tests involve measuring a
subjects knowledge of, and proficiency in, the use of a language. Communicative competence,
according to them, is then a theory of the nature of such knowledge and proficiency. Upon this
basis, a preference model appears to be a useful way to characterize communicative competence,
and at the same time, it has many advantages over competing models.
The notion of communicative competence was examined by various groups of researchers,
including those in second language learning like Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983).
They formulated a theoretical framework that, in the modified version of Canale (1983), consisted
of four major components of communicative competence, thus grammatical, sociolinguistic,
discourse, and strategic aspects.
We shall mention first, the grammatical competence, which deals with the mastery of the linguistic
code itself. This aspect is important for students to attain a higher level of proficiency where
accuracy is important. Secondly, the sociolinguistic competence is concerned with the appropriate
use of language in particular social situations to convey specific communicative functions such as
describing, narrating, or eliciting among others, including the participants and the rules for
interaction. This competence is particularly difficult to attain as the skilled use of appropriate
registers requires sensitivity to cross-cultural differences. Thirdly, the discourse competence
concerns the mastery of how to use language in order to achieve a unified spoken or written text in
different genres, that is, cohesion and coherence of utterances in a discourse. This cohesion of
thought is attained by means of cohesive devices, such as pronouns and grammatical connectors,
together with a unity of thought and continuity in a text. Finally, the strategic competence makes
reference to the mastery of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies by means of both the
underlying knowledge about language and communicative language use or skill. The main goal to
attain with this competence is first, to compensate for breakdowns in communication, and secondly,
to enhance the effectiveness of communication. On this issue, further comments will be examined
later in the section of the model assessment.

2.3.7. On revising Hymes and Canale and Swains models: Wolfson (1989) and Bachman (1990).

As mentioned before, the notion of communicative competence intended by Hymes was further
developed and revised by other linguists, among which we may mention Canale and Swain as their
reinterpretation of Hymes model is considered to be one of the most improved and effective
versions of the notion of communicative competence. However, both models have undergone
further reinterpretations and developments when addressing communication oriented teaching in a
classroom setting. Hymes sociolinguistic approach was, then, to be reinterpreted by a language
teaching professional, Wolfson (1989) who worked on cross-cultural considerations. Besides,

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Canale and Swains model also had its developments and contributions, such as that of Bachman
(1990) among others. Both approaches are examined in this section.

Regarding Wolfsons model (1989), it is relevant to recall part of Hymes theory when he states that
there is more in his term than the concept of communicative competence. Two further ideas are
specially important, such as linguistic routines and sociolinguist interference. Hymes describes
some texts as having sequential organisation beyond the sentence, either as activities of one person,
or as the interaction of two or more (1972). Sociolinguistic interference, he notes, arises during
contacts between cultures with differing systems of communicative competence, including
differently structured linguistic routines. Our understanding of the mechanics of this interference
has been developed by work in contrastive rhetoric and cross-cultural communication generally,
but only recently have some of these insights found their way in to the classroom setting.

So far, Wolfsons model mainly focuses on communicative competence, and outlines a model of
rules of speaking derived from Hymes with pedagogic purposes. Wolfson points out that
grammatical competence is an intrinsic part of communicative competence, but stating that in many
cases, the term communicative competence is misinterpreted by language teachers and curriculum
developers as the separation of grammatical competence. His model presents an issue of cross-
cultural miscommunication within the framework of compliments. Wolfson was working on a
survey for learners with different cultural background to understand certain rules of the interaction
process regarding cultural communication patterns, in particular, on why Americans complimented
so frequently.

On revising Canale and Swains reinterpretations, we shall refer to Lyle Bachman (1990) whose
model was similar to Canale and Swains, but differently arranged. Bachman proposed a tree model
of communicative competence for a theoretical framework of communicative language ability,
where we may distinguish three major components of communicative language proficiency. Thus,
language competence, strategic competence, and psychophysiological mechanisms.

The first component, language competence is related to the knowledge of language a learner has,
which includes two major abilities used in communicating through language. Thus, firstly, the
organizational competence which deals with the control of formal structure of language
(grammatical competence) and the knowledge of how to construct discourse (textual competence).
Secondly, the pragmatic competence , which is related to firstly, a functional use of language
(illocutionary competence or how to perform speech acts) and secondly, the knowledge of
appropriateness to context in which language is used (sociolinguistic competence).

The second component is the strategic competence which refers to mental capacities underlying
language use, pointing out that Canale and Swains model did not describe the mechanisms by
which strategic competence operates. So far, he works within the framework of an interactional
view as compensation for communication breakdowns, and a psycholinguistic view to enhance
rhetorical effects of utterances. Therefore, he distinguishes three phases in his model: assessment,
planning and execution. In relation to the third component, we shall refer to psychophysiological
mechanisms as physical means of producing language through first, a visual or auditory channel,
and secondly, through a productive or receptive mode.

2.3.8. Present-day approaches: B.O.E. (2002).

According to the Ministry of Education, since Spain entered the European Community, there is a
need for learning a foreign language in order to communicate with other European countries, and a
need for emphasizing the role of a foreign language which gets relevance as a multilingual and

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multicultural identity. Within this context, getting a proficie ncy level in a foreign language implies
educational and professional reasons which justify the presence of foreign languages in the
curricula at different educational levels. It means to have access to other cultures and customs as
well as to foster interpersonal relationships which help individuals develop a due respect towards
other countries, their native speakers and their culture. This sociocultural framework allows learners
to better understand their own language, and therefore, their own culture.
The European Council (B.O.E. 2002), and in particular the Spanish Educational System within the
framework of the Educational Reform, establishes a common reference framework for the teaching
of foreign languages, and claims for a progressive development of communicative competence in a
specific language. Students, then, are intended to be able to carry out several communication tasks
with specific communicative goals within specific contexts. In order to get these goals, several
strategies as well as linguist ic and discursive skills come into force in a given context. Thus, foreign
language activities are provided within the framework of social interaction, personal, professional
or educational fields.

Therefore, in order to develop the above mentioned communication tasks in our present educational
system, a communicative competence theory includes the following subcompetences. Firstly, the
linguistic competence (semantic, morphosyntactic and phonological). Secondly, the discourse
competence (language functions , speech acts, and conversations). Thirdly, the sociolinguistic
competence (social conventions, communicative intentions, and registers among others). Fourthly,
the strategic competence will be included as a subcompetence of communicative competence within
this educational framework. So far, students will make use of this competence in a natural and
systematic way in order to achieve the effectiveness of communication through the different
communication skills, thus, productive (oral and written communication), receptive (oral and
written comprehension within verbal and non-verbal codes), and interactional.

The foreign language learning process will help students improve their educational and professional
life from a global perspective as it will help them develop their personality, social integration,
interest topics and, in particular, to promote their intellectual knowledge. Furthermore, these aspects
will allow learners to be in contact with the current scientific, humanistic and technological
advances within other areas of knowledge. To sum up, the learning of a foreign language is
intended to broaden the studentss intellectual knowledge as well as to broaden their knowledge on
other ways of life and social organization different to their own. Furthermore, the aim is to get
information on international issues, to broaden their professional interests and consolidate social
values to promote the development of international communication.

3. AN ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE COMPONENTS.


This section is intended to provide an account of the analysis of communicative competence
components according to one of the most relevant figures in this field, Dell Hymes, Canale and
Swain, Widdowson, Savignon, and Tarone among others. In order to do so, this section will be
divided into two main issues. The first part will present a brief background to the notion of
communicative competence in order to link this term to Canale and Swains assessment model on
communicative competence components. Besides, a model assessment based on Canale and
Swains model on communicative competence will be depicted in order to mention the four main
competences currently applied to educational systems. Finally, the second section will summarize
the main related areas of study which take part in the communicative competence model.

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3.1. On the analysis of communicative components: a model assessment.
During the past 25 years, communicative language teaching has been the dominant approach to the
teaching of foreign and second languages. Much of this ascendancy is due to the sociolinguist Dell
Hymes (1967) who in a series of articles developed the notion of communicative competence.
Hymes was convinced that Chomskys (1965) notion of competence defined as a speaker-hearers
underlying mental representation of grammatical rules was far too narrow. Instead communicative
competence takes us one step further than purely grammatical competence, into the area of
pragmatics which deals with the use of language in everyday communicative situations.
Communicative Competence is therefore concerned not only with what is grammatical but also
what is appropriate in a given social situation.
The most important study on developing the notion of Communicative Competence from Dell
Hymes work has been done by Canale and Swain (1980). There is also a useful discussion of this in
Swain (1980) which is especially useful for those approaching communicative competence from a
second language acquisition point of view. Here the notion of Communicative Competence is
divided up into four subcomponents which have been mentioned before, thus, grammatical,
discourse, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence are glossed below.

3.1.1. Grammatical competence.


This heading subsumes all knowledge of lexical items and of rules of morphology, syntax, sentence-
grammar semantics and phonology (Canale and Swain 1980). It therefore refers to having control
over the purely linguistic aspects of the language code itself, regarding verbal and non-verbal
codes. This corresponds to Hymes grammatical aspect and includes knowledge of the lexicon,
syntax, phonology and semantics. Thus, it involves rules of formulations and constraints for
students to match sound and meaning; to form words and sentences using vocabulary; to use
language through spelling and pronunciation; and to handle linguistic semantics.
3.1.2. Sociolinguistic competence.
Sociolinguistic competence refers to the knowledge which the learner has to acquire of the
sociocultural rules of language. This type of knowledge requires an understanding of the social
context in which language is used: the roles of the participants, the information they share, and the
function of the interaction (Savignon 1983). Other relevant figures in this field, such as Canale and
Swain (1980) defined this competence in terms of sociocultural rules of use, and rules of
discourse. Thus, regarding sociocultural rules of use, this competence is linked to the notion of the
extent to which utterances are produced and understood appropriately in different sociolinguistic
contexts depending on contextual factors such as status of participants, purposes of the interaction,
and norms or conventions of interaction.

Regarding the rules of discourse, it is defined in terms of the mastery of how to combine
grammatical forms and meanings (1980). When we deal with appropriateness of form, we refer to
the extent to which a given meaning is represented in both verbal and non-verbal form that is
proper in a given sociolinguistic context. Thus, communicative functions , attitudes, propositions
and ideas. In relation to meaning appropriateness, this competence is concerned with the extent to
which particular communicative functions and ideas are judged to be proper in a given situation, as
for instance, commanding, complaining and inviting.

3.1.3. Discourse competence.


This is in many ways connected to the large body of research which has been accumulated over the
last 25 years in the field of discourse analysis. Discourse analysis is primarily concerned with the

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ways in which individual sentences connect together to form a communicative message. One of its
main figures, Widdowson (1978) proposed a distinction between the concepts of use and usage,
where usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of a language system and use means the
realization of the language system as meaningful communicative behavior.

This competence addresses directly to the mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and
meanings to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different genres (Canale and Swain 1980).
By genre is meant the type of text to be unified, thus, a scientific paper, an argumentative essay, and
oral and written narrative among others. For them, the unity of a text is achieved through cohesion
in form and coherence in meaning. Cohesion deals with how utterances are linked structurally and
facilitates interpretation of a text by means of cohesion devices, such as pronouns, synonyms,
ellipsis, conjunctions and parallel structures to relate individual utterances and to indicate how a
group of utterances is to be understood as a text. Yet, coherence refers to the relatioships among the
different meanings in a text, where these meanings may be literal meanings, communicative
functions, and attitudes.

3.1.4. Strategic competence.


Finally we come to the fourth area of Communicative Competence. In the words of Canale (1983),
strategic competence is the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that may be called into
action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or due to
insufficient competence.This is quite a complex area but in a simplified way we can describe it as
the type of knowledge which we need to sustain communication with someone. This may be
achieved by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesistation, avoidance, guessing as well as
shifts in register and style. According to Canale and Swain (1980), strategic competence is useful in
various circumstances as for instance, the early stages of second language learning where
communicative competence can be present with just strategic and socio-linguistic competence.

This approach has been supported by other researchers, such as Savignon and Tarone. Thus,
Savignon (1983) notes that one can communicate non-verbally in the absence of grammatical or
discourse competence provided there is a cooperative interlocutor. Besides, she points out the
necessity and the sufficiency for the inclusion of strategic competence as a component of
communicative competence at all levels as it demonstrates that regardless of experience and level of
proficiency one never knows all a language. This also illustrates the negotiation of meaning
involved in the use of strategic competence as noted in Tarone (1981).
Another criterion on strategic competence proposed by Tarone (1981) for the speaker to recognize a
meta-linguistic problem is the use of the strategies to help getting the meaning across. Tarone
includes a requierement for the use of strategic competence by which the speaker has to be aware
that the linguistic structure needed to convey his meaning is not available to him or to the hearer. As
will be seen later, strategic competence is essential in conversation and we argue for the necessity
and sufficiency of this competence.

3.2. Related areas of study.


The four components of communicative competence are linked to some studies and theories which
do not fit into one component of Communicative Competence and overlap several components.
Thus, research areas such as interactional competence, a speech act theory or the field of pragmatic
transfer cannot be categorized as a part of only one competence. Thus, a speech act theory overlaps
discourse, sociolinguistic and strategic competence. Therefore, we will offer a brief account of the

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four main research areas which are related to communicative competence and that cannot be framed
within only one competence of those mentioned above.

3.2.1. Discourse analysis.


The term discourse traces back to Latin discursus which means a conversation. In general, it refers
to a talk, conversation, dialogue, lecture, sermon, or treatise whereas in linguistics, it is related to a
unit or piece of connected speech or writing that is longer than a conventional sentence

In 1960s, the term discourse is related to the analysis of connected speech and writing, and their
relationship to the contexts in which they are used. Discourse analysts studied, then, written texts,
conversation, institutionalized forms of talk, and communicative events in general. Early
researchers as Zellig Harris in the US in the 1950s, were interested in the distribution of elements in
extended texts and the relationship between a text and its social situation. In the 1960s, the
American linguistic anthropologist Dell Hymes studied speech in its social setting as a form of
addres). The work of British linguistic philosophers such as J. L. Austin, J. R. Searle, and H. P.
Grice was influential in the study of language as social action, through speech-act theory,
conversational maxims, and pragmatics (the study of meaning in context) in general.

In the 1970s, research in the United Kingdom was influenced by the functional approach to
language of M. A. K. Halliday, in turn influenced by the Prague School. His systemic linguistics
emphasizes the social functions of language and the thematic and informational structure of speech
and writing. Halliday related grammar at the clause and sentence level to situational constraints,
referred to as field (purpose of communication), tenor (relationships among participants), and mode
(channels of communication). Parallel studies were taking place in America by relevant figures in
this field, such as John Gumperz and Dell Hymes. Their research included the examination of forms
of talk such as storytelling, greeting, and verbal duels in different cultural and social settings.
Alongside the conversation analysts, in the sociolinguistic tradition, William Labov's studies of oral
narrative have contributed to a more general knowledge of narrative structure. Such work has
generated a variety of descriptions of discourse organization as well as studies of social constraints
on politeness and face-preserving phenomena. These overlap with British work in pragmatics.

3.2.2. A speech act theory.

This term was used in the 1960s by philos ophers of language such as J. L. Austin, in How to Do
Things with Words (1962), to refer to acts performed by utterances which conveyed information.
Thus, giving orders and making promises. Within a speech act theory, we may distinguish a
conventional semantic theory by studying the effects of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutory
acts. They mean respectively, performative utterances on speakers and hearers that result through or
as a result of speech, secondly, acts that occur in speech, and thirdly, responses which hearers called
perlocutionary acts.

There are a wide range of kinds of speech act. Among the most relevant surveys on speech act
theories, we shall mention John R. Searle, who in his work Speech Acts in 1979, recognizes five
types. Firstly , representative speech act, where speakers are committed in varying degrees to the
truth of the propositions they have uttered, by means of swearing, believing, and reporting.
Secondly, directives, where speakers try to get hearers to do something by commanding, requesting,
or urging. Thirdly, commissives, which commit speakers in varying degrees to courses of action by
means of promising, vowing, and undertaking. Fourthly, declarations, whereby speakers alter states
of affairs by performing such speech acts as I now pronounce you man and wife. Fifth, expressives,
where speakers express attitudes, such as congratulating and apologizing.

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According to Austin (1962), in order to be successful, speech acts have to meet certain felicity
conditions. Thus, a marriage ceremony can only be performed by someone with the authority to do
so, and with the consent of the parties agreeing to the marriage. Speech acts may be direct or
indirect. For instance, compare Shut the door, please and Hey, it's cold in here, both of which are
directives.

3.2.3. Interactional competence.

This area of study points out that inability of or insensitivity to foreign language discourse may lead
to impede communication more than grammatical inaccuracy. With the weaking of confidence in
the Chomskyan paradigm, there seems to be a multiplicity of analytical research investigating real
rather than idealised language behavior, involving among many others, approaches all of which
impact on the work carried out in language classrooms. One of those approaches is interactional
competence. Linguists such as Schmidt (1983), Long and Porter (1985), and Pica and Doughty
(1985) worked on the dynamics of spoken interaction and kinesics. They all shared the view of
interactional competence as the main tenet of communicative competence.

This area of study is related to the discourse and sociolinguistic competence, as the grammatical
competence may mislead learners into thinking that certain rules of use may always be conveyed by
using conventional forms. In order to make effective discourse productions, learners need to
approach their speeches from a conscious sociolinguistic perspective, in order to get considerable
cultural information about communicative settings and roles. Without overstressing the constraints
on participants, it is clear that space-time loci, organisational context, conventional forms of
messages, and preceding communications, in fact all components of communicative events, serve to
increasingly restrict the range of available choices. The analysis of communicative events must
include due consideration of rules for interaction and norms of interpretation which allow
application of the techniques and insights developed by conversation and interaction analysis.

It is clear that such rules operate at several levels of generality. For instance, we may specify rules
for interaction operating globally over wide cultural systems, over social sub-groups, over specific
professional communities, within specific communicative events, and even wit hin specific stages or
acts of an event. Communicative behavior is not limited to the creation of texts. We also expect to
find regular correspondences concerning paralinguistics, kinesics and proxemics in oral interaction,
and also to norms relating to la yout and graphic design in writing. However, this kind of rules relate
to more than the social acceptability of the forms of communication.

3.2.4. Cross-cultural considerations.

Main researches on the field of cross-cultural rethorical considerations, such as Holmes and Brown
(1987) and Wolfson (1981), point out that it is not the responsibility of the language teacher qua
linguist to enforce foreign language standards of behavior, linguistic or otherwise. Rather, it is the
teachers job to equip students to express themselves in exactly the ways they choose to do so-
rudely, tactfully, or in an elaborately polite manner. What we want to prevent them being
unintentionally rude or subservient.

Thus, Holmes and Brown (1987) address three types of failure. Firstly, a pragmatic failure which
involves the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. Secondly, the pragmalinguistic
failure which is caused by mistaken beliefs about pragmatic force of utterance. Finally, the
sociopragmatic failure which is given by different beliefs about rights and mentionables. Another
instance is brought about by Wolfson (1981) in developing sociocultural awareness. According to
this model, this type of awareness will lead to a discussion of the differences between the cultural

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and social values of a first language learner and the foreign language community. He goes further
on studying cross-cultural miscommunication in the field of compliments, when learners from a
different cultural background do not understand certain behavior rules from the foreign language
target culture.

The literature on cross-cultural communication breakdown is vast, as it is related to a number of


aspects such as size of imposition; taboos; different judgement of power and social distance
between different cultures; and different cultural values and priorities. Therefore, important
pedagogic advantages may be expected from further developing this approach. These include more
realistic learning activities, improved motivation, new types of achievable objectives, and mainly, a
new sensitivity to cultural communication patterns, and the potential to transform a passive attitude
to authentic texts into an active engagement in developing the effectiveness of communication
practices in a classroom setting.

4. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE.

Although traditionally, foreign language teachers have used media, or devices we use to store,
process, and communicate information, technological developments have altered the type of media
foreing language students encounter. In the 1950's and 1960's, foreign language teachers who used
the Audio Lingual Method departed from traditional textbooks and introduced audiotaped dialogues
to the learning situation. With the emergence of video, foreign language students had access to
more contextualized language use and greater opportunity for comprehensible input that facilitates
second language acquisition (Krashen and Terrell 1983). More recently, researchers have begun
investigating multimedia, and hypermedia contexts for foreign language and culture acquisition.
This section first examines the use of video in the foreign language domain and then, explores
multimedia and hypermedia contexts for the acquisition of communicative competence. In the
second part, we will broadly overview the implications of a communicative approach into language
teaching.

4.1. Multimedia and hypermedia contexts.

From a practical perspective in education, providing experiences for contact with language in
context may prove difficult for foreign language teachers. Constrained by lack of sufficient access
to the target culture, teachers often rely on textbooks and classroom materials in teaching language.
These materials, most of them linear in nature and lacking in interactivity may not necessarily
provide the required environment for the acquisition of communicative competence. Although a
lack of empirical evidence exists, proponents of video for use in the foreign language classroom
suggest that this medium can inc rease the amount of comprehensible input accessible in the foreign
language classroom. It is suggested that through the medium of video, students receive massive
doses of comprehensible input, and that video can provide target language speech or texts that
include challenging yet understandable portions. Furthermore, when the target language is
presented in context, in the form of video, the meaning of specific words and utterances becomes
clear to the learner.

Furthermore, they may not necessarily provide all aspects of discourse activity, thus paralinguistic
and extralinguistic behavior that accompany speech. Hypermedia and multimedia environments

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may also provide a more appropriate context for students to experience the target culture
(Warschauer 1996).

Present-day approaches deal with a communicative competence model in which first, there is an
emphasis on significance over form, and secondly, motivation and involvement are enhanced. This
requires to create classrooms conditions which match those in real life and foster acquisition,
encouring learning. The success partly lies in the way the language becomes real to the users,
feeling themselves really in the language. Some of this motivational force is brought about by
intervening in authentic communicative events. Otherwise, we have to recreate as much as possible
the whole cultural environment in the classroom. Recent technological multimedia tools, which
utilize audio-visual formats can provide many of the contextual cues that traditional textbook
forma ts can not (Cummings, 1994). Second, the linear nature of textbooks affords students a rather
restricted experience of the content and does not allow for navigational freedom or interactivity that
modern technological tools such as CD ROM and hypertext provide learners. Contrary to
multimedia formats, traditional textbooks, linear and non-interactive, may not provide the
appropriate context for the acquisition of communicative competence.

This method relies on a notion of communicative competence which takes place first, in foreign
language classrooms where the effectiveness of communication is to be acquired, and secondly, in
multimedia and hypermedia environments which support the acquisition of communicative
competence. Recent developments in foreign language education have indicated a trend towards the
field of intercultural communication, where the Ministry of Education proposes several projects
within the framework of the European Community. These projects consist of real students
exchanges, such as first, Erasmus projects, for learners to acquire a foreign language in the target
culture for three, six or twelve months; Comenius projects, for learners to travel to the target culture
up to two weeks; and Plumier projects, for learners to use multimedia resources in a classroom
setting where learners are expected to learn to interpret and produce meaning with members of the
target culture. In essence, they all call for the contextualization of language (Cummings 1983).

4.2. Implications into language teaching.


Some research has reported successful and meaningful cultural learning through the use of
ethnographic methods (Robinson-Stuart & Nocon 1996). However, the practicality of implementing
ethnographic approaches to foreign language and culture learning is questionable. For example,
oftentimes, students do not have direct access to members of the target culture, or to a range of
individuals representing much of the communicative repertoire of that culture. Furthermore,
traditional means of contact with the target culture, such as textbooks do not provide a proper
context for ethnographic investigation. In order to access another culture and understand its
members practices and perspectives concerning these practices, second language learners must have
the opportunity to experience them in context, as do true ethnographers. In order to understand
communicative practices, second language learners must see members of the target culture use them
in authentic situations and must have access to the ground of meaning attached to those practices.

As previously noted, the main tenet of Foreign Language Learning is for foreign language learners
to acquire language within its social context. Thus, since the nature of language demands
interlocutors concurrently interpret and produce language in order to create meaning and effectively
communicate, foreign language learners must exercise both receptive and productive skills
simultaneously. The National Standards reflect these interdependent properties of communication

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necessary for successful interactions, emphasizing both the productive and the receptive skills. Yet,
as students increase their ability to produce in the target language, then they will most likely
increase opportunities for meaningful input (Krashen & Terrell 1983). As an example of some
standards, we shall mention some of them, such as standard number one where students are
expected to understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics, and
standard number two by means of which students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship
between the practices and perspectives of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of
the culture studied. These are just some instances among many others.
In essence, textbooks generally provide students prescriptive phrases with which to communicate
without providing insights as to contextual influences on these utterances. They also often fail to
represent the linguistic repertoire of speech communities as they typically depict a rather monolithic
speech community, neglecting to portray the heterogeneous nature of the target cultures' speakers.
Essentially, if the goal of foreign language teaching is to develop communicative competence
among foreign language students, then we must address sociolinguistic aspects of language and
provide students opportunities to access the meaning associated with language practices. By
ignoring these aspects of communication in the foreign language classroom, we are not providing
our students essential elements of human interaction, for spoken language must be presented in the
full context of communication.

5. CONCLUSION.

A review of the literature in this survey revealed that although recent developments in foreign
language education have indicated a trend towards approaching the acquisition of a second
language in terms of communicative competence, traditional resources have proven inadequate.
Students are expected to learn to function properly in the target language and culture, both
interpreting and producing meaning with members of the target culture. However, providing
experiences for contact with language in context has been problematic. Limited access to the target
culture has forced teachers to rely on textbooks and other classroom materials in teaching language,
and these materials may not necessarily furnish a sufficiently rich environment for the acquisition of
communicative competence, including many aspects of discourse activity, such as paralinguistic
and extralinguistic behavior. Hypermedia and multimedia environments may provide a more
appropriate setting for students to experience the target language in its cultural context.
For over twenty years, many researchers have concentrated on the development of the notion of
communicative competence, among which we may mention Savignon (1972, 1983); Hymes (1972);
Canale and Swain (1980); and Bachman (1990) in an attempt to mention the most representative
figures in this field. The theme of communicative competence emerges upon the basis that language
and communication are at the heart of the human experience, and therefore the main aim is for
students to be equipped linguistically and culturally in order to communicate successfully in a
pluralistic society and abroad. Furthermore, it is said that foreign language teachers must focus on
the sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of language for students to be familiar with and
knowledgeable of the target language and culture or cultures.

For generations, language teachers have attempted to overcome this obstacle with the use of realia,
or authentic materials in the classroom. However, the use of these materials does not necessarily
result in an interpretation of the intent of the message that matches those members of the target
culture. Without an understanding of native viewpoints, second language and culture learners may
be incapable of accessing and interpreting the meaning of communication in the target language as
intended by members of that culture.

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6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

On the origins and nature of communication and the concept of language

David Crystal, Linguistics (1985)


Halliday, M.A.K. (1985), Spoken and Written Language. Victoria: Deakin University.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1975), Explorations in the Functions of Language. London: Edward Arnold
Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

On communication process and language teaching

Howatt, A.P.R.. 1984. A History of English Language Teaching. Oxfrod: Oxford University Press.
Larsen-Freeman, D. And M.H. Long. 1991. An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
Research. London: Longman.
Widdowson, H.G. 1978. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A theory of communicative competence and communicative approaches to language teaching

Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second
language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1).
Canale, M. 1983. From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy, in J.
Richards and R. Schmidt (eds.). Language and Communication. London, Longman.
Ellis, R. 1985. Understanding Second Language Acquisition . Oxford University Press
Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),
Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language Teaching (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Introductions to cultural approaches and the influence of sociolinguistic on language

Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second
language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1).
Hymes, D. 1974. Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press.

On a development of communicative competence models

Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second
language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1).
Celce-Murcia, M., and L. McIntosh, eds. 1979. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.
Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Halliday et al. 1972: Halliday, M.A.K., Angus McIntosh; Peter Strevens, Linguistik, Phonetik und
Sprachunterricht (ubersetzt von Hans Dietmar Steffens), Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer, 1972.
Halliday, M.A.K. 1985. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

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Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),
Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Munby, J. 1978. Communicative Syllabus Design: A Sociolinguistic Model for Defining the
Content of Purpose-Specific Language Programmes. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University
Press.
Savignon, S. 1983. Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice. Reading, Mass.:
Addison-Wesley.

Multimedia use in a classroom setting


Cummings, L. et al. (1993). HyperNexus: Journal of Hypermedia and Multimedia Studies.
Krashen, S., and T. Terrell. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom
(1983). Oxford: Pergamon.
Warschauer, M. (1996).Computer Learning Networks and Student Empowerment. System, 24 , 1
p.1-14. Wyatt, D. (1984). Computer assisted teaching. Foreign Language Annals, 17 (4), 393-407.

For applications of a communicative competence theory to both classroom and natural settings

Revistas de laAsociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA):


De la Cruz, Isabel; Santamara, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2001. La Lingstica
Aplicada a finales del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcal.
Celaya, M Luz; Fernndez-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa. 2001.
Trabajos en Lingstica Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona.
Moreno, Ana I. & Colwell, Vera. 2001. Perspectivas Recientes sobre el Discurso. Universidad de
Len.
Revista de CERCLE, Centro Europeo de Recursos Culturales Lingsticos y Educativos.
Web pages: http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/teachers/txeurope.htm

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UNIT 5

ORAL COMMUNICATION. ELEMENTS AND RULES GOVERNING


ORAL DISCOURSE. EVERYDAY ROUTINES AND FORMULAIC
SPEECH. SPECIFIC STRATEGIES IN ORAL COMMUNICATION.
OUTLINE
1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO ORAL COMMUNICATION: ORIGINS AND


DEVELOPMENT.
2.1. On the nature of communication: origins and general features.
2.2. Language and communication.
2.3. Language, communication and social behavior.
2.4. Oral communication and language learning: from an oral tradition to a communicative
approach.
2.4.1. Earlier times: religious sources and oral tradition. Up to XVIth century.
2.4.2. First approaches to the oral component in language teaching. XVIIth and XVIIIth
century.
2.4.3. Approaches to the oral component in the XIXth century.
2.4.4. Current trends in XXth century: a communicative approach.
2.5. An assessment model of communicative competence: a basis for oral discourse analysis.
2.6. Theoretical approaches to oral discourse analysis.
2.6.1. A Speech Act Theory.
2.6.2. Grices cooperative principle and conversational maxims.
2.6.3. Conversational Analysis and Turn-Taking.
2.6.4. Conversational Analysis and Adjacency Pairs.

3. ELEMENTS AND RULES GOVERNING ORAL DISCOURSE.


3.1. Elements governing oral discourse.
3.1.1. Linguistic elements.
3.1.2. Non-linguistic elements.
3.2. Rules governing oral discourse.
3.2.1. Rules of usage.
3.2.2. Rules of use.
3.2.3. Conversational studies.

4. EVERYDAY ROUTINES AND FORMULAIC SPEECH.

5. SPECIFIC STRATEGIES IN ORAL COMMUNICATION.

6. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING ORAL COMMUNICATION.


6.1. New directions from an educational approach.
6.2. Implications into language teaching.

7. CONCLUSION.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

In this study, we shall approach the notion of oral communication and its general features in
relation to the field of language teaching. This survey will be developed into three main sections.
The first part is an attempt to introduce the reader to the historical development of the notion of oral
communication from its anthropological origins to a vast literature on a theory of language
learning , providing the reader with the most relevant present-day approaches in language learning
research on this issue. The aim of this analysis is to examine briefly the components of
communicative competence and to explore the nature and the different functions of spoken
language, with particular reference to components governing oral discourse. We shall examine the
notion of communication from a diachronic perspective, analysing its development from its origins
to the prominent role it plays nowadays in language and language learning theories.

In the second part, a revision of the literature shall lead us, first, towards the treatment of oral
discourse within the framework of a communicative approach, and secondly, towards a revision of
the main oral components in different subsections. Among those components to be considered in
the third section of our study, we include elements and rules governing oral discourse; everyday
routines and formulaic speech, and specific strategies in oral communication.

The third section deals with general patterns of discourse regarding elements and rules. Hence, our
study starts first with an analysis of the linguistic and non-linguistic elements taking part in oral
discourse. In next sections, it then turns to routines and formulaic language, regarding rules of usage
and rules of use within the prominent role of conversational studies. To finish with, and in
conjunction to our goal, discourse strategies will be examined.

Furthermore in the sixth section, we shall consider new directions in language learning research,
and current implications on language teaching, regarding the treatment of speaking and listening
skills as part of the oral component. Finally, a conclusion will provide again a brief historical
overview of the treatment given to the oral component by a language le arning theory. Bibliography
will be fully listed at the end of this survey for readers to check further references.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Numerous sources have contributed to provide an overall basis for the development of the unit. A
valuable introduction to the anthropological origins of language is given by Juan Goytisolo,
Chairman of the International Jury Speech (UNESCO), and David Crystal, Linguistics (1985). For
a historical overview of the development of the notion of oral communication regarding language
teaching, see Halliday, Explorations in the Functions of Language (1973); Tricia Hedge, Teaching
and learning in the Language Classroom (2000); Brown and Yule, Teaching the Spoken Language
(1983); and Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language
teaching and testing (1980). Among the many general works that incorporate the studies on
communicative competence, see Hymes, On Communicative Competence (1972); Brown and Yule,
Discourse Analysis (1983); and Canale, From Communicative Competence to Communicative
Language Pedagogy (1983). The most complete record of current publications on discourse
analysis and conversational studies is published by van Dijk, Text and Context: Explorations in
the Semantics and Pragma tics of Discourse (1977); Goffman, Forms of Talk (1981); Krauss,
Language, cognition and communication (1993); Sperber and Wilson, Relevance: Communication
and cognition (1986); Austin , How to do things with words (1962); Searle , Speech Acts: An essay in
the philosophy of language (1969); and Searle, Indirect speech acts (1985). For further references to

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future directions and implications on language teaching, see B.O.E. (2002), B.O.E. (2002); Council
of Europe Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European Framework
of reference. (1998); and Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom (2000).

2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO ORAL COMMUNICATION: ORIGINS AND


DEVELOPMENT.

We shall provide in this section a linguistic background for the notion of oral communication,
concerning human communication systems and its main features, in order to establish a link
between the notion of communication and the concept of language concerning human social
behavior. All these terms are interrelated as they serve as a basis for communicative event processes
and their description.

Once the link between language, communication and social behavior is established, we will give a
broad account of how the oral component has been approached through history, from an oral
tradition to a communicative approach, since language is handed down from one generation to
another by a process of teaching and learning. This historical and educational approach will
progressively lead us to the main current theories and theorists on the issue of oral discourse and
communicative event processes.

Upon this basis, we will move on towards a description of a linguistic theory on oral discourse in
terms of a speech act theory and conversational analysis, where we will approach this concepts
within the framework of discourse analysis and the most relevant figures in this field.

As a result, the third section will examine mainly elements, rules, routines and strategies in a
speaking act, in order to understand the notion of oral communication and the nature of its social
behavior implications.

2.1. On the nature of communication: origins and general features.

Research in cultural anthropology has shown quite clearly that the origins of communication are to
be found in the very early stages of life when there was a need for animals and humans to
communicate so as to carry out basic activities of everyday life, such as hunting, eating, or breeding
among others. However, even the most primitive cultures had a constant need to express their
feelings and ideas by other means than gutural sounds and body movements as animals did. Human
beings constant preoccupation was how to turn thoughts into words.

It is worth, at this point, establishing a distinction between human and animal systems of
communication whose features differ in the way they produce and express their intentions. So far,
the most important feature of human language is the auditory-vocal channel which, in ancient
times, allowed human beings to produce messages and, therefore to help language develop. Among
other main features, we may mention the possibility of exchanging messages among individuals; a
sense of displacement in an oral interaction in space and time which animals do not have; the
arbitrariness of signs where words and meanings have no a priori connection; and finally, the
possibility of a traditional transmission as language is handed down from one generation to another
by a process of teaching and learning.

From a theory of language, we shall define the notion of communication in terms of its main
features regarding the oral component, thus types and elements. First, in relation to types of
communication, we distinguish mainly two, thus verbal and non-verbal codes. Firstly, verbal

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communication is related to those acts in which the code is the language , both oral and written.
Thus, giving a speech and writing a letter are both instances of verbal communication. Secondly,
when dealing with non-verbal devices, we refer to communicative uses involving visual and tactile
modes, such as kinesics, body movements, and also paralinguistic devices drawn from sounds
(whistling), sight (morse) or touch (Braille). According to Goytisolo (2001), the oral tradition in
public performances is involves the participation of the five senses as the public sees, listens,
smells, tastes, and touches.

Thirdly, regarding elements in the communication process, we will follow the Russian linguist
Roman Jakobson and his productive model on language theory which explains how all acts of
communication, be they written or oral, are based on six constituent elements (1960).It is worth
noting at this point that, within the aim of this unit, we shall relate Jakobsons elements to their
respective components in oral communication.
Briefly, according to Jakobson, the Addresser/encoder (speaker) sends a Message (oral utterance) to
the Addressee/ decoder (listener). Messages are embedded in or refer to Contexts which the
Addressee must be able to grasp and perhaps even verbalize. The Addresser and Addressee need to
partially share a Code (language as verbal, and symbols as non-verbal devices) between them, that
is, the rules governing the relationship between the Message and its context; and the Message is
sent through a physical channel (air) and Contact, a psychological connection, is established
between Addresser and Addressee so that they may enter and stay in communication (1960).

2.2. Language and communication.

Linguists often say that language and communication are not the same thing, and certainly this is
true. People can and do communicate without language, and species that do not use language, which
include all except Homo Sapiens, seem able to communicate adequately for their purposes, with
and without language. If language were nothing more than a tool for communication, it would
warrant social psychologists interest (Krauss & Chiu 1993). However, there are common features
to the notions of language and communication, such as purposes and elements (participants).
Main contributions on describ ing communication purposes are given by the anthropologist
Malinowsky who claimed in the early twentieth century for two main purposes, thus a pragmatic
purpose related to the practical use of language both oral and written, and also, a ritual purpose
associated to ceremonies and ancient chants. More recently, another definition comes from Halliday
(1973) who defines language as an instrument of social interaction with a clear communicative
purpose. Moreover, Brown and Yule (1973) established a useful distinction between two basic
language functions, thus transactional and interactional, whose communication purpose was mainly
to maintain social relationships through speech.
Regarding participants, according to Johnson (1981), oral communication is depicted as an activity
involving two (or more) people in which the participants are both hearers and speakers having to
react to what they hear and making their contributions at high speed. In the interaction process, he
adds, each participant has to be able to interpret what is said to him and reply to what has just been
said reflecting their own intentions. We are talking, then, about an interactive situation directly
related and dependent on the communicative function and the speech situation involving speaker
and hearer. As we shall see in next section, the way participants interact in a communicative event
has much to do with social psychology as social life constitute an intrinsic part of the way language
is used.

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2.3. Language and social behavior.
As we may perceive, language pervades social life. It is the principal vehicle for the transmission of
cultural knowledge, and the primary means by which we gain access to the contents of others
minds. Language is involved in most of the phenomena that lie at the core of social psychology,
thus attitude change, social perception, personal identity, social interaction, and stereotyping among
others. Moreover, for social psychologists, language typically is the medium by which subjects
responses are elicited, and in which they respond. For instance, in social psychological research,
more often than not, language plays a role in both stimulus and response (Krauss & Chiu 1993).
Just as language use is present in social life, the elements of social life constitute an intrinsic part or
the way language is used. Linguists regard language as an abstract structure that exists
independently of specific instances of usage. However, any communicative exchange is situated in
a social context that constrains the linguistic forms participants use. How these participants define
the social situation, their perceptions of what others know, think and believe, and the claims they
make about their own and others identities will affect the form and content or their acts of
speaking.

The ways la nguages are used are constrained by the way they are constructed, particularly the
linguistic rules that govern the permissible usage forms, for instance, grammatical rules. Language
has been defined as an abstract set of principles that specify the relations between a sequence of
sounds and a sequence of meanings. Thus, the sound of a door slamming may express the
slammers exasperation eloquently, but language conveys meaning in an importantly different way.
For present purposes, we will think about language as a set of complex, organized systems that
operate in concert when any particular act of speaking is under revision with respect to levels of
analysis that have significance for social behavior (Miller 1975).
In the first level of analysis, we find that languages are made up of four systems, the phonological,
the morphological, the syntactic , and the semantic which, taken together, constitute its grammar.
Firstly, the phonological system is concerned with the analysis of an acoustic signal into a sequence
of speech sounds, thus consonants, vowels, and syllables, that are distinctive for a particular
language or dialect. Out of the variety of sounds the human vocal tract is capable of producing, each
language selects a small subset that constitute that languages phonemes, or elementary units of
sound. Secondly, the morphological system is concerned with the way words and meaningful
subwords are constructed out of these phonological elements. Thirdly, the syntactic system is
concerned with the organization of these morphological elements into higher level units, such as
phrases and sentences. Finally, the semantic system is concerned with the meanings of these higher
level units.

At another level of analysis, acts of speaking can be regarded as actions intended to accomplish a
specific purposes by verbal means. Looked at this way, according to Austin (1962) and Searle
(1969, 1985), utterances can be thought of as speech acts that can be identified in terms of their
intended purposes, thus assertions, questions, requests among others. However, we must bear in
mind that the grammatical form does not determine the speech act an utterance represents. For
instance, two similar utterances like How can I get to Central Park? and Could you tell me how I
can get to Central Park? are both in the interrogative mode, but they constitute quite different
speech acts. Considerations on this sort require a distinction be drawn between the semantic or
literal meaning of an utterance and its intended meaning. Acts of speaking are imbedded in a
discourse made up of a coherently related sequence of such acts. Thus, conversation and narratives
are two types of discourse, and each has a formal structure that constrains participants acts of
speaking.

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The sections that follow review how oral communication has been approached from a language
learning theory in four periods in history, thus earlier times up to the sixteenth century; first
approaches during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; approaches in the nineteenth century,
and finally, current approaches in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We believe that this
literature review will help the reader understand the role of religion, oral tradition, and language
teaching approaches in the development of oral commun ication studies and research. We also
believe that a clearer understanding of the social nature of the situations in which language is used
will deepen our general understanding of the principles and mechanisms that underlie language use,
and in particular, oral discourse. Later sections will draw upon linguistic concepts introduced above.

2.4. Oral communication and language learning: from an oral tradition to a communicative
approach.
2.4.1. Earlier times: religious sources and oral tradition. Up to XVIth century.

As Juan Goytisolo (2001) stated in his speech on defending threaten cultures at the Proclamation of
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity, we must first examine our historical
knowledge of both oral and written cultures so as to provide ourselves a cultural identity in society.
The fact that the existence of homo sapiens and appearance of language can be traced back some
forty or fifty thousand years whereas the first evidence of writing is from 3500 B.C., reveals the
antiquity or the oral patrimony of humanity. Therefore, the period which encompasses primary
orality is consequently ten times the length of the era of writing. Since ancient times, tribal chiefs,
chamans, bards and story-tellers have been in charge of preserving and memorising for the future
the narratives of the past. Goytisolo also says that nowadays, it is difficult to find continuers of an
oral tradition entirely unpolluted by writing and its technological and visual extensions in our
present society, governed by mass communication. He mentions a growing disequilibrium when
observing that only seventy-eight of the three thousand languages now spoken in the world possess
a living literature based on one of the hundred and six alphabets created throughout history. In other
words, hundreds and hundreds of languages used today on our planet have no written form and their
communication is exclusively oral.

Goytisolo further points out that acquiring knowledge of this primary orality is an anthropological
task in the field of literature and oral narrative. If all cultures are based on language, that is, a
combination of spoken and heard sounds, this oral communication which involves numerous
kinetic and corporal elements, has undergone over the centuries a series of changes as the existence
of writing and awareness of the latter have gradually changed the mentality of bards, chamans,
tribal chiefs and narrators.The usual forms of popular and traditional expression were oral literature,
music, dance , games, mythology, rituals, and even architecture. Besides, cultural places were also
important to provide a framework for cultural activities to take place in a concentrated manner.
Thus, sites for story-telling, rituals,marketplaces, and festivals. The time for a regularly occurring
event was also a part of oral tradition, for instance, daily rituals, annual processions, and regular
performances.

Anthropological studies account for non-verbal codes used by humans as improved systems of
communication before language was developed. Thus, an art that sprang from the tangible, were
probably grimaces, gestures, pauses, and laughter as bodily paralinguistic movements that belong to
a situation which is not exclusively oral but it is part of an extraordinary heritage linked to public
performances.

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To perform in public is to be linked to a considerable body of religious tradition and myth in many
cultures concerning the nature and origins of language (Crystal 1985). That transitional period
between sounds and speech was to be characterized by a connection between divinity and language.
Therefore, words were regarded as having a separate existence in reality, and as to have embodied
the nature of things to be used deliberately to control and influence events. According to the
anthropologist Malinowsky, it was believed that if words controlled things, then their power could
be intensified by saying them over and over again. Therefore, magic formulae, incantations,
rhythmical listing of proper names, and many other rites exemplify the intensifying power of words.

Many primitive tribes thought that evils, or people, could be controlled by language in these
traditions. There are many examples in folklore of forbidden names which, when discovered, were
thought to break the evil spell or their owners. Thus, names such as Tom-tit-tot, Vargaluska, or the
famous Rumpelstiltzkin. In a tribal community, to utter the name of a dead person would bring the
evil of death upon themselves. In Homeric Verses , we find a conclusive demonstration that
Homers hexameters were a result of the requirements of public recital in the agora, a specific
situation that imposed recourse to easily remembered epithets, sayings, phrases and formulas.

Also, in the Roman levies, too, the authorities took good care to enrol first men with auspicious
names, such as Felix or Victor, and the like so as not to bother peoples death spirit. Examples of
this kind abound in the history of cultures and they simply indicate how deeply ideas about
language can come to be ingrained within the individual psyche, and testify to the existence of a
language awareness which exercised considerable influence in the development of language as a
system of signs. Yet, it was the language of worship which first put an end to the oral traditions in
an attempt to preserve in texts their early stages of orality, secondly, the invention of typography in
1440, and nowadays, the modern revolution in computing. Also, in recent decades there has been a
fertile investigation of the origin and evolution of Vedic hymns, Biblical narrative and the European
literatures of the early Middle Ages. Within Spanish literature prior to the invention of the printing
press, in the fourteenth century, we may mention the bardic literature of the various popular
Songbooks and the masterpiece that is the Archpriest of Hitas Book of Good Love.

2.4.2. First approaches to the oral component in language teaching. XVIIth and XVIIIth century.

Historically speaking, it is not too difficult to find evidence of the main themes and issues which
indicate the respectable ancestry and variegated history of language study. Language has always
been so closely tied in with such fields as philosophy, logic, rhetoric, literary criticism, language
teaching, and religion that it is rare to find great thinkers of any period who do not at some point in
their work comment on the role of language in relation to their ideas (Crystal 1985).

We have found mainly two references to the oral component as a link to language teaching in the
seventeenth century with a strong religious component. For instance, the theologian Jan Amos
Komensky (1592-1670), Comenius, already stated the reasons for learning a foreign language
claiming that through language, we come to a closer understanding of the world. He states
indirectly the role of the oral component to the religious issue when saying that modern languages
are degenerate forms of an original tongue that was taken from us at the Tower of Babel.
This religious concern towards language is also present in other contemporary works. Thus, in The
Leviathan (1660), the philosopher Thomas Hobbes devoted chapter IV Of Speech to oral
discourse with a strong religious component. In his account of the nature of mankind, he states that
the first author of speech was God himself, that instructed Adam how to name such creatures as He
presented to this sight. Moreover, in this extract, he makes a religious reference to the wide variety
of languages worldwide and also, he addresses language teaching as one of the main purposes of

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learning languages when saying that at the tower of Babel, man was forced to disperse themselves
and the variety of tongues taught into several parts of the world.

It is worh pointing out that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the status of Latin changed
from a living language that learners needed to be able to read, write in, and speak to a dead
language which was studied just as an intellectual exercise. During this period, language teaching
crystallized in Europe, and the analysis of the grammar and rhetoric of Classical Latin were the
current models for language teaching. It was not until the eighteenth century that modern
languages began to enter the curriculum of European schools and progressively developed from
grammatical to more communicative approaches focusing on oral skills, thus listening and
speaking. A progressive account of the development in the treatment of the oral component from
the eighteenth century on is the aim of our next section.

2.4.3. Approaches to the oral component in the XIXth century.


As we have mentioned above, a grammar translation method was the dominant foreign language
teaching method in Europe from the 1840s to the 1940s. However, even as early as the mid-
nineteenth century, there was a greater demand for ability to speak foreign languages, and various
reformers began to reconsider the nature of language and of learning. Among them, we may
mention an Englishman, T. Pendergast, and two Frenchmen, C. Marcel and F. Gouin. However,
their ideas did not become widespread because they were outside of the established educational
circles.

One of the most relevant early contributions to a communicative approach concerning the oral
component with no religious links emerged from an empirical study carried out by Franois Gouin
in his work L'art d'enseigner et d'tudier les langue (1880). In his work, he gave an account of the
relevance of the oral component when learning languages. He describes his own efforts to learn
German by learning grammar with no success at all. Then, during a visit to France, he observed
how his nephew, who six months before did not utter a word in German, could hold on in a
conversation with logical sequences just by watching German workers in his village. This
convinced him of the inefficiency of his own methods as the child became active by conversing
with adults with no grammar lessons. What he had done, according to Gouin, was to continually ask
questions, climb all over the place, and watch what the workers were doing. Back at home, the child
reflected on his experience, and then recited it to his listeners, ten times over, with variations,
attempting to produce a logical sequence of activities. To Gouin, the learner then progresses from
experience, to ordering that experience, and then to acting it out. This conception of teaching
presents language in concrete, active situations, as communicative approches account for nowadays.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was an increasing emphasis on the oral component as
linguists such as Henry Sweet of England, Wilhelm Vietor of Germany, and Paul Passy of France
became interested in the problem of the best way to teach languages. They believed that language
teaching should be based on scientific knowledge about language, and that it should begin with
speaking and expand to other skills. Also, that words and sentences should be presented in context,
that grammar should be taught inductively, and that translation should, for the most part, be
avoided. These ideas spread, they were known as the Direct Method, the first of the natural
methods.

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2.4.4. Current trends in XXth century: a communicative approach.
In the field of psychology, in the early to mid-1900s, behaviorism has had a great effect on
language teaching studying animal behaviour first, and moving towards human behavior later. One
of the most famous of these scientists was Skinner who worked on oral skills in language learning.
He theorized that a child repeats words and combinations of words that are praised and thus learns
language. Behaviorist theorists believed that languages were made up of a series of habits, and that
if learners could develop all these habits, they would speak the language well. From these theories
arose the audio-lingual method, which is based on using drills for the formation of good language
habits by means of oral skills such as listening and speaking.
During the mid to late twentieth century, great changes took place after World War II, with
particular influence on language teaching and learning. Since language diversity greatly increased,
there were more opportunities for international travel and business, and international social and
cultural exchanges. As a result, renewed attempts were made in the 1950s and 1960s which
constituted the starting point for more communicative approaches in language teaching. Several
factors influences this further development. First, the use of new technology in language teaching at
the level of oral skills, such as tape recorders, radios, TV, and computers. Secondly, research
studies on bilingualism and thirdly, the establishment of methodological innovations, such as the
already mentioned audio-lingual method.
It is in this context that the linguist Noam Chomsky challenged the behaviorist model of language
learning and proposed a theory called Transformational Generative Grammar. Chomskys theory
claims for an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech community, who knows
its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions [...] in
applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance (1965). He also established a
distinction between the notions of competence and performance, being competence the implicit or
explicit knowledge of the system of the language whereas performance addresses to the actual
production and comprehension of language in specific instances of language use. However,
Chomsky states that linguistic knowledge is separated from sociocultural features.

Chomskys distinction served as basis for work of many other researchers such as the American
anthropologist Dell Hymes, who claimed that native speakers know more than just grammatical
competence . In his work On communicative competence (1972), he included not only grammatical
competence, but also sociolinguistic and contextual competences. Following a tradition on
sociolinguistics, Hymes had a broader view of the notion of communicative competence as the
underlying knowledge a speaker has of the rules of grammar including phonology, orthography,
syntax, lexicon, and semantics, and the rules for their use in socially appropriate circumstances.
Therefore, we understand competence as the knowledge of rules of grammar, and performance, the
way the rules are used. As we may observe, the oral component is directly addressed in this
approach.

In the following sections, the communicative approach will provide the framework for a model
assessment with a communicative competence theory where the four competences at work in a
communicative event will be examined in order to state the different sections which constitute the
development of this study. Thus, elements and rules, everyday routines and formulaic speech, and
strategies governing the oral discourse.

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2.5. An assessment model of communicative competence: a basis for oral discourse analysis.
In the 1970s and 1980s, an approach to emerged both in Europe and North America focusing on the
work of anthropologists, sociologists, and sociolinguists on foreign and second language teaching.
In the 1980s, the rapid application of a teaching tasks system broken down into units gave
prominence to more interactive views of language teaching, which became to be known as the
Communicative Approach or simply Communicative Language Teaching. Besides, language was
considered as social behaviour, seeing the primary goal of language teaching as the development of
the learner's communicative competence.
Learners were considered to need both rules of use to produce language appropriate to particular
situations, and strategies for effective communication. Scholars such as Hymes (1972), Halliday
(1970), Canale and Swain (1980) or Chomsky (1957) levelled their contributions and criticisms at
structural linguistic theories claiming for more communicative approaches on language teaching,
where interactive processes of communication received priority. Upon this basis, the introduction
of cultural studies is an important aspect of communicative competence as communicating with
people from other cultures involves not only linguistic appropriateness but also pragmatic
appropriateness in the use of verbal and non-verbal behavior. This issue is the aim of an
ethnography of communication theory in order to approach a foreign language from a pragmatic
and linguistic point of view.

One of the principles of Communicative Language Teaching is the concept of communicative


competence. The term, introduced by Hymes (1972), implies the knowledge of language rules, and
of how these rules are used to understand and produce appropriate language in a variety of
sociocultural settings. We must point out that this concept demonstrated a shift of emphasis among
linguists away from a narrow focus on language as a formal system. Hymes was concerned with the
social and cultural knowledge which a speaker needs in order to understand and use linguistic
forms. His view, therefore, encompasses not only knowledge but also the ability to put that
knowledge into use in communication.
The verbal part of communicative competence comprises all the so-called four skills: listening,
reading, speaking and writing. It is important to highlight this, since there is a very common
misunderstanding that communicative competence only refers to the ability to speak. It is both
productive and receptive. Hymes stated that native speakers know more than just grammatical
competence. So far, he expands the Chomskyan notions of grammaticality (competence) and
acceptability (performance) into four parameters subsumed under the heading of communicative
competence. The four competences at work regarding the elements and rules of oral discourse are
as follows: linguistic competence, pragmatic competence, discourse competence, strategic
competence, and fluency (Hedge 2000).

First, the linguistic competence, as it deals with linguistic and non-linguistic devices in the oral
interaction.This heading subsumes, according to Canale and Swain (1980) all knowledge of lexical
items and of rules of morphology, syntax, sentence-grammar semantics and phonology . It therefore
refers to having control over the purely linguistic aspects of the language code itself, regarding
verbal and non-verbal codes. This corresponds to Hymes grammatical aspect and includes
knowledge of the lexicon, syntax, phonology and semantics. Besides, it involves rules of
formulations and constraints for students to match sound and meaning; to form words and
sentences using vocabulary; to use language through spelling and pronunciation; and to handle
linguistic semantics.

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Secondly, the pragmatic competence as it also deals with the knowledge the learner has to acquire
the sociocultural rules of language. Regarding the rules of discourse, it is defined in terms of the
mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings (Canale and Swain 1980). When we
deal with appropriateness of form, we refer to the extent to which a given meaning is represented in
both verbal and non-verbal form that is proper in a given sociolinguistic context. Moreover,
according to Hedge (2000), in order to achieve successful communication, the spoken or written
message must also be appropriate to the social context in which it is produced. This is the role of
sociolinguistic competence , which is concerned with the social knowledge necessary to select the
language forms that are appropriate in different settings, and with people in different roles and with
different status. This competence enables a speaker to be contextually appropriate or in Hymess
words (1972), to know when to speak, when not, what to talk about with whom, when, where and in
what manner.
Thirdly, the rules of use and usage, proposed by Widdowson (1978) have to do with the discourse
competence. Here, usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of a language system and use
means the realization of the language system as meaningful communicative behavior. Discourse
analysis is primarily concerned with the ways in which individual sentences connect together to
form a communicative message.

This competence addresses directly to the mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and
meanings to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different genres (Canale and Swain 1980) by
means of cohesion in form and coherence in meaning. Cohesion deals with how utterances are
linked structurally and facilitates interpretation of a text by means of cohesion devices, such as
pronouns, synonyms, ellipsis, conjunctions and parallel structures to relate individual utterances and
to indicate how a group of utterances is to be understood as a text. Yet, coherence refers to the
relatioships among the different meanings in a text, where these meanings may be literal meanings,
communicative functions, and attitudes.

Finally, we come to the fourth competence at work, the strategic competence. (Canale 1983) where
verbal and nonverbal communication strategies may be called into action to compensate for
breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or due to insufficient competence. This
may be achieved by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesistation, avoidance, guessing as
well as shifts in register and style. Hedge (2000) points out that strategic competence consists of
using communication strategies which are used by learners to compensate for their limited
linguistic competence in expressing what they want to say.
The term fluency relates to language production, and it is normally associated with speech. It is the
ability to link units of speech together with facility and without inappropriate slowness, or undue
hesitation.

2.6. Theoretical approaches to oral discourse. The role of pragmatics on discourse analysis and
conversational studies.

Within the framework of communicative competences, in this section we shall describe the research
that is relevant to this area, in order to provide a theoretical possible to distinguish several different
traditions as regards methodology and theoretical orientations. Among the most relevant figures in
this field, we may mention Austin, Searle, Grice and Goffman whose contributions are still at
work.. First of all, there is a tradition of statistical studies of linguistic material, but often without
any clear distinction between spoken and written material (Johansson & Stenstrm 1991), and
therefore not reviewed in our study.

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Secondly, another approach is the discourse analytic tradition based on speech act theory.
According to Brown (1994), discourse analysis, a branch of linguistics and, in fact, an extension of
the linguistics model, deals with language in context beyond the level of the sentence, enabling us
to follow the implications of a given utterance. It contributes towards an understanding of cognitive
processes. These analysis are conceived both as a grammar of discourse as it is socially oriented,
and also, as a linguist application concerning cohesion and coherence. The Prague School linguists
had introduced discourse into the agenda of mainstream linguistics through the functional linguistic
study.

Also, many studies of spoken language have been carried out from a mainly sociological or
sociolinguistic perspective. This is true, for instance, of the influential tradition called Conversation
Analysis which is the sociological counterpart of discourse analysis whose practisers give an
autonomous status. It is a branch of ethnomethodology where talk , which is rule governed, becomes
the object of an investigation of social structures and relations, and the structure of a conversation is
identified, focusing on the devices for managing the interaction and constructing joint meaning.
Conversational mechanisms are, thus turn-taking and the notion of adjacency pairs, examined in
next subsections. Besides, conversational analysis is used as a means of understanding second
language acquisition of communication strategies (Faerch and Kasper 1983), including the
negotiation of meaning and the compensatory strategies non-native speakers use when they have an
incomplete knowledge of a foreign language.
In the study of interaction phenomena, the following phenomena have been described recently as
follows: turn taking and different types of sequences such as sequences of topics, speech acts, and
subactivities (Brown & Yule 1983). In the area of feedback, the most extensive studies have been
studied before under different headings, such as interjections, back-channelling, return words
(Sigurd 1984), reactives, and response words. There is potentially a close interrelation between
discourse and conversational analysis and pragmatics (Searle 1969), taking into account social and
cognitive structures.
It is worth noting, then, that communicative intentions cannot be maped onto word strings. Rathe r,
speakers must select from a variety of potential alternative formulations the ones that most
successfully express the meanings they want to convey. As a result, for the addressee, decoding the
literal meaning of a message is only a first step in the process of comprehension; an addtional step
of inference is required to derive the communicative intention that underlies it. Approaches that
focus on the role of communicative intentions in communication reflect what will be called the
Intentionalist paradig m (Krauss & Chiu 1993). Fundamental to the intentionalis paradigm are two
sets of ideas that are basic to pragmatic theory: speech act theory and the cooperative principle.
Both concepts are to be reviewed respectively within the framework of discourse analysis and
conversational analysis.

2.6.1. A Speech Act Theory.

Speech act theory was inspired by the work of the British philosopher J.L. Austin whose
postumously published lectures How to do things with words (1962, 1975) influenced a number of
students of la nguage including the philosopher John Searle (1969, 1985), who established speech
act theory as a major framework for the study of human communication. In contrast to the
assumptions of structuralism where langue is seen as a system, over parole concerning the speech
act, speech act theory holds that the investigation of structure always presupposes something about
meanings, language use, and extralinguistic functions.

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In How to Do Things with Words, Austin (1962) starts by enunciating a distinction between
constative and performative utterances. According to him, an utterance, which originally is a spoken
word or string of spoken words with no particular forethought or intention to communicate a
meaning, becomes constative if it describes some state of affairs whose correspondence with the
facts is either true or false. Performatives, on the other hand, do not describe or report or constate
anything as true or false. It is worth mentioning here that the attitude of the person performing the
linguistic act, his thoughts, feelings, or intentions is of great relevance at this distinction.
Furthermore, Austin (1962) and Searle (1969)conceptualized speech acts as comprising three
components. First, the locutionary act, the act of saying something as the actual form of an
utterance. Second, the illocutionary act, as the communicative force of the utterance. Third, the
perlocutionary act, depicted as the communicative effect of the utterance upon the feelings,
thoughts, or actions of the audience, of the speaker, or of other persons. In other words, a
locutionary act has meaning; it produces an understandable utterance. An illocutionary act has
force; it is informed with a certain tone, attitude, feeling, motive, or intention, and a perlocutionary
act has consequence; it has an effect upon the addressee.
Searle (1969) summarizes Austins speech acts, divided into verdictives, commissives, exercitives,
behabitives, and expositives, under five categories. Thus, firstly, assertives to tell people how things
are by stating; secondly, directives to try to get people to do things by means of commanding and
requesting; thirdly, expressives, to express our feelings and attitudes by thinking, forgiving, or
blaming; fourthly, declaratives to bring about changes through our utterances by means of bringing
about correspondence between the propositional content and reality, through baptizing, naming,
appointing or sacking; and finally, commissives to commit ourselves to some future actions by
promising and offering. It is also possible to do more than one of these things at the same time.
Although these speech acts are abstract notions and do not necessarily or uniquely correspond to
particular English verbs, Searle (like Austin before him) lists a number of English verbs as
examples of the different types of speech acts .
In examining what people say to one another, we can use Searle's classification in trying to
understand what people are doing with language. In a speech act we may find greetings, questions
or requests for information, assertions or responses and assessments. Once we start to look at actual
interaction, for instance, a conversation, we realize that we need a unit of analysis wider than
Speech Act. What people say to one another partly acquires its meaning from the sequence within
which it occurs, for example, an answer to a question. For this reason, conversation analysts
introduced the notions of Cooperative Principle, Turn- Taking and Adjacency Pair, by Grice and
Goffman respectively.

2.6.2. Grices cooperative principle and conversational maxims.


The English language philosopher H. Paul Grice (1969) was not the first to recognize that non-
literal meanings posed a problem for theories of language use, but he was among the first to explain
the processes that allow speakers to convey, and addressees to identify, communicative intentions
that are expressed non-literally, as for him, meaning is seen as a kind of intending, and the hearers
or readers recognition that the speaker or writer means something by x is part of the meaning of x.

His insight that the communicative use of language rests on a set of implicit understandings among
language users has had an important influence in both linguistics and social psychology. In a set of
influential papers, Grice (1957, 1969, 1975) argued that conversation is an intrinsically cooperative
endeavor. To communicate participants will implicitly adherre to a set of conventions, collectively

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termed the Cooperative Principle, by making their messages conform to four general rule s or
maxims where speakers shape their utterances to be understood by hearers. Thus, the maxims are
quality, quantity, relation and manner.

First, quality envisages messages to be truthful; quantity, by means of which messages should be as
informative as is required, but not more informative; relation, for messages to be relevant; and
manner, where messages should be clear, brief and orderly.

2.6.3. Conversational Analysis and Turn-Taking.


A main feature of conversations is that they tend to follow the convention of turn taking . Simply,
this is where one person waits for the other to finish his/her utterance before contributing their own.
This is as much a utilitarian convention as mere manners - a conversation, given the aforementioned
definition, would logically cease to take place if the agents involved insisted on speaking even when
it was plain that the other was trying to contribute.

It is, additionally, comforting to know that the other person respects your opinions enough not to
continually interrupt you. The best example of this occurs in the Houses of Parliament - a supposed
debating chamber which is often anything but, due to the failure of the members to observe the
turn-taking code. Note, however, that a person rarely explicitly states that they have finished their
utterance and are now awaiting yours. Intriguing exceptions to this are in two-way radios, where
many social and psychological cues are lacking, and thus it is more difficult for speakers to follow
turn-taking.
The potential for one to reply can be missed, deliberately or not, so that the first person may
contribute once more. Failure to realise this can result in an awkward pause or a cacophany of
competing voices in a large crowd.

2.6.4. Conversational Analysis and Adjacency Pairs.


Another fundamental feature of conversation is the idea of adjacency pairs. Posited by Goffman
(1976), an example would be found in a question-answer session. Both conversing parties are aware
that a response is required to a question; moreover, a partic ular response to a given question. I
might invite a friend into my house and ask: Would you like a biscuit? To which the adjacency
pair response is expected to be either Yes or No. My friend may be allergic to chocolate,
however, and place an insertion sequence into the response: Do you have any ginger snaps? the
reply to which would cause him to modify his answer accordingly.

In the above consideration of turn-taking, such observations may be used in our social interactions
when the second agent did not take their opportunity to respond to the first, and the implication is
that they have nothing to say about the topic. But perhaps the transition relevance place was one in
which the second agent was in fact selected, but failed to respond, or responded in an inappropriate
manner.
This infinity of responses is what makes language so entertaining, and in the above cases the
speakers might make inferences about the reasons for incorrect responses . These may be not to
have responded because he did not understand the question, or not to agree with the interlocutor. As
Goffman notes, a silence often reveals an unwillingness to answer. Dispreferred responses tend to
be preceded by a pause, and feature a declination component which is the non-acceptance of the

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first part of the adjacency pair. Not responding at all to the above question is one such - and has
been dubbed an attributable silence, thus, a silence which in fact communicates certain information
about the non-speaker.

It has been noted that various physical cues, such as gestures or expressions, are in play during
orthodox face-to-face exchanges, and these are obviously lacking in a telephone conversation. Since
humans are so adept at speaking over the phone, it is easy to conclude that the cues are not as
important as once imagined - we manage without them so well, after all. However, this argument
does not take into account the cues one picks up from the voice - it is quite easy to detect if
somebody is confident, or nervous on the phone, from the words they use, the pauses, the tone and
pronunciations of the words. In short, we may be able to substitute these auditory cues for more
conventional physical cues , and then empathise with the other person. This way, we could be
visualising, or at least imagining with a fair degree of accuracy, how the person is feeling, and
gaining cues that way.

Once we have introduced a theoretical framework on the various theories and research on oral
discourse, we shall examine the components of spoken discourse unde r different headings in order
to provide a relevant account of the communicative event. In our next section, the first heading
appears under the name of elements and rules governing oral discourse, where the notions of a
speech theory, cooperative principles and their implicatures will be under revision.

3. ELEMENTS AND RULES GOVERNING ORAL DISCOURSE.

Given that it is possible to separate a text from the communicative event in which it occurs, we may
go on to explore the relatioship between text features and components of events. These can be
described in terms of rules governing oral discourse, norms or, following Grices terminology,
maxims.

So far, this section will be divided into two sections, first, linguistic elements at work and non-
linguistic ele ments.Secondly, rules of oral discourse focussing on rules of use, rules of usage and
conversational studies.

3.1. Elements governing oral discourse.

Elements governing oral discourse are approached in terms of a communicative event, which is
described as a sociocultural unit where the components of which serve to define salient elements of
context within which the text becomes significant. Also, communicative behavior is not limited to
the creation of oral texts, and correspondences are likely to be found concerning paralinguistics,
kinesics and proxemics in oral interaction.

3.1.1. Linguistic elements.

Regarding the linguistic level in oral discourse, the phonological system is involved and is
concerned with the analysis of acoustic signals into a sequence of speech sounds, thus consonants,
vowels, and syllables. At this level, we find certain prosodic elements which provide us with

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information about the oral interaction. Thus, stress, rhythm and intonation. Also, routines are to be
dealt with, but in a further section (Halliday 1985).

Regarding stress, it is present in an oral interaction when we give more emphasis to some parts of
the utterance than to other segments. It is a signalling to make a syllable stand out with respect to its
neighbouring syllables in a word or to the rest of words in a longer utterance. We may establish a
distinction between two types of stress markers, thus primary stress and secondary stress within the
same word. Primary stress is the main marker within the word and secondary stress is a less
important marker.

Foreign language learners must be concerned with the relevant role of primary stress, as a change of
stress within a word may change the whole meaning of it. For instance, a word like record may
change its meaning from verb to noun if a student does not apply the righ primary stress on it.The
concept of emphasis is closely related, then, to stress. Emphasis is essential in an oral exchange of
information as it gives the message a non-literal meaning, providing foreign language students with
a choice to highlight the information they may consider important at the speaking act.

Another important element which characterizes oral interaction is rhythm, which is determined by
the succession of prominent and non-prominent syllables in an utterance. We will observe a quick
and monotonous rhythm if prominent and non prominent syllables take place in short equal units of
time, though not easy to find in authentic speech. On the contrary, rhythm will be inexistent and
chaotic if longer and irregular units of time take place in an utterance or speech act.

Then, we may observe that the term establishes a relationship between accents and pauses, which,
used properly, contribute to keeping attention by allowing voice inflection, change of intonation and
change of meaning. Pauses may be characterized by being predictable or not with a rhythm group.
Thus, they coincide the boundaries of the rhythm groups by fitting in naturally, or break them as it
happens in spontaneous speech. Predictable pauses are, then, those required for the speakers to take
breath between sentences or to separate grammatical units, and unpredictable pauses are those
brought about by false starts or hesitation.

The third prosodic element is intonation which is characterized in general terms by the rising and
falling of voice during speech, depending on the type of utterance we may produce. In case of
statements, we will use falling intonation whereas in questions we use rising intonation. As we will
see, intonation and rhythm play an important role when expressing attitudes and emotions.

As a general rule, speakers use a normal intonation when taking part in an oral interaction, but
depending on the meaning the speakers may convey, they will use a different tone within the
utterance. The tone is responsible for changes of meaning or for expressing special attitudes in the
speaker, such as enthusiasm, sadness, anger, or exasperation. Three types of intonation are involved
in a real situation. Thus, falling and rising tones, upper and lower range tones, and wide and narrow
range of tones. Respectively, they refer first, to certainty, determination or confidence when we use
falling tones in order to be conclusive whereas indecision, doubt and uncertainty is expressed by
means of rising tones to be inconclusive. Secondly, excitement and animation on the part of the
speaker is expressed by upper range tones whereas an unanimated attitude corresponds to lower
ranges. Finally, in order to express emotional attitudes, we use a wide range of tone whereas in
order to be unemotive, we rather use a narrow range tone.

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3.1.2. Non-linguistic elements.

As they speak, people often gesture, nod their heads, change their postures and facial expressions,
and redirect the focus of their gaze. Although these behaviors are not linguistic by a strict definition
of that term, their close coordination with the speech they accompany suggests that they are relevant
to an account of language use, and also, can occur apart from the context of speech, spontaneous or
voluntarily.

Conversational speech is often accompanied by gesture , and the relation of these hand movements
to the speech are usually regarded as communicative devices whose function is to amplify or
underscore information conveyed in the accompanying speech. According to one of the icons of
American linguists, Edward Sapir, people respond to gesture with extreme alertness, in accordance
with an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known to none, and understood by all
(Sapir 1921). Gestures are then, to be classified in different types, such as emblems or symbolic
gestures as essentially hand signs with well established meanings (thumbs -up and V for victory,
pointing, denial, and refusing). In contrast, we may find simple and repetitive rhythmic hand
movements coordinated with sentence prosody, called batons, as using head and shoulders. Also,
unplanned gestures that accompany spontaneour speech, called gesticulations, representational
gestures, or lexical movements, related to semantic content of speech in order to describe things like
size, strength or speed.

Concerning facial expression, it deals with an automatic response to an internal state although they
can be controlled voluntarily to a considerable extent, and are used in social situations to convey a
variety of kinds of information (smiling and happiness). Changes in addressees facial expressions
allows the addressee to express understanding concern, agreement, or confirmation where
expressions such as smiles and head nods as considered as back-channels.

In relation to gaze direction, a variety of kinds of significance has been attributed to both the
amount of time participants spend looking at each other, and to the points in the speech stream at
which those glances occur, such as staring, watching, peering or looking among others. As
proximity, body-orientation or touching, gazing may express the communicators social distance, by
means of looking up to or looking down to.

The primary medium by which language is expressed, speech, also contains a good deal of
information that can be considered nonverbal. A speakers voice transmits individuating
information concerning his or her age, gender, region of origin, social class, and so on. In addition
to this relatively static information, transient changes in vocal quality provide information about
changes in the speakers internal state, such as hesitation or interjections. Changes in a speakers
affective states usually are accompanied by changes in the acoustic properties of his or her voice
(Krauss and Chiu 1993), and listeners seem capable of interpreting these changes, even when the
quality of the speech is badly degraded, or the language is one the listener does not understand.

3.2. Rules governing oral discourse.

According to the Ministry of Education, since Spain entered the European Community, there is a
need for learning a foreign language in order to communicate with other European countries.
Within this context, the Spanish Educational System (B.O.E.), within the framework of the
Educational Reform, establishes a common reference framework for the teaching of foreign
languages, and claims for a progressive development of communicative competence in a specific
language.

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Educational and professional reasons justify the presence of foreign languages in the curricula at
different educational levels. Students, then, are intended to be able to carry out several
communication tasks with specific communicative goals within specific contexts. In order to get
these goals, several strategies as well as linguistic and discursive skills come into force in a given
context. Therefore, a communicative competence theory accounts for rules of usage and rules of use
in order to get a proficiency level in a foreign language within the framework of social interaction,
personal, professional or educational fields.
Then, rules of usage are concerned with the language users knowledge of linguistic or
grammatical rules (linguistic or grammatical competence) whereas rules of use are concerned with
the language usersability to use his knowledge of linguistic rules in order to achieve effectiveness
of communication, that is, discourse, sociolinguistic and strategic competences. As the main aim for
students is to improve their educational and professional life from a global perspective, rules
involve two different implications, thus, the achievement of communication effectiveness, and their
appropriateness in specific social and cultural contexts.

To sum up, the learning of a foreign language is intended to broaden the studentss intellectual
knowledge as well as to broaden their knowledge on other ways of life and social organization
different to their own. Furthermore, the aim is to get information on international issues, to broaden
their professional interests and consolidate social values to promote the development of
international communication.

3.2.1. Rules of usage.

As we have previously seen, language is the principal vehicle for the transmission of cultural
knowledge, and the primary means by which we gain access to the contents of others minds. It is
also considered as the ability to speak and be understood by others. This involves an ability to
produce and therefore, understand the same sounds produced by others. The ways languages are
used are constrained by the way they are constructed, particularly the linguistic rules that govern the
permissible usage forms, for instance, grammatical rules. Language is defined as an abstract set of
principles that specify the relations between a sequence of sounds and a sequence of meanings, and
is analysed in terms of four levels of organization. Thus, the phonological, the morphological, the
syntactic, and the semantic levels which, taken together, constitute its grammar.

Firstly, the phonological system is concerned with the phonological knowledge a speaker has in
order to produce sounds which form meaningful sentences. For instance, an analysis of an acoustic
signal into a sequence of speech sounds, thus consonants, vowels, and syllables, will allow the
speaker to distinguish plural, past, and adverb endings, as well as to recognize foreign accents that
are distinctive for a particular language or dialect or produce voiced or voiceless stops, fricatives or
plosives sounds in their appropriate contexts.
Besides, when learning a foreign language, speakers may be aware of the variety of sounds the
human vocal tract is capable of producing selecting languages phonemes, or elementary units of
sound according to how speech sounds occur and how to follow regular rules in the target language.
Secondly, the morphological system is concerned with the way words and meaningful subwords are
constructed out of these phonological elements. Morphology involves internal structures by means
of which the speakers are able to recognize whether a word belongs to the target language or not.
This is achieved by means of morphological rules that follow a regular pattern, such as suffixes and
prefixes. These rules that determine the phonetic form of certain patterns, such as plural, regular

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simple past or gerunds, are named morphophonemic rules, as they are applied by both morphology
and phonoloby.

Therefore, when a non-native word is added to the target language, they do it by means of
morphological rules which belong to that vernacular language, such as derivation, compounding,
blending or back-formation. Then, we may easily distinguish a Spanglish word or a loan from
another country, as siesta and paella, entering the dictionary of the target language as part of their
language and culture.

Thirdly, the syntactic system is concerned with that part of grammar which stands for speakers
knowledge of how to structure phrases and sentences in an appropriate and accurate way. As
mentioned above, knowing a language not only implies linguistic knowledge but also the ability to
arrange the appropriate organization of morphological elements into higher level units, such as
phrases and sentences.
Special attention is paid to the sequence of wording, as we may find grammatical and
ungrammatical sentences as the rules of syntax do not always account for the grammaticality of
sentences. We may find ambiguity or double meaning in expressions which may lead the speaker to
wrong assumptions on the meaning of the utterance. Also, by means of word seque ncing, syntactic
rules reveal the relations between the words in a sentence as they are orderly governed, for instance,
subject, verb, and adverbs. To sum up, this ability to produce utterances in an appropriate and
coherent way has to do with the creative aspect of language as the speaker may produce an
unlimited number of sentences, as a main feature of language usage.
Finally, the semantic system is concerned with the meanings of these higher level units. Semantics
is concerned with the linguistic competence in terms of a capacity to produce meaning within an
utterance. The arbitrariness of language implies to comprehend sentences because we know the
meaning of individual words. Nevertheless, speaking a language not only involves knowing the
meaning of words but also knowing how to combine language rules to convey meaning within an
utterance. Thus, we may find rules involved in the semantics of the sentence, such as subject-verb
concord in terms of third person singular; rules to interpret phrasal verbs within prepositional
phrases; different nuances brought about semantic fields in verbs, such as the degree of loudness
when speaking (shouting and whispering), the time nuance when looking (watching, staring, or
gazing), or the degree of touch (stroking or hitting) among others.
However, linguistic rules do not follow a strict pattern in everyday use. We may distinguish mainly
three types of semantic rule violation. Thus, anomaly when a speaker may create a non-
understandable word or utterance because of a non appropriate use of a semantic rule; a poetic use
of malformations is metaphors, with no literal meaning but connected to abstract meaning; and
finally, idioms, in which the meaning of an expression may not be related to the individual meaning
of its parts as it makes no sense as they are culturally embedded. For instance, phrasal verbs.

3.2.2. Rules of use.

From a discourse-based approach, the notion of use means the realization of the language system as
meaningful communication linked to the aspects of performance. This notion is based on the
effectiveness for communication, by means of which an utterance with a well-formed grammatical
structure may or may not have a sufficient value for communication in a given context.
As we have previously mentioned, within the context of a communicative competence theory, our
current educational system claims for a progressive development of communicative competence in

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a specific language. Students are intended to be able to carry out several communication tasks with
specif ic communicative goals within specific contexts by means of linguistic and discursive skills.
Regarding rules of use in order to get a proficiency level in a foreign language, students are
concerned with the language usersability to use his knowledge of linguistic rules, that is, discourse,
sociolinguistic and strategic competences.
Students, then, are intended to apply their linguistic knowledge to how to construct discourse within
the textual competence according to three main rules of appropriateness, coherence and cohesion,
as main discourse devices. Considerations on this sort require a distinction be drawn between the
semantic or literal meaning of an utterance and its intended meaning.
Concerning appropriateness, any language presents variations within a linguistic community. Each
member speaks or writes in a different way and their acts of speaking are imbedded in a discourse,
both conversation and narrative type, made up of a coherently related sequence of acts and
appropriateness in context. Besid es, these types of discourse have a formal structure that constrains
participants acts of speaking and each person chooses the language variety and the appropriate
register according to the situation, thus the issue, channel of communication, purpose, and degree of
formality.

Another discourse device is coherence which deals with the use of information in a speech act
regarding the selection of relevant or irrelevant information, and the organization of the
communicative structure in a certain way, such as introduction, development and conclusion. The
amount of information may be necessary and relevant, or on the contrary, redundant and irrelevant.
Unnecessary repetition of what is already known or already mentioned stops communication from
being successful at comprehending the important unknown parts of the speech act. Speakers are
intended to select not only the structure of the content of messages but also to organize information
in a logical and comprehensible way in order to avoid break downs in communication. Besides,
phonology and syntactic fields play an important role when emphasizing important information by
means of stressing the relevant information through different tones and accents, and word
sequencing, when new information is emphasized at the beginning or the end of an utterance in
order to focus the attention of the addressee on new items.
Regarding cohesion, there is a wide range of semantic and syntactic relations within a sentence in
order to relate our speech act forming a cohesive unit by means of reference, ellipsis, conjunction,
and lexical organization. We will develop these concepts following Halliday (1985) and his work
An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Firstly, according to Halliday, reference relates to a
participant or circumstantial element introduced at one place in the text that can be taken as a
reference point for something that follows, such as the definite article (the) and personal pronouns
(he, she, we, they). Ellipsis is defined as a clause, or a part of a clause, or a part of a verbal or
nominal group, that may be presupposed at a subsequent place in the text by the device of positive
omission, like in short answers (Yes, I can; No, I dont). Since conjunction is a clause or clause
complex, or some longer stretch of text, it may be related to what follows it by one or other of a
specific set of semantic relations . According to Halliday, the most general categories are those of
opposition and clarification, addition and variation, and the temporal and causal-conditional. The
continuity in a text is established by means of lexical cohesion through the choice of words. This
may take the form of word repetition; or the choice of a word that is related in some way to a
previous one either semantically or collocationally. Many researchers, among them, Widdowson
(1978) claimed that, in a speech act, cohesion and coherence must be described in terms of rules of
use and depicted as procedures concerning grammatical devices. He envisages cohesion as a rule of
use, and coherence to be a rules of usage.

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3.2.3. Conversational Studies.
Conversational studies demonstrate how spoken English adapts to incorporate many functions and
accommodates a vast variety of registers and contexts in a speech act. Cultural influence on speech
and the implications of this for the second language speaker are two main tenets within current
speech and communication theories. Conversation is the main means by which humans
communicate, and is thus vital for full and rich social interaction. An obvious definition of
conversation is a process of talking where at least two participants freely alternate in speaking as
they interact with their social environment.. However, the analysis of conversation is not a simple
matter. It has been taken up by pioneering sociologists known as ethnomethodologists.
Ethnomethodology was a sociological and pragmatic type of quantitative methods looking at the
dynamics of conversation used by agents.
There is potentially a close interrelation between discourse and conversational analysis and
pragmatics (Searle 1969), taking into account social and cognitive structures. They are interrelated
with language in use, and in particular, with communicative events and communicative functions,
the role of speech acts where language is an instrument of action. In fact, conversational analysis
with its sociological origins and its emphasis on social interaction, regards all its work as concerned
with social action.

This tradition on cultural studies was first introduced in a language teaching theory in the early
1920s and improved in the 1970s by the notion of the ethnography of communication, a concept
coined by Dell Hymes. It refers to a methodology based in anthropology and linguistics allowing
people to study human interaction in context. Ethnographers adhering to Hymes' methodology
attempt to analyze patterns of communication as part of cultural knowledge and behavior. Besides,
cultural relativity sees communicative practices as an important part of what members of a
particular culture know and do (Hymes 1972). They acknowledge speech situations, speech events,
and speech acts as units of communicative practice and attempt to situate these events in context in
order to analyze them.
Hymes' (1972) well-known SPEAKING heuristic where capital le tters acknowledge for different
aspects in communicative competence, serves as a framework within which the ethnographer
examines several components of speech events as follows. S stands for setting and scene (physical
circumstances); P refers to participants including speaker, sender and addresser; E means end
(purposes and goals); A stands for act sequence (message form and content); K deals with key
(tone and manner); I stands for instrumentalities (verbal, non-verbal and physical channel); N refers
to norms of interaction (specific proprieties attached to speaking), and interpretation (interpretation
of norms within cultural belief system); and finally, genre referring to textual categories.
This interpretation of communicative competence can serve as a useful guide to help second
language learners to distinguish important elements of cultural communication as they learn to
observe and analyze discourse practices of the target culture in context. As for actual ethnographers,
second language learners must have the opportunity to access the viewpoints of natives of the
culture being studied in order to interpret culturally defined behaviors. The issue of culture under
study will be discussed in our next section where different interpretations of communicative
competence are examined from early approaches to present-day studies.
Within a conversational analysis, we find mainly two features of conversations. First, what we
understand under the convention of turn taking. Simply, this is where one person waits for the other
to finish his/her utterance before contributing their own. The potential for one to reply can be
missed, deliberately or not, so that the first person may contribute once more. Sacks (1978) suggests
that, historically speaking, there is an underlying rule in conversation, as Greek and Roman
societies had within an oratory discipline where at least and not more thatn one party talks at a

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time. For him, there are three main levels in turn-taking. The first level refers to the highest degree
of control he can select the next speaker either by naming or alluding to him or her. In a second
degree of control, the next utterance may be constrained by the speaker but without being selected
by a particular speaker. Finally, the third degree of control is to select neither the next speaker nor
utterance and leave it to one of the other participants.
Another fundamental feature of conversation is the idea of adjacency pairs, proposed by Goffman
(1976) and later developed by Sacks (1978). By this concept, a conversation is described as a string
of at least two turns. An example would be found in a question-answer session where exchanges in
which the first part of the pair predicts the occurrence of the second, thus How are you? and Fine,
thanks. And you? Both conversing parties are aware that a response is required to a question.
Moreover, a particular response to a given question is expressed by means of greetings, challenges,
offers, complaints, invitations, warnings, announcements, farewells and phone conversations.

Furthermore, another contribution to conversational analysis, as we have previously mentioned, was


Grices (1967) Cooperative Principle . He proposed a set of norms expected in conversation, and
formulated them as a universal to help account for the high degree of implicitness in conversation
and the required relation between rule -governed meaning and force. Therefore, Grice analyzes
cooperation as involving four categories of maxims expected in conversation. Thus, the first maxim
is quantity which involves speakers to give enough and not too much information. Secondly, within
quality, they are genuine and sincere, speaking truth or facts. The third maxim, relation, makes
reference to utterances which are relative to the context of the speech. Finally, manner represents
speakers who try to present meaning clearly and concisely, avoiding ambiguity. They are direct and
straightforward.

Within conversational structure, another distinction is identified by Brown and Yule (1994), and it
is the one between short turns and long turns. They define them as follows: A short turn consists
of only one or two utterances, a long turn consists of a string of utterances which may last as long
as an hours lecturewhat is required of a speaker in a long turn is considerably more demanding
than what is required of a speaker in a short turn. As soon as a speaker takes the floor for a long
turn, tells an anecdote, tells a joke, explains how something works, justifies a position, describes an
individual, and so on, he takes responsibility for creating a structured sequence of utterances which
must help the listener to create a coherent mental representation of what he is trying to say. Besides,
what the speaker says must be coherently structured. Possible examples of everyday situations
which might require longer turns from the speakers are such things as narrating personal
experiences, participating in job interviews, arguing points of view, describing processes or
locations and so on.

4. EVERYDAY ROUTINES AND FORMULAIC SPEECH.

Everyday routines and formulaic speech follow a tradition on cultural studies, called an
ethnography of communication. Also, they deal with the terms coined in the 1960s by the
philosopher J. L. Austin, in How to Do Things with Words (1962), to refer to acts performed by
utterances which conveyed information, in particular to those which require questions and answers
as a formulaic speech. Within a speech act theory, we may distinguish a conventional semantic
theory by studying the effects of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutory acts. They mean
respectively, performative utterances on speakers and hearers that result through or as a result of
speech, secondly, acts that occur in speech, and thirdly, responses which hearers called
perlocutionary acts.

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There are a wide range of kinds of speech act. Among the most relevant surveys on speech act
theories, we shall mention John R. Searle, who in his work Speech Acts in 1979, recognizes five
types. Firstly, representative speech act, where speakers are committed in varying degrees to the
truth of the propositions they have uttered, by means of swearing, believing, and reporting.
Secondly, directives, where speakers try to get hearers to do something by commanding, requesting,
or urging. Thirdly, commissives, which commit speakers in varying degrees to courses of action by
means of promising, vowing, and undertaking. Fourthly, declarations, whereby speakers alter states
of affairs by performing such speech acts as I now pronounce you man and wife. Fifth, expressives,
where speakers express attitudes, such as congratulating and apologizing.

According to Austin (1962), in order to be successful, speech acts have to meet certain conditions.
Thus, a marriage ceremony can only be performed by someone with the authority to do so, and with
the consent of the parties agreeing to the marriage. Speech acts may be direct or indirect. For
instance, compare Shut the door, please and Hey, it's cold in here, both of which are directives.

Also, according to Seaville and Troike (1982) in his work The Ethnography of Communication,
linguistic routines are fixed utterances or sequences of utterances which must be considered as
single units, because meaning cannot be derived from consideration of any segment apart from the
whole . The routine itself, they add, fulfils the communicative function, and in this respect is
performative in nature. In order to make effective discourse productions, learners need to approach
their speeches from a conscious sociolinguistic perspective, in order to get considerable cultural
information about communicative settings and roles. Routines are also analysed in terms of length,
from single syllables to whole sentences, such as See you! and I am looking forward to seeing
you again! A sequence of sentences may be memorized as fixed phrases, and consequently, some
of them are learnt earlier and others, later. For instance, the first routines a student learns in class
are commands, such as Sit down or stand up, requests, such as May I come in, please? or Can I
have a rubber, please?. Routines structure is mainly given by a sociolinguistic and cultural
approach to language.

Non-native speakers may not grasp the nuances regarding a certain type of utterance patterns, such
as greeting routines or phone conversation patterns, which have no meaning apart from a phatic
function and introductory sentences. Within an educational context, main researches on the field of
cross-cultural rethorical considerations, such as Holmes and Brown (1987) and Wolfson (1981),
point out that it is not the responsibility of the language teacher qua linguist to enforce foreign
language standards of behavior, linguistic or otherwise. Rather, it is the teachers job to equip
students to express themselves in exactly the ways they choose to do so-rudely, tactfully, or in an
elaborately polite manner.

Understanding routines require a cultural knowledge because they are generally abstract in meaning
and must be interpreted at a non literal level. What we want to prevent them being unintentionally
rude or subservient. Without overstressing the constraints on participants, it is clear that space-time
loci, organisational context, conventional forms of messages, and preceding communications, in
fact all components of communicative events, serve to increasingly restrict the range of available
choices.

Thus, Holmes and Brown (1987) address three types of failure. Firstly, a pragmatic failure which
involves the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. Secondly, the pragmalinguistic
failure which is caused by mistaken beliefs about pragmatic force of utterance. Finally, the
sociopragmatic failure which is given by different beliefs about rights and mentionables. People
usually reject consciously routines and rituals when they are meaningless and empty of meaning,
thus condolences, funeral rituals, weddings, masses and invitations among others.

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Another instance is brought about by Wolfson (1981) in developing sociocultural awareness.
According to this model, this type of awareness will lead to a discussion of the differences between
the cultural and social values of a first language learner and the foreign language community. He
goes further on studying cross-cultural miscommunication in the field of compliments, when
learners from a different cultural background do not understand certain behavior rules from the
foreign language target culture. Hence, ritual contexts involve formulaic language with great
cultural significance. The meaning of symbols cannot be interpreted in isolation but in context. For
instance, a funeral ritual is different in Europe and in America. Both routines and formulaic speech
meaning depend on shared beliefs and values within the speech community coded into a sensitivity
to cultural communication patterns.

The literature on cross-cultural communication breakdown is vast, as it is related to a number of


aspects such as size of imposition; taboos; different judgement of power and social distance
between different cultures; and different cultural values and priorities. Therefore, important
pedagogic advantages may be expected from further developing this approach. These include more
realistic learning activities, improved motivation, new types of achievable objectives, , and the
potential to transform a passive attitude to authentic texts into an active engagement in developing
the effectiveness of communication practices in a classroom setting.

5. SPECIFIC STRATEGIES IN ORAL COMMUNICATION.

In this section we address the fourth area of Communicative Competence. In the words of Canale
(1983), strategic competence is the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that may be
called into action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or
due to insufficient competence.This is quite a complex area but in a simplified way we can describe
it as the type of knowledge which we need to sustain communication with someone. This may be
achieved by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesistation, avoidance, guessing as well as
shifts in register and style. According to Canale and Swain (1980), strategic competence is useful in
various circumstances as for instance, the early stages of second language learning where
communicative competence can be present with just strategic and socio-linguistic competence.
This approach has been supported by other researchers, such as Savignon and Tarone. Thus,
Savignon (1983) notes that one can communicate non-verbally in the absence of grammatical or
discourse competence provided there is a cooperative interlocutor. Besides, she points out the
necessity and the sufficiency for the inclusion of strategic competence as a component of
communicative competence at all levels as it demonstrates that regardless of experience and level of
proficiency one never knows all a language. This also illustrates the negotiation of meaning
involved in the use of strategic competence as noted in Tarone (1981).

Another criterion on strategic competence proposed by Tarone (1981) for the speaker to recognize a
meta-linguistic problem is the use of the strategies to help getting the meaning across. Tarone
includes a requierement for the use of strategic competence by which the speaker has to be aware
that the linguistic structure needed to convey his meaning is not available to him or to the hearer. As
will be seen later, strategic competence is essential in conversation and we argue for the necessity
and sufficiency of this competence.

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6. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING ORAL COMMUNICATION.
6.1 New directions in language teaching.

According to Hedge (2000), since the introduction of communicative approaches, the ability to
communicate effectively in English has become one of the main goals in European Language
Teaching. The Council of Europe (1998), in response to the need for international co-operation and
professional mobility among European countries, has recently published a document, Modern
languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European Framework of reference, in
which the acquisition of communicative and pragmatic competence in a second language is
emphasised. Both contributed strongly to the development of the communicative classroom,
increasing the emphasis on teaching the spoken language.

Although students recognize the importance of developing communicative skills in the target
language, they often have a passive attitude towards speaking in the classroom. Students generally
have fewer problems in taking short turns, since they are required to give minimal responses to
participate in a conversation with the teacher or classmates based on simple exchanges. They tend
to be reluctant, however, to expose themselves in the classroom, making it very difficult to get them
to speak at any length. My concern derives from the problem of how to actually get learners
speaking in a meaningful way in the classroom.

Moreover, one of the proposed models for school-leaving examination, is to get the
studentscompetence in the foreign language to be assessed by means of an oral interview. During
the interview, students will be expected to report on and discuss topics related specifically to the
syllabus. They will be therefore required to produce an extended piece of spoken English. Thus, the
particular need to develop students competence in using spoken language for informative purposes
is of crucial importance. This model makes particular reference to the development of the skills
involved in producing long turns of transactional speech.

Similarly, the Spanish Educational System states (B.O.E. 2002) that there is a need for learning a
foreign language in order to communicate with other European countries, and a need for
emphasizing the role of a foreign language which gets relevance as a multilingual and multicultural
identity. Within this context, getting a proficiency level in a foreign language implies educational
and professional reasons which justify the presence of foreign languages in the curricula at different
educational levels. It means to have access to other cultures and customs as well as to foster
interpersonal relationships which help individuals develop a due respect towards other countries,
their native speakers and their culture. This sociocultural framework allows learners to better
understand their own language, and therefore, their own culture.
The European Council (1998) and, in particular, the Spanish Educational System within the
framework of the Educational Reform, establishes a common reference framework for the teaching
of foreign languages, and claims for a progressive development of communicative competence in a
specific language. Students, then, are intended to be able to carry out several communication tasks
with specific communicative goals within specific contexts. In order to get these goals, several
strategies as well as linguistic and discursive skills come into force in a given context. Thus, foreign
language activities are provided within the framework of social interaction, personal, professional
or educational fields.
Therefore, in order to develop the above mentioned communication tasks in our present educational
system, a communicative competence theory includes the following subcompetences. Firstly, the
linguistic competence (semantic, morphosyntactic and phonological). Secondly, the discourse
competence (language functions, speech acts, and conversations). Thirdly, the sociolinguistic

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competence (social conventions, routines and formulaic speech, communicative intentions, and
registers among others). Fourthly, the strategic competence will be included as a subcompetence of
communicative competence within this educational framework. So far, students will make use of
this competence in a natural and systematic way in order to achieve the effectiveness of
communication through the different communication skills, thus, productive (oral and written
communication), receptive (oral and written comprehension within verbal and non-verbal codes),
and interactional.
6.2. Implications into language teaching.
In recent years, this has started to change, partly because of better technical aids for the collection,
storage and analysis of spoken language data, but also because of a growing awareness among
researchers of the importance of spoken language studies for a deeper understanding of the human
linguistic faculty and human linguistic communication. Today, the area of spoken language studies
is a rapidly growing research field, but it is still true that, for most languages in the world, detailed
and comprehensive studies of spoken language are lacking. There is a great need for better general
theories of the structure of spoken language and its function in human communication in different
social activities.

Today, pronunciation teaching is experiencing a new resurgence, fuelled largely by the increasing
awareness of the communicative function of suprasegmental features in spoken discourse (Brown
and Yule 1983). In the late 80s, researchers called for a more top-down approach to pronunciation
teaching (Pennington 1989) emphasizing the broader, more meaningful aspects of phonology in
connected speech rather than practice with isolated sounds, thus ushering pronunciation back into
the communicative fold. Materials writers responded with a wealth of courses and recipe books
focusing on suprasegmental pronunciation (Bradford 1988, Gilbert 1984, Rogerson & Gilbert
1990). A closer look at such materials, however, reveals that, with notable exceptions (Cunningham
1991), most commercially produced course books on pronunciation today present activities
remarkably similar to the audiolingual texts of the 50s, relying heavily on mechanical drilling of
decontextualized words and sentences. While professing to teach the more communicative aspects
of pronunciation, many such texts go about it in a decidedly uncommunicative way. The more
pronunciation teaching materials have changed, it seems, the more they have stayed the same.

7. CONCLUSION.

Speaking is a language skill that uses complex and intricate forms to convey meaning. In many
ways, through its nature, itis the most difficult of all the language skills to study. Speech is where
language is most instantly adaptable; it is where culture impinges on form and where second
language speakers find their confidence threatened through the diversity of registers, genres and
styles that make up the first language speakers day to day interaction. Language represents the
deepest manifestation of a culture, and peoples values systems, including those taken over from the
group of which they are part, play a substantial role in the way they use not only their first language
but also subsequently acquired ones. This section, then, will be focusing on the discourse level, that
is, the level of language beyond that of the sentence, considered in its context.

Students should be encouraged to talk from a very early stage since, from a linguistic point of view,
as spoken language is relatively less demanding than written language. However, Brown and Yule
(1983) state that the problems in the spoken language are going to be much more concerned with

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on-line production, and with the question of how to find meaningful opportunities for individual
students to practise using a rather minimal knowledge of the foreign language in a flexible and
inventive manner, than with linguistic complexity . Furthermore, according to the acquisitionist
view, learners should not be put under undue pressure to produce spoken language at the earliest
possible stage, since they may well require a silent period in which to absorb and process
linguistic input.

A review of the literature in this survey revealed that although recent developments in foreign
language education have indicated a trend towards approaching the acquisition of a second
language in terms of communicative competence, there is a growing interest in traditional resources
have proven inadequate. Students are expected to learn to function properly in the target language
and culture, both interpreting and producing meaning with members of the target culture. However,
providing experiences for contact with language in context has been problematic. Limited access to
the target culture has forced teachers to rely on textbooks and other classroom materials in teaching
language, and these materials may not necessarily furnish a sufficiently rich environment for the
acquisition of communicative competence, including many aspects of discourse activity, such as
paralinguistic and extralinguistic behavior. Hypermedia and multimedia environments may provide
a more appropriate setting for students to experience the target language in its cultural context.
Also, pronunciation teaching materials are envisaged to be used in the future. Contemporary
materials for the teaching of pronunciation, while still retaining many of the characteristics of
traditional audiolingual texts, have begun to incorporate more meaningful and communicative
practice, an increased emphasis on suprasegmentals, and other features such as consciousness
raising and self-monitoring which reflect current research into the acquisition of second language
phonology.

To conclude this section we may say that conversational analysis gives a fascinating insight into the
implicit communicative rules which guide our social interactions. It is interesting to speculate how
conversation may evolve in the future, with vir tual meetings and chatting in cyberspace destroying
many of the implicit rules of traditional communication. Yet, conversational analysts may have
much to write about in the future.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

On the origins of language and oral communication

Crystal, D. (1985) Linguistics.


Juan Goytisolo (2001), Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of
Humanity 18 May 2001. Speech delivered at the opening of the meeting of the Jury (15 May 2001)

On communication process and language teaching

Brown, G. & G. Yule (1983) Teaching the Spoken Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second
language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1).
Halliday, M. A. K. 1973. Explorations in the Functions of Language.
Hedge, Tricia (2000).Teaching and learning in the Language Classroom. OUP.

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On a theory of communicative competence
Brown, G. and G. Yule. 1983. Discourse Analysis. CUP.
Canale, M. 1983. From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy, in J.
Richards and R. Schmidt (eds.). Language and Communication. London, Longman.
Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),
Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Press.

On Discourse Analysis and Conversational studies


Austin, J. L. (1962) How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, G. and G. Yule (1983) Discourse Analysis. CUP.
van Dijk, T. 1977. Text and Context: Explorations in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse.
London: Longman.
Goffman, E. (1981) Forms of Talk . Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Krauss, R. M., & Chiu, C. (1993). Language, cognition and communication. Unpublished Paper
presented in the symposium Language, Cognition and Communication at the meetings of the
Society for Experimental Social Psychology, October 16, CA: Santa Barbara.
Searle, J. R. (1969). Speech Acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Searle, J. R. (1985). Indirect speech acts. In J. P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics:
Speech acts. Academic Press: Academic Press.
Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: Communication and cognition. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.

On future directions and implications on language teaching

B.O.E. (2002)
Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common
European Framework of reference.
Hedge Tricia (2000) Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom (OUP)

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UNIT 6

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION. DIFFERENT TYPES OF


WRITTEN TEXTS. STRUCTURE AND FORMAL
ELEMENTS. RULES GOVERNING THE WRITTEN TEXT.
ROUTINES AND FORMULAIC SPEECH.
OUTLINE
1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.
2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: ORIGINS AND
DEVELOPMENT.
2.1. The nature of communication: features and types.
2.2. The origins of written communication: language and semiotics.
2.3. The influential role of grammar: a basis for written skills.
2.4. A historical overview on written skills in the context of language teaching.
3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR AN ANALYSIS OF WRITTEN
COMMUNICATION.
3.1. Spoken vs written language.
3.2. The nature of written language: a social and cognitive act.
3.3. Interactional vs transactional written discourse.
3.4. Language teaching and writing skills: reading and writing.
3.5. Written discourse devices.
3.5.1. Cohesion.
3.5.1.1. Grammatical devices.
3.5.1.2. Lexical devices.
3.5.1.3. Graphological devices.
3.5.2. Coherence.
3.5.3. The role of pragmatics and genre analysis.
4. DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITTEN TEXTS.
4.1. Basic principles to all text types.
4.2. Text type classification.
4.2.1. Narration.
4.2.2. Description.
4.2.3. Exposition.
4.2.4. Argumentation.
4.2.5. Instruction.
5. STRUCTURE AND FORMAL ELEMENTS.
5.1. Textual structure.
5.2. Basic language structures.
5.3. Elements common to all text types.
6. RULES GOVERNING WRITTEN DISCOURSE.
7. ROUTINES AND FORMULAE SPEECH.
8. NEW DIRECTIONS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.
9. IMPLICATIONS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.
10. CONCLUSION.
11. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

The main aim of this research is to provide a useful background for the written communication
process and identify its main features by means of a historical and a theoretical background. While
doing so, the importance of written devices are highlighted, as well as the importance of genre
analysis in the context of pragmatics in the classification of text types, structure and elements, and
framework for routines and formulaic speech.

The study comprises eight sections. Section one, Introduction and Notes on Bibliography, is an
introductory chapter which starts off by defining the aims of the study, and then, by providing the
reader with some notes on bibliography in order to set the study within a research and study
framework.

Section two, A Historical Approach to Written Communication, goes on to offer a brief background
to the history of writing, from its origins and nature as part of the communication process to,
particularly, the language teaching context regarding writing skills.

Section three, A Theoretical Framework for an Analysis of Written Communication, deals with the
theoretical premisis of the study pertaining to the notion of written language. The section begins
with two theoretical distinctions. The first one, between written and spoken language, and the
second one, between interactional and transactional language functions so as to establish written
discourse features and function. Once written discourse is framed within a transactional function,
reading and writing skills are examined in relation to language teaching, and therefore, the writing
process from a structural point of view. Then, its main features are under revision: cohesion,
coherence and the prominent role of pragmatics and genre analysis as a theoretical basis for next
sections, where text types are classified according to genres and text types.

Section four, Different Types of Written Texts, firstly offer an overview of the common basic
principles to all types of texts, to secondly, provide a text type classification with their own features.
Thus, we find narration, description, exposition, argumentation and instruction.

Section five, Structure and Formal Elements, comprises a revision on textual structure, basic
language structures, and elements common to all text types.

Section six deals with rules governing written discourse; section seven, with routines and formulae
speech. Section eight examines new directions in language teaching, and section nine, implications
in language teaching.

Section ten, conclusion, offers a critical view on the issue, and finally, bibliography is listed at the
end of this study for further references.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Introductions to the origins of language and communication include Crystal, Linguistics (1985); and
Goytisolo, Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity (2001).
On a theoretical framework for written discourse, see Cook, Discourse (1989); Widdowson,
Teaching Language as Communication (1978); Myles, Second Language Writing and Research:

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The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts (2002); Brown and Yule, Teaching the
Spoken Language (1983); Rivers, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills (1981) for routines and
formulae; and Swales, Genre Analysis. English in academic and research settings (1990). Among
the many general works that incorporate the the concept of text types and genre analysis, see B.O.E.
(2002); Quirk, Greenbaum & Svartvik (1972); Swales, Genre Analysis. English in academic and
research settings (1990); Halliday & Hasan, Cohesion in English (1976); still indispensable is Dijk
& Kintsch, Strategies of Discourse Comprehension (1983); and Beaugrande & Dressler, Introduction
to Text Linguistics (1981). The most complete record of new directions and current implications on
language teaching is provided by the annual supplement of AESLA 2001 (Asociacin Espaola de
Lingstica Aplicada) and current publications of the Council of Europe, Modern Languages:
Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European Framework of reference (1998); Celce-
Murcia & Olshtain, Discourse and context in language teaching (2000).

2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: ORIGINS AND


DEVELOPMENT.

According to Crystal (1985), it is particularly important for people to have some historical
perspective in linguistics as it helps the researcher or teacher to avoid unreal generalizations or
doubts about modern developments and innovations. Besides, it provides a source of salutary
examples, suggesting which lines of investigation are likely to be profitable, which fruitless.
Therefore, in order to provide a relevant basis for subsequent sectio ns concerning the development
of written communication within a theory of language learning, we shall first examine in this
section the origins of written communication. We shall first trace back to the general nature of
communication, and then, establish a link between communication, language and semiotics in order
to lead our presentation towards a theoretical framework for an analysis of written discourse.

2.1. The nature of communication: features and types.

Research in cultural anthropology (Crystal 1985) has shown that the origins of communication are
to be found in the very early stages of life when there was a need for animals and humans to
communicate adequately for their purposes, in order to express their feelings, attitudes and core
activities of everyday life, such as hunting, fighting, eating, or breeding among others. However,
even the most primitive cultures had a constant need to express their ideas by other means than
gutural sounds and body movements as animals did. Concerning humans, their constant
preoccupation was how to turn thoughts into words. Hence, before language was developed, non-
verbal codes were used to convey information by means of symbols which were presented, first, by
means of pictorial art, and further in time, by writing.

Language, then, is a highly elaborated signaling system with particular design features. It is worth
noting, then, the distinction between human and animal systems as they produce and express their
intentions in a different way. Yet, the most important feature of human language that differs from
animal systems is to be endowed with an auditory vocal channel which allowed humans to develop
and improve language in further stages. Besides, the possibility of a traditional transmission plays
an important role when language is handed down from one generation to another by a process of
teaching and learning.

Therefore, we may establish a distinction in terms of types of communication, where we distinguish


mainly two, thus verbal and non-verbal codes. Firstly, verbal communication is related to those acts
in which the code is the language, both oral and written. Thus, singing and writing a letter are both

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instances of verbal communication. Secondly, when dealing with non-verbal devices, we refer to
communicative uses involving visual and tactile modes, such as kinesics, body movements, and
also paralinguistic devices drawn from sounds (whistling), hearing (morse) or touch (Braille).
According to Goytisolo (2001), the oral tradition in public performances involves the participation
of the five senses as the public sees, listens, smells, tastes, and touches.

2.2. The origins of written communication: language and semiotics.

As we have previously mentioned, prior to language development, non-verbal codes were used to
convey information by means of icons and symbols which were presented, first, by means of
pictorial art, and further in time by writing. Later developments in the direction of the study of
meaning were labelled during the last century under the term semantics, which had a linked sense
with the science related to the study of signs, semiotics .
This development in the direction of explicit messages and knowledge was soon followed by
anthropologist researchers interested in the findings of written accounts in earlier societies, by
means of icons and symbols found in burial sites and prehistoric caves. From Greeks mantiks
(significant) and sma (sign), semiotics has a prominent role on the study of signs, what they refer
to, and of responses to those signs.
According to Crystal (1985), most primitive cultures developed a deep-rooted connection between
divinity and language, and therefore, approached language with a clearly religious purpose. They
firmly believed in the power of language, and they felt that the writing had a voice, and a life of its
own. Thus, there are regular tales in the anthropological literature of natives where alphabets began
to be interpreted mystically, as a proof of the existence of God. Similar stories are not hard to find
in other cultures. Thus, the god Thoth was the originator of speech and writing to the Egyptians.
The Babylonians attributed it to their god, Nab. A heaven-sent water-turtle with marks on its back
brought writing to the Chinese, it is said. According to Icelandic saga, Odin was the inventor of
runic script. And Brahma is reputed to have given the knowledge of writing to the Hindu race
(Crystal 1985). These story-tales are clearly involved with religious beliefs and superstitious and
mystical ideas as words were seen as all-powerful. Thus, runes were originally charms, and the
power of a charm or an amulet depended largely on the writing upon it, the more spiritual the
subject-matter, the better the charm. We find this kind of belief in Jewish phylacteries, and in the
occasional Christian custom, such as that of fanning a sick person with pages of the Bible, or
making him eat paper with a prayer on it. Examples of this kind abound in the history of cultures.

2.3. The influential role of grammar: a basis for written skills.


As we have seen above, the history of language is bound up with the history of religious thought in
its widest sense. However, more fundamental and far-reaching than this is the major concern of
early Greek and Roman scholarship on thought about language. Thus, Greeks developed an
alphabet different in principle from the writing systems previously mentioned, and considered to be
the forerunner of most subsequent alphabets. Their permanent contribution in this area is nicely
indicated by the history of the term grammar (grammatike), which in this early period implied
understanding the use of letters, that is, having the skill of reading and writing (Crystal 1985).
Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics devoted a great deal of time to the development of specific ideas
about language., and in particular, to grammatical analysis. Hence, Plato was called by a later
Greek writer the first to discover the potentialities of grammar' and his conception of speech

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(logos) as being basically composed of logically determined categories.This fairly study of the
language, part of the more general study of dialectic, was taken over by the Romans with very
little change in principle, and, through the influence of Latin on Europe, was introduced into every
grammatical handbook written before the twentieth century.

Similarly, in ancient India, for example, the Hindu priests had begun to realize, around the 5th
century B.C., that the language of their oldest hymns, Vedic Sanskrit, was no longer the same,
either in pronunciation or grammar, as the contemporary language. For an important part of their
belief was that certain religious ceremonies, to be successful, needed to reproduce accurately the
original pronunciation and text of the hymns used.
The solution adopted in order to preserve the early states of the language from the effects of time
was to determine exactly what the salient features of Vedic Sanskrit were, and to write them down
as a set of rules. The earliest evidence we have of this feat is the work carried out by Panini in the
fourth century B.C., in the form of a set of around 4,000 aphoristic statements about the languages
structure, known as sutras. Also, there were other ways in which religious studies and goals
promoted language study. Thus, missionaries have often introduced writing by stating the first
grammars of languages, and priests and scholars have translated works such as the Bible and the
Scriptures.

2.4. A historical overview on written skills in the context of language teaching.


As we have stated in the previous section, an important step in the development of writing, after the
influential role of the language of worship with a clear religious purpose, was the determination of
preserving the early states of the language from the effects of time by means of grammar, stating
the most salient features of a language, and writing them down as a set of rules. Besides, the
influence of Greek and Latin scholarship proved highly relevant in Europe in subsequent centuries,
since still under the aegis of the Church, missionaries and scholars have often introduced writing by
stating the first grammars of languages, translating works such as the Bible and the Scriptures.
Latin, according to Crystal (1985), became the medium of educated discourse and communication
throughout Europe by the end of the first millenium. Largely as a result of this, the emphasis in
language study was for a while almost exclusively concerned with the description of the Latin
language in the context of language teaching. This approach brought about a massive codification
of Latin grammars such as those of Aelius Donatus (fourth century) and Priscian (sixth century)
among many others. Donatus grammar was used right into the Middle Ages, and became a popular
grammar known as being the first to be printed using wooden type, and providing a shorter edition
for children.

Throughout this period, we may observe a high standard of correctness in learning. The
Benedictine Rule, for example, heavily punished the mistakes of children in Latin classes. By the
Middle Ages, when it had come to be recognized that Latin was no longer a native language for the
majority of its prospective users, the grammar books became less sets of facts and more sets of
rules, and the concept of correctness became even more dominant.
It is worth noting that this use of grammar rules promoted the development of written skills in
language teaching, as we may observe in a popular Latin definition of grammar, that is, ars bene
dicendi et bene scribendi, which means the art of speaking and writing well. Later, in the age of
humanism, it was common to hear people identify the aim of learning grammar with the ideal of
being able to write Latin like Cicero. A similar attitude had also characterized Greek language
teaching, especially after the Alexandrian school (third century B.C.), considered to be the language

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of the best literature, was held up as a guide to the desired standard of speech and writing.
Grammars were considered, then, to tell people authoritatively how to speak and write.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR AN ANALYSIS OF WRITTEN


COMMUNICATION.

3.1. Spoken vs written language.

In order to get a firm grasp on the relationship between oral and written languages we must first
examine once again our historical knowledge of both before we consider the changes introduced by
the invention of typography in 1440. According to Goytisolo (2001), the first evidence of writing is
from 3500 B.C., the date of the Sumerian inscriptions in Mesopotamia and early Egyptian
inscriptions whereas the appearance of language can be traced back some forty or fifty thousand
years. The period which encompasses primary orality, then, is consequently ten times the length of
the era of writing. However, in a present-day context, we may observe an overwhelming influence
of the written on the oral component as an attempt to preserve and memorise for the future the
narratives of the past, by means of literature productions, printing and modern audiovisual and
computing media.

With respect to both codes of communication (Widdowson 1978), oral and written, it is worth
noting that one of their differences relies on the notion of participants and different skills, thus
productive and receptive, to be carried out in a one-way process or two-way process. Hence,
regarding written communication, we refer to writer and reader, when they are involved in the
productive skill of writing and the receptive skill of reading. Similarly, we refer to speaker and
listener, when they are involved in the productive skill of speaking and the receptive skill of
listening.

Furthermore, within a traditional division of language into the two major categories of speech and
writing, Cook (1989) establishes two main differences. The first difference is described in terms of
time factor, that is, a here-and-now production; and the second difference is depicted in terms of
degree of reciprocity , that is, one-way speech or two-way speech. There are certain features
regarding these differences that are likely to happen within each category depending on the nature
of the activity.

Concerning the time factor, we may find features such as time limitations, and the associated
problems of planning, memory, and of production . First, regarding time limitations, spoken
language happens in time, and must therefore be produced and processed on line. In writing,
however, we have time to pause and think, and while we are reading or writing, we can stand back
and view the discourse in spatial or diagrammatic terms. Secondly, in relation to planning, the
speaker has no time to plan and organize the message as there is no going back and changing or
restructuring our words, whereas the writer may plan his writing under no time pressure, and the
message is economically organized. Thirdly, regarding memory, on spoken interaction we may
forget things we intended to say whereas on writing we may note our ideas and organize the
development of our writing. Finally, concerning production, on speaking we often take short cuts
to avoid unnecessary effort in produc ing individual utterances, and therefore we make syntactic
mistakes because we lose the wording. On the contrary, on writing, the words are planned and
organized while producing a text, allowing the writer to control the language being used. Hence,
sentences may be long or complex as the writer has more time to plan. Moreover, mistakes are less
likely to happen as we are aware of the grammar of our utterances.

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The second feature to be mentioned is a reciprocal activity, in terms of one-way speech or two-way
speech. This crucially affects the sorts of reactions at a communicative level that are likely to take
place in an interaction. Thus, in speaking, the person we are speaking to is in front of us and able to
put us right if we make a mistake; on the contrary, the writer has to anticipate the readers
understanding and predict potential problems. If the writer gets this wrong, the reader may give up
the book in disgust before getting far. Moreover, regarding reactions, both speakers may show
agreement and understanding, or incomprehension and disagreement to each other whereas readers
have no way of signalling this to the writer. Therefore, readers have to put in some compensatory
work in order to make their reading successful, either skip, or else work very carefully. Both readers
and writers need patience and imagination at a communicative level.

3.2. The nature of written language: a social and cognitive act.

Students writing in a second language are faced with social and cognitive challenges related to
second language acquisition as writing requires conscious effort and much practice in composing,
developing, and analyzing ideas (Myles 2002). In fact, one of the problems students find more
difficult to overcome is how to operate successfully in a specia l type of discourse that implies
knowledge of the textual conventions, expectations, and formulaic expressions. In the social
cognitive curriculum students are taught as apprentices in negotiating a required discourse, and in
the process develop strategic knowledge. As Ellis (1994) states, writing is typically a socially
situated, communicative act that is incorporated into a socio-cognitive theory of writing.

Both social and cognitive factors affect language learning. In fact, exploration of social factors
gives us some idea of why learners differ in proficiency type, thus conversational ability versus
writing ability, and in ultimate proficiency (Ellis 1994). Learners with positive attitudes, motivation,
and concrete goals will have these attitudes reinforced if they experience success, and negative
attitudes by failure. According to Myles (2002), although learners may have negative attitudes
toward writing for academic purposes, many of them are financially and professionally committed
to graduating from English-speaking universities, and as a result, have strong reasons for learning
and improving their skills. Also, Myles states that most students hate writing in English, native and
non-native, and only take the course for educational and career purposes.

Moreover, academic writing is believed to be cognitively complex. The acquisition of academic


vocabulary and discourse style is particularly difficult. Therefore, according to cognitive theories,
communicating orally or in writing is an active process of skill development where the learner
internalizes the language. Indeed, acquisition is a product of the complex interaction of the
linguistic environment and the learners internal mechanisms. Thus, students may develop
particular learning strategies that isolate mental processes, such as metacognitive, cognitive, and
social/affective strategies. Firstly, metacognitive strategies are used to plan the organization of
written discourse or answer appropriately to the demands of a task. Secondly, cognitive, such as
transferring or using known linguistic information to facilitate a new learning task or using imagery
for recalling and using new vocabulary. Finally, social/affective strategies, which involve
cooperating with peers, thus, in peer revision classes (Ellis 1994).

As we can see, writing in a second language is a complex process involving the abillity to
communicate in a foreing language, and the ability to construct a text in order to express ones ideas
effectively in writing. Social and cognitive factors and learner strategies will help us in assessing in
next section the underlying functions of language implicit in written discourse that, in turn, will be
useful to establish a fundamental basis for subsequent sections.

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3.3. Interactional vs transactional written discourse.

Brown and Yule (1983) state in their discussion on functions of language that there is, on the one
hand, written language and, on the other hand, spoken language, and that they differ primarily in the
way information is packed regarding syntactic structure and vocabulary selection. For them, written
language has many different functions ranging through literary functions, expository functions
(academic, legal, journalistic), to straight informative functions (news, familiar letters, domestic
type notes), to recording functions (minutes of meetings, lecture notes, doctor recording patients
medical histories) among others.

They claim that, in each function, language is used for a somewhat different purpose, and hence
takes on a somewhat different form. There are appropriate styles for different functions, or in
other words, different registers. These registers involve facts about society, and the individual in
society; they also involve messages which give information about place, intention and time. We
find, then, that the fundamental function common to most uses of the written language is the
transmission of information, whether recording information about what is past, or what is to
happen in the future.Brown and Yule shall call this information-transferring function of language
the transactional function of language. Actually, when this function is at issue, it matters that
information is clearly conveyed, since the purpose of the producer of the message is to convey
information.

There are, though, genres, other than literary, where this transactional function is not primary:
thank you letters, love-letters, party games. These examples have in common a clear function of
spoken language, that is, the maintenance of social relatioships, where the primary purpose is to be
nice to the person they are talking to. Also, this function is characterised by constantly shifting
topics and a great deal of agreement on them. Therefore, in order to establish a relevant framework
for analysing written discourse, we could say that primarily transactional language is primarily
message-oriented whereas primary interactional function is primarily listener-oriented.

3.4. Language teaching and writing skills: reading and writing.

According to Brown and Yule (1983), for most of its history, language teaching has been concerned
with the study of the written language which is the language of literature and of scholarship. Since
any well-educated person ought to have access to writing skills in orde r to acquire a foreign
language, the obvious procedure is to teach the language through excellent written models carefully
selected by the teacher. Written language has not varied greatly over a couple of centuries, and texts
selected for foreign students to study were nearly all written in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. Nowadays, several approaches are proposed in order to teach writing by means of
grammatical exercises, written dialogues, translation exercises, and dictation. This type of writing
processes range from the more guided types of exercises to more flexible production in writing.

Writing skills and habits are said to be directly influenced by reading as both skills are intertwined.
Reading, whether in a first or second language context, involves the reader, the text, and the
interaction between the reader and text. As Widdowson (1983) claims, the most promising way of
teaching writing is first to develop in the learner an ability to recognise how written language
communicates by means of comprehension exercises. Cognitives processes are then at work,
allowing us to organize information and knowledge economically by means of schemas, which also
allow us to predict the continuation of written discourse. These cognitive processes will lead us to
current approches to the teaching of writing, such as guided writing where students begin from the
material provided and develop it out in an individual way.

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For many years, several approaches have tried to account for the best method to teach writing.
However, according to Rivers (1981), examination papers in composition the world over show are,
with few exceptions, disappointing since college and university students are still unable to express
themselves by writing in a clear, correct, and comprehensible manner after even six or more years
of study of another language behind them. Yet, among those proposed, a common aim for teachers
is to develop the learners ability to write a text by means of writing devices to help them use the
text as a basic format for practice from the very beginning. Some of these approaches differ in the
way learners are guided or the stress on correct production. Firstly, regarding writing guidance, we
shall say it does not imply tight control over what the learners write. Thus, in the early stages it is
rejected to allow free expression as writing is intended to be a step by step work with various kinds
of controlled and guided exercises. Secondly, in relation to the production of accurate sentences,
some approaches place so much stress on the production of correct sentences, and some of them try
to reduce the amount of control, either by forcing the learners to exercise some sort of meaningful
choice or by allowing them to contribute to the text (Byrne 1979).

With respect to writing programmes for students to be taught how to write and be aware of how to
communicate through written texts, Byrne (1979) considers that we do not need to build into the
writing programme a step by step approach which will take the learners in easy stages from
sentence practice to the production of a text. With the text as our basic format for practice, we can
teach within its framework all the rethorical devices, thus logical, grammatical and lexical, which
the learners need to master. These devices are the aim of our next section.

3.5. Written discourse devices.

According to Rivers (1981), writing a language comprehensibly is much more difficult than
speaking it. When we write, she says, we are like communicating into space if we do not know the
recipient of our piece of writing, whereas when we communicate a message orally, we know who is
receiving the message. We are dealing here once again with a traditional division of language into
the two major categories of speech and writing.

Dealing with written language and its resources, we observe that both categories, speaking and
writing, share similar features as well as differ in others regarding the nature of each category.
Then, following Byrne (1979), we can establish similar resources for both speaking and writing at a
linguistic level, thus on its grammar and lexis, but not to the extent to which some resources apply
directly to the nature of the two channels. Thus, as speech is the language of inmediate
communication, most linking devices will also occur in the spoken language although less
frequently than in writing where they are essential for the construction of a coherent text.

Therefore, in order to examine the construction of longer texts, we will show how the coherence,
cohes ion and effectiveness of written texts rely on an understanding of genre analysis and its
workplace applications. However, as writing is the way of making contact at a distance, we cannot
forget graphological devices which compensate for the absence of oral feedback and paralinguistic
devices. Then, we may refer to three elements involved in written discourse. First of all, cohesion
and coherence as they establish intrasentential and intersentitial links in written discourse. These
text-centred notions, which are featured as constitutive principles, create textual communication as
well as set the rules for communicating. The third feature to be mentioned in relation to written
discourse is the analysis of genre analysis which, according to Byrne, deals with the nature of the
two channels.

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There are also at least three more regulative principles that control textual communication: the
efficiency of a text is contingent upon its being useful to the participants with a minimum of effort;
its effectiveness depends upon whether it makes a strong impression and has a good potential for
fulfilling an aim; and its appropriateness depends upon whether its own setting is in agreement with
the seven standards of textuality (de Beaugrande & Dressler 1981).

3.5.1. Cohesion.

Cohesion concerns the ways in which the components of the surface text (the actual words we hear
or see) are mutually connected within a sequence (de Beaugrande & Dressler 1981), that is, intra-
text linking devices are connected to extra-textual reference. Cohesion has been a most popular target
for research, and it is well known its relation to the second of the textuality standards, coherence.
Since cohesive markers are important for the understanding of oral texts as well as written,
interpreters, as all speakers, make extensive use of cohesive devices, for example in order to
enhance coherence, but also for reasons of economy (e.g. saving time and alleviating conceptual
work load by using anaphoric devices like generalisations and pro-forms).

Halliday and Hasan, in their ground-breaking work Cohesion in English (1976), describe cohesion
as a semantic concept that refers to relations of meaning that exist within a text. They define two
general categories of cohesion: grammatical cohesion (substitution, ellipsis, conjunction, reference)
and lexical cohesion.

3.5.1.1. Grammatical cohesion.

We find firstly, substitution and ellipsis which are closely related. So, substitution takes two forms:
a) substitution per se, which is "the replacement of one item by another", and b) ellipsis, in which
"the item is replaced by nothing", usually called zero-replacement. There are three types of
substitution: nominal, verbal and clausal.

Secondly, conjunction is a relationship indicating how the subsequent sentence or clause should be
linked to the preceding or the following sentence or parts of sentence. This is usually achieved by
the use of conjunctions. Frequently occurring relationships are addition, causality and temporality.
Subordination links things when the status of one depends on that of the other, by means of a large
number of conjunctive expressions: because, since, as, thus, while, or therefore.

Finally, reference is another well researched area within linguistics. It is defined by Halliday &
Hasan (1976) as a case where the information to be retrieved is the referential meaning, the identity
of the particular thing or class of things that is being referred to. The cohesion lies in the continuity
of reference, whereby the same thing enters ni to the discourse a second time. In other words,
reference deals with semantic relationship. Reference can be accomplished by exophoric reference,
which signals that reference must be made to the context of the situation; endophoric reference:
reference must be made to the text of the discourse itself; it is either anaphoric, referring to
preceding text; or cataphoric, referring to text that follows.

Also, Halliday & Hasan (1976) describe the following types of reference: personal reference:
nouns, pronouns, determiners that refer to the speaker, the addressee, other persons or objects, or an
object or unit of text; demonstrative reference: determiners or adverbs that refer to locative or
temporal proximity or distance, or that are neutral; comparative reference: adjectives or verbs

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expressing a general comparison based on identity, or difference, or express a particular
comparison.

3.5.1.2. Lexical cohesion

Lexical cohesion does not deal with grammatical or semantic connections but with connections
based on the words used. It is achieved by selection of vocabulary, using semantically close items.
Because lexical cohesion in itself carries no indication whether it is functioning cohesively or not, it
always requires reference to the text, to some other lexical item to be interpreted correctly. There
are two types of lexical cohesion: reiteration and collocation.
First of all, reiteration includes repetition, synonymy, hyponymy, metonymy (part vs. whole),
antonymy whereas collocation is any pair of lexical items that stand to each other in some
recognisable lexico-semantic relation, e.g. "sheep" and "wool", "congress" and "politician", and
"college" and "study".

Like in the case of synonymous reference, collocational relation exists without any explicit
reference to another item, but now the nature of relation is different: it is indirect, more difficult to
define and based on associations in the reader mind. The interpreter sometimes adds coherence to
the text by adding cohesion markers.

3.5.1.3. Graphological devices

With respect to graphological resources, we are mainly dealing with visual devices as we make
reference to orthography, punctuation, headings, foot notes, tables of contents and indexes. As most
of them deal with form and structure of different types of texts, and will be further developed as
part of a subsequent section, we shall primarily deal with orthography and punctuation in this
section.

Firstly, orthography is related to a correct spelling, and in relation to this term, Byrne (1979) states
that the mastery of the writing system includes the ability to spell. This device covers different word
categories, but mainly, rules of suffixation, prefixation, and addition of verbal markers as gerunds,
past tenses or third person singular in present tenses. Moreover, Byrne claims for the use of the
dictionary as the relationship between sound and symbol in English is a complex one, and spelling
becomes a problem for many users of the language, native and non-native speakers alike. The
importance of correct spelling is highlighted when Byrne says that most of us are obliged to consult
a dictionary from time to time so as not to be indifferent to misspelling. Therefore, students are
encouraged to acquire the habit of consulting a dictionary in order to ensure an adequate mastery of
spelling.

Secondly, according to Quirk et al (1972) punctuation serves two main functions. Firstly, the
separation of successive units (such as sentences by periods, or items in a list by commas), and
secondly, the specification of language function (as when an apostrophe indicates that an inflection
is genitive). Moreover, punctuation is concerned with purely visual devices, such as capital letters,
full stops, commas, inverted commas, semicolons, hyphens, brackets and the use of interrogative
and exclamative marks. It is worth noting that punctuation has never been standardised to the same
extent as spelling, and as a result, learners tend to overlook the relevance of punctuation when
producing a text. Learners must be encouraged to pay attention to the few areas where conventions
governing the use of the visual devices as fairly well established, among which we may mention
letters and filling in forms as part of a sociocultural educational aim. Thus, students must try to

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understand the relevance of the use of capital letters as a mark of sentence boundary, the use of
commas to enumerate a sequence of items, the use of question and exclamation marks to express
requests or attitudes, and the use of inverted commas to highlight a word or sentence.

3.5.2. Coherence.

The term cohesion is often confused or conflated with coherence. But it is necessary, both from a
theoretical and a practical point of view to retain this distinction between surface and content. The
term coherence concerns the ways in which the components of the textual world, thus the concepts
and relations which underlie the surface text, are mutually accessible and relevant.

Coherence is a purely semantic property of discourse, while cohesion is mainly concerned with
morpho-syntactic devices in discourse. A coherent text is a semantically connected, integrated
whole, expressing relations of closeness, thus, causality, time, or location between its concepts and
sentences. A condition on this continuity of sense is that the connected concepts are also related in
the real world, and that the reader identifies the relations.

In a coherent text, there are direct and indirect semantic referential links between lexical items in
and between sentences, whic h the reader must interpret. A text must be coherent enough for the
interlocutor to be able to interpret. It seems probable that this coherence can be achieved either
through cohesion, for instance, markers and clues in the speakers text, or through the employment
of the user-centred textuality standards of intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situationality
and intertextuality.

These markers are defined as all the devices which are needed in writing in order to produce a text
in which the sentences are coherently organised so as to fulfil the writers communicative purpose.
Byrne (1979) claims that they refer to words or phrases which indicate meaning relationships
between or within sentences, such as those of addition, contrast (antithesis), com parison (similes),
consequence, result, and condition expressed by the use of short utterances, and exemplification
(imagery and symbolism).
Within the context of textual analysis, we may mention from a wide range of rethorical devices the
use of imagery and symbolism; hyperbole, antithesis, similes and metaphors; onomatopoeias,
alliteration and the use of short utterances for rhythm and effect; repetition and allusion to drawn
the readers attention; and cacophony and slang to make the piece of writing lively and dynamic.

3.5.3. The role of pragmatics and genre analysis.

So far, students must be aware of the relevance of using both cohesion and coherence within the
production of any text regarding its nature in order to get an accurate and meaningful piece of
writing. It is relevant, then, to mention how knowledge of the world or of the culture, enables
people to make their language function as they intend and to understand how others do the same to
them.

Genre Studies involve extensive exploration and study of one type of literature to understand how
authors develop their piece of writing. Teachers can also spend a portion of Writing Workshop
studying the different genres ( books, picture books, poetry, folklore, realistic fiction, mysteries,
fantasy, biography, and autobiography). After repeated exposure to the genre, students are asked to
write in this genre. During genre studies, students can be exposed to the forms of the different

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genre, the author's style, and the literary elements. Included in the genre studies are structures of
narrative text and expository text that writers use to entertain an audience or to communicate
information.

Genre analysis is also related to the importance of text structure and contextual configuration on
describing genres as they comprise so much of our culture repertoires of typified social responses in
recurrent situations and to the exigencies of the situation. To connect their knowledge with the
language system people use reasoning, and pragmatic theories, we shall go towards explaining how
people reason their way from the form to the function and thus construct coherent discourse from
the language they receive. We shall deal in next sections with this pragmatic element concerning
sociocultural values when deciding in section four, types of texts, and their structure and formal
elements; in section five, rules governing written discourse; and in section six, routines and
formulae speech.

4. DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITTEN TEXTS.

Before providing a brief account of text types and their respective instances within a literary
production, it is relevant to mention those basic principles by which all text types are interrelated as
literary productions, that is, lay behind the notion of intertextuality, as we shall see below.

Literary texts are formed from constituents that are not always immediately recognizable, such as
specific conditions of production, contradictory cultural discourses, and intercultural processes. For
such reasons, literary texts may be polysemous, having a range of interpretive possibilities.
However, there are some basic principles of literature which have common characteristics that make
it possible for them to be classified into genres and text types.

4.1. Basic principles of literature applied to all text types.

These basic principles are considered to be literary elements and devices to evaluate how the form
of a literary work and the use of literary elements and devices, such as setting, plot, theme, and
many more to be mentioned, contribute to the works message and impact. Among the basic
principles of literature applied to all text types, we may find that the subject is expressed in terms of
theme ; the writer approaches this subject with a specific point of view, both physical and
psychological, and from a definite perspective; the writers attitude toward a subject is expressed
through his voice, real and assumed, which is marked by a distinctive tone. Satire, irony, and
hyperbole are special attitudes and tones; furthermore, the distinctive voice of the writer speaks
through his style , which essentially is a product of language, the choice and combination of words,
sentence structures, and the rhythms of larger elements; the writer also structures the material of
experience into artistic forms and patterns; contrast and likeness of elements are important aspects
of pattern and form, and are heightened through repetition, balance, and the internal rhythms of the
piece itself.

Moreover, basic to the concept of form is the notion of order and sequence, which can be logical,
chronological, or psypchological; much of literature deals with storied elements which have their
genesis in some type of conflict; plot, then, moves from complication, through conflict, to resolution
where deeper levels of meaning are suggested through image, metaphor, and symbols; such storied
literature takes place in a real or imagined setting , within a time and a place; and finally,
participants are considered to be characters, and the reality they represent is characterization.

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4.2. Text type classification.

Students should realize that literary works are not created merely in an individual authors mind. A
literary work can be said to have a personality of its own, which is interwoven with the ruling
social and cultural circumstances. However, a literary text is influenced not only by the social and
political circumstances of its time. It is also engaged in a dialogue with other texts to which it
relates, critically or affirmatively. This process is called intertextuality.

Moreover, literary works do not occur in isolation, but as members of groups, as a novel among
novels, a poem among poems, or a drama among dramas. Historically and structurally, they are
connected to other works of the same genre, as well as other genres. The relationship between text
types and genres is not straghtforward since genres reflect differences in external format and text
types may be defined on the basis of cognitive categories (Smith 1985). For all genres,
intertextuality is a basic feature. If each literary work relates to other works and other forms, it is
also influenced in subtle ways by the form or medium in which it is presented. A literary text is
capable of changing its manner of access and presentation.
For 2,400 years there have been two traditions of classifying texts. The first one, deriving from
Aristotles Rethoric, where the term rethoric refers to the uses of language. More specific, it refers
to modes of discourse realized through text types, thus narration, description, directive, exposition
and argumentation. Within the second tradition, rethoric refers to communicative function as
rethorical strategies. According to Trimble (1985) we may classify texts in two ways. Firstly,
according to purpose, and secondly, according to type or mode.
According to purpose, in terms of communicative functions, the discourse is intended to inform,
express an attitude, persuade and create a debate. According to type or mode, the classification
distinguishes among descriptive, narrative, expository, argumentative, and instrumental modes
(Faigley & Meyer 1983). Here the focus is on functional categories or rhetorical strategies
regarding abstract meaning. However, genre refers to completed texts, communicative functions
and text types, being properties of a text, cut across genres. Thus informative texts (newspaper
reports, TV news, and textbooks); argumentative texts (debates, political speeches, and newspaper
articles).

Analytic interpretation of texts in all genres should become part of every literary students basic
competence (B.O.E. 2002). There are hidden influences at work beneath the textual surface: these
may be sociocultural, inter and intratextual, or ecological. The literary student has to discover these,
and wherever necessary apply them in further examination. Interpreting a literary text thus calls for
a fundamental interest in making discoveries, and in asking questions. The main aims that our
currently educational system focuses on are mostly sociocultural, to facilitate the study of cultural
themes, as our students must be aware of their current social reality within the European framework.

According to Brown and Yule (1983), one of the pleasures of teaching the written language is that it
is so easy to provide good models of almost any kind of writing. We may find models of texts and
models of sentences created for different purposes. We will deal with in this section with models of
texts, as models of sentences will be examined in section six under the heading of routines and
formulae speech. In each case the model is one which the student can profitably base his own
production on and, if he copies the model carefully, the teacher can tell him that what he produces is
right. This comfortable notion of correctness is a good deal le ss obvious when it comes to teaching
the spoken language since native spoken language reveals so many examples of slips, errors, and
incompleteness that we do not have when writing.

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Therefore, this continuum of activities that range from the more mechanical or formal aspects of
writing down on the one end, to the more complex act of composing on the other end, are
generally classified, as mentioned above, as mainly narrative, descriptive, expository,
argumentative and instructive texts. Accordingly, these texts belong predominantly to the category
or text types of narration, description, exposition, argumentation and instruction. We shall
provide in five subsections their basic characteristics.

4.2.1. Narration.

The purpose of a narrative text is to entertain, to tell a story, or to provide an aesthetic literary
experience. Narrative text is based on life experiences and is person-oriented using dialogue and
familiar language (Wolpow, & Zintz 1999). Narrative text is organized using story grammar. The
genres that fit the narrative text structure are folktales (wonder tales, fables, legends, myths, tall
tales, and realistic tales); contemporary fiction; mysteries, science fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy,
and historical fiction.

A main feature of narrative texts is the telling of a story of events or actions that have their inherent
chronological order, usually aimed at presenting facts. This story telling involves the participation
of elements such as characters and characterization, setting , plot, conflict, and theme. Besides, we
find other two relevant narratives features which deal with the order of events, and the narrators
point of view. Telling a story does not mean, necessarily, that we are dealing with fiction. So
instances of narrative texts are novels, short stories (including myths, folk tales, and legends),
poetry, plays, drama and non-fiction. Also, news story, a biography or a report are text forms that
generally adhere to the narrative text types.
Thus, regarding characters, they may be classified as main characters if they are the protagonists,
or supporting characters if they are secondary to the development of the plot. A similar, but
different term is characterization which refers to the way the author portrays stereotypes, and it is
often related to medieval literary texts where morals were identified in a fable and folk tales. In
relation to the setting, we may say it refers to the environment, the context, and the circumstances
of the story, that may happen in real or imaginery situations. Since the plot involves the action
around which the story is developed, the conflict is directly related to it, as it is usually drawn from
complication, through conflict, to a solution,stated or open-ended. Finallly, the theme is concerned
with an interesting and attractive issue which will be the starting point to develop the story, thus
love, injustice, or a murder.
The order of events that are structured by time, rather than space, is what marks a text as narrative.
The order is given by the focus on the story ending. Therefore, we may find three types of narrative
developments. Firstly, in order to know the ending of the story, we shall find a linear development
which follows a chronological order from the beginning to the end of the story. Secondly, if the
focus is not on the ending but on the circumstances leading to the ending, events may start at the
end of the story and be described, then, in terms of flash-backs in order to attract the readers
attention. Thirdly, if the focus is on both the beginning and the ending, the telling may start at an
intermediate point within the story for events to be described in terms of backwards and forwards
movements. This technique is to be called in medias res narration.
Moreover, another relevant feature within narrative texts is the narrators point of view. Thus, the
narrator is the person who tells the story, and therefore he is in charge of introducing the characters,
and explaining the circumstances in which events may take place. He is, in fact, the one who makes
the story telling a lively and dynamic text. As a result, there are three different perspectives

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depending on the point of view the narrator describes events, thus a first person narration where the
the narrator is an omniscient character who know s every detail in the story and takes part in it as
any other character, that is, as a main or supporting character, or as a witness. When the narrator
and the main character are the same person, we refer to an autobiography. Secondly, a second
person narration where the narrator becomes both narrator and character at the same time,
addressing to himself. Thirdly, a third person narration where the narrator is the author and it is a
mere witness in the story.

4.2.2. Description.

The purpose of a descriptive text is to describe and present the attributes and features of people,
animals, items and places, or to provide a detailed, neutral presentation of a literary situation.
Descriptive texts are usually based on material objects, people or places, rather than with abstract
ideas or a chronological sequence of events. In opposition to narrative texts, descriptive texts tend
to be structured in terms of space, rather than time (Halliday and Hasan 1976). The genres that may
fit into the descriptive text structure are brochures, descriptions of animals, or descriptions of
scientific and technical concepts. Yet, the descriptive process is to be compared to the painting
process because of the details the reader may perceive through most of the senses.

We may distinguish first, types of descriptions regarding the description of people and animals
(prosopographic), the description of landscapes (topographic ), and the description of objects. On
the other hand, there are other types of description concerning the mode of discourse, thus scientific,
literary, static and dynamic. Firstly, the scientific description is concerned with the notions of
objectivity and rigour. Mechanisms, different phenomena, or reactions are accurately described in
terms of external appearance, elements, and features, mainly in technical and scientific research.
Secondly, the literary description is concerned with the writers subjectivity, where his or her point
of view is emphasized, regarding practical and sensorial things, such as the five senses: hearing,
smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. Within the static description, the writer describes in a
precise way the object which is placed statically at a certain distance. It is depicted by means of
photographic techniques, giving details on shape, size, colour, material, among other aspects.
Finally, the dynamic description is featured by movement. Thus, the object is progressively
described as the writer sees it passing by. In it, the writer describes the reality in front of him by
means of a cinematographic technique through which he makes the reader discover the object at the
same time as him.
Descriptive texts are usually aimed at precision and clarity. The choice of words may range from
metaphors, similes or comparisons in order to give as many details as possible in terms of colour,
height, length, beauty, or material type. The vocabulary used can therefore be expected to be exact
and price, the overall style neutral, unemotional and sometimes technical and dry to the point of
boredom. Qualifying adjectives and relative sentences may also enrich the descriptive process.

Usually in descriptive writing, the main topic is introduced and then the attributes are included in
the body of the paragraph. An organized structure may be used to map the indiv idual characteristics
or traits of the topic being introduced. This structure can be expected to be mirrored in the text by
means of different paragraphs which would deal with different parts of the object described. For
instance, in the description of a persons physical appearance, the first paragraph may deal with an
overall impression of the individual regarding average age, beauty, height, or weight; the second
with his head description in detail, thus hair, eyes, mouth, or eyebrows; the third with his body, thus
arms, legs, and so on; and the fourth with special body features.

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4.2.3. Exposition.
Expository texts are usually written in attempts at analyzing, explaining, describing and presenting
events, facts and processes that may be quite complicated. Besides, they may be used to persuade as
well. Their structure would be determined mainly by logical coherence, but aspects of time and
space may also be quite important, depending on the subject-matter. It is thus not always easy to
differentiate between expository texts and narrative or descriptive texts, especially as expository
texts sometimes include elements of narration or description. An expository essay should be fairly
detailed and precise in order to convey accurate and objective information.
The organization of the structure of expository text is dependent upon the form or genre, and,
therefore it may include a letter, a brochure, a map, essays, speeches, lab procedures, journal
entries, government documents, newspaper and magazine articles, and directions, among other
things. Moreover, the language used in expositions is virtually always neutral, objective and
analytical. You would not expect to find emotionally loaded terms or subjective comments in an
expository text.

First, students need to understand the characteristics of an expository text. A narrative text includes
such elements as a theme, plot, conflict, resolution, characters, and a setting. Expository texts, on
the other hand, explain something by definition, sequence, categorization, comparison-contrast,
enumeration, process, problem-solution, description, or cause-effect. Where the narrative text uses
story to inform and persuade, the expository text uses facts and details, opinions and examples to do
the same. There are, however, seven basic structures of expository text and researchers recommend
that teachers begin to teach expository text structure at the paragraph level. Heller (1995) lists the
following text structures: definition, description, process (collection, time order, or listing),
classification, comparison, analysis, and persuasion. Included for each type of text structure will be
designed questions that can be asked for each text structure. Expository text is subject-oriented and
contains facts and information using little dialogue.

4.2.4. Argumentation.
Argumentative texts are intended to convince, or only to persuade, the reader of a certain point of
view, or to understand the authors reason for holding certain views on a matter under discussion.
This subject-matter may often be a controversial issue, but that is not a necessary requirement of
argumentative texts. Argumentative texts include demonstration brochures, government speeches,
debates, face-to-face discussions, thesis and the research field.

The author will analyze the question or problem he wishes to discuss and will present his own
opinion to the reader, along with the arguments that lead him to this opinion. Most argumentative
texts weigh the pros and cons of the issue, but simpler argumentations may restrict themselves to
merely one side of the debate. The argumentation in these simpler texts would thus be linear in
nature, while more complex argumentations can be expected to be dialectical

A framed layout is to be applied in these type of texts. Firstly, the writer starts by stating the idea
that constitutes the starting point of the argumentation, and besides he also holds a subjective
position regarding the stated issue. Secondly, within the development body of the text, the writer
must support his assertion by means of presenting good, convincing and solid arguments for, and
poor, unconvincing and dubious if the arguments are against the issue. Also, the writer illustrates
his view with several examples to prove the assertion made above. His aim is to persuade the reader
about the rejection or acceptance of the theory stated. Finally, the author concludes by presenting

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his arguments in a neutral or balanced way on the convinction of persuading the reader through his
line of reasoning. His line of argumentation must be consistent, logical and conclusive.

In any argumentative text, the language used by the author will, to a greater or lesser degree, reflect
his personal views on the subject-matter. It is generally less neutral than the style employed in other
non-fictional texts and may, in some cases, make use of devices such as irony or sarcasm, as well
as rather emotional terminology and phrases that express a clear opinion. You would also expect to
find more of the stylistic devices common in fictional texts in argumentation than in any other type
of non-fictional text.

4.2.5. Instruction.
Instructive texts exist for the sole purpose of telling their reader what to do in a clearly specified
situation, usually referring to future activities (Wolpow, and Zintz, 1999). While an argumentative
text may very well try to persuade the reader to engage in a certain course of action, the author of an
instructive text assumes that the reader knows very well what he wants to do, but he needs to be told
how to do it.

A typical example of an instructive text might be a recipe in a cookery-book or the users manual
giving instructions for a high-tech product. The authors style and choice of words are generally
fairly objective and unemotional although decisions the author makes about structure and word
choice contribute to the effect of the literary production on the reader, as assembly and operation
instructions.
The style in instructive text is simple, straight-forward and aimed at utmost precision. However,
sometimes the reader may find a sheet of instructions that has been translated from Korean into
Japanese, which in turn, has been translated from English into German, in which case the language
tends to make no sense. This fact may leave the reader with an emotional sensation of feeling
helpless and confused.

You can often recognize instructive texts simply by the fact that the syntax is dominated by simple
imperatives, sentences in the passive form, and suggestive remarks. Besides, stage directions take
the form of simple present tense. Regarding the use of vocabulary, there is an emphasis on technical
and impersonal use of vocabulary.

5. STRUCTURE AND FORMAL ELEMENTS.

In standard grammars (Quirk et al. 1972) there are certain structures that are expected to be
produced by our students when speaking English, thus simple and complex sentences, sentence
connection, coordination, and apposition among others. The importance of text structure is stated by
a quotation by van Dijk & Kintsch (1983), saying that on full analysis there are probably few
surface structure items that are not produced in order to signal a semantic, pragmatic, cognitive,
social, rhetorical, or stylistic function. Thus, at this level, little is left of the old Saussurian
arbitrariness in the relations between expressions (signifiers) and their meanings (signifieds).
Therefore, they add, nearly all underlying (semantic, pragmatic, etc.) information can be mapped
onto surface structures and parallel paratextual action.

However, the relation betw een surface structures and their semantic, pragmatic, or interactional
functions on the one hand, and their relevance for production on the other, cannot be too strict as

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some languages have quite varied surface structures, and it remains to be seen whether this will
always directly presuppose different comprehension and production strategies. Further work
regarding these relationships between the (functional) structures of sentences in different languages
and their cognitive processing is necessary - especially taking into account the textual relevance of
these functions. (Dijk & Kintsch 1983).

On the other hand, discourse analysis theorizes that written text (in this case, English written text) is
naturally organized into several types of patterns. Some of the characteristic patterns in written
discourse analysis are the Problem/Solution structure, discussed in Hoey (1994), the
Claim/Counterclaim structure covered in McCarthy (1993), and the General/Specific structure
discussed in Coulthard (1994). So far, we will offer a general overview of the structure and
elements that take part in written discourse.

5.1. Textual structure.

As it has been stated above, a text is not an undifferentiated sequence of words, much less of bytes.
For different purposes, it may be divided into many different units, of different types or sizes. A
prose text such as this one might be divided into sections, chapters, paragraphs, and sentences. A
verse text might be divided into cantos, stanzas, and lines. Once printed, sequences of prose and
verse might be divided into volumes, gatherings, and pages (Swales 1990).
Structural units of this kind are most often used to identify specific locations or reference points
within a text (the third sentence of the second paragraph in chapter ten or page 582), but they may
also be used to subdivide a text into meaningful fragments for analytic purposes (how many
paragraphs mention a specific word or how many pages a book has).
Other structural units are more clearly analytic , in that they characterize a section of a text. For
instance, a dramatic text might regard each speech by a different character as a unit of one kind, and
stage directions or pieces of action as units of another kind. Such an analysis is less useful for
locating parts of the text (the 72nd speech by Horatio in Act 4) than for facilitating comparisons
between the words used by one character and those of another, or those used by the same character
at different points of the play.

In general, a prose text one might similarly wish to regard as units of different types passages in
direct or indirect speech, passages employing different stylistic registers (narrative, polemic,
commentary, and argument), passages of different authorship and so forth. And for certain types of
analysis (most notably textual criticism) the physical appearance of one particular printed or
manuscript source may be of importance: paradoxically, one may wish to use descriptive markup to
describe presentational features such as typeface, line breaks, use of white space and so forth.
These textual structures overlap with each other in complex and unpredictable ways. Particularly
when dealing with texts as instantiated by paper technology, the reader needs to be aware of both
the physical organization of the book and the logical structure of the work it contains. Many great
works cannot be fully appreciated without an awareness of the interplay between narrative units
(such as chapters or paragraphs) and page divisions. For many types of research, it is the interplay
between different levels of analysis which is crucial: the extent to which syntactic structure and
narrative structure mesh, or fail to mesh, for example, or the extent to which phonological structures
reflect morphology.

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5.2. Basic language structures.

Some basic language structures are subject pronouns, subject-verb agreement, noun-adjective
agreement, negatives, interrogative and question formation, word order (subject object - verb),
gender, articles, use of the possessive adjectives and pronouns to indicate possession, tense (past,
present and future), and reflexive verbs among the most relevant features to be mentioned (Halliday
& Hasan 1976).

It is important to focus on language structures used correctly, not only on errors. At this level,
sentence and verb formation should be given more weight in determining control of basic language
structures. In formative assessments which ask students to use recently taught advanced structures,
such as the conditional tense, these structures should be considered basic language structures for the
purpose of scoring the performance.

In summative assessments, such as those given at the end of the year, students are asked to
demonstrate the skills acquired over the whole language learning experience. Although students
have been taught more advanced language structures, such as the conditional tense, these structures
may not have been internalized. Therefore, lack of control of advanced structures should not heavily
impact the students score in a summative assessment. More emphasis should be placed on basic
language structures

5.3. Elements common to all text types.

By studying the textual and lexical elements of text types, one can learn to regularly recognize the
overall structure of a text. For example, if one finds lexical signals that indicate situation-problem-
response-result (Hoey 1994), we can know with some certainty that we are dealing with a Problem-
Solution test. When one identifies vocabulary items that signal doubt or skepticism, (words such as
appear, suggests, speculation, etc.), we know we are dealing with a Claim-Counterclaim structure.
In fact, while the sequence of these structures may be varied, we should always find all the elements
we are looking for in a well-formed text.
Following a general division of any kind of text we may sometimes begin with a brief heading or
descriptive title, with or without a byline, an epigraph or brief quotation, or a salutation, such as we
may find at the start of a letter. They may also conclude with a brief trailer, byline, or signature.
Elements which may appear in this way, either at the start or at the end of a text division proper, are
regarded as forming a class, known as divtop or divbot respectively .

The following special purpose elements are provided to mark features which may appear only at the
start of a division. Firstly, the head, which may contain any heading, such as the title of a section, a
list or a glossary. Sometimes regarding text type, the heading may be categorized in a meaningful
way to the encoder. Secondly, an epigraph which contains a quotation, anonymous or attributed,
appearing at the start of a section or chapter, or on a title page. Thirdly, an argument in terms of a
formal list or prose description of the topics addressed by a subdivision of a text. Finally, an opener
which groups together dateline, byline, salutation, and similar phrases appearing as a preliminary
group at the start of a division, especially of a letter. The conclusion will be characterized by a brief
trailer of the subject matter as a summary of facts. A byline or a signature may also conclude any
piece of writing.

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6. RULES GOVERNING WRITTEN DISCOURSE.

We as teachers should expect learners not only to be able to read authentic texts, but also to write in
ways that can clearly express their ideas to native readers. There are the traditional methods that
usually involve a very heavy emphasis on English grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction.
And while these elements of the English langua ge are very important, we do a disservice to our
students if we teach only these aspects of the language. There is something lacking in merely
teaching about the building blocks of written text. What is missing is a larger model of what goes
into successfully handling text itself. This larger framework where we find solutions to
understanding and teaching text beyond the sentence level is called Written Discourse Analysis.

Written text conforms to rules that most successful writers unconsciously follow and native readers
unconsciously expect to find. It is relevant, then, to address the term textuality in written and oral
texts as it is involved in rules governing written discourse. In the approach to text linguistics by de
Beaugrande & Dressler (1981), text, oral or printed, is established as a communicative occurrence,
which has to meet seven standards of textuality. If any of these standards are not satisfied, the text
is considered not to have fulfilled its function and not to be communicative.

Cohesion and coherence are text-centred notions, designating operations directed at the text
materials. Cohesion concerns the ways in which the components of the surface text (the actual
words we hear or see) are mutually connected within a sequence (de Beaugrande & Dressler 1981).
Coherence on the other hand concerns the ways in which the components of the textual world, thus
the concepts and relations which underlie the surface text are mutually accessible and relevant.

The remaining standards of textuality are user-centred, concerning the activity of textual
communication by the producers and receivers of texts:

Firstly, intentionality concerns the text producer attitude that the set of occurrences should
constitute a cohesive and coherent text instrumental in fulfilling the writer intentions.

Secondly, acceptability concerns the receiver attitude that the set of occurrences should constitute a
cohesive and coherent text having some use or relevance for the receiver.

Thirdly, informativity concerns the extent to which the occurrences of the text are expected vs.
unexpected or known vs. unknown or uncertain.

Fourthly, situationality concerns the factors which make a text relevant to a situation of occurrence.

Fifth, intertextuality concerns the factors which make the utilisation of one text dependent upon
knowledge of one or more previously encountered texts.

The above seven standards of textuality are called constitutive principles (Searle 1965), in that they
define and create textual communication as well as set the rules for communicating. There are also
at least three regulative principles that control textual communication: the efficiency of a text is
contingent upon its being useful to the participants with a minimum of effort; its effectiveness
depends upon whether it makes a strong impression and has a good potential for fulfilling an aim;
and its appropriateness depends upon whether its own setting is in agreement with the seven
standards of textuality (de Beaugrande & Dressler 1981:11).

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7. ROUTINES AND FORMULAE SPEECH.

According to Myles (2002), the ability to write well is not a naturally acquired skill but rather
learned or culturally transmitted as a set of practices in formal instructional settings or other
environments. Writing skills, thus reading and writing, must be practiced and learned through
experience. Besides, writing involves composing, which implies the ability either to tell or retell
pieces of information in the form of narratives or description, or to transform information into new
texts, as in directive, expository or argumentative writing.

The study of texts as genres is closely related to the use of routines and formulae speech in written
discourse, as genres embrace each of the linguistically realized activity types which comprise so
much of our culture (Martin 1985). Genre is a macrolevel concept, a communicative act within a
discoursive network. It makes reference to repertoires of typified social responses in recurrent
situations -from greetings to thank yous to acceptance speeches and full-blown, written expositions
of scientific investigations - genres are use to package speech and make it recognizable to the
exigencies of the situation (Berkenkotter & Huckin 1995).

Rhetorical scholars have given genre a more central place, recently focused on social constitution of
non-literary forms of writing and speaking. Ethnographers concern about which labels are used to
type communications, in order to reveal elements of verbal communication which are
sociolinguistically salient (Saville -Troike 1982). There has been growing interest in the
sociocultural functions of disciplinary genres, for instance, legal and scientific communication.
Genres reflect differences in external format and situations of use, and are defined on the basis of
systematic non-linguistic criteria. Registers are divided into genres reflecting the way social
purposes are accomplished in and through them in settings in which they are used.

Students are encouraged to recognize a submerged network of meaning beneath what seems
apparent. This is done by inquiring about a cultures patterns of communal living and production,
patterns that often take concrete form in specific institutions. Many categories of institutional place
are associated with kinds of meaning that shape a culture, and with the production of such meaning.
An important method used here is the semiotic analysis of signs: instead of talking in general terms
about culture or reality, it is more efficient to study signs which refer to a specific sociocultural
reality. In writing a text, every author uses signs, consciously or unconsciously. Thus, the culture
which becomes tangible in these signs speaks through the author and communicates with us in his
or her text. It is the literary students task, accordingly, to identify within a text the embedded signs
and their meanings.

It is in this context where routines and formulae speech come into force for a foreign language
learner. With the time at our disposal at the elementary level, we will concentrate on giving our
students training and practice in writing down what they would say in various circumstances, with
some attention to the differences between cultural conventions in spoken and written style. At the
more advanced level, we will encourage them to express themselves with some finesse regarding
more significant subjects, and then, to write their ideas, with careful attention to lexical and
structural choice.

Skill in writing in an elegant fashion in a foreign language, according to the canons of an educated
elite, is achieved by means of expressing meaning clearly and accurately in addition to specialized
compositions. Distinctions made among types of writing activities reflect the major areas of
learning involved in the writing process. The graphic system must be learned and spelt according to

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the conventions of the language, if what it is written is to be comprehensible and acceptable to a
native speaker. Students must learn to control the structure according to the canons of good writing.
The organization of the structure of a text is dependent upon the form or genre (letter, postcard,
journal entry, newspaper article, an editorial, a brochure, or a map). Then, each type of text shares
certain characteristics with the others, they each make their own demands on the reader through the
unique use of structure, devices, features, and conventions. Therefore, we need to teach students
how to read and write each type of text as they encounter it in order to achieve effectiveness in
communication.
They must learn to select from among possible combinations of words and phrases those which will
convey the meanings they have in mind, and, ultimately, they must be able to do this so that
nuances in the appropriate linguistic register are expressed through their writing. To reach this
stage, students must have such a control of the mechanisms of good writing that they are able to
concentrate all their efforts on the process of selection among possible combinations.

8. NEW DIRECTIONS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.

From a practical perspective in education, providing experiences for contact with language in
context proved difficult for foreign language teachers as they were forced to rely on textbooks and
classroom materials in teaching language. However, nowadays new techonologies may provide a
new direction to language teaching as they set more appropriate context for students to experience
the target culture. Present-day approaches deal with a communicative competence model in which
first, there is an emphasis on significance over form, and secondly, motivation and involvement are
enhanced by means of new technologies.

Regarding writing skills, there is a need to create classrooms conditions which match those in real
life and foster acquisition, encouring reading and writing. The success partly lies in the way the
language becomes real to the users, feeling themselves really in the language. Some of this
motivational force is brought about by intervening in authentic communicative events. Otherwise,
we have to recreate as much as possible the whole cultural environment in the classroom.
This is to be achieved within the framework of the European Council (1998) and, in particular, the
Spanish Educational System which establish a common reference framework for the teaching of
foreign languages where students are intended to carry out several communication tasks with
specific communicative goals within specific contexts. Thus, foreign language activities are
provided within the framework of social interaction, personal, professional or educational fields.
Writing skills are mentioned as one of the aims of our current educational system (B.O.E. 2002). It
is stated that , students will make use of this competence in a natural and systematic way in order to
achieve the effectiveness of communication through the different communication skills, thus,
productive (oral and written communication), receptive (oral and written comprehension within
verbal and non-verbal codes), and interactional role of a foreign language as a multilingual and
multicultural identity.

This effectiveness of communication is to be achieved thanks to recent developments in foreign


language education which have indicated a trend towards the field of intercultural communication.
The Ministry of Education proposed several projects within the framework of the European
Community, such as Comenius projects and Plumier projects. The first project is envisaged as a
way for learners to experience sociocultural patterns of the target language in the target country, and
establish personal relationships which may lead to keep in contact through writing skills. Besides,

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the Plumier project uses multimedia resources in a classroom setting where learners are expected to
learn to interpret and produce meaning with members of the target culture. Both projects are
interrelated as students put in practice their writing and reading skills by means of keeping in touch
through e-mails with their friends and read their messages, apart from fostering the oral skills.

Current research on Applied Linguistics shows an interest on writing skills, such as on the
pragmatics of writing, narrative fiction and frequency on cohesion devices in English texts, among
others. We may also find research on intercultural communication where routines and formulaic
speech are under revision of contrastive analysis between English and Spanish. However, the
emphasis is nowadays on the use of multimedia and computers as an important means to promote a
foreign language in context.

9. IMPLICATIONS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.

With so much writing in foreign language classes over so many years, one would expect to find
highly effective methods for teaching this skill and marked success in learning it. Unfortunately,
examination papers in composition the world over are, with few exceptions, disappointing. Many
college and university students with four, five, even six or more years of study of another language
behind them are still unable to express themselves in a clear, correct, and comprehensible manner in
writing (Rivers 1981).

We would do well to examine critically the role of writing in foreign and second-langugage
learning, to analyze what is involved in the process of writing another language, and to trace out the
steps by which this skill can be progressively mastered. At this stage it may be well to recall two
facts often ignored by language teachers, who traditionally have expected students to write
something as a demonstration of learning: first, that many highly articulate persons express
themselves very inadequately in writing in their native language, and, second, that only a minority
of the speakers of any language acquire the skill of writing it with any degree of finesse, and then
only after years of training in school and practice out of school. We must realize that writing a
language comprehensibly is much more difficult than speaking it.

However, following Widdowson (1978), and more recently, the guidelines of the Ministry of
Education (B.O.E. 2002), the writing skill is to be given a prominent role, over past years, in
acquiring a foreign language within the framework of a communicative competence theory. Yet,
there is a need for integrating writing with other language skills such as reading, speaking and
listening, in the belief that this leads to the effectiveness of communication.

Byrne (1979) says that writing serves a variety of pedagogical purposes to be enumerated as
follows. First, writing enables us to provide for different learning styles, needs and speeds.
Especially learners who do not learn easily through oral practice alone feel more secure if they are
alllowed to read and write in the target language. Secondly, it also satisfies a psychological need
since written work serves to provide the learners with some evidence that they are making progress
in the language. Thirdly, being exposed to more than one medium is likely to be very effective.

Thus, writing provides variety in classroom activities and increases the amount of language contact
through work that can be done out of the class. Finally, we have to speak about a practical reason.
Writing is often needed for formal and informal testing. Due to the limit of time available for exams
and to the large number of students per class we are often forced to use some form of written test.

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All the above considerations on the advantages and disadvantages of writing strongly suggest that
while still concentrating on aural oral skills in the early stages, we can make good use of writing, as
part of an integrated skills approach to language learning because it seems it has valuable
pedagogical applications.

It is in listening comprehension and reading that a sophisticated level is required for handling the
language, because in these areas there will be no control over the complexity of the material they
encounter. These are the skills through which we can improve our knowledgde of the language at a
later stage. However, in speaking and writing, the non-native speaker rarely achieves the same
degree of mastery as the native speaker, even after living in a country whre the language is spoken.
What students most need in these production areas is to be able to use what they know flexibly,
making the most of the resources at their command to meet the occasion.

10. CONCLUSION.

The role of writing skills in our present society is emphasized by the increasing necessity of
learning a foreign language as we are now members of the European Community, and as such, we
need to communicate with other countries at oral and written levels. Written patterns are given an
important role when language learners face the monumental task of acquiring not only new
vocabulary, syntactic patterns, and phonology, but also discourse competence, sociolinguistic
competence, strategic competence, and interactional competence.

Students need opportunities to investigate the systematicity of language at all linguistic levels,
especially at the highest level of written discourse. Without knowledge and experience within the
discourse and sociocultural patterns of the target language, second language learners are likely to
rely on the strategies and expectations acquired as part of their first language development, which
may be inappropriate for the second language setting and may lead to communication difficulties
and misunderstandings.

One problem for second language learners is not to acquire a sociocultural knowledge on the
foreign language they are learning, and therefore, have a limited experience with a variety of
interactive practices in the target language, such as reading a complaint sheet, writing a letter to a
department store, or writing a letter to an English person with the appropriate written patterns.
Therefore, one of the goals of second language teaching is to expose learners to different discourse
patterns in different texts and interactions. One way that teachers can include the study of discourse
in the second language classroom is to allow the students themselves to study language, that is, to
make them discourse analysts (see Celce-Murcia & Olshtain, 2000), by learning in context.

By exploring natural language use in authentic environments, learners gain a greater appreciation
and understanding of the discourse patterns associated with a given genre or speech event as well as
the sociolinguistic factors that contribute to linguistic variation across settings and contexts. For
example, students can study speech acts by searching information on Internet about a job
application, address patterns, opening and closings of museums, or other aspects of speech events
(written discourse).

To sum up, we may say that language is where culture impinges on form and where second
language speakers find their confidence threatened through the diversity of registers, genres and
styles that make up the first language speakers day to day interaction. Language represents the

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deepest manifestation of a culture, and peoples values systems, including those taken over from the
group of which they are part, play a substantial role in the way they use not only their first language
but also subsequently acquired ones.

The assumptions of discourse analysis, then, are important not only for understanding written
discourse patterns and the conditions of their production, but also for a critical assessment of our
own cultural situation.

11. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

On the origins of language and oral communication


Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.
Juan Goytisolo (2001), Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity 18
May 2001. Speech delivered at the opening of the meeting of the Jury (15 May 2001)

A theoretical framework for written discourse


Cook, Guy. 1989. Discourse. Oxford University Press.
Brown, G.and G. Yule. 1983. Teaching the Spoken Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Myles, J. 2002. Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student
Texts. Queens University. California Press.
Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Widdowson, H. G. 1978. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Text types
B.O.E. 2002. Consejera de Educacin y Cultura. Decreto N. 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre. Currculo de la
Educacin Secundaria Obligatoria en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.
B.O.E. 2002. Consejera de Educacin y Cultura. Decreto N. 113/2002, de 13 de septiembre. Currculo de
Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.
de Beaugrande, R. & Dressler, W., (1981) Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman
M.A. K. Halliday & R. Hasan. 1976. Cohesion in English. Longman
Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G. & Svartvik, J. 1972. A grammar of contemporary English. Longman.
Swales, J. 1990. Genre Analysis. English in academic and research settings. Cambridge University Press.
van Dijk, T. A. And W. Kintsch.1983. Strategies of Discourse Comprehension. London: Academic Press.

On future directions and implications on language teaching


Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European
Framework of reference.
Celce-Murcia, M,. & Olshtain, E. (2000). Discourse and context in language teaching. New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Revistas de la Asociacin Espaola de Lingstica Aplicada (AESLA):
De la Cruz, Isabel; Santamara, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2001. La Lingstica Aplicada a
finales del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcal.
Celaya, M Luz; Fernndez-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa. 2001. Trabajos
en Lingstica Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona.

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UNIT 7

ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM I. VOWELS:


PHONETIC SYMBOLS. STRONG AND WEAK FORMS.
DIPHTHONGS: PHONETIC SYMBOLS. COMPARING
PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: ENGLISH VS SPANISH, THE
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF MURCIA AUTONOMOUS
COMMUNITY
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. THE HISTORY AND SCOPE OF PRONUNCIATION TEACHING.


2.1. Pronunciation instruction in perspective.
2.2. A history of pronunciation teaching.
2.2.1. Earlier times.
2.2.2. XVIth and early XVIIth century: the spelling reform.
2.2.3. XVIIth century: the precursors of modern phoneticians.
2.2.4. XVIIIth century: the standardization of pronunciation.
2.2.5. XIXth century: the creation of an International Phonetic Alphabet.
2.2.6. XXth century: modern methods and approaches.
2.2.7. XXIst century: pronunciation teaching today.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.


3.1. The nature of communication: main features.
3.1.1. Language as system: a duality of patterning.
3.1.2. Language as speech: the sounds of English.
3.2. Phonetics vs phonology: sounds vs phonemes.
3.3. The production of speech: a physio logical aspect.
3.3.1. The speech chain: three main stages.
3.3.2. The speech mechanism: the speech organs.
3.4. Sound change: the Great Vowel Shift.
3.5. A standard of pronunciation: Received Pronunciation (RP).

4. ENGLISH VOWELS: PHONETIC SYMBOLS.


4.1. On defining English vowels.
4.2. A classification of English vowels.
4.2.1. The Vowel Quadrant.
4.2.2. An articulatory description: main features.
4.2.3. Other main articulatory features.

5. COMPARISON OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEMS.


5.1. Spanish /a/.
5.1.1. English ash / /.

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5.1.2. English long /a:/.
5.1.3. English short half-open central / ? /.
5.2. Spanish /e/.
5.2.1. English short /e/.
5.2.2. English long /3:/.
5.3. Spanish /i/.
5.3.1. English short /i/.
5.3.2. English long /i:/.
5.4. Spanish /o/.
5.4.1. English short /o/.
5.4.2. English long /o:/.
5.5. Spanish /u/.
5.5.1. English short /u/..
5.5.2. English long /u:/.
5.6. English schwa /? /.

6. ENGLISH DIPHTHONGS. PHONETIC SYMBOLS.


6.1. On defining English diphthongs.
6.2. A classification of English diphthongs.
6.2.1. Closing diphthongs gliding to /i/.
6.2.2. Closing diphthongs gliding to /u/.
6.2.3. Centring diphthongs gliding to schwa / ? /.
6.3. A comparison of English and Spanish diphthongs.

7. ENGLISH TRIPHTHONGS. PHONETIC SYMBOLS.


7.1. On defining English triphthongs.
7.2. A classification of English triphthongs.
7.3. A comparison of English and Spanish triphthongs.

8. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN PRONUNCIATION.

9. CONCLUSION.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

11. FIGURES.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

This study is aimed to serve as the core of a survey on pronunciation, and in particular on the vowel
system. Therefore, all sections which shall be reviewed in this unit are aimed to provide the reader
with the following: (1) a historical overview of the issues involved in teaching pronunciation, such
as how pronunciation has been viewed from various methodological perspectives and what we
know about the main methods in second language phonology; (2) a thorough theoretical grounding
in the English phonological system; (3) a theoretical insight into the ways in which this sound
system intersects with the vowel system (4) a description and classification of English vowels in
terms of articulatory features; (5) a comparison between the English and the Spanish vowel
systems; (6) a description and classification of English diphthongs and triphthongs; (7) a framework
for new directions on pronunciation, and an evaluation of the vowel system within a current
language curriculum design in the framework of the European Community; (8) a conclusion on this
present study will be offered, and (9) finally, bibliography shall be listed according to the different
sections of this study.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Different valuable sources have been taken into account for the elaboration of this unit. Thus, in
Part 2, for a historical overview of the development of the phonological system, see Celce-Murcia,
Brinton and Goodwin, Teaching Pronunciation (2001); Gimson, An introduction to the
pronunciation of English (1980); and Crystal, Linguistics (1985). In part 3, for a theoretical
background to the phonological system, classic works on the origins and nature of communication
and language are Algeo and Pyles, The origins and development of the English language (1982);
and Crystal, Linguistics (1985); on the production of the speech chain and its features, see Gimson,
An introduction to the pronunciation of English (1980); and Celce-Murcia (2001).

In Part 4, an influential description of the vowel system is offered again by Gimson (1980), and
Fernndez, Historia de la lengua inglesa (1982). In part 5, for a comparison between English and
Spanish vowel systems, indispensable works are Gimson (1980); Alcaraz and Moody, Fontica
inglesa para espaoles (1982); and OConnor, Better English Pronunciation (1988).

In parts 6 and 7 of this study , English diphthongs and triphthongs are described and compared to the
Spanish system. Again, among the many general works that incorporate recent phonological
advances, see especially Celce-Murcia (2001); and classic works by Gimson (1980) and OConnor
(1988). In part 8, for a discussion on present-day directions in teaching pronunciation, and the
conclusion in part 9, see Celce-Murcia (2001).

Special remarks must be made to the charts and diagrams representing the English and Spanish
phonological systems, which have been taken from different sources, such as Gimson (1980);
Alcaraz (1982); and Celce-Murcia (2001).

2. THE HISTORY AND SCOPE OF PRONUNCIATION TEACHING.

In this chapter, following Cerce-Murcia (2001), we provide a historical overview of how


pronunciation has been treated in language teaching over the past centuries, which includes the
types of teaching approaches and techniques that have been used as well as the main methods

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focusing on the acquisition of the sound system of a second language, especially on the vowel
system. This chapter prepare us for the specific descriptive information presented in parts 4, 5, 6,
and 7 as well as for the pedagogical implications of present-day directions on pronunciation in part
8.

2.1. Pronunciation instruction in perspective.

It is a fact that in the history of language teaching, speech and language have been the object of
serious study for many centuries. Following Gimson (1980), extensive accounts of the
pronunciation of Greek and Latin were written two thousand years ago and, in India, at about the
same time, there appeared detailed phonological analyses of Sanskrit, which reveal remarkable
affinities with modern ways of thought. However, pronunciation only began to be studied
systematically shortly before the beginning of the twentie th century since Western philologists and
linguists considered grammar and vocabulary to be much more relevant than pronunciation.

Mainly two general approaches to pronunciation have been developed from the field of modern
language teaching. First of all, an intuitive-imitative approach and secondly, an analytic-linguistic
approach. The intuitive-imitative approach was used before the late nineteenth century, and
occasionally supplemented by the teachers observations about sounds based on orthography. It
depends on the learners ability to listen to and imitate the rhythms and sounds of the target
language, and also presupposes the availability of good models to listen to, first by means of
phonograph records, later by means of tape recorders and language labs in the mid-twentieth
century, and more recently audio- and videocassettes and compact discs.

The analytic-linguistic approach is based on information and tools such as a phonetic alphabet,
articulatory descriptions, charts of the vocal apparatus, contrastive information, and other aids to
supplement listening, imitation, and production. This approach focuses attention on the sounds and
rhythms of the target language, and was developed to complement rather than to replace the
intuitive-imitative approach.

We must acknowledge that there are methods that have had some currency throughout the twentieth
century and in which the teaching of pronunciation is largely irrelevant, since oral communication
in the target language is not a primary instructional objective. We talk, for instance, about Grammar
Translation and reading-based approaches. In the following overview we focus on those methods
and approaches for which the teaching and learning of pronunciation has been a genuine concern
from earlier times to the present day.

2.2. A history of pronunciation teaching.

2.2.1. Earlier times.

Following Crystal (1985), we may observe an emphasis on pronunciation from an oral tradition
even around the fifth century B.C. in ancient India, when the Hindu priests needed to reproduce
accurately the original pronunciation of the hymns used for their religious ceremonies. Moreover,
according to Gimson (1980), these Indian grammarians produced already printed works containing
information of a phonetic kind with descriptive accounts considered to be rigorous and satisfactory,
which are still adhered to to-day. The earliest written evidence on phonetic principles traces back to
the fourth century B.C. when Panini produced a work called sutras which consisted of a set of rules
about the languages structure, some of them still used in modern linguistics.

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Later on, in the sixteenth century some of the first writers were already concerned with the relation
between the sounds of English and those of another language. Thus, the French grammarian, John
Palsgrave wrote about the pronunciation of French in his work Lesclarcissement de la Langue
Francoyse (1530). He explained the values of the French sounds, comparing them with the English,
in a kind of phonetic transcription. It was difficult, however, to communicate sound values in print,
especially those of vowels, until in the twentieth century, a system of objective evaluation was
devised by Daniel Jones, that of the Cardinal Vowels.

2.2.2. XVIth and early XVIIth century: the spelling reform.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a more important type of phonetic inquiry stemmed from
the concern at the inconsistency of the relationship of Latin letters and the sounds which they
represented, especially in English, as there had been great changes of pronunciation, particularly as
far as the vowel sounds were concerned, so that letters no longer had their original Latin values
(Gimson 1980). There was, then, a need for a spelling reform in order to bring some order into
English spelling, as far as sound symbolization is concerned.

The early spelling reformers proposed a more logical relationship of sound and spelling so as to
investigate the sounds of English. They used phonetic methods of analysis and transcription. Thus,
John Hart, in his work, Orthographie (1569), describes the organs of speech, and also defines
vowels distinguishing between front and back vowels.

2.2.3. XVIIth century: the precursors of modern phoneticians.

In the seventeenth century, there is a considerable body of published work, which is already entirely
phonetic in character and which contains observations and theories still current today. These works
emerged from a group of writers who were interested in speech and language for their own sake.
They were mainly concerned with detailed analysis of speech activity, the comparative study of the
sounds of various languages, the classification of sound types, and the establishment of systematic
relationships between the English sounds. Yet, those considered to be the true precursors of modern
scientific phoneticians (Gimson 1980), are John Wallis, Bishop Wilkins, founders of the Royal
Society, and Christopher Cooper.

To start with, the linguistic fame of John Wallis, primarily a mathematician, lasted into the
eighteenth century, and his works being copied long after his death. His principal linguistic work,
Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae (1653), examines the sounds of English as they constitute a
system in their own right. In the introductory part of the work (Tractatus de Loquela), he describes
in detail the organs of speech and attempts to establish a general system of sound classification for
vowels, stating the degree of aperture for vowels.

On the other hand, Bishop John Wilkins attempted, in his work Essay Towards a Real Character
and a Philosophical Language (1668), to describe the functions of speech organs and gives a
general classification of the sounds articulated by them.

Finally, Christopher Cooper attempted to describe and give rules for the pronunciation of English
rather than to devise a logical system into which the sounds of English might be fitted. In his work
The Discovery of the Art of Teaching and Learning the English Tongue (1687), he states The
Principles of Speech where he describes the organs of speech and names the different sections of
the speech tract responsible for vowels. Moreover, he goes further by defining diphthongs.

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2.2.4. XVIIIth century: the standardization of pronunciation.

By the eighteenth century, the spirit of general scientific enquiry into speech lost much of its
original enthusiasm. The neglect is due to the fact that it is extremely difficult to study speech
without some mechanical aids to make the speech permanent, and therefore more precisely
analysable (Crystal 1985). However, prescriptive grammars containing rules for pronunciation
continued to be produced in large numbers and dictionaries provided us with information
concerning the contemporary forms of pronunciation. Yet the main achievement of the century lies
in its successful attempt to fix the spelling and pronunciation of the language. The works that had
the main influence on language and led to a standardization of pronunciation were to be the
Dictionaries of Samuel Johnson (1755), Thomas Sheridan (1780), and John Walker (1791).

2.2.5. XIXth century: the creation of an International Phonetic Alphabet.

Following Cerce-Murcia (2001), an interest on speaking skills was developed by the Direct Method
in the late 1800s and early 1900s, where pronunciation is taught through intuition and imitation.
This movement was influenced greatly by phoneticians such as Henry Sweet, Wilhelm Vitor, and
Paul Passy, who formed the International Phonetic Association in 1886 and developed the
International Phonetic Alp habet (IPA). This alphabet made it possible to accurately represent the
sounds of any language because, for the first time, there was a consistent one-to-one relationship
between a written symbol and the sound it represented.

Successors to this approach are the naturalistic methods, which include comprehension methods
that devote a period of learning solely to listening before any speaking is allowed. Examples include
Ashers (1977) Total Physical Response and Krashen and Terrells (1983) Natural Approach .

2.2.6. XXth century: modern methods and approaches.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the Reform Movement played an important role in the development of
Audiolingualism in the United States and the Oral Approach in Britain for which pronunciation
was very important and was taught explicitly from the very start. As their main features, we may
highlight imitating and repeating sound models making use of information from phonetics, such as
a visual transcription system or charts which demonstrate the articulation of sounds. Yet, the
minimal pair drill technique, drawn from structural linguistics, helps students distinguish between
similar and problematic sounds in the target language through listening discrimination and spoken
practice, as for the distinction between sheep and ship.

In the 1960s a new approach is drawn from tranformational-generative grammar and cognitive
psychology, their main figures being Chomsky (1965) and Neisser (1967) respectively. The
Cognitive Approach viewed language as rule -governed behavior rather than habit formation, where
pronunciation is deemphasized in favor of grammar and vocabulary which are considered to be
more learnable items.

During the 1970s the Silent Way and Community Language Learning still showed interesting
differences in the way they dealt with pronunciation. Thus, the Silent Way (Gattegno 1976) is
characterized first by the attention paid to accuracy of production of both the sounds and structures
of the target language by sharpening the students inner criteria for correctness, not having to learn
a phonetic alphabet or a body of explicit linguistic information. On the other hand, Community
Language Learning, a method developed by Charles A. Curran (1976), is primarily student initiated
and designed since students decide what they want to practice and use the teacher as a resource, a
technique known as human computer.

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2.2.7. XXIst century: pronunciation teaching today.

Celce-Murcia (2001) states that the Communicative Approach, established in the 1980s and
currently dominant in language teaching, holds that the primary purpose of language is
communication. This focus brings renewed urgency on pronunciation since intelligible
pronunciation is one of the necessary components of oral communication. In fact, the ultimate goal
is for learners to work with language at the discourse or suprasentential level.

Until now we can see that the emphasis in pronunciation instruction has been largely on a
segmental level, that is, getting the sounds right at the word level, dealing with words in isolation or
with words in very controlled and contrived sentence-level environment. In the mid- to late 1970s
other approaches directed most of their energy to teaching suprasegmental features of language
(i.e., rhythm, stress, and intonation) in a discourse context as the optimal way to organize a short-
term pronunciation course for nonnative speakers.

As a result, todays pronunciation curriculum seeks to identify the most important aspects of both
the segmental and suprasegmental levels and integrate them depending on the needs of any group of
learners. In addition to segmental and suprasegmental features of English, there is also the issue of
voice quality setting, that is, each language has certain stereotypical features such as pitch level,
vowel space, neutral tongue position, and degree of muscular activity that contribute to the overall
sound quality or accent associated with the language.

As we stated at the beginning of this part, the aim of this historical background is simple: to provide
the reader with a rich knowledge base on pedagogical techniques and methods in history in order to
understand the following theoretical part which surveys the English phonological system.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.

3. 1. The nature of communication: main features.

Following Gimson (1980), one of the chief characteristics of the human being is his ability to
communicate to his fellows complicated messages concerning every aspect of his activity. For our
purposes, and within a theory of language, we shall define communication in terms of types and
main features. In the first place, we distinguish two main types within the communication process,
that is, verbal and non-verbal codes. First, regarding the phonological system, verbal codes are
related to speech in that the code is oral language, and secondly, non-verbal codes refer to
paralinguistic devices which are closely related to vowel stress patterns.

In the second place, the main features that establish a distinction between human and animal
systems of communication provide us with two important concepts to be reviewed within this unit.
Thus, the arbitrariness of signs as it is seen within a definition of language as a system and
secondly, the auditory-vocal channel from a physical perspective within language as speech.

3. 1. 1. Language as system: a duality of patterning.

A language will be defined as a system of conventional vocal signs by means of which human
beings communicate (Algeo and Pyles 1982). Language as a system is not only a collection of

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words but also rules or patterns that relate the words to one another. The arbitrariness of language
lets people build an immensely large number of meaningful units out of only a handful of
meaningless units.

This duality of patterning is perhaps the main characteristic that distinguishes true human language
from the simpler communication systems of all nonhuman animals, as the meaningless components
of a language make up its sound system, or phonology (phonemes), and the meaningful units are
part of its grammatical system (word categories). As we may see, this duality of patterning deals
directly with the nature of the phonological system, and in turn, with the vowel system.

3.1.2. Language as speech: the sounds of English.

According to Algeo and Pyles (1982), language is a system that can be expressed in many ways,
thus by writing, by hand signals or gestures. However, the signs of language, its words and
morphemes, are basically oral-aural, sounds produced by the mouth and received by the ear.
Because sounds follow one another sequentially in time, language has a one -dimensional quality. In
fact, speech is undoubtedly superior, as its evolutionary survival demonstrates.In this study, our
primary concern will be the use we make of speech, at an auditory level, and therefore, we shall
concentrate on the production, transmission, and reception of the sounds of English, in other words,
the phonetics of English.

Next sections we shall examine , firstly, the notion of phoneme and its features, and then, the
production of speech as a physiological aspect where the human vocal tract plays a prominent role .
Secondly, the sounds of speech, from an acoustic and auditory aspects where the main features of
sounds are depicted in detail. These two perspectives on the speech chain will provide the reader
with the relevant framework for a description and classification of speech sounds in terms of
linguistic analysis.

3.2. Phonetics vs phonology: sounds vs phonemes.

This study is primarily concerned with the sound system of English and it is well known that
phonetic analysis should occupy an important place in the study of any language (Gimson 1980).
When a language is being subjected to scientific analysis, some statement of the sound system is
necessary so a notation is devised for the recording of the language in a written form.

In treating sounds in this way (Algeo and Pyles 1982), phonologists seek to identify the smallest
features which are adequate to describe any human language by means of phonetic transcription.
Phonology tries to keep underlying forms and all of phonological description as close as possible to
actual pronunciation. We may find slight variations of styles of transcription. It is usual to write
phonemes within slanting lines, or virgules (also called slashes), thus /t/. In this study we shall
ordinarily use a broad phonetic transcription enclosed in slashes.

Linguistically speaking, we may establish a distinction between the terms phonetics and phonology.
On the one hand, phonetics deals with the characteristics of sounds themselves without any
reference to their function. Since the phonetic unit is the sound, it formulates methods of description
and classification of the sound types which occur in speech (articulatory, auditory, and acoustic; or
stages of production).

On the contrary, phonology deals with phonemes. According to Algeo and Pyles (1982), a phoneme
is the smallest distinctive unit of speech which may differ according to the phonetic environment in

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which it occurs. Then, we talk about allophones, that is, similar sounds that are not distinctive in
complementary distribution (or also called a specific environment).

Thus, phonology involves the study of the concrete phonetic characteristics within the context of a
specific language, thus English or Spanish phonemes. These sounds, such as vowels and
consonants, used in a language in particular are studied in relation to their functional behavior for
distinctive purposes; the combinatory possibilities of the phonemes; or the nature and use of
prosodic features as pitch, stress and length. Moreover, a study of the phonic substance of the
language may be accompanied by an analysis of lexis, grammar, semantic or paralanguage devices.

Within next sections, a phonetic approach will provide an overview of the production of sounds
from a physiological aspect, that is, the speech chain in its three main stages, and the mechanism of
speech, with respect to the organs of speech involved ni the process. Further on, a phonological
analysis will examine the English vowel system in detail.

3.3. The production of speech: a physiological aspect.

For the speaker to produce many differentiated sounds, only humans have been endowed with a
highly sophisticated speech organ which consists of consonants and vowels which are part of our
vocal apparatus as a limited set of speech sounds.

However, speech enables us to use our language in a very economic way for a virtually infinite
production of linguistic units. As we have mentioned before, linguistically speaking, the distinctive
speech sounds are called phonemes which are meaningless by themselves, and may be reassembled
into larger linguistic units, commonly called words. The way speakers may use language so as to
convey the meaning of their message is examined under physiological aspects, such as the
physiological stages to make communication possible, and the speech organs involved in this
process.

3.3.1. The speech chain: three main stages.

According to Gimson (1980), any communicative act by means of speech involves a highly
complicated series of events on the part of the speaker. This manifestation of language has been
described as a physiological process where we may distinguish three main stages, thus
psychological, physiological, and physical.

The first stage is called psychological since the formulation of the concept takes place at a mental
level in the brain. Then, the message is transmitted by the nervous system to the organs of speech,
which in turn, on taking a provision of air, produce a particular pattern of sound in a conventional
manner, as it is learned by experience. This stage is also called initiation stage.

The second stage, known as the articulatory or physiological stage, takes place when our organs of
speech move and then create disturbances in the air, or whatever the medium may be through which
we are talking. This stage is also called phonation stage as the phonatory organs move in terms of
quality of voice to make the appropriate sound.

These varying air pressures or disturbances which regulate the shape of the sounds constitute the
third stage in our chain, called physical or acoustic, and also known as articulation stage. This is the
end of the production chain where the listener appreciates significant features within the speech
chain since we deal with the reception of the sound waves by the hearing apparatus.

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These three stages requires a listener and a speaker for the message to be sent and received, but for
our purposes, we shall focus on the speaker, and more especially, on the concrete speech level
which involves the production of sounds rather than the transmission of the information along the
nervous system to the brain, and the linguistic interpretation of the message. Therefore, we shall
examine in next section the articulatory stage and its speech mechanisms so as to analyse the role
of the different organs on producing the sounds of speech.

3.3.2. The speech mechanism: the speech organs.

Following Gims on (1980), man possesses the ability to produce sounds and organise them into a
highly efficient system of communication whereas animals use the sounds for stimuli to signal fear,
hunger, sexual excitement, and the like. Nevertheless, both animals and human beings share the
common use of organs whose primary physiological function is unconnected with vocal
communication, namely, for man when speaking, those situated in the respiratory tract. Following
OConnor (1988), among those organs, common to vowels and consonants, we may mention (1)
lungs, (2) larynx (vocal cords and glottis), (3) pharynx (soft palate), (4) mouth, (5) teeth, (6) tongue,
and (7) lips. Consonants and vowels are usually drawn in a diagram showing a side view of the
parts of the throat and mouth and nose which are important to recognise for English (Figure 1).

(1) First, in all languages we speak with air from the lungs, as all the essential sounds need lung air
for their production when we breathe out. Then the air interferes with its passage in various ways
and at various places, and as a result, our utterances are shaped by the capacity of our lungs and by
the muscles which control their action. We are forced to pause in articulation so as to refill our
lungs with air , and a number of energetic peaks of exhalation will to some extent condition the
length of any breath group.

(2) Secondly, the air-stream released by the lungs undergoes important modifications in the upper
stages of the respiratory tract before it acquires the quality of a speech sound. The air comes up
through the trachea or wind-pipe, and then it passes through the larynx which is formed of cartilage
and muscle, and is situated in the upper part of the trachea. Since it looks like a casing, it is
commonly called the Adams apple.

Housed within this structure from back to front are the vocal folds (or vocal cords), which are two
small folds of ligament and elastic tissue, which can be thought of as two flat strips of rubber, lying
opposite each other across the air passage. They may be brought together or parted by the rotation
of the arytenoid cartilages through muscular action. The opening between the folds is known as the
glottis, through which the air can pass freely when we breathe quietly in and out. When the vocal
cords are brought together tightly, no air can pass.

In using the vocal folds for speech, the most important function of those consists in their role as a
vibrator set in motion by lung air, that is, the production of voice, or phonation. For our purposes in
the analysis of English, we shall focus on the production of voiced and voiceless sounds. Voiced
sounds are achieved when the vocal cords are vibrating close together whereas voiceless sounds are
made when the vocal cords are wide open, the air passes freely between them, and there is no
vibration.

(3) Thirdly, the air-stream, having passed through the larynx, is now subject to further modification
according to the shape within the upper cavities of the pharynx, mouth, and also, the nasal cavity.

10/ 32
These cavities function as the main resonators, and correspond respectively to the sections of
laryngopharynx (pharynx), oropharynx (mouth), and nasopharynx (nose).

We shall concentrate on the pharyngeal cavity which extends from the top of the larynx, past the
epiglottis and the root of the tongue, to the region in the rear of the soft palate . Accordingly, we
may find three different positions of the soft palate. First, if the soft palate is lowered, the air
escapes through the nose and the mouth, and we obtain nasalized vowels. However, if the soft
palate is held in its raised position, there is an oral escape through the mouth, as all normal English
sounds have.

(4) Fourth, the mouth plays an essential part in the production of speech sounds. Indeed, it is the
most readily accessible and easily observed section of the vocal tract and also, the shape of the
mouth determines finally the quality of the majority of our speech sounds. This oral chamber is
limited by a number of boundaries, such as the teeth , at the front; the hard palate , in the upper part;
and the pharyngeal wall (soft palate), in the rear. The remaining organs are movable: the lips, the
various parts of the tongue, and the soft palate with its pendent uvula . For a description of the
articulation of sounds, we would include the lower jaw and the space between the upper and lower
teeth.

The whole palate forms the roof of the mouth , and separates the mouth cavity from the nasal
cavity. Most of it is hard and fixed in position, but when your tongue-tip is as far back as it will go,
away from your teeth, you will notice the palate becomes soft. It is relevant, then, for our purposes
to divide the hard, fixed part of the palate on the roof of the mouth into three parts. Thus, the
alveolar ridge, the hard palate and the soft palate .

First, moving backwards from the upper teeth is the alveolar ridge or teeth ridge which can be
clearly felt behind the upper front teeth; secondly, the hard palate is the highest part of the palate
shaped as a bony arch between the alveolar ridge and the beginning of the soft palate; and finally,
the soft palate or velum, which is capable, as we have previously seen, of being raised or lowered,
and whose extremity is called uvula.

(5) The lower front teeth are used in English to some extent as passive articulators in sounds such
as /t/ and the sound in thin or this.

(6) The tongue is the most important of the organs of speech because it has the greatest variety of
movement and flexibility so as to assume a great variety of positions in the articulation of vowels.
Although the tongue has no obvious natural divisions like the palate, it is useful to think of it as
divided into four arbitrary parts, thus back, front, blade, and tip.

Imagine a diagram showing a side view of the mouth where we can see the parts of the tongue. The
back of the tongue lies under the soft palate, and when the tongue is at rest, its tip lies behind the
lower teeth; the front lies under the hard palate. The region where the front and back meet is known
as the centre or dorsum. The tapering section facing the teeth ridge is called the blade and its
extremity the tip. Both lie under the alveolar ridge, and are particularly mobile as they can touch the
whole of the lips, the teeth, the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. The tip and blade region is
sometimes known as the apex, and the edges of the tongue are known as the rims.

(7) The lips are particularly significant in the formation of vowel quality , and take up different
positions as they are movable parts. The shape which they assume will, therefore, affect the shape
of the total cavity. Thus they can be brought firmly together so that they completely block the
mouth, either momentarily or directed through the nose by the lowering of the soft palate. They can

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also be pushed forward to a greater or lesser extent, and if they lips are kept apart either flat or with
different amounts of rounding, they can be summarized under six headings (Gimson 1980).

Thus first, held sufficiently close together over all their length, friction occurs between them. Then
we obtain fricative sounds, with or without voice (i.e., when pronouncing word). Secondly, the
spread lip position when held sufficiently far apart for no friction to be heard, usually in vowels
(i.e., see), and remaining fairly close together and energetically spread. Thirdly, a neutral position
with a medium lowering of the lower jaw (i.e., get). Fourth, held relatively apart, in an open
position without any marked rounding (i.e., card). Fifth, a close rounded position, where the
aperture is small and rounded, and tightly pursed (i.e., do). And finally, the open rounded position,
where the aperture is held wide apart (i.e., got).

3.4. Sound change: the Great Vowel Shift.

According to Gimson (1980), the language spoken in England has undergone very striking changes
during the last thousand years. With respect to English vowels, the fifteenth century marked a
turning point in the history of English, for during this period the language underwent greater, more
important phonological changes than in any other century before or since, particularly the change in
the pronunciation of the tense vowels that helps to demark Middle from Modern English.

This change, the most prominent of all phonological developments in the history of English, is
called the Great Vowel Shift. It refers to a number of radical qualitative and quantitative changes
that initially affected the evolution of southern Middle English tense long vowels into Early Modern
English during the 16th and 17th centuries. However, short vowels have remained relatively much
more stable than long vowels. According to Fernndez (1982), from an articulatory perspective, this
salient change is related to a general tendency to communicate with the minimum effort, which
involves the reduction of long vowels and a tendency to centralization. As a result, those vowels
became diphthongs.

We must note this development was gradual, adopting a number of intermediate stages until in
1700 the modern English pronunciation of long vowels is almost attained. Sociolinguistic studies
have evidenced that this phonological change was related to the social stratification of the Tudor
era and the desire to mark social identity through language. The goal was to intensify self-
consciousness about class and status between the upper classes of Tudor London and immigrants
from the nearby Home Counties of the southeast.

3.5. A standard of pronunciation: Received Pronunciation (RP).

It is a fact that English language is sensitive to variations in pronunciation, and that, socially
speaking, there is an attitude towards a certain set of sound values which is considered to be more
acceptable than another. Moreover, a standard pronunciation exists, although it has never been
explicitly im posed by any official body. This unofficial standard emerges from disparities between
the speech sounds of younger and older generations, different parts of the country, and also social
classes. For reasons of politics, commerce, and the presence of the Court, it was the pronunciation
of the south-east of England, and more particularly, to that of the London region, that this prestige
was attached. This standard is called Received Pronunciation (RP).

The speech of the Court, phonetically largely that of the London area, incresingly acquired a
prestige value and, in time, lost some of the local characteristics of London speech. It may be said
to have been finally fixed, as the speech of the ruling class, through the conformist influence of the
public schools of the nineteenth century. With the spread of education, the situation arose in which

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an educated man might not belong to the upper classes and still retain his regional characteristics.
Then, those eager for social advancement felt obliged to modify the ir accent in the direction of the
social standard. Pronunciation was, therefore, a marker of position in society .

Great prestige is still attached to this implicitly accepted social standard of pronunciation since it
has become widely known and accepted through the advent of the radio. The BBC formerly
recommended this form of pronunciation for its announcers mainly because it was the type which
was most widely understood and which excited least prejudice of a regional kind. Thus, RP often
became identifie d in the public mind with BBC English. This special position, basically educated
Southern British English, has become the form of pronunciation most commonly described in books
on the phonetics of British English and traditionally taught to foreigners. Furthermore, English
functions as a lingua franca worlwide.

In the following section we shall examine the English Vowel System on the basis of Received
Pronunciation. Thus, we shall carry out, first, a descriptive account of the English vowels and then,
diphthongs and triphthongs as pa rt of the sound system.

4. ENGLISH VOWELS: PHONETIC SYMBOLS.

4.1. On defining English vowels.

Celce-Murcia (2001) claims that defining vowel sounds and describing their phonetic properties is
not as simple a matter as naming the five orthographic vowels (a, e, i, o, and u). In fact, when we
begin to examine the vowel sounds of English more scientifically, we find that there are at least
twelve distinct vowels sounds rather than five.

Before focusing our attention to the comparison of English and Spanish vowels, we first need to
examine their characteristics and define how vowel sounds differ from their consonant counterparts.
To the question of what a vowel is, a scientific answer would be that vowels are the core or peak
of the syllable. In fact, a syllable can consist minimally of one vowel (V) only, as in the word cat;
alternatively, the vowel can also be surrounded on either or both sides by consonants (C), as in the
words prey (CCV), ants (VCCC), and pranks (CCVCCC).

Another way of describing vowels is to define them as sounds in which there is continual vibration
of the vocal cords and the airstream is allowed to escape from the mouth in an unobstructed
manner, without any interruption. One difficulty in describing vowels is that in the production of
vowel sounds there is no contact of the articulators as there is in the production of consonant
sounds. Therefore, the classification of vowels is not as clear-cut as that of consonants.

4.2. A classification of English vowels.

Vowels involve a relatively unobstructed airflow and take on their peculiar characteristics largely
through changes in the shape and size of the oral cavity where the position of the tongue and lips is
essential in a classification of vowels. Acc ording to Celce-Murcia, we may establish first a vowel
description in terms of simple vowels (vowels without an accompanying glide movement as in bed
or put) or vowels with an adjacent glide (vowels accompanied by /y/ or /w/ as in pain or stone)
which are to be called diphthongs. OConnor goes further by establishing vowel sequences which
are, in fact, triphthongs. Both diphthongs and trip hthongs will be examined in subsequent sections.

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There are differences between vowel sounds when concerning phonetic transcription for Australian,
American or Scottish speakers although the actual sound is the same. Then, it is worth noting that
we will apply in this study Gimsons system of phonetic transcription as it is the most widely
phonemic analysis used in the field of teaching English pronunciation, together with an articulatory
definition of each vowel in case we describe orally each vowel. Besides, all the figures representing
vowel and consonant charts and diagrams have been taken from Celce-Murcia (20 01), Gimson
(1980), and Alcaraz (1982).

4.2.1. The vowel quadrant.

We concentrate first on the oral cavity (Figure 2) as a resonance chamber where the size and shape
of it can be modified by the movement of the tongue and the opening or closing of the jaw. These
two dimensions were to be analysed in the twentieth century by the English phonetician Daniel
Jones. He designed a vowel quadrant (Figure 3) whose four angles represented the cardinal vowels,
as he named them.

The quadrant (Figure 4) corresponds to a sagittal section of the mouth where different positions of
the tongue are described in relation to the palate. At this point, it is worth mentioning again that the
palate forms the roof of the mouth which becomes soft as far back as it goes away from your teeth.
It is divided into three sections, thus the alveolar ridge (immediately behind the upper front teeth),
the hard palate (the highest part of the palate), and the soft palate (curving down towards the
tongue, and ending in a point called uvula, which can also move and make contact with the back
wall of the pharynx).

Therefore, the quadrant is designed on three dimensions out of which the twelve English vowels are
taken out. First, a vertical exe indicates the degree of raising of the tongue. Thus, from the highest
point to the lowest, it corresponds to close (high), semi-close (mid), semi-open (mid), and open
(back) vowels. Secondly, a horizontal exe represents from left to right, front, centre, and back
vowels, depending on the part of the tongue raised. Finally, a third exe refers to quantity or length
of the vowels, by which vowels are defined as long or short.

4.2.2. An articulatory description: main features.

In describing vowel sounds, we are concerned with a glottal tone modified by the upper resonators
of the pharyngeal, mouth and nasal cavities. As air from the lungs moves past the vibrating vocal
cords and out through the oral cavity, the position of various articulators acts to modify the vowel
sound produced (figure 3). Accordingly, vowel sounds can be distinguished from each other by
several features related to the position of the main organs responsible for the resonators, such as the
soft palate, tongue, and lips.

Therefore, as was stated, a common classification of vowel sounds must describe the position of the
articulatory organs according to (1) vowel quality; (2) the position of the soft palate; (3) the position
of the tongue; and (4) the position of the lips. Other relevant characteristics in the description of
vowels deal with (5) tense versus lax vowels; and (6) weak and strong forms, examined in next
section.

(1) First, according to vowel quality or vowel length, we distinguish long and short vowels. Thus,
there are five long vowels as in the words farm, birth, cream, brought, and boom, and seven short
vowels as in rat, but, pet, bit, knot, put, and about (schwa sound). It is worth noting that vowels are

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longer before a final voiced consonant than before a final voiceless consonant. The tendency for
vowels to lengthen in certain environments is most perceptible when words are spoken in isolation.

(2) Secondly, according to the position of the soft palate , we deal with both the nasal and oral
cavity. Vowels are then classified as oral vowels if the soft palate is raised, so that the air is forced
to go out only through the mouth, and nasal vowels if the soft palate is lowered, so that the air can
pass through the nose as well as through the mouth. The vowels pronounced this way are always in
the environment of a nasal consonant as in the word sing.

(3) Thirdly, according to the position of the tongue, vowel sounds can be distinguished from each
other by the degree of raising of the tongue, and by which part of the tongue is raised. Accordingly,
in relation to the raising of the tongue, we distinguish four degrees. Thus, from the highest to the
lowest point we find, close vowels (the tongue is held as high as possible without touching the roof
of the mouth), semi-close vowels (the tongue is about one-third of the distance from close to open),
semi-open vowels (the tongue is about two thirds of the distance from close to open), and open
vowels (the tongue is as low as possible). Another parallel description defines the raising of the
tongue as high, mid, and low degrees.

With respect to the part of the tongue raised, we distinguish three types. Thus, front vowels (the
front of the tongue moves towards the hard palate), central vowels (the central part of the tongue is
raised), and back vowels (the back of the tongue is raised to the soft palate).

(4) According to Gimson (1980), another visible factor that characterizes the production of vowel
sounds is lip position, which can be described as rounded, spread and neutral. Rounded vowels are
drawn together with a round opening, as in pot, taught, put, and moon. Spread vowels (also
unrounded) are characterized by lips together, as in the words cat, barn, cup, red, bird, sit, seat.
Yet, Celce-Murcia (2001) includes another degree, being this neutral (neither rounded nor spread)
as in the word another, with the schwa.

4.2.3. Other main articulatory features.

As we have previously mentioned, we find other relevant characteristics in the description of


vowels which deal with (1) tense versus lax vowels; and (2) weak and strong forms.

(1) Another feature is drawn from the distinction tense versus lax vowels. Tense vowels are
articulated with more muscle tension than the lax vowels, as in scene, prey, pot, short, throw, and
you. This muscle tension serves to stretch the articulation of tense vowel sounds to more extreme
peripheral positions in the mouth, making them less centered. Often, tense vowels in English are
also accompanied by a glide, which is defined by Celce-Murcia as a slight diphthongization.

On the contrary, to produce lax vowels the tongue is supposed to be held loosely, as in the words
hat, bet, pin, fun , and look. The muscles relax somewhat when moving from long to short vowels,
the jaw also drops slightly, and the lips are not so tightly spread apart. Moreover, the tongue moves
toward a more central position in the mouth. Finally, there is no glide quality and, therefore, it is not
related to diphthongs.

(6) The final distinction we will make for vowels is weak and strong forms which is closely related
to the discussion on reduced vowels. Regarding weak and strong forms, we must note that English
is a stress-accent language where content and function words may be stressed or unstressed, that is,
be weak or strong, both at word and sentence level. Besides, we deal with reductions of unaccented
vowels to schwa.

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Since content words (i.e., nouns, verbs, adjectives) generally retain some measure of qualitative
prominence even when no pitch prominence is associated with them, we will concentrate on the
weak and strong forms regarding function words (i.e., prepositions, articles) since they are usually
pronounced in English with their weak form. Besides, function words have two or more qualitative
patterns according to whether they are stressed (special situations or isolated) or unstressed (the
usual case).

Thus, (1) weak forms of function words are related to three main features in English. The first
feature is the reduction of sound length, as in the preposition to, where we find the phonetic
transcription of short and long /u/ and the schwa. These three realizations depend on the function
they have in the sentence. Thus, According to... as a connector (weak) and to write as an infinitive
(strong). The second feature deals with the obscuration of vowels mainly towards schwa, but also
towards short /u/ and /i/. Again, we find different realizations depending on the role they play in the
sentence, as for instance, should , she, or has. Finally, the third feature deals with the elision of
vowels and consonants in connected speech, thus in the sentence I must go, the vowel in must may
be assimilated in the speech chain.

(2) Regarding strong forms of function words, we shall mention that there are certain cases where
function words should be pronounced with their strong form. These cases are (1) when a function
word occurs at the end of a sentence (the preposition from in I am from Spain (weak) and
Where are you from? (strong); (2) when a function word is in opposition to another word so as to
establish a clarification of meaning, as in I laugh with him, not at him; (3) when a function word is
given special stress for emphasis purposes, as in You must do it; and (4) when a function word is
being cited or quoted,

One of the more striking characteristics of English is the frequency with which reduced vowels
occur in the stream of speech. Also striking is the restricted number of vowels that tend to occur in
unstressed position, such as the short vowels /i/, /o/ and /u/. At the word level, the mid-central
reduced vowel schwa is by far the most common of the reduced vowel sounds, especially if one
includes with schwa reduced vowels with a postvocalic /r/ as in father. The choice of schwa over all
other reduced vowels is often dialectal or idiosyncratic.

5. COMPARISON OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEMS.

When comparing English and Spanish phonological systems, we find important differences and few
similarities. Thus, regarding vowel quantity , the English vowel system, with twelve vowels, is much
richer than the Spanish one, which has only five. Regarding vowel quality , English has long and
short vowels whereas in Spanish this distinction is not present. Accordingly, their articulatory
representation in the oral cavity is to be different since English vowels are to be shown in an
elaborated vowel quadrant designed by Daniel Jones, and Spanish vowels in a simple inverted
triangle designed by Helwag (Figure 3).

It is worth noting that many of the English vowel phonemes are allophones of the Spanish vowels.
For instance, those vowels represented in a relatively similar area (Figure 5) in both the quadrant
and the triangle, may be confused by English students as the same sound in Spanish, a typical case
being the pronunciation of words such as cart, cat and cup, perceived as the sound /a/ in Spanish.
We shall examine this overlapping in the corresponding section of each vowel sound.

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A main difference between the two vowel systems is the presence of schwa in English and its
absence in Spanish. Yet, this difference emerges from the distinction between stressed and
unstressed vowels in the speech chain. Besides, we shall also examine the role of consonants in the
environment of vowels sounds, or what is called, vowel coloring, which may lengthen or shorten the
affected vowel.

Therefore, we shall examine the most striking differences and similarities of both systems by
comparing Spanish vowels with their counterparts in English in terms of (1) articulatory definition;
(2) articulatory description; (3) similar realizations; and (4) other features related to allophones,
spelling or minimal pairs (Figure 6).

5.1. Spanish /a/.

We concentrate now on the lower part of Helwag triangle. This area correspond to the Spanish /a/, a
simple, central, low, tense, unrounded vowel, as in the words casa or para. This vowel sound is
quite confusing for the Spanish learner of English as it has three realizations in English which have
no direct counterpart in Spanish. Thus, in Jones vowel quadrant, they correspond to the sounds in
cat, cart, and cut. Among these three vowels, only the one in cut might ressemble Spanish
pronunciation in the environment of velar consonants, as in the words cup or gut.

5.1.1. English ash / /.

We shall define this vowel as a short, semi-open, front, unrounded, lax vowel. This means that,
when this vowel is pronounced, the front of the tongue is raised to a position between half-open and
open, slightly touching the lower teeth with the tip of the tongue, and with the lips slightly spread.
We observe that the Spanish /a/ is more central than the English ash and more tense.

In Spanish, there is no similar vowel sound to the one in cat or pat. However, in Valencia we may
find it in the environment of palatal consonant sounds as a special coloring feature, as in the words
ancha or muralla, where it is raised to the Spanish phoneme /e/.

The most common spelling for the English ash / / is the letter a- (i.e., bad, man). Minimal pairs
distinguish between ash/ / and /e/, as in flash,flesh; bad, bed ; or sat, set; and ash / / and the
short half-open central /? /, as in cat, cut; or bat, but.

5.1.2. English long /a:/.

We shall define this vowel as a long, open, back, unrounded, lax vowel. On articulatory terms, this
means that the back part of the tongue is raised without touching the upper part, the jaw is lowered
and the lips are open but in neutral position. We observe again that the Spanish /a/ is more central
than the English long /a:/ and more tense.

In Spanish, there is no similar vowel sound to the one in cart or part. However, sometimes Spanish
pronounce the consonant /g/ as a gutural sound instead of a velar one, making this vowel similar to
the English long /a:/, as in paga , or lago. Another special case is the one in Murcia Autonomous
Community when the Spanish vowel /a/ becomes a back long vowel when it is placed at the end of
a word or a sentence, and there is a syllable loss, as in Esto no sirve pa na.

This English vowel is typical of the RP pronunciation when followed by /r/, as in car or market, or
followed by fricative and dental sounds, as in path, after, ask , or laugh . The most common spelling

17/ 32
for the English long /a:/ are the letters a- (i.e., ask, grass); -er-, -ear- (i.e., clerk and heart); -al-
(i.e., half , calm); and au- (i.e., aunt, laugh).

Minimal pairs distinguish between long /a:/ and ash / /, as in March, match or barn, ban; and
from long /a:/ and short half-open central / ? /, as in calm, come or dark,duck.

5.1.3. English short half-open central / ? /.

This vowel is defined as a short, semi-open, central, unrounded, lax vowel. When this vowel is
pronounced, the part of the tongue between the front and the centre is raised to a position between
half-open and open, and the lips are open in neutral position.

In fact, this English vowel is shorter and more central than the Spanish one , and as a result, this
vowel is associated to the Spanish /o/, as in the word brother. Besides, when it is in the environment
of velar consonants, is also similar to the Spanish /a/, as in the words cut and gush. Another
different pronunciation of this vowel is found in the North of England, where it is pronounced as
/u/.

Concerning minimal pairs we note the distinction between this English vowel and the ash / / as in
run, ran or uncle, ankle, and /e/, as in money, many, or won,when. Finally, regarding spelling, this
sound is asociated to o- (i.e., come, one, gone); -oo- (i.e., blood, flood ); -u- (i.e., sun, run, fun); and
ou- (i.e., country, souther, young).
Spanish /a/.

5.2. Spanish /e/.

This vowel is to be found in the middle left part of Helwag triangle. This area corresponds to the
Spanish /e/, a simple, front, mid, tense, unrounded vowel, as in the words cera or mesa. This vowel
sound is quite similar to the English one as it moves within the semi-open and semi-close positions
in both Helwags triangle and Jones quadrant, although the Spanish /e/ is relatively more close and
more tense than the English one.

In comparing both phonological systems, we find important quantity and quality differences. Thus,
in English it has two realizations, long /3:/ and short /e/ whereas in Spanish it has only one, the
short vowel /e/. The main difficulty for Spanish learners of English is to find an equivalent for the
English long /3:/ in Spanish.

5.2.1. English short /e/.

In articulatory terms this vowel is defined as a short, semi-open, front, unrounded, tense vowel. This
means that, when this vowel is pronounced, the front of the tongue is raised to a position between
semi-close and semi-open, with the lips slig htly spread in neutral position.

We observe that the English short /e/ is relatively less tense and less close than the Spanish one, but
quite similar to Spanish /e/, except in final position where it is reduced to schwa. Another feature is
that it may be longer in syllables closed by voiced consonants, and in the environment of /r/.

Concerning minimal pairs, we find the distinction between short /e/ and /i/, as in tell,till or pen, pin ;
and /e/ and long /i:/, as in bed, bead or met, meat. Finally, concerning spelling, this phoneme is

18/ 32
represented by the graphemes e- (i.e., bed, ten, pen); -ea- (i.e., head, dead ); -a- (i.e., many, any);
and -u- (i.e., bury), and other contexts (i.e., said, friend, again).

5.2.2. English long /3:/.

We shall define this vowel as a long, mid, central, unrounded, tense vowel. When this vowel is
pronounced, the centre of the tongue is raised to a position between semi-open and semi-close, and
the lips are slightly spread in neutral position.

This long vowel is not very clos e in quality to any of the other vowels and it is difficult for the
foreign learner to get the right quality when pronouncing it. In Spanish, in fact, there is no phoneme
that corresponds to the English one. However, according to OConnor (1988), two things will help:
keep your teeth quite close together and do not round your lips at all.

This vowel is considered to be the hesitation vowel since it is the sound that English people make
when they pause in connected speech. It is not usually heard as it is usually found in the
environment of /r/ which serves to lengthen the phoneme. However, the only time when it may be
heard is when it is isolated or the following word has an initial vowel, acting then as a linker in
connected speech.

Concerning minimal pairs we note the distinction between this English vowel and three other
phonemes. Thus, with /e/ as in bird, bed or turn, ten; with / / as in hurt, hat, or bird, bad; and with
long /o:/ as in firm, form, or worm, warm. Finally, regarding spelling, this sound is asociated to -er,
ear- (i.e., her, person, learn, earth); ir- (i.e., birth, firm, third); -or- (i.e., word, world ); -ur- (i.e.,
nurse, church); our- (i.e., journey); and others (i.e., were).

5.3. Spanish /i/.

This vowel is to be found in the upper left part of Helwag triangle, and it is defined as a simple,
front, high, tense, unrounded vowel, as in the words mirar or si. This vowel sound is quite similar to
the English one when it is in unstressed position, as in the word ltimo.

When comparing both phonological systems, we find quantity and quality differences in Jones
quadrant. Thus, in English there are two realizations of the Spanish phoneme /i/, being short /i/ and
long /i:/. The main difficulty for Spanish learners of English is to distinguish English long and short
/i/ as in Spanish this quality distinction makes no difference in meaning.

Another main distinction between the two phonological systems are, firstly, that Spanish /i/ has the
same duration before voiced or voiceless consonants, this not being the case of English, in which
the phoneme /i/ is lengthened before voiced consonants. And secondly, that the Spanish /i/ is more
close and more tense than the English one, which is more relaxed and slightly more central.

5.3.1. English short /i/.

In articulatory terms we define this vowel as a short, high, front, unrounded, lax vowel. When it is
is pronounced, the front of the tongue is in an almost semi-close position, and slightly retracted. The
lips position is loosely spread.

When pronouncing the short /i/ we observe that the speech organs, lips and tongue are more relaxed
than with the production of long /i:/. This vowel, together with the schwa, is the one which appears
in unstressed position in connected speech, and in the pronunciation of plural forms, saxon genitive

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and past forms. In these cases, pronunciation is much more open and sometimes is similar to the
Spanish /e/.

Concerning minimal pairs, we find the distinction between short /i/ and long /i:/, as in sit, seat or fit,
feet; and /i/ and /e/, as in rid, red or will, well. Finally, concerning spelling, this phoneme is
represented by the graphemes i- (i.e., miss, pit); -y- (i.e., city, physics); -e- (i.e., pretty, wanted);
-ie- (i.e., ladies, fancies); any vowel grapheme in unstressed position (i.e., build, minute, women),
and suffixes ate, -age, and ace (i.e., private,language, palace).

5.3.2. English long /i:/.

We concentrate now on the upper left part of Jones quadrant. This area corresponds to the English
long /i:/, which is defined as a long, high, front, unrounded, tense vowel. In articulatory terms, the
front of the tongue is raised almost to the height of the palate, with the tongue tense, and the lips
spread. This is one of the most common vowels in Englis h in terms of frequency.

Spanish has no equivalent phoneme either in quality or quantity for this vowel sound, and it
presents important problems for the Spanish learner of English as it establishes in English a relevant
distinction of meaning (i.e., bitch and beach). Therefore, the learner is advised to double the
duration of the phoneme to get the right quality. Besides, the environment of voiced consonants
lengthen even more this phoneme (i.e., seat and seed).

Minimal pairs are given by the distinctio n between long /i:/ and short /i/. Thus, read, rid; seen, sin
or sheep, ship. Regarding spelling, the most common graphemes for this phoneme are e- (i.e., be,
these); -ee- (i.e., see, bee, feed);-ea- (i.e., read, sea, bead); -ei/ey- (i.e., deceive, key); -i- (i.e., police,
machine); -ie- (i.e.,shield, field ); and y- (i.e., funny, Monday).

5.4. Spanish /o/.

This Spanish vowel /o/ is to be found in the lower right part of Helwag triangle. This area
corresponds to a short, mid, back, tense, rounded vowel, as in the word lobo. This vowel is similar
to the English long /a:/ but with rounded lips.

Again we face with a difference at both quality and quantity levels. The main difficulty for Spanish
learners of English is to find an equivalent for both English long and short /o/ as this difference does
not exist in Spanish. This vowel sound is quite similar to the English one when it is followed by /r/
as in portal.

5.4.1. English short /o/.

We shall define this vowel as a short, mid, back, rounded, lax vowel. When it is is pronounced, this
vowel is between open and semi-open position, with the back part of the tongue raised, and lips
rounded. It is quite similar to the Spanish /o/ but it is slightly more open and the lips are not so
rounded as in Spanish.

Sometimes, this vowel is similar to the English long /a:/ because there is a centralization of this
sound. This is one of its most common allophones and in this case, there are problems to distinguish
between minimal pairs, such as English short /o/ and short half-open central /? /, as in the words
cop, cup; lock, luck; or long, lung. Another minimal pair comes from the distinction between /o/ and
/a:/, as in pot, part; or cod, card.

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Finally, concerning spelling, this phoneme is represented by the graphemes o- (i.e., not, box, dog);
-a- (i.e., want, what, watch); -au- (i.e., Australia, because); and -ou- (i.e., cough).

5.4.2. English long /o:/.

According to Jones quadrant, we shall define this vowel as a long, mid, back, rounded, tense
vowel. When it is pronounced, the back of the tongue is raised to a position between semi-open and
semi-close, and the lips are rounded and close together. There is no contact between the tongue and
the oral cavity.

Spanish has no equivalent phoneme either in quality or quantity for this vowel sound, and it
presents important problems for the Spanish learner of English as it establishes in English an
important distinction of meaning (i.e., pot, port). We must note that this vowel sound is quite
similar to the English one when it is followed by /r/ as in portal. This vowel is lengthen in the
environment of /r/ and is only pronounced in final position before an initial vowel in connected
speech.

Minimal pairs are establish between this English vowel and three other phonemes. Thus, with short
/o/ as in caught, cot or short, shot; with /a:/ as in lord, lard, or born, barn; and with short half-open
central / ? /, as in short, shut, or nought, nut. Finally, regarding spelling, this sound is asociated to
-or- (i.e., born, short); -oor- (i.e.,floor, poor); -our- (i.e., course, four); -ore- (i.e., more); ou(ght)-
(i.e., thought, bought); -oar- (i.e., board); a(l)- (i.e., call, false); -au- (i.e., cause, because ); -aw-
(i.e., saw, raw); and others (i.e., water, broad, sure).

5.5. Spanish /u/.

This Spanish vow el /u/ is to be found in the upper right part of Helwag triangle , and corresponds to
a short, high, back, tense, rounded vowel, as in the word cpula. This vowel sound has two
realizations in English, the short and long /u/, which are relatively similar to the Spanish one.

Similarly to short and long English /i/, special attention must be paid to the quantity aspect since the
Spanish /u/ is longer than English short /u/ and much shorter than long /u/. Spanish learners must
distinguish between short and long /u/, and double the duration of the phoneme to get the right
quality.

5.5.1. English short /u/.

We shall define this vowel as a short, semi-close, back, rounded, lax vowel. When pronouncing this
vowel, the part of the tongue between the back and the centre is raised to a position that is between
closed and semi-closed. Besides, the lips must not be tense, and must be less rounded than for long
/o:/, and not so close as for long /u:/.

As the Spanish /u/ is more at the back and more tense than its English counterpart, the most
approximate realization to the English short /u/ is when the vowel is in the environment of /l/ and
/r/. We must bear in mind that short /u/ is shorter than Spanish /u/.

Minimal pairs are established between short /u/ and long /3:/ as in wood, word; took, Turk . Also,
between short /u/ and /ou/ as in bull, bowl; and cook, coke. Finally, regarding spelling, this phoneme
is represented by the graphemes u- (i.e., full, put); -o- (i.e., wolf, woman); -oo- (i.e., foot, look );
and -ou- (i.e., could, should ).

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5.5.2. English long /u:/.

According to Jones quadrant, we shall define this vowel as a long, close, back, rounded, tense
vowel. In articulatory terms, this means that when it is pronounced, there is a minimum opening
between the jaws, the lips are rounded and close together, and the back of the tongue is raised to an
almost close position. There is no contact between the tongue and the oral cavity.

This English vowel is more close and more tense than the Spanish /u/. Besides, we must note that
the English vowel is much longer, and the lip position is not so rounded. However, the most
approximate realization to the Spanish /u/ is when when it is in the environment of voiceless
consonants as it is shorten and, then, its quality is similar to the Spanish one.

This phoneme is compared in minimal pairs with short /u/ as in fool, full; and shoed, should . Also,
with long /o:/ as in shoot, shot; and boot, bought. Finally, regarding spelling, this sound is asociated
to -u- (i.e., June, flu); -o- (i.e., do, who); oe- (i.e., shoe); -oo- (i.e., spoon, food ); -ou- (i.e., soup,
route); ue, ui- (i.e., blue, suit); and finally, -ew- (i.e., flew, new).

5.6. English schwa / ? /.

In articulatory terms this vowel is defined as a short, mid, central, lax vowel. This means that, when
this vowel is pronounced, the centre of the tongue is raised to a position between half-open and
half-closed. It may be considered as an allophone of long /3:/, although it is less tense and the lips
are in a neutral position.

As was stated before, a main difference between the two vowel systems is the presence of schwa in
English and its absence in Spanish where there is no equivalent phoneme either in quality or
quantity for the English schwa. This difference emerges from the distinction between stressed and
unstressed vowels in the speech chain.

Spanish learners associate this sound to a lax /e/ when it is in no initial position, and with an ope n
/a/ when it is in final position, which is usually related to the consonant /r/ as in the words mother or
rather. In middle position, when it is in the environment of /r/, and the next word starts with a
vowel, it acquires a more close pronunciation as the /r/ makes a link between them. This is called
the linking /r/ in connected speech.

This vowel sound, together with short /i/, has a very high frequency of ocurrence in unaccented
syllables. In fact, when the speaker hesitates at the beginning of the speech the schwa is used in
initial position as a starting point for oral production whereas in Spanish we use the sound vowel
/e/.

With respect to minimal pairs, this phoneme is never found in stressed position, and therefore, it is
not contrastive and there are no minimal pairs established for it. However, it is considered to be a
chief vowel due to its relevance for stress, rhythm, and intonation purposes. It should be noted that
schwa is normal in common unaccented weak forms in connected speech, such as auxiliary,
defective verbs, and prepositions.

Finally, regarding spelling, this sound may be represented by any vowel or group of vowels (also
diphthongs) which are in unaccented position, except for those with secondary stress. Also, it may
derive in the short vowel /i/.

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6. ENGLISH DIPHTHONGS. PHONETIC SYMBOLS.

6.1. On defining English diphthongs.

Following OConnor (1988), a diphthong is a glide from one vowel to another, and the whole glide
acts like one of the long, simple vowels. We may distinguish, then, two elements within the structure
of a diphthong. Thus, the first element, at the starting point, carries all the vocalic strength when the
diphthong is pronounced. The second element is the point in the direction of which the glide is
made, and therefore, it is not pronounced so loud as the first part.

According to Gimson (1980), both the first and the second element may be treated as separate
entities, thus as the central and the termina l part of the diphthong respectively. Thus, according to
Jones vowel quadrant, the first element in all diphthongs concentrates on the area of short vowels
such as /a, e, i, ? (schwa), and u/; yet, the second element concentrates on the area of /? (schwa), i,
and u/ (Figure 7).

Some main features of English diphthongs in general are that (1) as we stated before, most of the
length and stress associated with the glide is concentrated on the first element whereas the second
element is lightly sounded; (2) they are equivalent in length to the long vowels and are, therefore,
subject to the same variations of quantity when they are in the environment of voiced or voiceless
consonants or are in final position; (3) all the English diphthongs are falling, which means that the
first element is louder than the second; (4) no diphthongs occur before nasal consonants, except
where word final /n/ is assimilated to a velar consonant in connected speech; and (5) with the
exception of the sequence /oi/, the RP diphthongs often derive from earlier pure vowels.

6.2. A classification of English diphthongs.

Phoneticians distinguish eight English diphthongs according to RP conventions, although a ninth


diphthong, /o ? / formed by short /o/ and schwa, has been recently claimed with little success
among English speakers. Another main classification feature is that all English diphthongs are
defined as falling when their first element is louder than the second, for the exceptional cases of
both /i/ and /u/ towards schwa.

Among the eight diphthongs, following Gimson (1980), we find two main types. First, closing
diphthongs when the terminal point is /i/ and /u/. In articulatory terms, they occur when the tongue
moves from a more open (a, e, o and schwa) to a more closed position (i, u). Thus, /ai, ei, oi, au,
? u/. Secondly, centring diphthongs as the terminal point is the central vowel schwa. Thus, the
vowels /e, i, and u/ plus ? (schwa). For instance, /e? , i? , u? /. In articulatory terms, this means
that the centre of the tongue is raised towards the centre of its height.

6.2.1. Closing diphthongs gliding to /i/.

(1) English diphthong /ai/.

Here the glide of RP /ai/ begins at a point slightly behind the front open position from short half-
open central /? /, and moves in the direction of short /i/. In articulatory terms, it means that the front
of the tongue moves from an open to a nearly close position, with a slight closing movement of the
lower jaw, and the lips change from a neutral to a loosely spread position.

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Foreign learners must be advised to avoid over-retraction of the quality of the first element, so as to
remain within the limits of the RP vowel. Therefore, a front open starting point is to be
recommended, and not to glide to a position too close to the /i/ area.

Minimal pairs are established in comparison to /ei/ as in light, late ; and /oi/ as in pint, point. With
respect to spelling, instances associated to this diphthong are i, y- (i.e., fine, mine, and cry, dry); -
ie, ye- (i.e., die, lie, and dye); ai, ei- (i.e., aisle, and either, eider); -igh, eigh- (i.e., high and
height); and finally, others such as uy- (i.e., buy). Some of the mentioned spellings come from
borrowings from Scandinavia as in hide, mice, kind or sky; from French: fine, arrive, licence, or
price; and also from English sources as in ice, like, time, or life.

(2) English diphthong /ei/.

The glide /ei/ begins from slightly below the half -close front position, and moves in the direction of
short /i/. In articulatory terms, it means that the front of the tongue moves from a half-close position
to a nearly close position with a slight closing movement of the lower jaw, and the lips in a spread
position.

The most common mistake for foreign learners is to use a long vowel, so learners must be advised
to use a simple short vowel within the first element, so as to keep its quality.

There is only a minimal pair established. Thus, /ai/ as in male, mile; and pain, pine. Concerning
spelling, instances associated to this diphthong are a- (i.e., take, fame ); -ai, ay- (i.e., rain, flame;
and day, play); ei, ey- (i.e., eight, weight; and they, prey); -ea- (i.e., great, break, and steak
these are the three exceptions of the grapheme ea-, usually related to /e/ as in dead, head; o /i:/ as
in sea, bean ); other spellings come from historical borrowings (i.e., from French: fianc, ballet,
beige, bouquet, and caf). Some of the mentioned spellings have their sources in Scandinavia as in
they, or swain; and from Old English: way, day, again, grey.

(3) English diphthong /oi/.

In this case the glide of RP /oi/ begins at a point between the back half-open and open positions,
and moves in the direction of short /i/. In articulatory terms, it means that the tongue movement
extends from back to centralized front, the jaw closes slightly, and the lips are open rounded for the
first element but neutral for the second one.

This diphthong does not present very great difficulties to foreign learners, provided that, in addition
to the appropriate variations of quantity, the quality of the first element lies half way around the
area of /o/, and that the glide does not extend beyond the half-close front level.

There is only a minimal pair established for this diphthong. Thus, /ai/ as in toys, ties; and toil, tile.
Concerning spelling, graphemes associated to this diphthong are oi, oy- (i.e., voice, point; and boy,
toy).

6.2.2. Closing diphthongs gliding to /u/.

(4) English diphthong /au/.

The glide of RP /au/ begins at a point between the back and front open positions, but slightly more
fronted, and moves upwards in the direction of short /u/. In articulatory terms, it means that the

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tongue is moved from an open to a nearly close position, not higher than half-close. This time the
lips change from a neutrally open to a weakly rounded position.

For many speakers, the first element of the latter diphthong /ai/ and this one /au/ may in fact look
like identical, but foreign learners must be careful to use a correct first element, as the fronting or
retraction of the starting point rather than its raising is considered to be dialectal. Therefore, the first
element should be the most prominent and the second element only lightly touched on.

Mininal pairs are given by the short half-open central / ? / as in down, done; and shout, shut. And
also, /ou/ as in loud, load; and howl, hole. Concerning spelling, instances associated to this
diphthong are ou- (i.e., house, scout); and -ow- (i.e., cow, brown ).

(5) English diphthong / ? u/ -- (schwa + u.).

This diphthong begins at a central position from the area of the front rounded vowel /3:/ , between
half-close and half-open, and moves upwards in the direction of short /u/. In articulatory terms, it
means that the tongue is at a central position for the first element, and then it glides away to /u/
with the lips getting slightly rounded and the sound becoming less loud as the glide progresses.

Since the first element of this diphthong is clearly of a central type, foreign learners should avoid
starting the glide with a truly back vowel as short or long /o/. It is advisable to use the front rounded
vowel /3:/ by adding lip-rounding to the end of the vowel. Moreover, proper prominence must be
given to the first element and reduction of the total length of the glide in the environment of voiced
and voiceless consonants., as they become shorter before strong consonants and longer before weak
ones, just like the other vowels.

Mininal pairs are given in contrast to the long /o/ as in so, saw; and cold, called. And also, the long
/u:/ as in soap, soup; and show, shoe. Concerning spelling, graphemes associated to this diphthong
are o- (i.e., no, so, go); -oa- (i.e., boat, coat, road); oe- (i.e., toe, hoe, foe); -ou- (i.e., dough,
though); and ow- (i.e., show, know).

6.2.3. Centring diphthongs gliding to schwa / ? /.

(6) English diphthong / e ? / -- (e + schwa).

The glide of RP / e ? / begins in the half-open front position in the area of short / / between the
short /e/ and the short half -open central / ? /, and moves in the direction of schwa, a more open
vowel, especially when the diphthong is final. In articulatory terms, it means that, for the first
element, the tongue is at a point slightly lower than half-close, and then moves smoothly to the
central area, without moving the lips.

Foreign learners must be told about the post-vocalic /r/ in final position as it must not be
pronounced, except as a linking form when a following word begins with a vowel (i.e., pair of
shoes), or when a vowel occurs in the following syllable of the same word (i.e., care vs caring). We
must remind our students that the beginning of the diphthong is pronounced / / rather than /e/.

Minimal pairs distinctions are made between this diphthong and / / as in glared, glad; and aired,
add; and also long /3:/ as in fair, fur; and where, were. With respect to spelling, instances
associated to this diphthong are are- (i.e., share, fare,and stare); -air- (i.e., despair, hair, and fair);
ear- (i.e., bear, wear); -ere- (i.e., there, were); and others (i.e., their, heir, scarce, or parents).

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(7) English diphthong / i? / -- (short i + schwa).

The glide of RP /i ? / begins in a centralized front half-close position in the area of short /i/, and
moves in the direction of schwa, a more open vowel, especially when the diphthong is final. In
articulatory terms, it means that, for the first element, the tongue is at half-close position, and then,
for the second element, it moves smoothly to the central area, with a slight movement from spread
to open.

It is worth noting that, according to Daniel Jones, this sequence may not always constitute a falling
diphthong with prominence on the first element as in unaccented syllables, the first element may be
the weaker of the two, being equivalent to the semivowel /j/.

Foreign learners must be told that this diphthong glides from short /i/, not long /i:/, to schwa. If they
usee long /i:/ at the beginning of the glide, it will sound a bit strange but they will not be
understood.

Minimal pairs distinctions are made between this diphthong and / e ? / as in here, hair; and fear,
fair; and also with long /3:/ as in fear, fur; and hear, her. With respect to spelling, instances
assoc iated to this diphthong are ea- (i.e., idea, diarrhea);ear- (i.e., dear, year,and near); -eir- (i.e.,
weird ); eer- (i.e., deer, beer); -ere- (i.e., here, mere); ier- (i.e., pierce, fierce); and finally others
such as -ir- (i.e., fakir); and -e- (i.e., hero, serious).

(8) English diphthong / u ? / -- (u + schwa).

The glide of RP / u ? / begins in a back half-close position in the area of short /u/, and moves in
the direction of schwa, a more open vowel, especially when the diphthong is final. In articulatory
terms, it means that, for the first element, the tongue is at half-close position and then, for the
second element, it moves to the central area of schwa. The lips are weakly rounded at the beginning
of the glide, becoming neutrally spread as the glide progresses.

It is worth noting that, as the preceeding diphthong, Daniel Jones claims that this sequence may not
always constitute a falling diphthong with prominence on the first element as it may weaken to /w/
in unaccented syllables. Then, the second element have the prominence as in the words influence,
valuable, or jaguar.

Moreover, foreign learners must be told that several words containing this diphthong, which have a
pronunciation / u ? / are given in popular London speech a glide from /o/ to schwa, as in poor or
sure, which in turn is being gradually substituted by long /o:/. Moreover, where /j/ precedes / u ? /,
as in cure, curious, or secure, upper-class RP not only reduces to long /o:/ but also to the half-open
central vowel /? /. Finally, in those kinds of English in which post-vocalic /r/ is pronounced, the RP
dipthong / u ? / is realized as long /u:/ as in poor /pu:r/.

However, this lowering or monophthongization of the diphthong / u ? / is rarer in the case of less
commonly used monosyllabic words such as moor, tour, and dour. Yet, Shaw, sure, shore, youre,
and your, still pronounced by some with the three realizations (long /o:/, o? , and u? ), are gradually
levelled by many others to only long /o:/.except in words like tour, or curious.

Foreign learners must pay special attention to the fact that this dipthong glides from short /u/, not
long /u:/, to schwa. If they usee long /u:/ at the beginning of the glide, it will sound a bit strange but
they will not be understood.

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A minimal pairs distinction is made between this diphthong and long /u:/ as in tour, too; and moor,
moo. With respect to spelling, graphemes associated to this diphthong are oor- (i.e., poor, boor);
our- (i.e., tour, tourist, and your); -ur- (i.e., curious, security); ure- (i.e., sure, cure, and pure).

6.3. A comparison of English and Spanish diphthongs.

As was stated, we may observe three relevant features within a comparison between both English
and Spanish systems regarding diphthongs . First of all, we must note a distinction in terms of
quantity; secondly, in terms of quality ; and thirdly, in terms of their distribution within a word.

Thus, regarding quantity, the most striking distinction for the foreign learner is the lack of
correspondence in both systems as, from the eight diphthongs in English, none of the vowel sounds
correspond at all with the Spanish ones, especially for those containing schwa.

Regarding quality, we deal with vowel length . It is worth noting that all English diphthongs have
the same length as long vowels, and that may be affected by nearby consonants producing a
shortening or lengthening of vowel length. As we know, this distinction is not present in the
Spanish vowel system, nor has any consequences in connected speech.

Moreover, in terms of gliding, English diphthongs are classified according to three types. Thus,
gliding to /i/, /u/ and schwa, whereas in Spanish, there are only two glidings to /i/ and /u/.
Therefore, all English diphthongs are classified as falling as the most length and stress is
associated to first element and less prominence to the second element. On the contrary, Spanish has
two main types of diphthongs falling and rising. Thus, falling diphthongs consist of a vowel
plus a semi-vowel where the first element carries the stress, whereas rising diphthongs follow the
opposite structure, a semi-vowel plus a vowel, in which the weak vowel precedes the strong one.

Finally, regarding their distribution within a word, we must note that in English diphthongs do not
always occur in all positions. Some of them appear at the beginning of a word, others in medial
position, and others in final position. On the contrary, in Spanish almost all diphthongs may occur
in all positions.

7. ENGLISH TRIPHTHONGS. PHONETIC SYMBOLS.

7.1. On defining English triphthongs.

OConnor (1988) defines triphthongs as vowel sequences, claiming that, the most common
sequences are formed by adding schwa to a diphthong. He says that, in general, when one vowel (or
diphthong) follows another you should pronounce each one quite normally but with a smooth glide
between them.

Foreign learners should be aware of a tendency to reduction of vowel sequences in connected


speech in situations of real communication exchanges. They will observe that such reduced forms
are normal among many educated speakers, but they must be advised to avoid the extreme forms of
reduction. Yet, like most changes of pronunciation, these reductions are often condemned as
vulgarisms.

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7.2. A classification of English triphthongs.

All the diphthongal glides to /i/ and /u/ may be followed by schwa within the word, either as an
inseparable part of the word (i.e., fire, choir, hire , or our) or as a suffix (morpheme) appended to the
root (i.e., player, mower, higher , or employer) or, sometimes as a separable element internal in a
composite form (i.e., nowadays).

There are five triphthongs in English which are formed by the closing diphthongs /ai, ei, oi, au, ? u /
plus schwa. Thus, /ai? , ei? , oi? , au? , ? u? /.

(1) English triphthong /ai? /.

In general RP it may be considered as an inseparable part of the word as in fire, tyre, choir, or shire,
and also as a separable suffix (i.e., higher, buyer, or liar).

Regarding minimal pairs, it is compared with long /a:/ as in fire, far, and tired, tarred; and also with
the vowel sequence /au? / as in higher, how are, and tyre, tower.

(2) English triphthong /ei? /.

In general RP, it is considered as a suffix appended to the root as in player, layer, or conveyor. In
these cases, there is a reduction to the diphthong /e ? / as in there or rare, by which homophones
such as prayer, pray-er; or lair, layer are produced.

Regarding minimal pairs, this vowel sequence is frequently reduced to a more central diphthongal
glide /e ? / where several new homophones are produced as in layer, lair, and payer, pair.

(3) English triphthong / oi? /.

In general RP, it is considered to be suffix appended to the root as in employer,enjoyable, or joyous.


In these cases, the tongue position is not higher than half-open, and the first element is distinct to its
original value as short /o/.

Some speakers distinguish between sequences of diphthongs within this triphthong sequence,
usually in the case of terminations spelt el, or al as in towel or royal. However, it may be also
reduced to a centring diphthong. This reducing process takes place not only within words but also
between a word final diphthong fllowed by word initial schwa.

(4) English triphthong / au? /.

In general RP, it is considered to be an inseparable part of the word (i.e., our, flower or shower) and
sometimes as a separable element internal in a composite form (i.e., nowadays).

This vowel sequence is frequently reduced to a diphthongal glide whose first element is a central
open vowel. Then, several new homophones are produced in this way, as in the words tyre, tower;
shire, shower; or sire, sour.

(5) English triphthong / ? u? /.

In general RP, it is considered to be both an inseparable part of the word (i.e., myrrh or slur), and a
suffix appended to the root (i.e., mower or slower).

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This vowel sequence is frequently reduced to a diphthongal glide, thus long /3:/ and then, several
new homophones are produced as in the words tyre, tower; shire, shower; or sire, sour.

7.3. A comparison of English and Spanish diphthongs.

The main striking difference when comparing both systems is that in Spanish there are no
triphthongs. Therefore, the five English vowel sequences may cause considerable difficulty for
Spanish learners of English to pronounce them as those vowel sequences are formed by closing
diphthongs where the final element is given by neutral vowel sound schwa, not present in the
Spanish vowel system.

8. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN PRONUNCIATION.

This section aims to provide the reader with an overview of newer techniques and resources
available in teaching second language pronunciation in a classroom setting. Celce-Murcia (2001)
provides three guiding principles in moving beyond traditiona l teaching practices. Thus, methods
other than mechanical drills or rules, an emphasis on musical aspects of pronunciation more than
sounds, and teaching real speech patterns and giving students practice in efficient oral
communication.

Pronunciation instruction has traditionally been defined as the accurate production of the sounds,
rhythms, and intonation patterns of a language. Pronunciation has stood apart from the
communicative language teaching movement because it has often ignored the interaction of the
sound system with function and meaning. However, new techniques have been recently proposed
within the fields of fluency and accuracy, multisensory mode of learning, the adaptation of
authentic materias, and the use of instructional technology, such as computers.

Firstly, regarding fluency as a multisensory mode of learning, it aims at boosting students


confidence level while promoting fluency. Some students have a tongue-tied speech, by which
sentence stress and intonation patterns tend to be distorted by frequent pauses that affect the overall
intelligibility of the utterance.

Secondly, much of the literature today suggests that employing multisensory modes, such as visual
and auditory reinforcement, or kinesthetic reinforcement, in the pronunciation cla ss can help to
break down the ego boundaries of learners, hence making them more receptive to undergoing
change in their fossilized pronunciation systems. It is a fact that learners with strong egos retain a
marked foreign flavor in their speech because they are likely to acquire a target accent.

Thirdly, regardingthe use of authentic materials in teaching pronunciation, it is said that,


commercially, they provide excellent sources for the presentation and practice of segmental and
suprasegmental features. However, we must not overlook the rich resources available through the
use of authentic materials, such as anecdotes, jokes, advertising copy, comic strips, passages from
literature, and the like.

Finally, regarding the use of new technology, it is worth remembering that after the Audiolingual
Method, the use of language lab and instructional technology in general fell into disfavor as they
were considered to be tedious or unstimulating.

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Today the language lab is still around, often as a multimedia environment with video viewing or
computer work stations, laser disc players, satellite receivers, and a host of other high-tech
hardware items. These electronic aids are quite useful when displaying speech patterns as they
receive not only audio feedback but visual aids. Thus, the viewing of a native-speaker lip positions
in the production of vowel sounds, comparing pitch contour, or testing phoneme discrimination.I

Yet, in a sense, the rebirth of the language lab represents a triumph of technology over method
thanks to European programmes offered by the Council of Europe, such as Plumier or
Socrates.Clearly, the sophisticated level of practice and the gamelike atmosphere os such advanced
technologies offer advantages that the simpler technologies, including the language laboratory, do
not.

9. CONCLUSION.

In this study, we have aimed at providing the reader with a historical overview of pronunciation
instruction, having an overview of the main methods applied to the acquisition of pronunciation. As
Crystal (1985) states, a good approach to studying languages is the historical one, mainly because it
is often helpful and sometimes essential to know how languages got to be that way, and know their
origins and development in order to understand how things are nowadays. Moreover, we have
offered a theoretical framework of the phonological system in order to understand the description of
the English vowel system. At this point the reader should have a sense of how the English sound
system intersects in important ways with other areas of language. In the final part, present-day
directions on pronunciation provides us with a current overview on pronunciation in the language
curriculum within the European framework and current innovative techniques for students to be
effective at communicating with others.

Following Cerce-Murcia (2001), the challenge of teaching vowels lies both in how to initiallly
describe the individual phonems to students and how to find rich, authentic contexts for practice. As
we have noted, vowels can be difficult both for the teacher to describe and for the student to master.
This is partially because the articulatory characteristics of vowels cannot be pinned down as
precisely as those of consonants. A second reason vowels can be so difficult for students is due to
the relative complexity of the English vowel system especially as it compares to the vowel systems
of many of our students first language.

Vowels are also problematic in that they tend to display much more dialectal variation among
native speakers than consonants do. Teachers should feel free to modify textbook exercises and
activities so that when teaching pronunciation they are not forced to produce or spend time teaching
distinctions they cannot or simply do not make in their own speech. However, teachers also have
the responsability to expose learners via guest speakers and tape recordings to other widespread
dialects with different vowel sounds.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Alcaraz, E., and B. Moody. Fontica inglesa para espaoles. Teora y prctica (2nd ed.). Grficas
Daz. Alicante.

Algeo, J. and T. Pyles. 1982. The origins and development of the English language. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Inc.

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Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., and M. Goodwin. 2001. Teaching Pronunciation, A Reference for
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.

Fernndez, F. 1982. Historia de la lengua inglesa. Madrid: Gredos.

Gimson, A. C. 1980. An introduction to the pronunciation of English. Edward Arnold.

OConnor, J.D. 1988. Better English Pronunciation. Cambridge University Press.

11. FIGURES.

Figure 1. The speech organs. Figure 2. The oral cavity.

Figure 3. Helwags and Daniel Jones vowel quadrant.

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Figure 4. Saggital section of the mouth. Figure 5. Common areas of vowels.
Celce-Murcia (2001).

Figure 6. Classification of vowels.

Figure 7. English diphthongs.

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UNIT 8
ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM II. CONSONANTS. PHONETIC SYMBOLS.
COMPARING PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: ENGLISH VS SPANISH, THE OFFICIAL
LANGUAGE OF MURCIA AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. THE HISTORY AND SCOPE OF PRONUNCIATION TEACHING.


2.1. Pronunciation instruction in perspective.
2.2. A history of pronunciation teaching.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.


3.1. The nature of communication: main features.
3.1.1. Language as system: a duality of patterning.
3.1.2. Language as speech: the sounds of English.
3.2. Phonetics vs phonology: sounds vs phonemes.
3.3. The production of speech: a physiological aspect.
3.3.1. The speech chain: three main stages.
3.3.2. The speech mechanism: the speech organs.
3.4. Sound changes: modifications in the English consonants.
3.5. A standard of pronunciation: Received Pronunciation (RP).

4. ENGLISH CONSONANTS: PHONETIC SYMBOLS.


4.1. On defining English consonants.
4.2. A classification of English consonants.
4.2.1. Secondary features: aspiration and positional restrictions.
4.2.2. Voicing.
4.2.3. Place of articulation.
4.2.4. Manner of articulation.

5. A DESCRIPTION OF THE ENGLISH CONSONANT INVENTORY COMPARED TO THE


SPANISH CONSONANT SYSTEM.

5.1. English vs Spanish consonantal systems: main distinctive features.


5.2. English plosive consonants /p, t, k, b, d, g/.
5.2.1. Bilabial plosives /p, b/.
5.2.2. Alveolar plosives /t, d/.
5.2.3. Velar plosives /k, g/.
5.3. English fricative consonants /f, v, ?, d, s, z, ?, , h/.
5.3.1. Labio-dental fricatives /f, v/.
5.3.2. Dental fricatives /?, d/.
5.3.3. Alveolar fricatives /s, z/.
5.3.4. Palato-alveolar fricatives / ?, /.
5.3.5. Glottal fricative /h/.
5.4. English affricate consonants /t?, , tr, dr/.
5.4.1. Palato-alveolar affricates / t?, /.

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5.4.2. Post-alveolar affricates /tr, dr/.
5.5. English nasal consonants /m, n, ?/.
5.5.1. Bilabial nasal /m/ and alveolar nasal /n/.
5.5.2. Velar nasal /?/.
5.6. English lateral consonant /l/.
5.7. English post-alveolar consonant /r/.
5.8. English semi-consonants /j/ and /w/.
5.8.1. Unrounded palatal semi-consonant /j/.
5.8.2. Labio-velar semi-consonant /w/.

6. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN PRONUNCIATION.

7. CONCLUSION.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

9. FIGURES.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

This study is aimed to serve as the core of a survey on pronunciation, and in particular on the
consonant system. Therefore, all sections which shall be reviewed in this unit are aimed to provide
the reader with the following: (1) a historical overview of the issues involved in teaching
pronunciation, such as how pronunciation has been viewed from various methodological
perspectives and what we know about the main methods in second language phonology; (2) a
thorough theoretical grounding in the English phonological system; (3) a theoretical insight into the
ways in which this sound system intersects with the consonant system (4) a description and
classification of English consonants in terms of articulatory features; (5) a comparison between the
English and the Spanish consonant systems; and (6) a framework for new directions on
pronunciation, and an evaluation of the consonant system within a current language curriculum
design in the framework of the European Community; (7) a conclusion on this present study will be
offered; (8) bibliography sha ll be fully listed, and finally (9), diagrams and charts regarding the
consonant system will be offered.

For our purposes in this unit, the introductory sections dealing with the nature of communication
and a definition of language will be examined and approached in phonological terms so as to
provide a relevant framework to the survey on pronunciation and on the consonant system.
Therefore, in the second part of this study, we provide a historical overview of how pronunciation
has been treated in language teaching offering the types of teaching approaches and techniques that
have been used. The third part surveys the main methods focusing on the acquisition of the sound
system of a second language. Together, these two chapters prepare the reader for the specific
descriptive and pedagogical information presented in Parts 4 and 5 of this study as well as the
approach to pedagogical considerations on future directions regarding the consonantal system in
Part 6.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Different valuable sources have been taken into account for the elaboration of this unit. Thus, in
Part 2, for a historical overview of the development of the phonological system, see Celce-Murcia,
Brinton and Goodwin, Teaching Pronunciation (2001); and Gimson, An introduction to the
pronunciation of English (1980). In part 3, for a theoretical background to the phonological system,
classic works on the origins and nature of communication and language are Algeo and Pyles, The
origins and development of the English language (1982); and Crystal, Linguistics (1985); on the
production of the speech chain and its features, see Gimson, An introduction to the pronunciation of
English (1980); and Celce-Murcia (2001).

In Parts 4 and 5, an influential description of the consonant system is offered again by Gimson
(1980), Alcaraz and Moody, Fontica inglesa para espaoles (1982); and OConnor, Better English
Pronunciation (1988). In part 6, among the many general works that incorporate recent
phonological advances and present-day directions in teaching pronunciation , see especially Celce-
Murcia (2001); and classic works by Gimson (1980) and OConnor (1988). See also B.O.E. RD N
112/2002, by which Secondary Education and Bachillerato curricula are established in Murcia
Autonomous Community, and also some information about Scrates projects on Education and
Culture in http://www.mec.es/sgpe/socrates/ccaa.htm. In part 7, a conclusion is offered, and in part

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9, charts and diagrams representin g the English and Spanish phonological systems, which have
been taken from different sources, such as Gimson (1980); Alcaraz (1982); and Celce-Murcia
(2001).

2. THE HISTORY AND SCOPE OF PRONUNCIATION TEACHING.

This part of our study is intended to provide a historical overview of how pronunciation has been
treated in language teaching over the past centuries, and in particular, the consonant system.
Therefore, we survey the different types of teaching approaches and techniques as well as the main
methods which have focused on the acquisition of the sound system of a second language. This
section shall prepare us for the specific descriptive information presented in parts 4 and 5 of this
study as well as the main findings regarding future directions discussed in part 6.

2.1. Pronunciation instruction in perspective.

In the history of language teaching, speech and language have been the object of serious study.
However, regarding the sound system, pronunciation only began to be studied systematically
shortly before the beginning of the twentieth century, and since then, two main general approaches
to pronunciation have been developed. First of all, an intuitive-imitative approach, based on the
learners ability to listen to and imitate the rhythms and sounds of the target language by means of
phonograph records earlier, and more recently audio- and videocassettes and compact discs.

Secondly, an analytic -linguistic approach, which also focuses attention on the sounds and rhythms
of the target language, but this time with tools such as a phonetic alphabets, articulatory
descriptions, charts of the vocal apparatus, contrastive information, and other aids to supplement
listening, imitation, and production. In fact, it was developed to complement rather than to replace
the intuitive -imitative approach. Consequently, in the following overview we shall focus on those
methods and approaches for which the teaching and learning of pronunciation has been a genuine
concern from earlier times to the present day.

2.2. A history of pronunciation teaching.

The earliest written evidence on phonetic principles extend back for at least two thousand years
when Indian grammarians produced rigorous printed works containing information of a phonetic
kind with descriptive accounts, and the most striking fact is that they reveal remarkable affinities
with modern ways of thought (Gimson 1980). We note that this emphasis on pronunciation
emerges from an oral tradition in ancient India around the fifth century B.C. when the Hindu priests
needed to reproduce accurately the original pronunciation of the hymns used for their religious
ceremonies to be successful.

Later on, in the sixteenth century, there was an increasing concern at the inconsistency of the
relationship of Latin letters and the sounds which they represented, especially in English, since the
same spelling did service for several sounds. There was, then, a need for a spelling reform in order
to bring some order into English spelling.

Early spelling reformers proposed a more logical relationship between sound and spelling using
phonetic methods of analysis and transcription. Thus, the French grammarian, John Palsgrave wrote
about the pronunciation of French in his work Lesclarcissement de la Langue Francoyse (1530),
where he explained the values of the French sounds, comparing them with the English, in a kind of

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phonetic transcription. Besides, Thomas Smith, in his work De recta et emendata linguae anglicae
scriptione (1568), made pertinent phonetic comments on such matters as the aspiration of English
plosives and the syllabic nature of /n/ and /l/, as well as providing correct descriptions of the
articulation of consonants.

Yet, he, as a phonetician, was overshadowed by John Hart, whose most important work, the
Orthographie (1569) provides a revised system, which describes the organs of speech, defines
consonants, distinguishing between voiced and voiceless consonants, and notes the aspiration of
voiceless plosives. This system was followed at a phonetic level by Alexande r Gil in his work
Logonomia Anglica (1619), although his observations lacked the objectivity of Harts.

In the seventeenth century, a group of writers showed a considerable interest on speech, and
therefore, a great concern at detailed analysis of speech activity, the comparative study of the
sounds of various languages, the classification of sound types, and the establishment of systematic
relationships between the English sounds. These writers are considered to be the true precursors of
modern scientific phoneticians as their work is entirely phonetic in character and most of their
observations and theories still current today. Thus, John Wallis and Bishop Wilkins, were two of the
most celebrated phoneticians and also, Christopher Cooper is to be included as he is considered to
be the greatest English phonetician of the century.

Yet, the linguist John Wallis examined the sounds of English in his work Grammatica Linguae
Anglicanae (1653), by describing in detail the organs of speech, and by establishing a general
system of sound classification for consonants. Such a classification, despite errors and inadequacies
which are apparent today, represents a serious attempt aat the establishment of universal sound
categories.

Also, Bishop John Wilkins attempted, in his work Essay Towards a Real Character and a
Philosophical Language (1668), to create a universal language, expressed by means of marks,
which should signifie things, and not words. He proposes thirty -four letters for his alphabet to
express all those articulate sounds which are commonly known. This work also describes the
functions of speech organs and gives a general classification of the sounds articulated by them,
although his treatment of consonants is far more satisfactory than that of Wallis.

Finally, Christopher Cooper attempted to describe and give rules for the pronunciation of English
rather than to devise a logical system into which the sounds of English might be fitted. In his work
The Discovery of the Art of Teaching and Learning the English Tongue (1687), he states The
Principles of Speech and gives rules for the relation of spelling and pronunciation in different
contexts. Furthermore, he describes the organs of speech and names those sections of the upper
speech tract which are mainly responsible for the articulation of the breath. He defines consonants
as those sounds in which the air-stream is intercepted in the production of speech.

By the eighteenth century, the spirit of general scientific enquiry into speech lost much of its
original enthusiasm. The neglect is due to the fact that it is extremely difficult to study speech
without some mechanical aids to make the speech permanent, and therefore more precisely
analysable (Crystal 1985). Yet, the main achievement of the century lies in its successful attempt to
fix the spelling and pronunciation of the language by means of dictionaries, which provided us
with information concerning the contemporary forms of pronunciation. In fact, the Dictionaries of
Samuel Johnson (1755), Thomas Sheridan (1780), and John Walker (1791) led to a standardization
of pronunciation .

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In the nineteenth century , phoneticians such as Henry Sweet, Wilhelm Vitor, and Paul Passy,
promoted a great interest on speaking skills which was to be developed by the Direct Method in the
late 1800s and early 1900s. Yet, these phoneticians formed the International Phonetic Association
in 1886 and developed the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This alphabet made it possible to
accurately represent the sounds of any language because, for the first time, there was a consistent
one-to-one relationship between a written symbol and the sound it represented.

Such a system is still used nowadays as it allows us to capture the sounds of the language more
accurately. Most of the symbols for consonants sounds will be familiar ones, since they are taken
mainly from the Roman alphabet, and for distinct consonant phonemes, a few special symbols were
introduced.

In the case of English, the use of a phonemic transcription system is especially important because
the language has no simple sound-symbol correspondence system, that is, one letter of the alphabet
does not represent the same sound all of the time, nor does a specific sound always find its
representation in one letter of the alphabet. The peculiarities of the English spelling system derive
from its highly involved language history, which include multiple foreign influences and the
acquisition of many loan words (Celce-Murcia 2001).

By the twentieth century, during the 1940s and 1950s, the Reform Movement played an important
role in the development of Audiolingualism in the United States and the Oral Approach in Britain
for which pronunciation was very important and was taught explicitly from the start. Their main
features are, firstly, that students imitate or repeat sounds, a word, or an utterance out of a model
given by the teacher or a recording; and secondly, that the teacher makes use of information from
phonetics to demonstrate the articulation of sounds. Moreover, the technique of the minimal pair
drill helps students distinguish between similar and problematic sounds in the target language
through listening discriminattion and spoken practice, thus the distinction between sheep and
ship.

During the 1970s the Silent Way and Community Language Learning still showed interesting
differences in the way they dealt with pronunciation. Thus, the Silent Way (Gattegno 1976) is
characterized first by the attention paid to accuracy of production of both the sounds and structures
of the target language from the very initial stage of instruction. Secondly, because language is not
learned by repeating after a model, but by sharpening the students inner criteria for correctness.
Learners attention is focused on how words combine in phrases, and on how blending, stress, and
intonation all shape the production of an utterance by means of sound-color charts and word charts.
On the other hand, Community Language Learning, a method developed by Charles A. Curran
(1976), is characterized by a client-centered learning where the pronunciation syllabus is primarily
student initiated and designed. Students decide what they want to practice and use the teacher as a
resource, a technique known as human computer.

In the 1980s, the Communicative Approach , currently dominant in language teaching, holds that the
primary purpose of language is communication, which means a renewed urgency on pronunciation
since intelligible pronunciation is one of the necessary components of oral communication.

Until now we can see that the emphasis in pronunciation instruction has been largely on a segmental
level, that is, getting the sounds right at the word level, dealing with words in isolation or with
words in very controlled and contrived sentence-level environment. In the mid- to late 1970s other
approaches directed most of their energy to teaching suprasegmental features of language (i.e.
rhythm, stress, and intonation) in a discourse context as the optimal way to organize a short-term
pronunciation course for nonnative speakers. Today, however, we see signs that pronunciation is

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moving towards a more balanced view. As a result, todays pronunciation curriculum seeks to
identify the most important aspects of both the segmental and suprasegmental le vels and integrate
them depending on the needs of any group of learners.

As we stated at the beginning of this part, the main aim of this historical background is to offer a
variety of pedagogical techniques to provide a rich knowledge base in order to understand the
theoretical part on the English sound system to be developed below.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.

3. 1. The nature of communication: main features.

For our purposes in this study, communication shall be defined in terms of types, and main features.
Regarding types, we distinguish mainly two within the communication process, thus, verbal and
non-verbal codes. Firstly, verbal codes are related to those acts in which the code is the language,
that is, oral speech whereas non-verbal codes refer to communicative uses, such as paralinguistic
devices which relate directlyl to stress patterns in pronunciation.

Regarding main features, we highlight two important characteristics of human language which are
relevant to mention for our purposes. Firstly, the arbitrariness of signs where words and meanings
have no a priori connection will be examined within language as a system, and secondly, the
auditory-vocal channel which allowed human beings to produce messages through language will be
examined from a physical perspective within language as speech.

3. 1. 1. Language as system: a duality of patterning.

Following Algeo and Pyles (1982), a language will be defined as a system of conventional vocal
signs by means of which human beings communicate. These vocal signs are then directly related to
the phonological system, and therefore, to the consonant system. We must note that language as a
system is not only a collection of words but also rules or patterns that relate the words to one
another.

This arbitrariness of language lets people build an immensely large number of meaningful units out
of only a handful of meaningless units. Yet, this duality of patterning , which is perhaps the main
feature that distinguishes true human language from animals, relates to our unit in that the
meaningless components of a language make up its sound system, or phonology (phonemes).

At this point, it is worth remembering that in the description of sound systems, those sound
differences that distinguish words are called phonemes, and sounds that are perceptibly different
but do not distinguish words are called allophones. Moreover, the substitution of one phoneme for
another (i.e. the sounds in cat and cut) illustrates the importance of phonemes functioning in
contrastive distribution, that is, as minimally distinctive units of sound that can alter the meaning of
a word. Another way to think of the concepts of phoneme and allophone is to think of the various
allophones of a particular phoneme as all belonging to the same family, which are produced
depending on where they occur in a given word. This phenomena is called positional variation,
thus the phoneme /p/ in initial position (heavily aspirated as in pat); following and initial /s/ (not
aspirated as in spin); and in final position (with closed lips as in cup). We must bear in mind that

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following linguistic convention, phonemes are enclosed between slanted lines // and allophones are
enclosed in square brackets [ ].

3.1.2. Language as speech: the sounds of English.

According to Algeo and Pyles (1982), the signs of language, its words and morphemes, are
basically oral-aural, sounds produced by the mouth and received by the ear. In fact, it is a way to
affirm the primacy of oral communication since we human beings acquire language in the form of
speech, at both oral and auditory level. For the purpose of this study, our primary concern will be
the production, transmission, and reception of the sounds of English, in other words, the phonetics
of English.

Therefore, in next sections we shall examine first, the notion of phoneme and its features, and then,
the production of speech as a physiological aspect where the human vocal tract plays a prominent
role, and secondly, the sounds of speech, from an acoustic and auditory aspects where the main
features of sounds are depicted in detail. These two perspectives on the speech chain will provide
the reader with the relevant framework for a description and classification of speech sounds in
terms of linguistic analysis.

3.2. Phonetics vs phonology: sounds vs phonemes.

In treating sounds, phonologists seek to identify the smallest features which are adequate to
describe any human language by means of phonetic transcription. Linguistically speaking, we may
establish a distinction between the terms phonetics and phonology. This study is primarily
concerned with the sound system of English and it is well known that phonetic analysis should
occupy an important place in the study of any language (Gimson 1980).

On the one hand, phonetics deals with the characteristics of sounds themselves without any
reference to their function. Since the phonetic unit is the sound, it formulates methods of description
and classification of the sound types which occur in speech (articulatory, auditory, and acoustic; and
also, stages of production).

On the contrary, phonology deals with phonemes, and involves the study of the concrete phonetic
characteristics within the context of a specific language, thus English or Spanish phonemes.
According to Algeo and Pyles (1982), a phoneme is the smallest distinctive unit of speech which
may differ according to the phonetic environment in which it occurs. Then, we talk about
allophones , that is, similar sounds that are not distin ctive in complementary distribution (or also
called a specific environment).

Within next sections, a phonetic approach will provide an overview of the production of sounds
from a physiological aspect, that is, the speech chain in its three main stages, and the mechanism of
speech, with respect to the organs of speech involved in the process. Further on, a phonological
analysis will examine the English consonant system in detail.

3.3. The production of speech: a physiological aspect.

For the speaker to produce many differentiated sounds, only humans have been endowed with a
highly sophisticated speech organ which consists of consonants and vowels which are part of our

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vocal apparatus as a limited set of speech sounds. Language is considered to be, then, a universal
and biologically specific activity of human beings.

However, speech enables us to use our language in a very economic way for a virtually infinite
production of linguistic units. As we have mentioned before, linguistically speaking, the distinctive
speech sounds are called phonemes which are meaningless by themselves, and may be reassembled
into larger linguistic units, commonly called words. The way speakers may use language so as to
convey the meaning of their message is examined under physiological aspects, such as the
physiological stages to make communication possible, and the speech organs involved in this
process.

3.3.1. The speech chain: three main stages.

According to Gimson (1980), any communicative act by means of speech involves a highly
complicated series of events on the part of the speaker. This manifestation of language has been
described as a physiological process where we may distinguish three main stages, thus
psychological, physiological, and physical.

The first stage is called psychological since the formulation of the concept takes place at a mental
level in the brain. Then, the message is transmitted by the nervous system to the organs of speech,
which in turn, on taking a provision of air, produce a particular pattern of sound in a conventional
manner, as it is learned by experience. This stage is also called initiation stage.

The second stage, known as the articulatory or physiological stage, takes place when our organs of
speech move and then create disturbances in the air, or whatever the medium may be through which
we are talking. This stage is also called phonation stage as the phonatory organs move in terms of
quality of voice to make the appropriate sound.

These varying air pressures or disturbances which regula te the shape of the sounds constitute the
third stage in our chain, called physical or acoustic, and also known as articulation stage. This is the
end of the production chain where the listener appreciates significant features within the speech
chain since we deal with the reception of the sound waves by the hearing apparatus.

These three stages requires a listener and a speaker for the message to be sent and received, but for
our purposes, we shall focus on the speaker, and more especially, on the concrete speech level
which involves the production of sounds rather than the transmission of the information along the
nervous system to the brain, and the linguistic interpretation of the message. Therefore, we shall
examine in next section the articulatory stage and its speech mechanisms so as to analyse the role
of the different organs on producing the sounds of speech.

3.3.2. The speech mechanism: the speech organs.

Following Gimson (1980), man possesses the ability to produce sounds and organise them into a
highly efficient system of communication whereas animals use the sounds for stimuli to signal fear,
hunger, sexual excitement, and the like. Nevertheless, both animals and human beings share the
common use of organs whose primary physiological function is unconnected with vocal
communication, namely, for man when speaking, those situated in the respiratory tract. Following
OConnor (1988), among those organs, common to vowels and consonants, we may mention (1)
lungs, (2) larynx (vocal cords and glottis), (3) pharynx (soft palate), (4) mouth, (5) teeth, (6) tongue,

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and (7) lips. Consonants are usually drawn in a diagram showing a side view of the parts of the
throat and mouth and nose which are important to recognise for English (Figure 1).

(1) First of all, in all languages we speak with air from the lungs. All the essential sounds of
English need lung air for their production as most speech sounds are produced when we breathe out.
Then the air interferes with its passage in various ways and at various places, and as a result, our
utterances are shaped by the physiological limitations imposed by the capacity of our lungs and by
the muscles which control their action.

(2) Secondly, the air-stream released by the lungs undergoes important modifications in the upper
stages of the respiratory tract. The air comes up through the trachea or wind-pipe, and then it passes
through the larynx which is formed of cartilage and muscle, and is situated in the upper part of the
trachea. Since it looks like a casing, it is commonly called the Adams apple.

The vocal folds (or vocal cords) are two small folds of ligament and elastic tissue lying opposite
each other across the air passage. They may be brought together or parted by the rotation of the
arytenoid cartilages through muscular action. The air can pass freely through the opening between
the folds, known as the glottis, and when the vocal cords are brought together tightly, no air can
pass. This holding back of the compressed air followed by a sudden release is called the glottal
stop. On the contrary, when the vocal cords are tightly open, we define it as friction.

In using the vocal folds for speech, the most important function of those consists in their role as a
vibrator set in motion by lung air, that is, the production of voice, or phonation. For our purposes in
the analysis of English, we shall focus on the production of voiced and voiceless sound. Voiced
sounds are achieved when the vocal cords are vibrating close together whereas voiceless sounds are
made when the vocal cords are wide open, the air passes freely between them, and there is no
vibration.

(3) Thirdly, the air-stream, having passed through the larynx, is now subject to further modification
according to the shape within the upper cavities of the pharynx and mouth , and also, according to
whether the nasal cavity is brought into use or not. It is worth mentioning that the shape and volume
of this long chamber is modified by the muscles enclosing the pharynx, by the movement of the
back of the tongue, and the position of the soft palate.

We shall concentrate on the pharyngeal cavity which extends from the top of the larynx, past the
epiglottis and the root of the tongue, to the region in the rear of the soft palate, which may adopt
different positions. Thus, if the soft palate is lowered but a complete obstruction is made at some
point in the mouth, no oral escape is possible and a purely nasal escape of this sort occurs whereas
if the soft palate is held in its raised position, there is an oral escape through the mouth, as all
normal English sounds have.

(4) Fourth, although all the cavities so far mentioned play an essential part in the production of
speech sounds, most attention has traditionally been paid to the behaviour of the cavity formed by
the mouth. This oral chamber is limited by a number of boundaries, such as the teeth, at the front;
the hard palate, in the upper part; and the pharyngeal wall (soft palate), in the rear. The remaining
organs are movable: the lips, the various parts of the tongue, and the soft palate with its pendent
uvula. For a description of the articulation of sounds, we would include the lower jaw and the space
between the upper and lower teeth.

The whole palate forms the roof of the mouth , and separates the mouth cavity from the nasal
cavity. Most of it is hard and fixed in position, but when your tongue-tip is as far back as it will go,

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away from your teeth, you will notice the palate becomes soft. It is relevant, then, for our purposes
to divide the hard, fixed part of the palate on the roof of the mouth into three parts. Thus, those
boundaries correspond to the alveolar ridge, the hard palate and the soft palate.

First, moving backwards from the upper teeth is the alveolar ridge or teeth ridge which can be
clearly felt behind the upper front teeth; secondly, the hard palate is the highest part of the palate
shaped as a bony arch between the alveolar ridge and the beginning of the soft palate; and finally,
the soft palate or velum, which is capable, as we have previously seen, of being raised or lowered,
and whose extremity is called uvula.

Accordingly, in order to describe English consonants, the main divisions will be referred to as
dental, alveolar, palatal (the hard palate), and velar (the soft palate). It is worth mentioning that the
alveolar ridge is especially important in English because many of the consonant sounds like (i.e. /t/
in tea, /d/ in doll, /n/ in no, /l/ in lemon, /r/ in rhyno, /c/ in pence, /s/ in says, /sh/ in wash, /g/ in
garage, /ch/ in chain, and /j/ in Jane) are made with the tongue touching or close to the alveolar
ridge.

(5) The lower front teeth are used in English to some extent as passive articulators in sounds such
as /t/ and the sound in thin or this. Furthermore, they are not important in speech except that if they
are missing certain sounds, for instance, /s/ and /z/, which will be difficult to make. Also, the tip,
blade, and rims of the tongue may articulate with the teeth as for the th sounds in English.

(6) The tongue is the most important of the organs of speech because it has the greatest variety of
movement and flexibility so as to assume a great variety of positions in the articulation of both
vowels and consonants. Although the tongue has no obvious natural divisions like the palate, it is
useful to think of it as divided into four arbitrary parts, thus back, front, blade, and tip.

Imagine a diagram showing a side view of the mouth where we can see the parts of the tongue. The
back of the tongue lies under the soft palate, and when the tongue is at rest, its tip lies behind the
lower teeth; the front lies under the hard palate. The region where the front and back meet is known
as the centre or dorsum. The tapering section facing the teeth ridge is called the blade and its
extremity the tip. Both lie under the alveolar ridge, and are particularly mobile as they can touch the
whole of the lips, the teeth, the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. The tip and blade region is
sometimes known as the apex, and the edges of the tongue are known as the rims.

Generally, in the articulation of consonants, articulations have a concave relationship, that is, many
consonant sounds are pronounced with the sides of the tongue curved up in the way to meet the
sides of the palate.

(7) The lips take up different positions as they are movable parts. The shape which they assume
will, therefore, affect the shape of the total cavity. Thus they can be brought firmly together so that
they completely block the mouth, as in the initial sounds of pat and bat, or they can be directed
through the nose by the lowering of the soft palate, as in the initial sound of mat. They can also be
pushed forward to a greater or lesser extent, and if they lips are kept apart either flat or with
different amounts of rounding, they can be summarized under six headings (Gimson 1980).

Thus, first, when held sufficiently close together over all their length, friction occurs between them.
Then we obtain fricative sounds, with or without voice (i.e. when pronouncing word). Secondly, the
spread lip position takes place when held sufficiently far apart for no friction to be heard, usually in
vowels (i.e. see), and remaining fairly close together and energetically spread. Thirdly, a neutral
position occurs with a medium lowering of the lower jaw (i.e. get). Fourth, when held relatively

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apart, they are in an open position without any marked rounding (i.e. card). Fifth, a close rounded
position, where the aperture is small and rounded, and tightly pursed (i.e. do). And finally, the open
rounded position, where the aperture is held wide apart (i.e. got).

Variations of these six positions may be encountered within an open and close rounding type.
English consonants, with the exception of such sounds as [p, b, m, w] whose primary articulation
involves lip action, will tend to share the lip position of the adjacent vowel.

3.4. Sound changes: modifications in the English consonants.

Due to a relative freedom in spelling for centuries before the eighteenth century, the history of
spoken English, from Old English to its present-day form, has undergone important changes,
changes which have affected every aspect of the language, its morphology, syntax, and vocabulary,
and in particular, pronunciation.

It is worth noting that consonants have been subject to less changes than vowels, for a consonantal
articulation usually involves an approximation of organs which can be felt. In fact, such an
articulation tends to be more stable in that it is more easily identified and transmitted more exactly
from one generation to another.

According to Gimson (1980), there are three main types of consonant changes, thus modification of
sound, loss, or addition. He claims that it is usually possible to explain the type of modification
which has taken place and the approximate period during which it occurred. Firstly, regarding loss
of sounds, we note that double (or long) consonants within words were lost by late Middle English;
certain other consonant clusters were no longer tolerated by Middle English, thus /hl, hr, hn/, and
/kn, gn, wr/ in the early Modern English period. Also, post-vocalic /r/ was lost in the south-east of
England in the eighteenth century. Secondly, regarding modification and loss, we note that
allophones of certain phonemes were also lost, thus the allophone of /g/ in late Old English, and the
allophones of /h/ in the seventeenth century. Finally, regarding addition, we note that new
phonemes emerged, as for example, the sounds of church and Jane in Old English; the sounds of
view /v/, the /d/, and shes /z/ in Middle English; and the sounds of sing /nasal n/ and Jane in early
Modern English. Finally, /h/ is used initially in words of French origin where, originally, no /h/
sound was pronounced (i.e. habit, herb or humble).

3.5. A standard of pronunciation: Received Pronunciation (RP).

Socially speaking, there is an attitude towards a certain set of sound values which is considered to
be more acceptable than another. Moreover, a standard pronunciation exists, although it has never
been explicitly imposed by any official body. This unofficial standard emerges from disparities
between the speech sounds of younger and older generations, different parts of the country, and also
social classes. For reasons of politics, commerce, and the presence of the Court, it was the
pronunciation of the south-east of England, and more particularly, to that of the London region, that
this prestige was attached. This standard is called Received Pronunciation (RP).

The speech of the Court, phonetically largely that of the London area, incresingly acquired a
prestige value and, in time, lost some of the local characteristics of London speech. It may be said
to have been finally fixed, as the speech of the ruling class, through the conformist influence of the
public schools of the nineteenth century. With the spread of education, the situation arose in which
an educated man might not belong to the upper classes and still retain his regional characteristics.
Then, those eager for social advancement felt obliged to modify their accent in the direction of the
social standard. Pronunciation was, therefore, a marker of position in society .

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Great prestige is still attached to this implicitly accepted social standard of pronunciation since it
has become widely known and accepted through the advent of the radio. The BBC formerly
recommended this form of pronunciation mainly because it was the most widely understood type
which excited least prejudice of a regional kind. As a result, RP became identified in the public
mind with BBC English. This special position, basically educated Southern British English, has
become the form of pronunciation most commonly described in books on the phonetics of British
English and traditionally taught to foreigners.

In the following section we shall examine the English Consonant System on the basis of RP
conventions by means of a descriptive account of the English consonants as part of the sound
system.

4. ENGLISH CONSONANTS: PHONETIC SYMBOLS.

4.1. On defining English consonants.

Following OConnor (1988), there are good reasons to consider consonants much more important
than vowels as, in speaking, if we leave out all the vowels sounds and pronounce only the
consonants, most English would still be fairly easy to understand.

Yet, one way to think of consonant sounds is as the solid blocks with which we construct words,
phrases, and sentences, and which are connected or held together by the vowels of a language,
considered to be a more fluid material. Together, they provide the basic structure to create the
architecture of a language, and meaningful sound combinations (Cerce-Murcia (2001).

Besides, according to Gimson (1980), this process of commutation is carried out by twenty-four
distinctive units (figure 2) which may be defined, first, in terms of their function, by which a
consonant cannot usually constitute the peak of a syllable, and therefore it is considered to be as a
non-central or marginal element; and secondly, in terms of their phonetic nature, where the vocal
cord vibration can be interrupted and there is obstruction of the airflow when the various
articulators approach each other. On the contrary, in the production of vowels there is no vibration
of the vocal cords, and are considered to be the peak of the syllable.

4.2. A classification of English consonants.

As stated before, in the production of consonant sounds we observe that the airflow from the lungs
is obstructed in its way up by contact with the articulators, which play an important role in the
classification of the consonant inventory. However, they are not the only feature that helps classify
consonants in mainly articulatory terms.

Following Cerce-Murcia (2001), the twenty-four distinct consonant phonemes of English can be
distinguish along three main dimensions: voicing (whether the vocal cords are vibrating), place of
articulation (where the sound is made), and manner of articulation (how the airflow is affected).
However, we will also rely on some secondary features that enable us to describe these phonemes
more accurately. These include whether the sound is aspirated or nonaspirated, and positional
restrictions. A more detailed description would include additional information concerning, for
instance, the airflow motion (pulmonic or non-pulmonic), the airflow direction (egressive or

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ingressive), the shape of the remainder of the tongue (blade, rims or tip), the relative position of the
jaws (lowered or raised), and lip position (rounded or spread). However, these features are not
either primary or secondary characteristics of English consonants, but additional descriptive details.

So far, before proceeding with a more complete description of voicing, place and manner of
articulation of English consonants, it is relevant to discuss other secondary features, such as the
phenomenon of aspiration and positional restrictions for an accurate further classification of each
consonant.

4.2.1. Secondary features: aspiration and positional restrictions.

The concept of aspiration is closely related, firstly, to the concept of positional restriction by which
consonants can potentially occur in five different environments, thus syllable initial, syllable final,
intervocalic, initial clusters, and final clusters, and secondly, to the concept of positional variation,
by which the same phoneme is pronounced differently in different positions or environments.

Aspiration is one example of how this environment can affect the articulation of a sound, especially
with the stop consonants /p, t, k/. It is defined as the brief puff of air, strongly expelled, that
accompanies the allophones of /p, t, k/ in words such as pan, tan, and key. The feature of aspiration
is commonly regarded from an acoustic point of view as the voiceless interval occurring between
the release burst of the plosive and the onset of the voicing of the following sound.

In general, then, we can say that the voiced stop consonants are not aspirated, whereas the voiceless
stop consonants are. However, we need to further qualify this statement, since the occurrence of
aspiration with /p, t, k/ depends on the position of the consonant within a word. For instance, in
initial position (i.e. peal, test, k in) and at the beginning of a stressed syllable (i.e. repeal, detest,
akin). However, in casual speech, the same six stop consonant sounds /p, t, k/ and /b, d, g/ are often
not released in final position, and they are weakly aspirated.

Foreign learners may have difficulties in differentiating such minimal word pairs. They may tend to
confuse initial voiced stops in English with thier own languages unaspirated voiceless stops, and
produce unaspirated stops in place of the English aspirated counterparts. Aspiration, then, may
provide a valuable clue to perceiving and producing these words accurately.

4.2.2. Voicing.

Voicing is also a primary characteristic of each consonant as it states whether or not the vocal cords
are vibrating when the airflow moves from the lungs to the oral or nasal passages. During the
explanation of how consonants sounds are formed, the concept of voicing becomes very important
since it is the feature that distinguishes between stops, fricatives, and affricates articulated in the
same place.

When the vocal cords are relatively close and tense, and vibrate in the production of a sound, we
deal with voiced consonants. On the contrary, when the vocal cords are relatively separate and not
tense, and they do not vibrate when pronouncing a sound, then we deal with voiceless consonants.
We can distinguish voiced from voiceless either by feeling our Adams apple or by putting fingers
in our ears and listening to which of the pair of sounds can be heard.

Generally, in the speech chain, the distinction between voiced and voiceless is not only achieved by
the presence or absence of vibration in the vocal cords but also by the presence of aspiration.

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Therefore, in phonetic terms, it is more accurate to use the terms lenis and fortis rather than the
terms voiced and voiceless in order to categorize the two sets of voicing.

4.2.3. Place of articulation.

Before proceeding to the description of consonant sounds according to the place of articulation
where they occur, it is worth noting first that in the production of sounds, air passes through one or
both of two passageways: the oral cavity (mouth) or the nasal passageway (nose), depending on
whether the nasal passage is blocked off or not. Accordingly, we may refer to oral or nasal sounds.

Moreover, it is useful to differenciate between the articulator and the point or place of articulation,
which is where the contact with the articulator occurs (Cerce-Murcia 2001). The articulators are
defined as the most movable part of the articulatory system, and are classified into two types:
movable (or active) and fixed (or passive). The tongue is considered to be the most movable
articulator whereas passive articulators only serve to give an adjective to the point of articulation,
thus lips (labial), teeth (dental), palate (palatal), and so on.

As mentioned earlier, the main articulators used to produce sounds are the lower lip and the various
parts of the tongue , which for descriptive purposes is further divided into parts: the tip and the blade
(which constitute the front of the tongue), and the body (mid- and back sections), and the root (the
back-most section dow n in the throat, not visible). Other articulators include the jaw, the uvula (the
small moveable flap at the back of the soft palate), the velum (the soft palate which opens or closes
the nasal passageway), and the vocal cords within the larynx.

Therefore, important points of articulation in English may be clearly seen in a sagittal section
diagram of these organs of speech, from left to right, starting by the upper lip, the teeth, the roof of
the mouth, beginning with the alveolar ridge (just behind the front teeth) and continuing back
through the hard palate area to the velum. Similarly, for our purposes, we shall draw a chart where
the vertical axis on the left will represent the manner of articulation (to be examined in next
section), and the horizontal upper axis will virtually represent the places of articulation for English
consonants in a sagittal section of the mouth. They are summarized as follows.

(1) Labial consonants are divided into two types. Firstly, bilabial /b, p, m, w/ when sounds are
produced with the two lips as in the words buy, pie, my, and wool. Secondly, labiodental /f,v/ when
sounds are produced with the upper teeth and inner lower lip as in the words fee and veal.

(2) Dental consonants /?, d/ are produced when the tongue tip is on or near the inner surface of the
upper teeth as in the words thick and then.

(3) Alveolar consonants /t, d, s, z, n, l/ are produced when the tongue tip and blade is on or near the
tooth ridge as in the words to, do, zoo, new, and light.

(4) Post-alveolar consonant /r/ and the clusters /tr, dr/ are produced when the tip and rims of the
tongue articulate with the rear part of the alveolar ridge but not touching it as in the words red, tree
and draw. We may talk about the retracted /r/ (South-West British and American English), called
retroflex, when the tip of the tongue is curled back to articulate with the part of the hard palate
immediately behind the alveolar ridge.

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(5) Palato-alveolar consonants /?, , t?, / are produced when the blade, or the tip and blade, of the
tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge and there is at the same time a raising of the front of the
tongue towards the hard palate as in the words ship, beige, church, and Jim.

(5) Palatal consonant /j/ is produced when the tongue blade or body is articulated near the hard
palate as in you. However, this consonant is usually included in the category of semi-vowel as from
the point of view of phonetic description, it is more properly treated as a vowel glide.

(6) Velar consonants /k, g, ?/ are produced when the back of the tongue is on or near the soft palate
as in the words go, kite, and bang,

(7) Finally, glottal consonant /h/ is produced by air passing from the windpipe throught the vocal
cords, causing friction but not vibration as in hi. This sound is articulated in the glottis and it is
known as the glottal stop.

4.2.4. Manner of articulation.

In this section we describe how the various speech organs interact with each other, providing a
further dimension to how consonants are articulated. As mentioned, sounds are produced by air
moving from the lungs through the articulatory organs and being released through the oral or nasal
passages.

In the production of consonant sounds, whereas vowel sounds are articulated with a free airflow,
consonant sounds involve some narrowing of the articulatory passageway, or some obstruction of
the airflow due to the different configurations of the speech organs. As the air encounters these
obstacles, different kinds of sounds are produced. Therefore, the manner of articulation refers to the
type of obstacle course the air takes in producing different kind of sounds.

So far, the different configurations of the speech organs are to be set in a vertical axis in the chart
mentioned above, and classified as follows. (1) Plosives (or stops) /p, t, k and b, d, g/ are produced
when the airstream is blocked or stopped completely before its release, and suddenly the air escapes
making an explosive sound. Plosives fall into three groups as far as the place of articulation is
concerned. Thus, bilabial, alveolar, and velar.

(2) Fricatives /f, v, ?, d, s, z, ?, , h/ are produced when the articulatory organs approach but do not
touch each other, and the air is forced through the passageway in the mouth or throal causing
continuous friction.

(3) Affricates /t?, , tr, dr/ are a combination of a stop and a fricative. In this case, air pressure is
first built up, and it is released through a narrow passageway like a fricative.

(4) Nasals /m, n, ?/ are produced when the air passes through the nasal cavity since the oral passage
is closed and the velum moves forward to free the nasal cavity.

(5) Lateral /l/ (or approximant) is produced when the airstream flows along the sides of the tongue,
and it has two allophones, clear and dark /l/. Note that Celce-Murcia (2001) includes /l/ within the
liquid series.

(6) Frictionless continuant /r/ (also approximant, post-alveolar and alveopalatal) is produced when
the tongue tip is near the alveopalatal area but does not touch the roof of the mouth. This consonant

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has different realizations regarding positional restrictions, thus linking /r/, intervocalic /r/, devoiced
/r/ after voiceless consonants, and the American alveolar retroflex /r/ and palatal /r/ or lingual roll.

It is worth mentioning that, in general, /r/ is included in the fricative series (as a post-alveolar
fricative). Thus, other classifications are, following Gimson (1980), as a post-alveolar frictionless
continuant (or approximant); following OConnor (1988), as a gliding consonant, together with the
semi-consonants /w/ and /j/; and recently, Celce-Murcia (2001), included /r/ in the liquid series
within a palatal classification, and also as an approximant. For our purposes in this study we shall
follow Celce-Murcia and Gimson, and therefore we shall classify /r/ in the liquid series as a post-
alveolar frictionless continuant.

(7) Finally, the semi-consonant glides /j/ and /w/, also called semi-vowels because they consist of a
quick, smooth, non-friction glide towards a following vowel sound. In their production, the
airstream moves through the oral chamber in a relatively unobstructed manner.

A final category of consonant sounds involves the glide, or semivowel, sounds, which behave
similarly to the liquids in that the airstream moves through the oral chamber in a relatively
unobstructed manner. Glides behave like consonants in syllable -initial position yet also represent
movements that combine with vowels to form diphthongs (a vowel sound followed by a
nonadjacent glide within the same syllable, as in boy). Belonging to this category are the glides /j/
and /w/, as in year and wood.

Clearly, in the production of any given consonant, both the place and manner of articulation and
voicing, along with other secondary features, figure prominently in determining what sound is
produced. Only by combinin g all of the relevant articulatory features can we accurately describe
English Consonants Phonemes (figure 3).

Therefore, in the following section, we shall introduce the reader, firstly, to the entire English
consonant inventory, classifying individual sounds according to their articulatory features, and
secondly, presenting consonants in this manner, special attention should be paid to the symbols that
differ from regular spelling, and to sound contrasts that do not exist in Spanish.

5. A DESCRIPTION OF THE ENGLISH CONSONANT INVENTORY COMPARED TO THE


SPANISH CONSONANT SYSTEM.

In this section, we suggest classifying individual sounds according to their articulatory features
mainly in terms of manner of articulation, thus plosives, fricatives, affricates, nasals, lateral, post-
alveolar, and semi-consonants. During the explanation of how consonant sounds are formed, we
shall examine (1) articulatory definition; (2) articulatory description; (3) features such as voicing,
allophones, spelling, or aspiration; and (4) positional restrictions, and (5) positional variation or
variants.

Besides, we shall examine the most striking differences and similarities of both systems by
comparing English consonants with their Spanish counterparts, where we shall pay special attention
to those symbols that differ from the Spanish consonant system and may cause difficulties for
Spanish learners of English. Therefore, before proceeding to this descriptive account, it is relevant
to establish the main distinctive features of English and Spanish consonantal systems.

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5.1. English vs Spanish consonantal systems: main distinctive features.

When comparing English and Spanish consonant systems, we find important differences and some
similarities. Thus, regarding quantity, the English consonant system counts on twenty-four
consonants whereas Spanish counts on just nineteen. Regarding the place of articulation,
physically, the speech organs are equally distributed in both systems.

However, regarding manner of articulation, there are relevant constrasts in the way consonant
sounds are produced in both systems. Regarding voicing, we must note the distinction between
voiced and voiceless consonants is a primary characteristic of English consonants, not being the
case for Spanish (except for dialectial variations). This is also the case of aspiration, which is
primarily characteristic of the English phonological system.

Another feature that helps contrast English and Spanish is positional restrictions, by which all the
English consonants, except for /h/, may be in final syllable position whereas for Spanish only seven
consonants may appear in this position.

According to Delattre (1965), in both languages, most of the articulations in the speech chain are to
be given in the alveolar ridge area, and as a result, frontal resonance is produced. Therefore, the
most frequent consonants in in Spanish are respectively /s, n, r, d, t, l/, and in English, they are /d, l,
n, r, s, t/. Besides, consonants /d/ and /h/ are quite frequent in English due to its realizations in the
indefinite article the, and the demonstrative adjectives this, that, these, those .

Further details regarding distinctive features within the mentioned descriptive type will be offered
within the detailed description of each phoneme in next section.

5.2. English plosive consonants /p, t, k, b, d, g/.

On defining plosive consonants, we shall state that in the production of plosives the breath is
completely stopped at some point in the mouth, by the lips, the tip of the tongue and the back of the
tongue, and then released with a slight explosion.

With respect to general features, we find two main types, physiological and phonetic. Regarding
physiological features, the articulation of plosives consists of three main stages. Firstly, a closing
stage, during which the articulating organs move together in order to form the obstruction;
secondly, a compression stage, during which lung action compresses the air behind the closure; and
thirdly, a release or explosion stage, during which the organs forming the obstruction part rapidly,
allowing the compressed air to escape abruptly. In general, in their production, English plosives are
more tense than their Spanish counterparts.

Regarding phonetic features, plosives phonemes show oppositions in word initial, medial, and final
positions with respect to (1) place of articulation, (2) force of articulation, (3) aspiration, (4)
voicing, and (5) length of preceding sounds.

Thus, as far as (1) the place of articulation is concerned, the plosives fall into three constrastive
groups. Firstly, bilabial /p, b/ when the airstream is stopped by the two lips, causing pressure to
build slightly before being released through the mouth. Secondly, alveolar /t, d/ when, similarly, a
barrier is created as the tip of the tongue contacts the alveolar ridge. Finally, velar plosives /k, g/
when the back of the tongue may rise to meet the velum, temporarily blocking the airflow.

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Concerning (2) force of articulation, we distinguish between fortis and lenis plosives, that is
respectively, voiceless and voiced consonants. For instance, voiceless /p, t, k/ tend to be pronounced
with more muscular energy and a stronger breath effort than voiced /b, d, g/.

Concerning (3) aspiration, the lenis series /b, d, g/ is not normally aspirated whereas the fortis or
voiced series /p, t, k/ is in different positions within the syllable. For instance, when initial in an
accented syllable, they are usually accompanied by aspiration, as in pin; when followed by liquids
/l, r/ or semiconsonants /w, j/, aspiration is manifested in the devoicing of those consonants, as in
please and try; when /s/ precedes /p, t, k/, there is practically no aspiration, as in spin. In final
positions, they have no audible release.

Concerning (4) voicing, the lenis series /b, d, g/ may have full voice when they occur in positions
between voiced sounds, as in labour, leader, or eager, but they will never be fricatives as in
Spanish in medial position. The fortis series /p, t, k/ is not voiced.

Finally, concerning (5) length of preceding sounds, it is a feature of RP that syllables closed by
fortis consonants in final positions are considerably shorter than those which are open, or closed by
a lenis consonant.

Finally, the main differences between English vs Spanish consonant system is that, in general,
Spanish learners of English are advised to pay special attention to the aspiration of /p, t, k/ when
these phonemes occur initially in an accented syllable as in Spanish these plosives are characterized
by absence of aspiration.

5.2.1. Bilabial plosives /p, b/.

As stated before, /p/ and /b/ are called bilabial because the airstream is stopped by the two lips,
causing pressure to build slightly before being released through the mouth. However, there are
differences between them (figure 4).

Thus, in articulatory terms, on defining /p/, we would say it is a voiceless bilabial plosive whereas
/b/ is a voiced bilabial plosive. This means that, when uttered, lung air is compressed behind the
closure of the lips, and the vocal folds are held wide apart for /p/, but may vibrate for all or part of
the compression stage for /b/. We observe that Spanish consonants are less tense.

Moreover, they differ regarding aspiration as /b/ is never aspirated whereas /p/ presents aspiration,
and three different allophones depending on its position withing the word. Thus, the allophone of
/p/ in initial position is often heavily aspirated or accompanied by a rush of air (i.e. pat); the
allophone of /p/ following an initial /s/ is not aspirated (i.e. spin); and finally, the allophone of /p/ in
final position, in which the lips remain closed and the /p/ has no audible release (i.e. cup). The
substitution of the phoneme /b/ for /p/ would result in a change of meaning (i.e. pat vs. bat, or pig
vs. big ). It is worth noting that Spanish has no aspiration.

Besides, they behave in different ways depending on their voicing, and their positions within the
word. Thus, /p/ is not voiced but /b/ presents voicing in initial position when it occurs between
voiced sounds (i.e. able, rub out, marble), or it is preceded by a voiced consonant in the sentence
(i.e. your baby). In other situations, as in initial or final positions (i.e. bill, rob), and in the
environment of voiceless consonants (i.e. top boy), it will be partially or completely voiceless.

Yet, English bilabial plosive /b/ will never become a fricative labiodental /v/ in medial position as it
occurs in Spanish (i.e. Abril, clavo) in the environment of vowels or voiced consonants. Another

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difference relies on the Spanish spelling for /b/, being b and v (i.e. bravo ), which in general are
pronounced identically, except for some dialectal regions.

To sum up, Spanish learners of English must be very careful to pronounce /p/ and /b/ with the lips,
and to open the lips and allow the breath to explode out of the mouth before a pause. Besides, some
learners have great difficultry in hearing and making a difference between /b/ and /v/ (i.e. marble
and marvel) as they sound the same for the Spanish ear. Therefore, those who have difficulty with
/b/ and /v/ must again be sure to close the lips firmly for the /b/ and make a very light explosion but
no friction..

Foreign speakers of English may be generally intelligible without adopting any of these features,
and therefore, if they aim to get a near approximation to the speech of English natives, they should
adopt at least the following features: (1) no audible release of bilabial plosives in final positions (i.e.
map, robe); (2) no audible release in stop clusters (plosive + affricate) as in dropped /p + t/, rubbed
/b + d/, white post /t + p/, good boy /d + b/ and big boy /g + b/; (3) glottal reinforcement of final /p/
(i.e. shop); (4) nasal release (plosive + nasal) by lowering the soft palate as in topmost /p + m/, and
submerge /b + m/; and finally (5) lateral release of /p and b/ + / l/ as in apple , or bubble .

5.2.2. Alveolar plosives /t, d/.

As stated before, /t/ and /d/ are articulated when the tip of the tongue contacts the alveolar ridge,
and the air escapes with force upon the sudden separation of the alveolar closure. However, in
Spanish, these consonants are considered to be dental rather than alveolar as they are articulated by
placing the tip of the tongue against the upper teeth (figure 5).

Thus, in articulatory terms, /t/ is defined as a voiceless alveolar plosive whereas /d/ is a voiced
alveolar plosive. This means that, when uttered, lung air is compressed behind the closure of the
lips, and the vocal folds are held wide apart for /t/, but may vibrate for all or part of the compression
stage for /d/ according to its situation in the utterance.

Regarding spelling, /t/ is regularly spelt t, tt, th (i.e. tie, written, Thomas); also ed as in the verbal
past tenses and participles after voiceless consonants rather than /t/ (i.e. watched or finished); and as
a silent t in words (i.e. castle, listen) and word junctions (i.e. last Christmas). On the other hand, /d/
is regularly spelt d, dd (i.e. date, odd); and is also used in the verbal past tenses and participles after
voiced consonants rather than /d/ (i.e. listened or played).

Moreover, regarding aspiration, /d/ is never aspirated whereas /t/ presents aspiration, and three
different allophones depending on its position withing the word. Thus, the allophone of /t/ in initial
position is often heavily aspirated or accompanied by a rush of air (i.e. take); the allophone of /t/
following an initial /s/ is not aspirated (i.e. steak ); and finally, the allophone of /t/ in final position,
in which the /t/ has no audible release (i.e. outpost, football). The substitution of the phoneme /t/ for
/d/ would result in a change of meaning (i.e. tie vs.die ). It is worth noting that Spanish has no
aspiration.

Besides, they behave in different ways depending on their voicing, and their positions within the
word. Thus, /t/ is not voiced and /d/ is not either, but it presents voicing in initial position when it is
preceded by a voiced consonant in the sentence (i.e. my daughter ) or when it occurs between voiced
sounds (i.e. London, under). In other situations, as in initial or final positions (i.e. dog, road), and in
the environment of voiceless consonants (i.e. duke,birthday, date ), it will be partially or completely
voiceless. It is worth noting that /d/ is fully voiced in Spanish, but not in English.

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It is to be emphasized for foreign speakers of English that the general articulation of /t/ and /d/ is an
alveolar one, made with the tongue-tip raised whereas the corresponding phonemes of Spanish have
a dental rather than an alveolar point of contact. Those learners who carry over from Spanish a
dental articulation should practise the slightly affricated forms of /t,d/ in words such as time, day, as
well as the post-alveolar, nasal, and retroflex varieties of these alv eolar plosives.

Therefore, in adopting these features, students who aim to get a near approximation to the speech of
English natives should adopt at least the following features: (1) no audible release of alveolar
plosives in final positions (i.e. mat, road); (2) no audible release in stop clusters (plosive + affricate)
as in white post /t + p/, good boy /d + b/, object /b + d /; (3) glottal reinforcement of final /t/ (i.e.
shot); and finally (4) affrication of plosives, that is, alveolar plosives followed by fricatives in
strongly accented positions (i.e. time, day), in weakly accented positions (i.e., waiting, riding), and
in final positions (i.e. hat, bed). Also, in plural and third person singular formation as /t + s/ and /d +
z/ (i.e. cats, decides).

We also observe that the lip position for both of them will be conditioned by that of the adjacent
sounds, especially that of a following vowel or semi-vowel, for instance, spread lips for /t/ in teeth,
and lip rounding for /t/ in tooth. Besides, the alveolar stop contact is particularly sensitive to the
influence of the place of articulation of /t/ and /d/ with the following consonant. Thus, followed by
the approximant /r/ as in try, dry , the contact will be post-alveolar; followed by the voiced fricatives
/ , d/ as in eighth, not that, the contact will be dental; followed by nasals /m/ or /n/, the contact will
be nasal (i.e. eaten, admire), usually replaced by the glottal stop as in cotton, certain ; and finally,
when followed by /l/, the contact will be lateral (i.e. kettle, middle).

5.2.3. Velar plosives /k, g/.

As previously mentioned, /k/ and /g/ are articulated when the back of the tongue may rise to meet
the velum, temporarily blocking the airflow from the lungs. Then, the air escapes with force upon
the sudden separation of the linguo-velar closure (figure 6).

Thus, in articulatory terms, /k/ is defined as a voiceless velar plosive whereas /g/ is a voiced velar
plosive. This means that, when uttered, lung air is compressed behind the closure made between the
back of the tongue and the soft palate, and the vocal folds are held wide apart for /k/, but may
vibrate for all or part of the compression stage for /g/.

Regarding spelling, /k/ is regularly spelt k, c, cc + a, o, u; and also qu, ch (i.e. kind, cake, accord,
bouquet, chemist); also qu /kw/ as in quiet, quarter; and as a silent c or k in muscle, know. On the
other hand, /g/ is regularly spelt g, gg (i.e. gear, nigger ); and sometimes gh, gu (i.e. ghost, guard).

Moreover, regarding aspiration, /g/ is never aspirated whereas /k/ presents aspiration, and three
different allophones depending on its position withing the word. Thus, the allophone of /k/ in initial
position is often heavily aspirated or accompanied by a rush of air (i.e. come, according); the
allophone of /k/ following an initial /s/ is not aspirated (i.e. scar, skin); and finally, the allophone of
/k/ in final position, which has no audible release (i.e. rock, bank). In this final position, /k/ may
also be aspirated and shorten the vowel before it whereas /g/ lengthens the vowel. It is worth noting
that Spanish has no aspiration.

Besides, they behave in different ways depending on their voicing, and their positions within the
word. Thus, /k/ is not voiced and /g/ is not either, but it presents voicing in initial position when it is
preceded by a voiced consonant in the sentence (i.e. her goal) or when it occurs between voiced
sounds (i.e. hunger, ago, begin ). In other situations, as in initial or final positions (i.e. go, dog), and

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in the environment of voiceless consonants (i.e. black girl), it will be partially or completely
voiceless. It is worth noting that Spanish /g/ is fully voiced, and in medial position is uvular or
fricative rather than velar in some dialectal regions (i.e. Catalua or Valencia).

Foreign learners of English must realize that the lip position will be conditioned by that of the
adjacent sounds, especially that of a following vowel or semi-vowel, for instance, spread lips for /k/
in keen, and lip rounding for /k/ in cool. Besides, the velar stop contact is particularly sensitive to
the influence of the following adjacent vowel. Thus, followed by a front vowel /i/, the contact will
be palatal (i.e. key, geese) whereas followed by a back vowel /o/, the contact will be velar; and
finally, followed by a central vowel, thus /^/ or /3:/, the contact will be made in the soft palate (i.e.
come, gun, curl, girl).

Yet, there are other variations which affect velar plosives, such as being followed by nasal or liquid.
Thus, followed by nasals /m/ or /n/, the contact will be nasal (i.e. thicken, black magic; ignore, big
man); and finally, when followed by /l/, the contact will be lateral (i.e. clean,buckle; struggle,
glow).

5.3. English fricative consonants /f, v, ?, d, s, z, ?, , h/.

We may define the nine fricative consonants with respect to two main features, thus physiological
and phonetic. Regarding physiological features, we shall say that two organs are brought and held
close together for the escaping air-stream to produce strong friction, and therefore, noise. This
friction may or may not be accompanied by voice.

Regarding phonetic features, fricative phonemes show oppositions in word initial, medial, and final
positions with respect to (1) place of articulation, (2) force of articulation, (3) voicing, and (4)
length of preceding sounds.

Thus, as far as (1) the place of articulation is concerned, the fricatives fall into five constrastive
groups. Thus, labio-dental /f, v/; dental /?, d/; alveolar /s, z/; palato-alveolar /?, /; and finally,
glottal /h/.

Concerning (2) force of articulation, we distinguish between fortis and lenis fricatives, that is,
voiceless and voiced consonants. For instance, voiceless /f, ?, s, ?/ tend to be pronounced with more
muscular energy and a stronger breath effort than voiced /v, d, z, /.

Concerning (3) voicing, the lenis series /v, d, z, / may have full voice when they occur in positions
between voiced sounds whereas the fortis series /f, ?, s, ?/ is not voiced.

Concerning (4) length of preceding sounds, we deal with position restrictions in the sense that it is a
feature of RP that syllables closed by fortis consonants in final positions are considerably shorter
than those which are open, or clo sed by a lenis consonant.

Finally, Spanish learners of English should pay attention to the main differences between the
English and the Spanish consonant system, particularly to those fricative consonants that do not
exist in Spanish. Firstly, to independent phonemes, since in Spanish there are no palato-alveolar
fricative phonemes and there is a retraction of articulations in the alveolar region (i.e. /s/); secondly,
in the production of /h/ since in Spanish it is mute; and thirdy, to the degree of voicing in the lenis
series depending on position restrictions, and to the influence the fortis series has on the length of
preceding sounds.

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5.3.1. Labio-dental fricatives /f, v/.

Fricatives /f/ and /v/ (figure 7) are called labio-dental because the air is restricted by the narrow
passage formed by the lower lip and upper teeth as the soft palate is raised and the nasal resonator
shut off. We may observe a slight variation in the lip position regarding adjacent sounds. Thus, in
the case of a back strongly rounded vowel or of a bilabial plosive (i.e. fool, roof, obvious), the
contact on the lower lip tends to be more retracted than in the case of a front spread vowel (i.e. feel,
leaf).

Regarding spelling, /f/ is regularly spelt f, ff, ph, and gh.(i.e. faith, off, photo, enough). On the other
hand, /v/ is regularly spelt v, f,and ph (i.e. van, of, nephew).

In articulatory terms, the difference between them is mainly of strength: /f/ is considered to be
voiceless (or fortis) as the vocal cords do not vibrate whe reas /v/ is considered to be voiced (or
lenis).

Besides, they behave in different ways depending on their voicing, and their positions within the
word. Yet, /f/ is never voiced, but /v/ may presents voicing in initial, medial, and final position (i.e.
very, eleven, dive). It is worth noting that when /f/ and /v/ occur at the end of words, after a vowel,
they have an effect on the length of the vowel, for /f/ making the vowel shorter, and /v/ making the
vowel longer (i.e. safe and save). Another special variant is for RP speakers who may assimilate /v/
to /f/ before a voiceless consonant initial in the following word (i.e. have to, have some).

The labio-dental /f/ does not present any difficulties for Spanish learners of English as it is
pronounced in the same way in both languages. However, /v/ does, as in Spanish we do not have
voicing and we tend to use the same sound for both /v/ and /f/. In some cases, for instance, in some
Spanish communities (i.e. Valencia) there is a special voicing in initial posit ion (i.e. fino-vino; faca,
vaca), and in medial position in the environment of voiced consonants (i.e. cava, vivero). Therefore,
special attention must be paid to the degree of voicing in /v/ according to its situation and to the
length of sounds preceding , and to using strong friction between the lower lip and upper teeth for
/v/.

5.3.2. Dental fricatives / ?, d /.

Fricatives / ? / and / d / (figure 8) are called dental because, once the soft palate is raised and the
nasal resonator shut off, the air is restricted by the narrow passage formed by the tongue and the
teeth, and escapes between them causing friction. In addition, the lip position will depend upon the
adjacent vowel, being spread for front vowels (i.e. thief, these) and somewhat rounded for ba ck
vowels (i.e. thought, truth).

Regarding spelling, / ? / is always spelt th (i.e. thief, method, path, three, fifth) as well as /d/, which
is always spelt th (i.e. this, leather, with, rhythm).

In articulatory terms, the difference between them is mainly of strength: / ? / is considered to be


voiceless (or fortis) as the vocal cords do not vibrate whereas / d / is considered to be voiced (or
lenis).

Besides, they behave in different ways depending on their voicing, and their positions within the
word. Yet, / ? / is never voiced, but / d / may present voicing in initial and medial positions (i.e.

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then, breathing), and particularly in final position before a voiced consonant initial in the following
word (i.e. your mouth is). We must note that no important variants of / ?, d / occur, except when
followed by /s, z/, in which case they are ellided (i.e. clothes /kl? uz/), and also, when we find
sequences of the type /s,z/ followed by unaccented / d /, in which case, the preceding alveolar
articulation may influence the dental fricative in rapid speech (i.e. Whats the time? /wts z?
taim/. Finally, in popular London speech, the difficulties of the dental articulation may lead to their
replacement by labio-dental fricatives (i.e. throw it, Smith! /fr? u it, smif/).

Foreign learners of English must be reminded not to pronounce those words with the voiced labio-
dental fricative / d / as /d/, both in isolation and in combination with other fricatives, especially /s/
and /z/. In Spanish, the voiced labio-dental fricative / d / does not exist as an independent phoneme ,
and only occurs in some autonomous communities when it is in intervocalic position (i.e. lado,
dedo). However, the voiceless labio-dental fricative /?/ does not present any difficulties for Spanish
learners of English as it is similar to a Spanish phoneme whose spelling is z or ce, ci. The only
difference is that the Spanish phoneme is articulated more tense than the English one.

5.3.3. Alveolar fricatives /s, z/.

Fricatives /s/ and /z/ (figure 9) are called alveolar because, when the soft palate is ra ised and the
nasal resonator shut off, the air is restricted by the narrow passage formed by the tongue and the
upper alveolar ridge, where the side rims of the tongue contact with the upper side teeth. Then the
air escapes by means of a narrow groove in the centre of the tongue and causes friction.

Sometimes some speakers make a light additional contact between the lower lip and the upper teeth,
thus giving the sounds a secondary labio-dental quality, as we mentioned in the previous section.
This is a common speech habit.

Regarding spelling, /s/ is usually spelt s, ss, c, sc, x (i.e. so, pass, niece, science, axe) and similarly,
/z/ is usually spelt s, ss, z, zz, x (i.e. roses, scissors, zoo, dizzy, exact).

In articulatory terms, for /s/ the friction is voiceless, whereas for /z/ there may be some vocal fold
vibration, according to its situation within the word and its voicing. For instance, in medial position
the lenis /z/ tends to be fully voiced only when it occurs between voiced sounds (i.e. easy, by the
zoo). Moreover, in initial position, /z/ may be only partially voiced with silence preceeding (i.e.
zoo), and in final position may be completely voiceless when silence is following (i.e. peas ). Apart
from the articulatory variants, we may mention a weaker articulation of alveolar fricatives when
followed by /r/ with an assimilation to the palato alveolar / / and the semi-consonant /j/ (i.e. horse-
riding, news-reel).

Foreign learners must be reminded that the English phonemes /s/ and /z/ play an important role in
the English language since they represent the morphemes of plural formation, saxon genitive, and
third person singular. Moreover, they must be reminded of pronouncing the voiced alveolar
fricative /z/ correctly as it does not exist in Spanish as an independent phoneme. However, it occurs
when the phoneme /s/ preceeds a voiced consonant (i.e. mismo, desde). On the other hand, the
voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ does not present any difficulties for Spanish learners of English as it
shares a certain similarity with the English one. Yet, in Spanish it is articulated with the tip of the
tongue whereas in English it is articulated with the blade of the tongue towards the upper alveolar
ridge, and with much more tension than in Spanish.

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5.3.4. Palato-alveolar fricatives / , /.

Fricatives / / and // (figure 10) are called palato-alveolar because, when the soft palate is raised
and the nasal resonator shut off, the air is restricted by the narrow passage formed by the tongue and
the hard palate. In their production, the escape of air is diffuse (compared with that of /s, z/), the
friction occurring between a more extensive area of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Lip
positions depend on the adjacent vowel, being spread when preceeded by front vowels (i.e. ship,
she), and rounded when preceeded by back vowels (i.e. shoe). However, some speakers use lip-
rounding in all positions.

Regarding spelling, / / is usually spelt sh, sch, ch or s, ss before u (i.e. shoe, schedule, machine,
sure, assure), and also ti-, -si-, sci-, -ci-, and -ce- (i.e. nation, mansion, mission, conscience,
special, ocean). However, note x in luxury. Similarly, // is usually spelt si-, s, z before u (i.e.
vision, measure, seizure) and, in French loan words, final ge- (i.e. beige).

In articulatory terms, in the case of / /, the friction is voiceless and we find it in all positions within
the word, whereas for // there may be some vocal fold vibration, according to its situation within
the word and its voicing. It is worth noting that the lenis palato-alveolar // never occurs in initial
position, except for French loans (i.e. gigolo, guigue, jalousie, genre). In medial position it tends to
be fully voiced only when it occurs between voiced sounds (i.e. leisure, pleasure, explosion ).
Moreover, in final position may be completely voiceless when silence is following (i.e. garage),
and an alternative pronunciation with the voiced affricate /d/ is possible (i.e. prestige, barrage,
rouge ).

Concerning variants, we may mention that sometimes in certain words / / is not used by some
speakers in medial position. Thus, before long and short /u/ (i.e. issue, sexual, tissue); before /i/ +
vowel (i.e. ratio, appreciate, negotiate ); before /i/ or /j/ + vowel (i.e. axiom, gymnasium, Parisian);
it also occurs alternation between / / and // (i.e. Asia, transition, version); and finally, regarding
// in word final position, it shares an alternative pronunciation with the voiced affricate /d/ in
word final clusters of recent French loan-words (i.e. beige, rouge, prestige).

Foreign learners must be reminded that the English phonemes / / and // do not exist in Spanish.
Yet, the most similar Spanish counterparts may be found in regional variants or position restrictions
within the word. Firstly, the voiceless palato-alveolar / / may occur in Spanish in Andalucia and
Extremadura regions where it substitutes the phoneme /ch/ (i.e. muchacho /mu a o/), and also in
certain regions in Valencia (i.e. Jijona /xixona/). It also has, quite often, in final position a similar
pronunciation when the /s/ is followed by /j/ and it is palatalized (i.e. I did this yesterday /ai did
di jest? dei/). Secondly, we may find the voiced palato-alveolar fricative // in words from
French origin, but not in Spanish.

5.3.5. Glottal fricative /h/.

The fricative /h/ is called glottal because, once the soft palate is raised and the nasal resonator shut
off, the air expelled from the lungs is restricted by the the narrow opening of the vocal cords with
considerable pressure. However, the friction is produced mainly in the mouth cavity and is
associated with the nature of the following vowel. Thus, resonance will be heard in the sequences
/hi:/, /ha:/ and /hu:/. Regarding spelling, /h/ is spelt h, wh (i.e. how, hat, who, whom).

In articulatory terms, since the common feature of all types of pre-vocalic /h/ is the passage of a
strong, voiceless air-stream through the open glottis, the sound is here referred to as a fortis,

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voiceless, glottal fricative. With the onset of the vocal fold vibration of the vowel, the air-pressure
is reduced. There is no distinctive fortis/lenis opposition as in the other English fricatives.

Regarding positional restrictions, the phoneme /h/ never appears in final position. Yet, it may
appear in initial position where it is always followed by a vowel (i.e. ham, hen, high, hot, huge).
However, /h/ is not pronounced initially in the words hour, honour, honest, heir, and heiress. In
medial position, it is always pronounced except for such words as exhaust, exhilarate, exhibit,
vehicle and vehement; and also in some final suffixes as in the words shepherd, Durham, and
Clapham.

Concerning variants, it is worth noting that in many types of popular regional speech, /h/ is lost, so
that no distinction is made between such RP minimal pairs as hill, ill or high, eye. Such loss of /h/ is
usually considered characteristic of uneducated speech although certain form words (especially
have, has, had, pronounds and pronominal adjectives) regularly lose /h/ in RP in unaccented, non-
initial situations in connected speech.

Spanish learners of English must be reminded not to confuse the Eng lish glottal fricative /h/ with
the velar Spanish j /x/. The most similar pronunciation of the English /h/ in Spanish is given in
Andaluca and Extremadura where the j is in intervocalic position (i.e. ojo, hijo, lejos).

5.4. English affricate consonants / t , d, tr, dr/.

Affricate consonants are sounds which are a combination of a stop and a fricative, and in English,
only /t/ and /d/ plosives may have this type of release. In the production of these sounds, air
pressure is first built up. Rather than being released freely as in the production of a stop, the air is
released through a narrow passageway like a fricative. Therefore, affricate sounds present
considerable friction, but of shorter duration than fricatives.

In fact, the acoustic features of affricates are those appropriate to plosives and fricatives. Since,
however, the release stage is fricative, the most essential perceptual cues will be provided by the
transition between the preceding vowel and the plosive and by the explosive onset of the friction.

In phonetic terms, we may distinguish four affricates, two of them being post-alveolar /tr, dr/ and
other two being palato-alveolar /t , d/. They correspond to voiceless and voiced phonemes
respectively. They are considered to be single phonemic entities or sequences of two phonemes, in
which the second element will differ according to whether it occurs in the same syllable or
morpheme as the stop.

Moreover, these elements have possibilities of commutation. Thus, voiceless affricate /t / may be
combined within the same syllable in all positions, but the voiced affricate / d/ has more
restrictions owing to the rarity of syllable initial. On the other hand, /tr, dr/ have considerable
possibilities of commutation especially in the first element.

Regarding positional restrictions, in general, the four affricates may be distributed in syllable initial,
medial, and final. However, we may find some exceptions, thus the clusters /tr, dr/ lack occurences
in final position, and /d/ is restricted in init ial position.

5.4.1. Palato-alveolar affricates / t , d/.

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Affricates /t / and /d/ are called palato-alveolar because, being the soft palate raised and the nasal
resonator shut off, the obstacle to the air-stream is formed by a closure made between the tip, blade,
and rims of the tongue and the upper alveolar ridge and side teeth. At the same time, the front of the
tongue is raised towards the hard palate ready for the fricative release, and the air is released slowly
over the whole of the central surface of the tongue with friction occurring between the front region
of the tongue and the alveopalatal section of the roof of the mouth (figure 11).

In articulatory terms, during both stop and fricative stages, the vocal folds are wide apart for /t / as
in chin, which is considered to be voiceless (or fortis) as the vocal cords do not vibrate whereas
/d/, as in gin, is considered to be voiced (or lenis), as the vocal cords vibrate for all or part of it.

Regarding spelling, / t / is always spelt ch, tch, t + ure, eous, and t + ion when t is preceded by s
(i.e. chain, watch, nature, righteous, question) whereas /d/ is usually spelt j, g, dg, and sometimes
gg, dj, de, di, ch (i.e. jam, gem, midget, suggest, adjacent, grandeur, soldier, Norwich).

Regarding their voicing, and positional restrictions, we may note that fortis voiceless palato-alveolar
affricate /t /, which appears in all positions, when final in a syllable, has the same effect of
reducing the length of preceding sounds as was noted for voiceless bilabial plosives /p, t, k/ (i.e.
porch, much). Comparatively, full length of preceding sounds is retained before the lenis voiced
palato-alveolar /d/ (i.e. sponge, change). This phoneme appears in word initial (i.e. joke, jar);
word medial in intervocalic position (i.e. fragile, urgent) and with a consonant preceding (i.e.
danger, object); and also in word final position (i.e. age, judge, huge). No important variants of /t /
and /d/ occur, except in relation to the degree of lip-rounding used.

Spanish learners of English must take into account that the English phoneme /t / is slightly
different from Spanish. Thus, the first element is considered to be dental whereas in English it is
considered to be alveolar. As for /d/ is concerned, it does not exist in Spanish as an independent
phoneme. It occurs in initial position as a realization of y (i.e. yo, ya ). It also exists in Valencia in
words such as joven.

5.4.2. Post-alveolar affricates / tr, dr/.

Affricates /tr/ and /dr/ are called post-alveolar because, when the soft palate is raised and the nasal
resonator is shut off, the obstacle to the air-stream is formed by a closure made between the tip and
rims of the tongue and the rear edge of the upper alveolar ridge and the upper side teeth.

In articulatory terms, during the stop and fricative stages, the vocal folds are wide apart for /tr/
(voiceless) whereas in the case of /dr/ (voiced), voice is present throughout the affricate when
medial, but may be associated only with the fricative element when initial.

Regarding spelling, /tr/ is always spelt tr (i.e. track, try) but note the effect of vowel reduction to
schwa in words such as naturally, history, territory /tri/. On the other hand, /dr/ is spelt dr (i.e. dry,
dream) where the effect of vowel reduction is also noted (i.e. boundary, secondary). Regarding
their voicing, and positional restrictions, we may note that both of them may appear in initial and
medial position, but not in final position.

These two phonemes do not represent any difficulty for Spanish learners of English, but it is
advisable to approach the English RP /r/ through the affricate complexes /tr, dr/ by means of

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establishing the correct place of articulation. Thus, learners should articulate first the palato-alveolar
affricates / t , d/ and retract the tongue until suitable /tr, dr/ affricates are achieved.

5.5. English nasal consonants /m, n, ?/.

Regarding physiological features, the three nasal consonants (figure 12) are similar to stops /p, b, t,
d, k, g) in that there is comp lete closure of the articulators (i.e. lips, tongue with alveolar ridge, and
tongue with velum) but they differ from such plosives in that the soft palate is lowered, and
therefore, allows an escape of air into the nasal cavity, giving the sound the specia l resonance in the
naso-pharyngeal cavity. Moreover, the nasals are also similar to the fricatives in that they too are
continuants. In other words, they can be held so long as there is air in the lungs to release through
the nasal cavity. However, they differ from continuants such as fricatives in that no audible friction
is produced .

Therefore, regarding phonetic features, such as (1) force of articulation and (2) voicing, we must
note that nasals are usually voiced, without significant fortis/lenis or voiced/voiceless oppositions.
In many respects, they resemble vowel-type sounds, being normally frictionless continuants.

Regarding (3) place of articulation, they are classified according to the closure of articulators such
as lips, tongue, alveolar ridge, and velum. Thus, bilabial /m/ is articulated with the two lips; alveolar
/n/ is articulated with the tongue and alveolar ridge; and velar /?/ is articulated when the tongue
reaches the velum.

Regarding (4) length of preceding sounds, we must note that since they perform the syllabic
function of vowels, there is a lengthening of preceding sounds. However, within (5) positional
restrictions, we find that sometimes, we may hear a devoiced allophone of /m/ and /n/ whe n
voiceless consonant precede (i.e. smoke, chutney).

Neither of these sounds will cause much difficulty to most speakers as /m/ and /n/ occur in most
languages, including Spanish. Of the nasal consonants, velar /?/ is the one most likely to pose a
challenge to learners if there is not any allophone of /n/ plus a velar sound (k, g) in their language.
The main difference between the two phonological systems is the presence of the palatal in
Spanish (i.e. Espaa), which is absent in English.

5.5.1. Bilabial nasal /m/ and alveolar nasal /n/.

Nasals /m/ and /n/ are called respectively bilabial and alveolar because, once the soft palate is
lowered for both, for /m/ the mouth is blocked by closing the two lips, and for /n/ by pressing the tip
of the tongue against the alveolar ridge, and the sides of the tongue against the sides of the palate.

Regarding spelling, /m/ is usually spelt m, mm (i.e. mother, hammer) and sometimes mb, mn (i.e.
climb, column). Similarly, /n/ is usually spelt n, nn (i.e. nobody, sunny), or kn, gn, pn (i.e. knife,
sign, pneumonia ).

In articulatory terms, both sounds are voiced in English, as they are in other languages, and the
voiced air passes out through the nose. Regarding positional restrictions, when /m/ or /n/ is found
before another consonant, the voiced or voiceless nature of the final consonant has an effect on the
length of both the vowel and the nasal consonant , and produce different allophones.

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Thus, when /m/ is followed by a labio-dental sound /f, v/, the front closure may be labio-dental
rather than bilabial (i.e. nymph, comfort, come first). Moreover, /m/ frequenty results in context
from a final /n/ of the isolate word form before a following bilabial (i.e. one mile /w?n mail/.
Sometimes /m/ is a realization of word final /? n/ or /n/ following /p/ or /b/ (i.e. happen /hpm/ or
ribbon /ribm/, as an example of an assimilation process.

On the other hand, the articulation of /n/ is particularly liable to be influenced by that of the
following consonant. Thus, when followed by a labio-dental sound /f, v/ (i.e. infant, invoice), /n/
may be realized as a nasal /m/, overlapping its realizations with the /m/ phoneme. Moreover, /n/
before dental sounds /?, d/ is realized with a lingua-dental closure as in the words tenth, when they.
Before /r/, /n/ may have a post-alveolar contact, as in unrest, Henry. In addition, in context, word
final /n/ frequently assimilates to a following word initial bilabial or velar consonant, being realized
as /m/ or /velar /?/ (i.e. ten people, ten men; ten cups, ten girls).

It is worth noting that /n/ is often syllabic, that is, it occupies the place at the centre of the syllable
which usually is occupied by a vowel. Both the words written and lesson have two syllables though
the word may also be pronounced with or without the vowel before the /n/ /writn/ and /lesn/.
Similarly, in RP English people sometimes pronounce a syllabic /m/ in words like blossom or
rhythm, but more often they are pronounced with a vowel in between.

We find no important regional or social variants of /m/ and /n/ articulations , and therefore, foreign
learners of English should not find any difficulties with these two phonemes.

5.5.2. Velar nasal /?/.

As previous velar phonemes (/k/ and /g/), this velar nasal sound is articulated when the back of the
tongue may rise to meet the velum, temporarily blocking the airflow from the lungs. The soft palate
is lowered and there is resonance of the nasal cavity to that of the pharynx and that small part of the
mouth chamber behind the velar closure.

Regarding spelling, /?/ is regularly spelt ng, or n followed by a letter indicating a velar consonant
(i.e. sing, sink, tongue, anxiety); also as a realization of French in words such as restaurant. It also
occurs after short vowels (i, , o, ? ), and rarely after /e/.

In articulatory terms, velar nasal /?/ is normally voiced, except for partial devoicing in the possible,
though less common, case of syllabic /n/ in such words as bacon or thicken. Regarding positional
restrictions, it is worth noting that it does not occur at the beginning of words in English, but it does
occur between vowels, where it is more difficult than in final position (i.e. word medial: hanger,
longing; word medial + /g/: finger, single ; word medial + /k/: banquet, monkey; word final: wrongs,
tongues; word final + /k/: sinks, monks; and finally, word final syllabic: bacon, taken. According to
OConnor (1988), a usefu l general rule is that if the word is formed from a verb, no /g/ is
pronounced, as with singer, but if not, /g/ is pronounced, as in stronger, formed from the adjective
strong.

Worth mentioning variants of velar nasal /?/ are retained, instead of RP, in many regional types of
speech, notably in the Midlands and north of England, thus singing /si?gi?g/ for RP / si?i?/. Also, in
some forms of conservative RP, and regional speech, /?/ is a phoneme (sin, sing), merely
distinguished by the type of final nasal. Moreover, in popular London speech, velar nasal /?/ is
phonemic (sin, sing), and in the word thing in compounds, it is often pronounced /-fi?k/.

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Foreign learners of English must be reminded to avoid putting in a /g/ after the /n/, and not to
pronounce /si? g? / instead of /si?? /. So the /g/ should be avoided if possible trying to make a firm
contact with the back of the tongue and force the air to go through the nose. Spanish learners of
English should not have any difficulties with this phoneme, as in Spanish it is an allophone of /n/
plus a velar consonant (i.e. flamenco).

5.6. Lateral consonant /l/.

Following Cerce-Murcia (2001), the phonemes /l/ and /r/ are considered to be two of the
pedagogically most challenging consonants in English due to all their allophones. It is worth
mentioning that both English lateral sound /l/ and the post-alveolar /r/ and their corresponding
allophones are usually voiced and frictionless falling into the same category of voiced continuants
as the nasals and, to a lesser extent, the semiconsonants /j/ and /w/. All these consonants are
included within the series of approximants, since, in their production, the airstream moves around
the tongue and out the mouth in a relatively ubobstructed manner.

In fact, lateral /l/ (or approximant) is produced laterally , that is, when the soft palate is raised, the
tongue tip, as well as the sides of the tongue-blade, are in firm contact with the alveolar ridge,
obstructing the centre of the mouth. Then, the airstream flows along the sides of the tongue as there
is an obstruction set up in the centre, and the air is released with no friction.

Regarding spelling, /l/ is regularly spelt l, ll (i.e. light, fill); and in post-vocalic positions it is,
however, frequently silent (i.e. talk, half, castle ).

The lateral /l/ has two allophones (figure 13), clear and dark /l/ (or also called light or velarized,
respectively). The clear [l] is formed when the air passes over one or both sides of the tongue with
the tip of the tongue touching the alveolar ridge, as in listen and lily. The dark [l] is formed by air
passing over the body of the tongue, which is bunched up in the velar area. In this allophone, the tip
of the tongue may or may not remain in contact with the alveolar ridge. Examples are bell and call.

With respect to voicing, both allophones are voiced, though partial devoicing may take place when
a preceding consonant is voiceless. Thus, the phoneme /l/, following accented (aspirated) /p, k/, and
in a lesser extent /s, f, ?, ?/, undergoes considerable devoicing.

Regarding positional restrictions, both allophones occur in every situation. However, clear [l]
occurs before vowels and the semi-consonant /j/ (i.e. leave, sailor, silly, fell it) whereas dark [l]
occurs after a vowel, before a consonant, and as a syllabic sound following a consonant (i.e. help,
alphabet, apple, whistling).

Moreover, dark [l] is conditioned by the place of articulation of the following consonant. Thus, it is
dentalized by a preceding /?, d/ (i.e. a month late, with love); post-alveolar in contact with /r/ (i.e.
already, ultra); and strongly nasalized when in contact with nasals (i.e. elm, kiln). The velarization
of dark [l] is drawn from the retracting or lowering of the preceding front vowel (i.e. feel, fell).

Regarding variants, the RP distribution of clear [l] and dark [l] may be said to be (1) variations in
the quality of the back vowel resonance for dark [l] found among RP speakers; (2) lip positions,
varying from neutral to loose rounding; (3) in Cockney speech, dark [l]is omitted, and is realized as
a vowel, thus sell /seo/ or table /teibo/. However, RP speakers will also use /o/ for dark [l] in words
where a consonant involving a labial articulation precedes (i.e. beautiful, careful, people ); (4)
finally, there are other varieties for RP distribution of /l/ allophones. Thus, some kinds of Scottish

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and American English, realized /l/ before vowels and /j/ with a back vowel resonance whereas in
Irish, English clear /l/ is used in those situations where RP would have dark [l].

Few foreign learners will possess in their own language the RP distribution between clear /l/ and
dark [l]. This phoneme does not cause any difficulties for Spanish students of English due to its
similarity to the Spanish phoneme /l/. However, students must be very careful to make a firm
contact of the tongue-tip and the sides of the blade with the alveolar ridge in order to produce a
lateral sound with the correct velarized quality.

5.7. Post-alveolar consonant /r/.

The voiced post-alveolar friction less continuant (or approximant) is the most common allophone of
RP /r/. This phoneme (figure 14) is produced when the tongue tip has a curved shape pointing
towards the hard palate at the back of the alveolar ridge, that is, near the alveopalatal area, but does
not touch the roof of the mouth. Therefore, since the soft palate is raised, voiced air flows quietly
between the tongue-tip and palate with no friction. Regarding spelling, /r/ is regularly spelt r,rr (i.e.
red, carry); and also wr, rh (i.e. write, rhythm).

Regarding voicing, as only one post-alveolar phoneme /r/ occurs in English, there being no
opposition between fortis and lenis, voiced and voiceless. This phoneme is defined as a voiced post-
alveolar consonant, frictionless, and continuant (or approximant) since, in its production, the
airstream moves around the tongue and out the mouth in a relatively ubobstructed manner. In RP,
post-alveolar /r/ is considered to be vowel-like, and RP speakers disapprove its pronunciation in
connected speech (Gimson 1980).

Regarding positional restrictions, the phoneme /r/ occurs in all positions. Thus, initial (i.e. rude,
road, royal); medial or intervocalic (i.e. very, hurry, arrive); and final (i.e. far away). Accordingly,
regarding its position within the word, different allophones are given. In initial position (1) before a
vowel, it functions as a consonant (i.e. red, right); (2) in medial position, it is phonetically vowel-
like, and we find the following allophones. Firstly, in intervocalic position, we find an alveolar tap
(i.e. very, sorry, forever), especially following other consonants, such /?, d/ (i.e. three, with respect),
and /b,g/ (i.e. bright, grow); secondly, a fricative /r/ in consonantal clusters, such as /tr/ and /dr/ (i.e.
try, dry); thirdly, a devoiced fricative in clusters formed by /p, t, k/ plus /r/ (i.e. expression, attract,
cry); and finally, a devoiced /r/ preceded by /s/ (i.e. shrink, sprint, street), and in words containing
more than one /r/ (i.e. brewery, library, treasure). (3) In word final, it is not pronounced, and
lengthens the preceding vowel. But, if it is in word final position and the following word starts by a
vowel, we find the linking /r/ (i.e. wear out), and also, an intrusive /r/, to be heard in the case of
schwa endings (i.e. the idea of).

Yet, RP retains word final post-vocalir /r/ as a linking form, when the following word begins with a
vowel, and it strongly encourages the creation of analogous links in similar phonetic contexts. As a
result, the present general tendency among RP speakers is to use intrusive /r/ links after final schwa,
even, unconsciously, among those who object most strongly. We may note that many RP speakers
consider intrusive /r/ as an undesirable speech habit because of the use of a pause or glottal stop in
its production (i.e. poor Ann, winter evening ).

The phoneme /r/ is considered to have more phonetic variants than any other consonant in English.
Within RP, we may distinguish other variants or allophones, such as (1) a lingual roll, which may
also be heard amongst RP speakers, but usually only in highly stylized speech (i.e. in declamatory
verse-speaking). This roll is typical of both Scottish English and some Northern speech; (2) a

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uvular articulation, either a roll or a fricative, may be heard in the extreme north-east of England
and also among some Scottish speakers, and it is similar to French and German /r/; (3) and finally, a
retroflex /r/, common in the speech of the south-west of England and some American English.
Thus, in words such as bird, farm, lord, the retroflexion of the tongue may anticipate the consonant
and colour the vowel articulation.

Spanish learners of English must bear in mind that post-alveolar /r/ does not correspond to its
spelling counterparts in Spanish (i.e. r, rr as in comer, carro). In Spanish it corresponds to an
alveolar sound whereas in English it is post-alveolar. Moreover, the English /r/ may occur in all
positions whereas Spanish /rr/ never occur in initial or final position, so foreign learners must avoid
replacing this sound by the letter r in Spanish. Such sounds are perfectly understood by English
people, but of course they sound foreign.

5.8. English semi-consonants /j/ and /w/.

Generally speaking, semi-consonants /j/ and /w/ are defined as a quick, smooth, non-friction
vocalic -type glide towards the following syllabic sound. Despite the fact that semi-consonants are,
in phonetic terms, generally vocalic (hence they are also called semi-vowels or glides), they are
treated as consonants mainly because of their position within the syllable, being ma rginal rather
than central (i.e. yes, wood). Therefore, they have a consonantal function rather than vowel-like. In
fact, articles keep their preconsonantal form when followed by both semi-consonants.

The semi-consonant /j/ glides from the position of long and short /i/ to any other vowel whereas /w/
glides from long or short /u/. The glide depends on the nature of the following sound. Thus, /j/ may
be followed by a back close vowel (i.e. you), and /w/ by a front close vowel (i.e. woo). They take
part in the production of diphthongs and triphthongs.

Semi-consonants /j/ and /w/ occur initially or in an initial cluster preceding a syllabic sound. Their
consonantal function is emphasized by the fact that their allophones, when following a fortis
consonant, are voiceless and fricative (i.e. quiz, queue).

The main differences between English and Spanish refer to first, the place of articulation for /j/,
which in English is bilabial whereas in Spanish is velar, being /j/ palatal in both languages.
Secondly, spelling for /j/ in English is y, i (i.e. yes, spaniel) whereas for Spanish is y, ll (i.e. yo,
lluvia ). On the other hand, /w/ is considered as the vowel /u/ in Spanish, and spelt w, wh, q+u, g+u
in English (i.e. west, which, quick, language).

5.8.1. Unrounded pala tal semi-consonant /j/.

This consonant is a quick glide from the position of the long or short /i/ to any other vowel. The lips
are generally neutral or spread, but may anticipate the lip-rounding of the following vowel when
articulated in the position for a front half-close to close vowel (i.e. you, yawn). It is usually spelt y, i
(i.e. yawn, spaniard), and also spelt u, ew, eu, eau, ui (i.e. muse, new, feud, beauty, suit).

Regarding voicing and positional restrictions, we find palatal /j/ in (1) word initial (i.e. yes, union,
year, Europe); (2) following accented /p, t, k, h/ only before long /u:/ or /u? / (i.e. queue, pure,
accuse, secure). We must note, then, that when /j/ follows voiceless consonants, it loses the voice
which it usually has, and is made voiceless, causing friction to be heard. So devoicing takes place,
especially when /j/ follows accented /p, t, k, h/, with the result of a voiceless palatal fricative (i.e.

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tune); (3) following voiceless fricatives or unaccented clusters, such as /sp, st, sk/, /j/ may be
slightly devoiced (i.e. spurious, stew, askew). However, we may find restrictions in the sequence
/h/+/j/ (i.e. Hugh, human, humour); and finally, (4) following voiced consonants (i.e. music, new,
onio, familiar).

Regarding variants, an alternative pronunciation without /j/ exists in American English. Earlier /ju:/
or /iu/ sequences have been reduced to /u:/ after affricates and post-alveolar /r/ and /l/ preceded by a
consonant. However, /ju:/ is retained after stops and nasals, fricatives /f,v/ and glottal /h/ (i.e. dune,
dune, few, view, huge). In unaccented syllables, there is variation between /j/+schwa and /i/+schwa.
In these cases, the latter tends to be retained in careful speech, as well as in those suffixes where
schwa has a separable morphemic value (i.e. easier, farmer).

In general, RP /j/ presents no difficulty provided that the starting point of the glide is not so close as
to produce friction in those situations where /j/ should be purely vocalic. Spanish learners, in
particular, should avoid using a palatal plosive when /j/ is strongly accented (i.e. yes, young ). Also,
palatal /j/ should be correctly devoiced after accented /p, t, k/ (i.e. pew, tune, queue).

5.8.2. Labio-velar semi-consonant /w/.

This consonant consists of a quick glide from long and short /u/ to whatever vowel follows. It is
much more difficult than palatal /j/ because many languages do not have an independent /w/. The
lips must be rounded quite firmly (i.e. wood, war) but may anticipate the lip-rounding of the
following vowel when articulated in the position for a back half-close to close vowel (i.e. you,
yawn). It is usually spelt w, wh, and also q, g+u (i.e. weather, why, queue, argue ). Note, however,
one, once, suite with /w/.

Regarding voicing and positional restrictions, we find labio-velar /w/ in (1) word initial (i.e. wet,
one, word, wear); (2) following accented /t, k/ the devoicing is complete (a voiceless labio-velar
fricative, being the friction bilabial); (3) following accented voiceless fricative /sk/ or unaccented
stops /p, t, k/, /w/ is slightly devoiced (i.e. square, upward, outward, take one); (4) we may also find
it in intervocalic position or following a voiced consonant (i.e. away, always, dwarf); and finally,
(5) it is possible to find the sequence /hw/ or /w/ (i.e. wheat, whether, what, white).

The main variant, both in RP and in other types of British English, concerns the pronunciation of
teh spelling form wh. Amongst careful RP speakers and regularly in several regional types of
speech (i.e. Scottish English), words such as when are pronounced with /hw/ or, more usually, as
the voiceless labio-velar fricative /w/. The use of it is often taught as the correct form in verse-
speaking but it has declined rapidly. Yet, some RP speakers omit /w/ in the context of back vowels
(i.e. quart /kot/ and quarter ).

In general, RP /j/ presents no difficulty for Spanish learners, but special attention must be paid not
to replace /w/ by a consonantal sound, either a voiced bilabial fricative, or a voic ed labio-dental
fricative, in which the lower lip articulates with the upper teeth, or also a labio-dental frictionless
continuant /r/, in which there is again a loose approximation, without friction, between the lower lip
and the upper teeth. Learners should round their lips to make clear distinctions between /w/ and its
allophones.

6. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS IN PRONUNCIATION.

This section aims to provide the reader with an overview of newer techniques and resources
available in teaching second language pronunciation in a classroom setting. It is a fact that, since

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Spain joined the European Community, there have been important technological developments and
socioeconomic changes. Business, professional, cultural, and touristic reasons justify and favour
citizens mobility all around Europe. Therefore, a foreign language becomes at once an
indispensable tool to communicate at an international level.

Yet, two additional factors support the learning of a foreign language. Thus, firstly, the
development of communication technologies during the last decades, which have favoured
exchanges of information leaving behind physical barriers, and for which a foreign language is an
essential tool to communicate; and secondly, educational reasons. Yet, having a communicative
competence in a foreign language implies the possibility of getting to know other cultures, and
traditions, as well as promoting interpersonal relations. Hence, students may develop their own
personality, and also develop a sense of respect for other countries, people, and cultures.

The Council of Europe establishes a common European reference framework for the learning of
foreign languages. It claims that students are expected to carry out a series of communicative tasks
in order to progressively develop a successful communicative competence within social, personal,
professional, or educational fields at both written and oral levels.

In particular, Murcia Autonomous Community has been considered to be mainly monolingual until
recently. Nowadays, its socio-economic reality, regarding business, tourism, agriculture, and
industry within the European Community, justifies the necessity for Compulsory Secondary and
Bachillerato students to finish their studies with, at least, two different foreign languages apart from
their native language (RD 112/2002).

Then, this section aims to provide the reader with an overview of newer techniques and resources
available in teaching second language pronunciation in a classroom setting. Celce-Murcia (2001)
provides three guiding principles in moving beyond traditional teaching practices within the fields
of fluency and accuracy. Thus, multisensory mode of learning, the adaptation of authentic materia ls,
and the use of instructional technology, such as computers for students to practice efficient oral
communication.

Firstly, regarding fluency as a multisensory mode of learning, it aims at boosting students


confidence level while promoting fluency. The Council of Europe envisages exchanges of language
assistants all ove r Europe in order to provide students with real speech and authentic input, and
avoid students retaining a marked foreign flavor in their speech because they are likely to acquire a
target accent.

Secondly, regarding the use of authentic materials in teaching pronunciation, it is said that, we must
not overlook the rich resources available through the use of authentic materials, such as anecdotes,
jokes, advertising copy, comic strips, passages from literature, and the like, that students can
exchange with their friends via Internet, chat, or e-mails. This modality is envisaged within
Comenius Projects which is intended to promote educational exchanges among students all over
Europe.

Finally, regarding the use of new technology, it is worth remembering that after the Audiolingual
Method, the use of language lab and instructional technology in general fell into disfavor as they
were considered to be tedious or unstimulating. Today the language lab is still around, often as a
multimedia environment with video viewing or computer work stations, laser disc players, satellite
receivers, and a host of other high-tech hardware items. These electronic aids are quite useful when
displaying speech patterns as they receive not only audio feedback but visual aids. Thus, the
viewing of a native-speaker lip positions in the production of consonant sounds, comparing pitch

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contour, or testing phoneme discrimination. Yet, in a sense, the rebirth of the language lab
represents a triumph of technology over method thanks to European programmes offered by the
Council of Europe, such as Plumier or Socrates.

7. CONCLUSION.

As can be seen from the preceding discussion, and following Cerce-Murcia (2001), the language
teaching profession changed positions many times with respect to the teaching of pronunciation.
Various methods and approaches placed this skill either at the forefront of instruction, as was the
case with Reform Movement practices and the Audiolingual/Oral Method, or in the back wings, as
with the Direct Method and naturalistic comprehension-based approaches, which operated under the
assumption that errors in pronunciation were part of the natural acquisition process and would
disappear as students gained in communicative proficiency. Other methods and approaches either
ignored pronunciation (Grammar Translation, reading-based approaches, and the Cognitive
Approach) or taught pronunciation through imitation and repetition (Direct Method), or through
imitation supported by analysis and linguistic information (Audiolingualism).

One decision that must be made when presenting consonants is how detailed the analysis will be.
For many second language students, a detailed description of the consonant inventory is
inappropriate whereas for advanced students focusing on pronunciation or for prospective nonnative
second language teachers, a comprehensive introduction is essential.

Many changes have taken place since Daniel Jones, the greatest phonetician of the present century,
used to wear out phonograph recordings by trying to place the needle at a particular spot so as to be
able to listen repeatedly to a piece of speech. But it was only with the development of the tape-
recorder in the 1940s, and, more recently, of the tape-repeater that there has been any breakthrough
in this field. It is difficult to imagine now what research into spoken language could be like without
such mechanical aids; so it is hardly surprising that earlier scholars paid so little attention to it
(Crystal 1985).

Native speakers of English from different parts of the world have different accents, but the
differences of accent are mainly the result of differences in the sound of the vowels; the consonants
are pronounced in very much the same way wherever English is spoken. So if the vowels you use
are imperfect it will not prevent you from being understood, but if the consonants are imperfect
there will be a great risk of misunderstanding. The consonants form the bones, the skeleton of
English words and give them their basic shape.

In dealing with the consonants you must first learn how each one is mainly distinguished from the
others, the features which it must have so that it will not be mistaken for any other consonant. Then
later you will learn about any special sounds of that phoneme which need small changes in their
formation in different circumstances, changes which are not essential if you simply want to be
understood, but which will make your English sound better.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Alcaraz, E., and B. Moody. Fontica inglesa para espaoles. Teora y prctica (2nd ed.). Grficas
Daz. Alicante.

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Algeo, J. and T. Pyles. 1982. The origins and development of the English language. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Inc.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., and M. Goodwin. 2001. Teaching Pronunciation, A Reference for
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.

Fernndez, F. 1982. Historia de la lengua inglesa. Madrid: Gredos.

Gimson, A. C. 1980. An introduction to the pronunciation of English. Edward Arnold.

OConnor, J.D. 1988. Better English Pronunciation. Cambridge University Press.

B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por e l que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

http://www.mec.es/sgpe/socrates/ccaa.htm

9. FIGURES.

Figure 1. The Speech Organs. Gimson (1980). Figure 2. English consonants list.

Figure 3. Classification of English Consonant Phonemes.

CLASSIFICATION OF ENGLISH CONSONANTS

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PLACE OF ARTICULATION
MANNER OF Bilabial Labio- Dental Alveolar Post- Palato- Palatal Velar Glottal
ARTICULATION* dental alveolar alveolar

Plosives p, b t, d k, g

Fricatives f, v ?, d s, z ?, h

Affricates tr, dr t?,

Nasals m m ?

Lateral l

Frictionless r
Continuant (or
approximant)
Semi-consonants w j
(or glides)

* We must note that consonants are classified, when in pairs, as voiceless and voiced respectively, within their
articulatory description in the chart.

Figure 4. Bilabial plosives /p, b/. Figure 5. Alveolar plosives /t, d/.

Figure 6. Velar plosives /k, g/. Figure 7. Labio-dental fricatives /f, v/.

Figure 8. Dental fricatives / ?, d /. Figure 9. Alveolar fricatives /s, z/.

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Figure 10. Palato- alveolar fricatives / , /. Figure 11. Affricates / t?, /.

Figure 12. Nasals /m, n, ?/.


/m/ /n/ / ?/

Figure 13. Clear and dark /l/. Figure 14. Post-alveolar /r/.

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UNIT 9

ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM III. STRESS,


RHYTHM, AND INTONATION. COMPARING
PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: ENGLISH VS SPANISH, THE
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF MURCIA AUTONOMOUS
COMMUNITY.
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO STRESS, RHYTHM, AND INTONATION.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.


3.1. On the nature of communication and language: origins and general features.
3.2. The sound system: segmental and suprasegmental levels.
3.3. The suprasegmental level within a communicative competence theory.
3.4. The relevant role of the suprasegmental level within the oral discourse.
3.5. The suprasegmental level: at the core of conversational studies.

4. THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM: STRESS, RHYTHM, AND INTONATION.


4.1. STRESS IN ENGLISH.
4.1.1. On defining stress.
4.1.2. Stress at word level.
4.1.3. The origins of stress placement.
4.1.4. Word accentual patterns: simple and compound words.
4.1.5. The influence of affixation on stress placement: simple words.
4.1.5.1. Prefixes.
4.1.5.2. Suffixes.
4.1.6. The influence of a words grammatical function on stress in compound words.
4.1.7. Fixed stress patterns in other categories: numbers, reflexives, and phrasal verbs.
4.1.8. Comparing English vs Spanish word stress patterns.

4.2. RHYTHM IN ENGLISH.


4.2.1. On defining sentence stress and rhythm: the stress-timed nature of English.
4.2.2. Content vs function words.
4.2.3. Strong vs weak forms.
4.2.4. Adjustments in connected speech.
4.2.4.1. Linking.
4.2.4.2. Assimiliation.
4.2.4.3. Dissimilation.
4.2.4.4. Deletion.
4.2.4.5. Epenthesis.
4.2.5. Comparing English vs Spanish sentence stress and rhythm.

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4.3. INTONATION IN ENGLISH.
4.3.1. On defining intonation: the notion of pitch.
4.3.2. Intonation units.
4.3.3. The main functions of intonation.
4.3.3.1. Emphatic function.
4.3.3.2. Discourse function.
4.3.3.3. Attitudinal function.
4.3.3.4. Grammatical function.
4.3.4. Intonation contours.
4.3.4.1. Falling tone.
4.3.4.1.1. Low falling.
4.3.4.1.2. High falling.
4.3.4.2. Rising tone.
4.3.4.2.1. Low rising.
4.3.4.2.2. High rising.
4.3.4.3. Falling-rising tone.
4.3.4.4. Rising-falling tone.
4.3.5. Comparing English vs Spanish intonation.

5. CONCLUSION.

6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

This study is aimed to serve as the core of a survey on pronunciation, and in particular on
suprasegmental levels regarding stress, rhythm, and intonation. Therefore, all sections which shall
be reviewed in this unit are aimed to provide the reader with the following: (1) a historical overview
of the issues involved in teaching pronunciation, such as how stress, rhythm, and intonation have
been viewed from various methodological perspectives and what we know about the main methods
in second language phonology; (2) a thorough theoretical grounding in the suprasegmental level; (3)
insight into the ways in which this suprasegmental level intersects with other skills and areas of
language, such as listening, inflectional morphology, and orthography; (4) a comparison of stress,
rhythm, and intonation between the English and Spanish phonological system is offered at the end
of each chapter; and finally, (5) a conclusion on the issue will be offered, followed by (6) listed
bibliography used in this study.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

Different valuable sources have been taken into account for the elaboration of this unit. Thus, in
Part 2, for a historical overview of the development of the phonological system, see Celce-Murcia,
and Algeo and Pyles, The origins and development of the English language (1982). Gimson, An
introduction to the pronunciation of English (1980) In part 3, for a theoretical background to the
phonological system, classic works are and Crystal, Linguistics (1985); Gimson, An introduction to
the pronunciation of English (1980); Brown, G. and G. Yule, Discourse Analysis (1983); and
Canale, From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy (1983).

In Part 4, an influential description of the suprasegmental level is mainly offered again by Gimson
(1980), Alcaraz and Moody, Fontica inglesa para espaoles (1982); and OConnor, Better English
Pronunciation (1988); OConnor, Better English Pronunciation (1988); Celce-Murcia, Teaching
Pronunciation (2001); OConnor and Arnold, The intonation of Colloquial English (1973); and van
Ek and Trim, Vantage (2001).

In part 5, among the many general works that incorporate recent phonological advances and
present-day directions in teaching pronunciation, see especially Celce-Murcia (2001); and classic
works by Gimson (1980) and OConnor (1988). See also B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, by which
Secondary Education and Bachillerato curricula are established in Murcia Autonomous
Community, and also some information about Scrates projects on Education and Culture in
http://www.mec.es/sgpe/socrates/ccaa.htm.

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2. A HISTORICAL APPROACH TO STRESS, RHYTHM, AND INTONATION.

This section, in briefly reviewing the history of the suprasegmental elements, provides a historical
background for the theoretical part examine d in next section, and together, they both will prepare
the reader for the descriptive account of stress, rhythm, and intonation in sections 3 and 4). From
this historical perspective we are able to see that current issues on pronunciation, and especially, on
the prosodic elements in an act of communication are not particularly new.

In fact, earlier records of prosodic elements are bound up with the appearance of language forty or
fifty thousand years ago as part of an oral patrimony of humanity so as to provide ourselves a
cultural identity in society (Goytisolo 2001). Thus, whenever we speak, we make known our
identity to the outside world by means of our voice quality as this is a personal and not transerable
feature. Moreover, our accent, as a more general phenomenon, may inform others about our
regional and social origins. So, voice quality tells us who someone is, and accent tells us where they
are from.

Since ancient times, tribal chiefs, chamans, bards and story-tellers have been in charge of
preserving and memorising for the future the narratives of the past and unconciously, they have
transmitted pronunciation patterns which are still being used today. According to Crystal (1985),
there is a considerable body of religion and myth in many cultures concerning these oral traditions
where the language of worship is the product of particular care and attention on the part of a
community. Hence, this motivation sometimes produced detailed studies of language which were
great achievements.

For instance, in ancient India, the Hindu priests realized around the fifth century B.C. that the
language of their oldest hymns, Vedic Sanskrit, was no longer the same, and therefore, they needed
to reproduce accurately the original pronunciation of their hymns in order to successfully preserve
their oral ceremonies. The solution was to write a set of rules, known as sutras, in order to describe
the grammar and pronunciation of the old language. This work contained a great number of
phonetic and grammatical minutiae with methodological and theoretical principles, which are still
used in modern linguistics. Regarding suprasegmental elements, it is worth noting that the
phenomena that refers to the placing together of sounds within and between words, that is,
adjustments in connected speech, derives from Sanskrit and it was referred to as sandhi variation.

Later on we also find several references to the suprasegmental level. For instance, in the sixteenth
century, the French grammarian, John Palsgrave wrote about the pronunciation of French in his
work Lesclarcissement de la Langue Francoyse (1530). In it, he explained the values of the French
sounds, comparing them with the English, in a kind of phonetic transcription. Moreover, in the
seventeenth century, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes devoted in his work The Leviathan (1660),
chapter IV Of Speech to oral discourse where he makes reference to the suprasegmental level
when he states that the most noble and profitable invention of all other was that of speech,

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consisting of names or appellations, and their connexion; whereby men register their thoughts, and
also declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation.

However, the most relevant contribution to the study of prosodic elements is also to be found in the
seventeenth century, when a group of writers showed a considerable interest on speech, and
therefore, a great concern at detailed analysis of speech activity, and the establishment of systematic
relationships between the English sounds. Among these writers, we shall mention John Wallis and
Christopher Cooper among others, as they are considered to be the true precursors of modern
scientific phoneticians. Their work is entirely phonetic in character and most of their observations
on speech and pronunciation are still current today.

Yet, the linguist John Wallis examined, in his work Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae (1653), the
sounds of English as constituting a system in their own right. According to him, by his methods, he
succeeded in teaching not only foreigners to pronounce English correctly but also the deaf and
dumb to speak. Moreover, Christopher Cooper attempted to describe and give rules for the
pronunciation of English rather than to devise a logical system into which the sounds of English
might be fitted. In his work The Discovery of the Art of Teaching and Learning the English Tongue
(1687), he states The Principles of Speech and gives rules for the relation of spelling and
pronunciation in different contexts.

In the eighteenth century, modern languages began to enter the curriculum of European schools and
language teaching progressively developed from grammatical to more communicative approaches
focusing on oral skills. As a result, a special attention was paid to productive skills, such as
speaking, and therefore, to prosodic elements. Yet, the main achievement of the century lies in its
successful attempt to fix the spelling and pronunciation of the language by means of dictionaries,
which provided us with information concerning the contemporary forms of pronunciation. In fact,
the Dictionaries of Samuel Johnson (1755), Thomas Sheridan (1780), and John Walker (1791) led
to a standardization of pronunciation.

In the nineteenth century, phoneticians such as Henry Sweet, Wilhelm Vitor, and Paul Passy,
promoted a great interest on speaking skills which was to be developed by the Direct Method in the
late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, these phoneticians formed the International Phonetic
Association in 1886 and developed the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This alphabet made
it possible to accurately represent the sounds of any language because, for the first time, there was a
consistent one-to-one relationship between a written symbol and the sound it represented.

But it was in the twentieth century, during the 1940s, that the prosodic elements were to be studied
in detail for the first time within a phonemic approach. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Reform
Movement played an important role in the development of Audiolingualism in the United States and
the Oral Approach in Britain for which pronunciation was very important and was taught explicitly
from the start. Their main features are, firstly, that students imitate or repeat sounds, a word, or an
utterance out of a model given by the teacher or a recording. During the 1970s, the Silent Way
(Gattegno 1976) is characterized by the attention focused on how words combine in phrases, and on

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how blending, stress, and intonation all shape the production of an utterance by means of sound-
color charts and word charts. In the 1980s, the Communicative Approach , currently dominant in
language teaching, holds that the primary purpose of language is communication, which means a
renewed urgency on pronunciation since intelligible pronunciation is one of the necessary
components of oral communication.

Until now we can see that the emphasis in pronunciation instruction has been largely on a segmental
level, that is, getting the sounds right at the word level, dealing with words in isolation or with
words in very controlled and contrived sentence-level environment. In the mid- to late 1970s other
approaches directed most of their energy to teaching suprasegmental features of language (i.e.
rhythm, stress, and intonation) in a discourse context as the optimal way to organize a short-term
pronunciation course for nonnative speakers. Today, however, we see signs that pronunciation is
moving towards a more balanced view. As a result, todays pronunciation curriculum seeks to
identify the most important aspects of both the segmental and suprasegmental levels and integrate
them depending on the needs of any group of learners.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM.

We shall provide in this section a linguistic background for the English phonological system so as
to provide the reader with a relevant framework for the descriptive and pedagogical survey on
stress, rhythm, and intonation presented in subsequent sections. Therefore, we shall review the
notion of oral communication in relation to human communication systems and its main features, in
order to establish a link between the concept of language within a communicative competence
theory and the relevant role of stress, rhythm, and intonation patterns in social human behavior, and
therefore, speech acts.

Then, once the link between language and communicative competence is established, we will offer
a brief account of how the oral component has been approached through history, and in particular,
the suprasegmental level (i.e. prosodic elements), within the main types of teaching approaches and
techniques. Upon this basis, we will move on towards a description of each suprasegmental level,
which will be approached from current pronunciation instruction and the most relevant figures in
this field.

3.1. On the nature of communication and language: origins and general features.

Research in cultural anthropology has shown quite clearly that the origins of communication are to
be found in the very early stages of life when there was a need for animals and humans to
communicate so as to carry out basic activities of everyday life. However, even the most primitive
cultures had a constant need to express their feelings and ideas by other means than gutural sounds
and body movements as animals did. Human beings constant preoccupation was how to turn
thoughts into words. For our purposes in this study, it is worth, then, establishing a distinction
between human and animal systems of communication whose main difference lies in the way they
produce and express their intentions. So far, the most important feature of human language is the

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auditory-vocal channel which, in ancient times, allowed human beings to produce messages and,
therefore to help language develop.

From a theory of language, we mainly distinguish two types of communication, for instance, verbal
and non-verbal codes. Firstly, verbal communication is related to those acts in which the code is the
language, both oral and written. Secondly, when dealing with non-verbal devices, we refer to
communicative uses involving visual, sound, and tactile modes, such as kinesics, body movements,
and also paralinguistic devices drawn from sounds (whistling), sight (traffic signs) or touch
(Braille).

With respect to elements in the communication process, we shall follow the Russian linguist Roman
Jakobson, whose productive model on language theory explains how all acts of communication, be
they written or oral, are based on six constituent elements (1960). Thus, the addresser (speaker)
sends a message (oral utterance) in a given context (socially determined) to the addressee (listener).
Both the addresser and addressee need to share a code (language if verbal, and symbols if non-
verbal) through a physical channel (phonological system) and establish contact to enter and stay in
communication. For our purposes in this study, during an oral exchange the sound system shows
relevant nuances between the message and its context by means of the suprasegmental level, that is,
stress, rhythm, and intonation, which sha ll highlight important differences in the speaker and
listeners attitudes and meaning.

3.2. The sound system: segmental and suprasegmental levels.

Following Celce-Murcia (2001), one of the main features of the sound system of any language is its
inventory of sounds, which consists of a combination of acoustic signals into a sequence of speech
sounds, thus consonants and vowels. In fact, all languages are somewhat distinctive in their vowel
and consonant inventories, and in the way that these components combine to form words and
utterances. Yet, linguists refer to this inventory of vowels and consonants as the segmental aspect of
language.

In addition to having their own inventory of vowels and consonants, languages also have
suprasegmental features which trascend the segmental level, and involve those phenomena that
extend over more than one sound segment. We may distinguish two main types of suprasegmental
levels. First of all, predictable features such as word stress, sentence stress, and rhythm along with
adjustments in connected speech (i.e. assimilation and linking, as the adjustments or modifications
that occur within and between words in the stream of speech); and secondly, features that are
sensitive to the discourse context and the speakers intent, such as prominence and intonation.

It has been claimed that a learners command of segmental features is less critical to communicative
competence than a command of suprasegmental features, since the suprasegmentals carry more of
the overall meaning load than do the segmentals. Celce-Murcia (2001) affirms that
misunderstandings involving mispronunciation of a segmental sound usually lead to minor
repairable incidents than with suprasegmental sounds. For instance, an adult learner is discussing

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with a native speaker an incident in which her child had choked on something and could not
breathe. He swallowed a pill, the learner says. What kind of peel? asks the native speaker. An
aspirin, says the learner. Oh, a pill! I thought you said peel, responds the native speaker.

However, when dealing with suprasegmentals in connected speech, the misunderstanding is likely
to be of a more serious nature. For instance, if the stress and rhythm patterns sound too nonnative-
like, the speakers who produce them may not be understood at all. Moreover, learners who use
incorrect rhythm patterns or who do not connect words together are at best frustrating to the native-
speaking listener. And even more seriously, if these learners use improper intonation contours, they
can be perceived as abrupt, unpolite, or even rude.

In the section that follows, it is relevant to examine the relationship between the elements of the
suprasegmental level within a communicative competence theory in order to make the reader aware
of the essential role of prosodic elements in oral communication.

3.3. The suprasegmental level within a communicative competence theory.

Language has proved to be the principal vehicle for the transmission of cultural knowledge, and the
primary means by which we gain access to the contents of others minds by means of verbal and
non-verbal codes. Moreover, language is involved in most of the phenomena that lie at the core of
social psychology, such as attitude changes, social perception, personal identity, social interaction,
and stereotyping among others.

The way languages are used is constrained by the way they are constructed, particularly the
linguistic rules that govern the permissible usage forms. Language has been defined as an abstract
set of principles that specify the relations between a sequence of sounds and a sequence of
meanings. How participants define the social situation, their perceptions of what others know, think
and believe will affect the form and content of their acts of speaking. As a result , any
communicative exchange is to be analysed from two interrelated levels, thus regarding its social
context and also regarding the linguistic forms participants use, that is respectively, a pragmatic and
a linguistic level.

Therefore, it is at this point that the notion of communicative competence, coined by Dell Hymes in
the 1970s and developed by Canale and Swain in the 1980s, comes into force in our study in order
to highlight the relevance of suprasegmental devices in a speech act. Since the notion of
communicative competence is concerned not only with purely grammatical competence but also
with the area of pragmatics, that is, what is appropriate in a given social situation, we may define an
act of speaking as a set of complex and organized systems that operate in concert with the use of
language in everyday communicative situations.

Linguistically speaking, although the notion of communicative competence is divided up into four
subcomponents (i.e. grammatical, discourse, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence), we must

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note these four competences are interrelated, and essential to each other, in order to achieve a
successful communicative act. Similarly, although the suprasegmental level is to be found within
the grammatical level among other three subcomponents (i.e. morphological, syntactic, and
semantic), the phonological system is also interrelated with the way speakers and listeners make use
of the other three linguistic levels for a communicative exchange to be successful.

3.4. The relevant role of the suprasegmental level within the oral discourse.

At the level of discourse analysis, acts of speaking can be regarded as actions intended to
accomplish a specific purpose by verbal means, and in particular, by means of utterances. Looked at
this way, utterances can be identified in terms of their intended purposes, thus assertions, questions
or exclamations, and commands in terms of their intentions, such as statements, requests,
expression of surprise and doubt, and anger among others. Therefore, they meet the requirements of
not only what we say but also how we say it. An example would be the word yes said with firm
tone of voice as opposed to a doubtful one.

It is at this point that the prosodic elements, that is, stress, rhythm, and intonation emerge as an
essential part in the oral production of these intended purposes. We must bear in mind that the
grammatical form does not determine the speech act an utterance represents but the way it is
uttered. For instance, a sentence like The y had already eaten at 7 oclock may constitute quite
different speech acts with different purposes, depending on the word we stress, the rhythm with
which we utter this sentence, and the intonation we apply at the end of the sentence.

Considerations on this sort require a distinction between the literal meaning of an utterance and its
intended meaning since an act of speaking is imbedded in a discourse made up of four main
subcompetences where the use of prosodic features will convey different meanings to different
sentences. We believe that efficient communication depends on the speakers ability to integrate
grammatical knowledge of the English sound system with knowledge of the other subcompetences,
that is, sociocultural, discourse, and strategic.

Thus, during an act of speaking, the grammatical competence implies knowledge of lexical items,
syntax, semantics, and in particular, of phonology for students to match sound and meaning by
means of word formation, to construct sentences using vocabulary, to handle linguistic semantics,
and specially, to use language through spelling and pronunciation regarding word and sentence
stress, rhythm, and intonation patterns. The suprasegmental features are also present within the
sociolinguistic competence as far as sociocultural rules of use, and rules of discourse are concerned
to convey different meanings depending on the purposes of the interaction, for instance, asking for
information, commanding, complaining or inviting.

Moreover, prosodic features come into force within the discourse competence when the unity of a
text is addressed by means of coherence and cohesion in meaning. Whereas cohesion facilitates the
interpretation of a text, coherence relates different meanings depending on different attitudes

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expressed by prosodic features, thus word stress on pronouns and synonyms, and sentence stress.
Finally, strategic competence highlights the fact that rhythm and intonation are essential in the
negotiation of meaning to sustain communication with someone. Thus, in a telephone conversation,
when asking for slower and clearer repetition, seeking clarification and paraphrase in order to
understand key points.

Once we have stated the relevance of the suprasegmental level within the oral discourse, we may go
further by noting that these prosodic features are directly related to conversational studies where
they lie at the core of the speech act theory and conversational studies.

3.5. The suprasegmental level: at the core of conversational studies.

The introduction of cultural studies to language teaching methods in the 1980s highlighted the need
for students to know not only the linguistic patterns of the foreign language under study but also the
pragmatic use of verbal and non-verbal behaviour, that is, according to Hymes (1972) to know when
to speak, when not, what to talk about with whom, when, where and in what manner. Language was
considered as social behaviour, and therefore, the inability of or insensitivity to foreign language
discourse may lead to impede communication more than grammatical inaccuracy.

This approach is related to the sociolinguistic competence, as the grammatical competence may
mislead learners into thinking that certain rules of use of their native language may be applied in the
foreign language with no change of meaning. This is to be applied to both the segmental and the
suprasegmental level. In order to make effective discourse productions, learners need to approach
their speeches from a conscious sociolinguistic perspective, in order to get considerable cultural
information about communicative settings and roles.

For instance, Spanish learners of English should take into account that applying their native pitch
when speaking English or using their native intonation contours may be perceived as nonnativelike,
rude, or abrupt. It is important, then, to enforce foreign language standards of pronunciation for our
students to express themselves in exactly the ways they choose to do so-rudely, tactfully, or in an
elaborately polite manner in order to prevent them being unintentionally rude or subservient by
using certain intonation contours or inappropriate word or sentence stress.

Learners are expected to select the language forms that are appropriate in different settings, and
with people in different roles and with different status in order to achieve successful
communication. Sometimes, unconciously, we follow a large number of social rules which govern
the way we speak, and affect the way in which we select sounds (i.e. talking to older people, people
of special rank, and so on). It is at this point that prosodic features are considered to be essential
elements within language production since they enable us to recognize pragmatic distinctions of
formality, politeness and intimacy among others.

In connected speech, the ability to link units of speech together with the appropriate stress, rhythm,
and intonation, that is, with facility, and without inappropriate slowness, or undue hesitation is

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normally related to a speech act theory. However, once we start to look at actual interaction, the
suprasegmental level is particularly enhanced in a unit of analysis wider than a speech act, thus
conversational mechanisms, such as turn-taking, the cooperative principle, and the notion of
adjacency pairs.

The English language philosopher H. Paul Grice (1969) was not the first to recognize that non-
literal meanings posed a problem for theories of language use, but he was among the first to explain
the processes that allow speakers to convey, and addressees to identify, communicative intentions
that are expressed non -literally, as for him, meaning is seen as a kind of intending, where the hearer
and speaker recognize that there is something else than its literal meaning in a speech act. He
proposed four general maxims, thus be truthful, be informative, be relevant, and be brief. It is in the
last maxim, that is, regarding manner, that prosodic elements are implicitly present (i.e. Spanish
learner of English applying their native intonation patterns to a sentence like Shut the door, please
may sound abrupt instead of a request).

Regarding turn-taking, it is defined as a main feature of conversations where one person waits for
the other to finish his/her utterance before contributing their own. Note, however, that a person
rarely explicitly states that they have finished their utterance and are now awaiting yours, but rather
it is expressed by intonation patterns, such as pause or hesitation.

Prosodic elements are also present in the notion of adjacency pairs posited by Goffman (1976). This
fundamental feature of conversation analysis is to be found in a question-answer session, and
therefore, stress at word and sentence level, rhythm, and rising and falling intonation play an
essential role in questions and replies. In some cases, the speakers might make inferences about the
reasons for incorrect responses. These may be not to have responded because he did not understand
the question, or not to agree with the interlocutor. As Goffman notes, a silence often reveals an
unwillingness to answer. Dispreferred responses tend to be preceded by a pause, and feature a
declination component which is the non-acceptance of the first part of the adjacency pair.

4. THE ENGLISH PHONOLOGICAL SYSTEM: STRESS, RHYTHM, AND INTONATION.

We have so far dealt almost entirely with the historical and theoretical framework for the
suprasegmental level. As we have seen, an earlier extension of the term phonology was totally
concerned with the segmental aspects of the sound-system of a language, and it was not until the
early forties that the prosodic features of pronunciation first came to be studied in detail. Then, the
way in which vowel and consonant combinations could be varied, showed alterations in melody,
loudness, speed of speaking and the like, and at a pragmatic level, changes in meaning.

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Regarding prosodic features, Gimson (1980) states that a sound, whose phonetic nature can be
described and function in the language determined, has not only quality but also le ngth, pitch, and a
degree of stress as essential elements of prominence in speech. All three features may be measured
physiologically or acoustically: length, as duration; pitch, as the frequency of the fundamental; and
stress, as a measure of intensity, muscular activity, or air-pressure.

In general, these four factors, stress (muscular activity), pitch change (frequency of stress/loudness),
sound quality (weak and strong forms), and quantity (length/duration) may play an essential part in
rendering a sound or syllable prominent. In speech, length variation is an important factor regarding
the association of vowel quantity with accentuation. Sound qualities also contribute to an
impression of prominence, mainly by means of unaccented and accented syllables. Yet, stress,
strictly defined in terms of energy and loudness, is the least effective means of conveying
prominence. However, it is pitch variation (high/low), more commoly known as intonation, the
most commonly used and efficient cue of prominence for the listener, thought of as a tone system.

Therefore, on an ultimate notation, these factors will be described in terms of concrete expressions
such as stress, rhythm, and intonation. Despite the fact that these labels may imply they are distinct
from each other, it is worth noting again that these three functional categories are embedded and
interrelated in the stream of speech by means of relative prominence. Then, the three subsequent
sections will be devoted to a descriptive account of each suprasegme ntal level. Firstly, we shall
focus on stress at word and sentence level, and then rhythm as a borderline element between word
and sentence level, and finally intonation in connected speech.

4.1. STRESS IN ENGLISH.

4.1.1. On defining stress.

Following Celce-Murcia (2001), stress is defined by means of stressed and unstressed syllables
since certain syllables of a word are more prominent than the others because of length, quantity, or
pitch change. Thus, stressed syllables (or rather the vowels of stressed syllables) are often longer,
louder, and higher in pitch than unstressed syllables, which are more centralized or neutralized
vowels. Therefore, we shall describe, first, this phenomenon in articulatory terms, and then, in
relation to the accentual patterns it is divided in.

In articulatory terms, stress involves a greater outlay of energy as the speaker expels air from the
lungs and articulates syllables. This increase in muscular energy and respiratory activity is
undoubtedly what allows the native speaker to tap out the rhythm of syllables within a word or
words within an utterance. Longer vowel duration in the stressed syllable and higher pitch are
probably the most salient features of stress from the listeners point of view.

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Since the difference between stressed and unstressed syllables is greater in English than in most
other languages, we must capture this differentiation in stress levels. English language-teaching
texts generally speak of three levels of stress, defined as the pattern of stressed and unstressed
syllables within a word. We refer to primary, secondary, and tertiary stress. This basic pattern,
which is as much a part of a words identity as its sound sequence, may, however, be somewhat
modified by the general accentual pattern of the longer utterance in which it occurs.

4.1.2. The origins of stress placement.

According to Celce-Murcia (2001), far from being random, stress placement in English words
derives from the rather colorful history of the language. Today, roughly thirty percent of the
vocabulary of English stems from its Old English origins and retains the native Germanic stress
accentual patterns for kinship terms, body parts, numbers, prepositions, and phrasal and irregular
verbs stem from its Old English origins and retains the native Germanic stress patterns. In fact, of
the 1,000 most frequently used words in English, approximately 83% are of Germanic origin.

Many of the remaining words have been acquired through historical events, such as the Norman
Conquest, which brought much French vocabulary into English, or through the influences of
Christian religion and academia, which have done much to secure the position of words of Greek
and Latin origin in the English language. Nowadays, new loan words continue to be assimilated into
English and undergo similar changes in spelling and pronunciation as have words that entered the
language in earlier eras until they are no longer perceived as foreign and their origins are all but
forgotten to users who do not study etymology.

Although loan words in English may sometimes retain the stress patterns of the language from
which they derive, they are more often incorporated into the stress patterns of English, which
imposes on them a more indigenous or Germanic stress pattern by moving the stress to an earlier
syllable, often the first. We can see this in borrowings such as GRAMmar (from French
gramMAIRE) and CHOColate (from Spanish chocoLAte). In fact, the longer a borrowed word has
been in the English language, the more likely it is that this type of stress shift will occur.

4.1.3. Stress at word level.

According to some phoneticians (Celce-Murcia 2001), there are as many as six levels of word
stress, not all of which are readily discernible. However, for pedagogical purposes, we will adhere
to the conventional designation of three levels which are often referred to as strong, medial, and
weak, as they best represent what occurs on the syllable level, or alternatively, primary, secondary,
and tertiary stress. The designation primary makes reference to those syllables taking the tonic or
nuclear accent and therefore, which sound with more force than the rest; secondary refers to
stressed syllables with pretonic accent which are not as strong as the primary stress; and finally, the
designation tertiary refers to unstressed syllables.

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There are, however, some general orthographic considerations to be taken when placing stress at
word level. For instance, regarding primary stress, the vocalic groups will only remain together if
they form a diphthong or triphtho ng in English (i.e. so-cial), not being the case for those which are
divided by an accent in between (i.e. ,so-ci-ol-ogy). Moreover, according to Gimson (1980), initial
consonant clusters (i.e. p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n, l, f, v, s, h + l, r, j, w; or sp, st, sk + l, r, j, w) are
considered to be part of the next syllable and cannot be separated (i.e. geographic; slightly;
inspec-tor).

Regarding secondary stress, we shall mention several rules to be applied. For instance, (1) firstly,
there must be at le ast two syllables of distance between primary and secondary stress in the same
word due to rhythmic reasons (i.e. ,meteorological); (2) secondly, when two accents meet in the
same word, the first one is to be considered the secondary stress, and the next, the primary stress
(i.e. fourteen becomes ,fourteen); and (3) thirdly, when the primary stress is preceeded by several
secondary accents, it makes the nearest secondary stress be weaker than the rest (i.e. ,in-ter-de-,no-
mi-na-tio-nal; ,in-ter-,dis-ci-plin-ary).

To indicate strongly stressed syllables or primary stress in phonetic transcription it has been
established the convention of a superscript accent mark () placed on the upper left hand side before
the syllable, which may be substituted by an apostrophe if is not found on the current software
program; to indicate lightly stressed syllables or secondary stress we use a subscript accent mark (,)
which is placed on the lower left hand side of the syllable; finally, unstressed syllables are not
specially marked. This system of vertical subscript and superscript accents is likely to be quite
intuitive, but not as visually commanding as other systems, such as capital letters or bubbles.

In fact, there are other systems of notation for marking stress in a written word that can help make
the concept visual for students. For instance, capital letters, boldface, bubbles, accents, and
underlining. Although capital letters stand out well in print and are easy to create with a typewriter,
usually only two levels of stress can be indicated. The addition of boldface type and bubbles open
up the possibilities for indicating additional levels. Also, in some dictionary pronunciation guides,
accents are often used, with an accent aigu () signaling primary stress and an accent grave (`) for
secondary stress, and no symbol at all for unstressed syllables. Whatever system for marking stress
teachers ultimately choose, they can add paralinguistic cues for visual reinforcement by humming,
clapping, or tapping the stress pattern.

4.1.4. Word accentual patterns: simple and compound words.

It may be said that a word has a characteristic accentual or rhythmic pattern for speaker and listener
alike which is as much a part of a words identity. This sound sequence may be modif ied by the
general accentual pattern of the longer utterance in which it occurs, and it may lead to a reduction of
unstress vowels to schwa. Yet, a main feature of word stress in English is that it can occur on
virtually any syllable, depending in part on the origin of the word. This apparent lack of

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predictability as to where the stress falls is confusing to learners from language groups in which
stress placement is more transparent (i.e. Spanish learners).

In fact, there are different word patterns for the placement of stress within a word depending on the
number of syllables it consists of. Thus, the first group takes a two-syllable pattern in which the
primary stress usually falls on the first syllable whenever the unstressed syllable contains schwa, /i/,
or the dipthongs /ou/, /ai/, and /ei/ (i.e. mother, language, yellow, fertile, always). However,
sometimes, the primary stress falls on the second syllable when the unstressed syllable contains /i/
or schwa (i.e. believe, collect). The second group takes a three-syllable pattern in which words may
be accentuated in the first, second, and third syllable (i.e. wonderful, excellent, example,
engagement, understand, afternoon). The third group takes a four-syllable pattern in which
primary stress may also fall on the first, second, and third syllable (i.e. dictionary, nationally,
forgetfulness, establishment, expectation, television). The last group is formed by words with
five or more syllables in which the primary stress may fall in all situations (i.e. dedicatory,
uncomfortably, archaeologist, nationalistic, experimentation).

Factors that influence stress placement include (1) the historical origin of a word as we have already
seen, (2) affixation, and (3) the words grammatical function in an utterance. One important
difference between words of Germanic origin and those of non-Germanic origin is the way in which
stress is assigned. For words of Germanic origin, the first syllable of the base form of a word is
typically stressed (i.e. Father, YELlow, TWENty, HAMmer, Water). Today, even many two-syllable
words that have entered English through French and other languages have been assimilated
phonologically and follow the Germanic word stress pattern (i.e. MUsic, DOCtor, FLOWer,
FOReign, MANa ge).

According to Gimson (1980), we may distinguish between simple and compound words. Simple
words are called polysyllabic whereas compounds are called multisyllabic. They both undergo
different stress patterns, and it is worth bearing in mind that the syllabic division in English is not
made according to orthography (as in Spanish) but to pronunciation. It is possible to give rules
governing the relationship of accentuation and the spelling of English simple and compound words.

Words that have not been assimilated to the Germanic pattern have less predictable word stress in
their base forms, but stress is often predictable if certain affixes or spellings are involved. Therefore
in our next section we shall examine within this predictable group (4.1.5.) how affixation may affect
stress on simple words, and then, how the words grammatical function in an utterance may affect
stress on compound nouns (4.1.6.), as well as the effect of stress on (4.1.7.) other means of
accentual patterns, such as numbers, reflexives, and phrasal verbs. The way a words grammatical
function affects stress on words in an utterance will be examined again within the framework of
rhythm and intonation patterns (sections 5 and 6 respectively).

4.1.5. The influence of affixation on stress placement: simple words.

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In general, there are certain relatively simple rules involving the influence of word affixes on
accentuation, which have sufficient general applicability for foreign language learners. In the
following two subsections, we shall examine the influence of prefixes and suffixes on stress
placement in simple words.

4.1.5.1. Prefixes.

With respect to prefixes, those words, such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs, containing prefixes tend
to be strongly stressed on the first syllable of the base or root element, with the prefix either
unstressed or lightly stressed (i.e. nouns: surPRISE, proPOSal, aWARD; adjectives: unHEALTHy,
aSLEEP, inCREDible; verbs: deCLARE, exPLAIN, forGET).

In English, prefixes tend to fall into one of two categories: (1) firstly, prefixes of Germanic origin
and (2) secondly, prefixes of Latinate origin. Among (1) the Germanic prefixes we may mention:
a-, be-, for-, fore-, mis-, out-, over-, un-, under-, up-, and with- (i.e. awake, belief, forgive, forewarn,
mistake, outrun, overdo, untie, understand, uphold, and withdrawn) and, as we may note, these
words follow a general pattern by which there is no stress on the prefix and strong stress on the
base.

It is worth noting that some of these prefixes (a-, be-, for-, and with-) are always unstressed in the
words in which they occur whereas others receive light stress in prefix + verb combinations (i.e.
un-: ,undo, ,unhook; out-: ,outrun, ,outlast; over-: ,overlook, ,overtake; under-: ,understand,
,underpay). However, an exception to this general rule occurs when the prefix functions as a noun
and has the same pattern as a compound noun. As a result, the prefix tends to be strongly stressed
(i.e. forecast, outlook, overcoat, underwear, upkeep).

The second category is (2) prefixes of Latinate origin which usually receive strong stress on the
word base and not on the prefix. These include a(d)-, com-, de-, dis-, ex-, en-, in-, ob-, per-, pre-,
pro-, re-, sub-, and sur- (i.e. complain, display, inhabit, persuade, subdivide, and so on). We
must note that, when added to verbs, unlike Germanic prefixes, most of Latinate prefixes are
unstressed when part of a verb. Among the most frequent we may mention com- (also co-, col-,
con-, cor-) as in command), dis- (i.e. disturb), pro- (i.e. protest), ex- (i.e. extend ).

However, when these prefixes are part of a word that functions as a noun, the prefix often receives
strong stress (i.e. a difficult PROject compared to they proJECT...). We note that the influence of a
words part of speech on its stress pattern is dealt with more thoroughly in sections 4.1.6, 5 and 6.

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4.1.5.2. Suffixes.

With respect to suffixes, they affect word stress in one of three ways: (1) firstly, they may have no
effect on the stress pattern of the root word; (2) secondly, they may receive strong stress
themselves; (3) and thirdly, they may cause the stress pattern in the stem to shift from one syllable
to another.

Within the first group, we find (1) neutral suffixes, which have no effect on the stress pattern of the
root word and are Germanic in origin. These suffixes include, for instance, -hood (i.e. brotherhood ),
-less (i.e. careless), -ship (i.e. kinship), and ful (i.e. forgetful). Other neutral suffixes which are not
all of Germanic origin, but which function in the same way include: -able (i.e. unable ), -al (i.e.
noun suffix, chemical), -dom (i.e. stardom), -ess (i.e. princess), -ling (i.e. yearling), -ness (i.e.
darkness), -some (i.e. troublesome), -wise (i.e. clockwise), and y (i.e. silky). In fact, as a general
rule, words with Germanic or neutral suffixes (whether the stem is of Germanic origin or not) still
tend to maintain the stress pattern of the base form (i.e. BROTHer, unBROTHerly; HAPpy,
HAPpiness, unHAPpiness; Easy, unEAsily).

Within the second group, we find (2) suffixes that, unlike the Germanic ones, have come into the
English language via French (i.e. eer (i.e. volunteer, engineer), -esque (i.e. grotesque,
arabesque ), -eur/-euse (i.e. chaffeur, chanteuse), -ette (i.e. cassette, basinette ), -ese (i.e.
Sudanese, Vietnamese), -ique (i.e. technique, antique), -oon (i.e. balloon, saloon), -et /ey/ (i.e.
ballet, bouquet). As a result, they often cause the final syllable of a word to receive strong stress,
with other syllables receiving secondary or no stress. As a general tendency, the longer a word
remains as part of the English vocabulary system, the greater is the tendency for stress to shift
toward the beginning of a word. Hence, note the coexistence today, for instance, for the
pronunciations cigarETTE and millionAIRE (where the stress is on the final element) and CIGarette
and MILLionaire (where the stress is on the first element).

Finally, within the third group, we include (3) suffixes that can also cause a shift of stress in the root
word, that is, when added to a word, they can cause the stress to shift to the syllable immediately
preceding the suffix. Note the stress shift caused by the addition of the following suffixes to the root
word: -eous (i.e. from root word advantage to root with suffix advantageous); -graphy (i.e.
photo, photography); -ial (i.e. proverb, proverbial); -ian (i.e. Paris, Parisian); -ic (i.e.
climate, climatic ); -ical (i.e. ecology, ecological); -ious (i.e. injure, injurious); -ity (i.e.
tranquil, tranquility); and ion (i.e. educate, education).

Besides, adding these suffixes to a word not only brings about a shift in stress but also a change in
the syllable structure or syllabification, causing vowel reduction or neutralization in the unstressed
syllables to schwa (i.e. academy, academic, and academician ; and photograph, photography,
and photographic , where the syllables preceding the stress are reduced to schwa). In certain cases,
suffixation may also cause a complete change in vowel quantity (i.e. page /ei/ vs. paginate /ae/, and
mime /ai/ vs mimic /i/).

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Finally, it is important to note that in cases where the base and the suffix have different historical
origins, it is the suffix that determines the English stress pattern. For example, Germanic suffixes
such as ly and ness cause no shift in stress (i.e. passive, passively, passiveness) whereas with
the addition of the Latinate suffix ity to the same word, it does (i.e. compare passive to passivity).
This stress shift would extend even to a base word of Germanic origin if it were to take a Latinate
suffix (i.e. foldable vs foldability).

4.1.6. The influence of a words grammatical function on stress in compound words.

In general, a compound noun is made up of two separately written words, hyphenated or not (as in
tea-cup or armchair), and as a general rule, the first element of the compound is strongly stressed,
whether the compound is simple or complex (i.e. airplane (simple compound) vs airplane wing
(complex compound)). We may distinguish three major compound patterns: (1) noun + noun
compounds (i.e. sunglasses, cowboy), (2) adjective + noun compounds (i.e. blackboard, hot dog ),
and (3) noun + verb patterns (i.e. typewrite, babysit).

It is worth noting that, although noun compounds are more frequent in English than adjective
compounds and verb compounds, the three of them follow the same stress patterns, that is, primary
stress falls on the first element of the compound and secondary stress on the second. Moreover,
since both elements of these three patterns receive stress, they do not exhibit any vowel reduction to
schwa, except for compounds with man, which often have the reduced vowel schwa in the man
syllable (i.e. postman, fireman).

Regarding (1) noun + noun compounds, stress will vary between such true noun compounds and
words that look like noun compounds but are actually functioning as adjective + noun sequences.
Stress and context are essential, then, to establish which type of word sequence we are dealing with.
For instance, the noun compound in: I always use cold ,cream functions as a noun + noun sequence
because the primary stress is placed on the first element of the compound, and it means I always
use face cream.

However, in a sentence with (2) an adjective + noun sequence, like I always use ,cold cream, the
first element is carrying a secondary stress, and functions simply as an adjective modifying the noun
cream, which carries the primary stress, and it means I always use well-chilled cream. Hence, we
may find word sequences that can function as either noun compounds or adjective + noun phrases
depending on stress and context, such as greenhouse, darkroom, blackboard, and hot plate).

Then, the adjective compounds actually take two stress patterns, which are often hyphenated when
written. The first pattern, where the first element carries the primary stress and the second element
carries the secondary stress, tends to be used when the adjective compound modifies a noun (i.e. a
well-,trained dog and a second,hand jacket). The second pattern takes the secondary stress on the
first element and the primary stress on the second element when the adjective compound occurs in
utternace-final position (i.e. This salesman is ,middle-aged or He is really ,good-looking).

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Finally, (3) verb compounds usually take as a general rule only one stress pattern where the primary
stress falls on the first element, and the secondary stress falls on the second element in the
compound (i.e. baby,sit). Note that stress will also vary between such true verb compounds,
which consist of a noun and a verb, where the noun element receives primary stress and the verb
element secondary stress (i.e. Did you type,write that report for me?).

In those cases where there are words that look like verb compounds but are actually functioning as
prefix + verb sequences, it is the verb that receives primary stress and the prefix secondary stress or
no stress (i.e. Can you reheat those leftovers for me? ).

4.1.7. Fixed stress patterns in other categories: numbers, reflexives, and phrasal verbs.

Fixed stress patterns in other categories include cardinal and ordinal numbers, reflexive pronouns,
and phrasal verbs. First of all, regarding (1) numbers, we must note that both cardinal and ordinal
numbers have predictable stress on the first syllable when representing multiples of ten, that is, 20,
30, 40, 50, and so on (i.e. twenty, twentieth, thirty, thirtieth, etc). However, two different stress
patterns are possible with the teen numbers and their ordinal counterparts (i.e. thirteenth and
thirteenth).

In general, according to Celce-Murcia (2001), native speakers tend to stress the first syllable in a
word before a noun in attributive position (i.e. the twentieth century) and when counting, whereas
placing the stress on the second syllable is more common in phrase-final or utterance-final position,
and when speakers are trying to make a deliberate distinction between the ten and teen digits. In
these cases, the second pattern is to be chosen in order to differenciate confusing pairs of words
such as thirteen and thirty.

We must not forget that the teen numbers are compounds, that is, combinations of two or more
base elements (i.e. cardinal and ordinal numbers + teen/ty + (th)). Consequently, all hyphenated
numbers (i.e. thirty-seven, ninety -four) will follow compound patterns, where the placement of
stress have two possible settings depending on the context.

The first pattern will place primary stress on the first element, firstly, if a number is used without
another number as a contrast (i.e. He lent me fifty -five dollars); and secondly, if the multiple of ten
is in contrast or is given special emphasis (i.e. I said forty-one, not forty-six). On the contrary, the
second pattern will place primary stress on the second element, firstly, if the number is in utterance
final position (i.e. In March, she will be thirty-two); and secondly, if it is the second number in the
compound that is contrasted (i.e. I said twenty -two, not twenty -three).

Regarding (2) reflexive pronouns, we must note that this is a grammatical category that exhibits
complete predictability of stress since the second element (pronoun + self/selves) receives primary
stress in virtually any environment (i.e. myself, yourself, themselves). On the other hand, (3)
phrasal verbs, which consist of two or three words and are composed of verbs followed by

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adverbial particles and/or prepositions, are actually informal colloquial verbs of Germanic origin
that can often be paraphrased with a more formal single verb of Latinate origin (i.e. Germanic look
at, Latinate regard; and similarly: look over and peruse, talk about and discuss, talk up and
promote).

Prepositions are the second element of some two-word phrasal verbs or the third element of three-
word phrasal verbs. Among the most common, we include: about, at, for, from, of to, and with.
Among the most common adverbial particles in two-word verbs, we may mention: across, ahead,
along, away, back, behind, down, in(to), off, on, over, under, and up. Prepositions and adverbial
particles follow different stress patterns since they fall into different grammatical categories. Yet,
nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, tend to receive stress in a sentence, whereas articles, auxiliary
verbs, and prepositions do not. This helps explain why prepositions in phrasal verb units are
unstressed and why adverbs receive stress.

In fact, we can classify two-word and three-word phrasal verbs into three main patterns: (1) verb
head + unstressed particle (i.e. talk about, look at); (2) verb head + stressed particle (i.e. figure
out, take over); and (3) verb head + stressed particle + unstressed particle (i.e. run away with,
talk down to). In all three patterns, the verb head has at least one stressed syllable and the
following elements are either unstressed (if functioning as prepositions) or stress (if functioning as
adverbial particles). These stress patterns appear when phrasal verbs are spoken in isolation or when
the phrasal verb represents the last piece of new information in the predicate (i.e. Shes looking at
it, They were standing around, and He ran away with it).

4.1.8. Comparing English vs Spanish word stress patterns.

Stress placement in English words if for the most part a rule -governed phenomenon, and a primary
dilemma our Spanish students must face. It should be a part of the English Second Language
pronunciation curriculum for two main reasons. Firstly, foreign language learners need to
understand that English is a tone-language based on suprasegmental levels in connected speech.
Secondly, they also need to understand that even if all the individual sounds are pronounced
correctly, incorrect placement of stress can cause misunderstanding.

Yet, we must take into account that the main problem for Spanish students in English is, namely,
hearing and predicting where stress falls in words. As mentioned earlier, word stress in English is
not nearly as predictable as it is in languages such as French or Polish; nor does English indicate
regularly placed stress patterns through stress or accent marks in the spelling, which is the case of
Spanish.

Initially, learners need to understand that a basic characteristic of every English word containing
more than one syllable is its stress pattern. Thus, our first step as teachers is to clarify the
systematicity of stress placement in words. Firstly, by showing how native speakers highlight a
stressed syllable by means of length, volume, and pitch; secondly, by showing how they produce
unstressed syllables often with vowel reduction from strong forms to weak forms with schwa; and

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thirdly, by showing what the three main levels of stress in English are, for instance, primary,
secondary, and tertiary.

Stress in noun compounds is often misplaced by Spanish learners of English, who tend to place
primary stress on the second noun of the compound rather than the first, as in Id like to have a hot
dog, please. Therefore, because of the complexity of word stress rules in general, classroom
explanations must be reinforced with both in-class and out-class opportunities for students to make
predictions about stress placement and apply any new rules they have been exposed to in class.

In the following section we shall deal first with rhythm and sentence stress in connect speech,
whose theoretical framework will lead us to examine intonation as the third and last element of the
three suprasegmental levels.

4.2. RHYTHM IN ENGLISH.

In this section, we shall examine the stress-timed nature and rhythm of English and its connection to
word stress, since this involves knowing the stress patterns for the individual multisyllabic words in
an utterance. In addition, we shall provide the reader with clear guidelines concerning which words
in a sentence tend to receive stress, that is, content and function words, as part of a selection process
on stressing key words in an utterance by means of strong and weak forms.

4.2.1. On defining sentence stress and rhythm: the stress-timed nature of English.

The previous section on word stress provides a useful basis for understanding how stress functions
beyond the word level, that is, sentence stress, and therefore, rhythm in connected speech. Yet, an
utterance consists of more than one word which exhibit features of accentuation that are in many
ways similar to those in polysyllabic words, that is, depending on stress and context. However, in
sentence stress, the syllabic prominence is determined mainly by the me aning which the utterance is
intended to convey.

But the meaning of an utterance is largely conditioned by the situation and context in which it
occurs. Thus, it must be expected that the freedom of accentual patterning of the utterance and, in
particular, of the situation of the primary (tonic) accent will be considerably curtailed by the
constraints imposed by the contextual environment. In the case of new information, or an opening
remark, there is a greater scope for variations in meaning pointed by accentuation.

Hence, successive quality and quantity changes shall determine the relationship of the words in the
utterance by means of accent and prominence. In fact, the combination of unstressed, secondary,
and primary stressed elements in multisyllabic words is a relevant characteristic of English
utterances. Therefore, we shall define sentence stress as the various stressed elements of each
sentence that exist in both multisyllabic words and simple sentences.

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Word and sentence stress combine to create the rhythm of an English utterance, that is, the regular,
patterned beat of stressed and unstressed syllables and pauses. This rhythmic pattern is similar to
the rhythm of a musical phrase, where the English language moves in regular, rhythmic beats from
stress to stress, no matter how many unstressed syllables fall in between.

This stress-timed nature of English means that the length of an utterance depends not on the number
of syllables (as it would in a syllable -time language like Spanish) but rather on the number of
stresses. In English rhythm, then, pauses are of great importance since they mark intervals. For
instance, stress-timed rhythm is the basis for the metrical foot in English poetry and is also strongly
present in chants, nursery rhymes, and limericks.

Besides, we must note that there is a basic hierarchy in correctly determining stress placement
within an utterance when deciding which words would normally be stressed. In our next section, we
shall examine this kind of words under the heading of content words versus function words.

4.2.2. Content vs function words.

In connected speech, accentual patterns are freer than those of the word and are largely determined
by the meaning to be conveyed. In fact, we may distinguish two main types of words depending on
the categories they represent: content and function words. Content words include main verbs,
nouns, adjectives, adverbs, adverbial particles, possessive and demonstrative pronouns,
interrogatives, and not/negative contractions. On the contrary, function words include auxiliary
verbs, articles, personal pronouns, possessive and demonstrative adjectives, conjunctions, and
prepositions.

Concerning content words, they carry the most information, and are, therefore, usually stressed,
generally the nouns, main verbs, and adjectives. We also stress adverbs (i.e. always, quite, very,
almost, etc ), and adverbial particles following phrasal verbs (i.e. get away with, take off). Possessive
pronouns (i.e. mine, yours, his, hers, etc) and demonstrative pronouns, which are words that point or
emphasize (i.e. this, that, these, those). Moreover, we stress interrogatives, that is, words that begin
information questions (i.e. who, what, when, and where), and negative contractions (i.e. cant,
mustnt), and even the negative particle not when uncontracted usually receive stress because of
their semantic as well as syntactic prominence.

Concerning function words, they are more likely to be unaccented since words that modify the
lexically important nouns and verbs (such as articles and auxiliar verbs) tend not to be stressed.
Likewise, words that signal information previously mentioned (i.e. personal pronouns, relative
pronouns, possessive and demonstrative adjectives) are usually unstressed. In these unstressed
sentence elements, the vowels also tend to be reduced to schwa.

4.2.3. Strong vs weak forms.

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The English speaker is aware of a certain number of strong stresses or beats corresponding to those
parts of the utterance to which he wishes to attach particular meaning and on which he expends
great articulatory energy. The remaining words or syllables are weakly and rapidly articulated.
Therefore, the syllables uttered with the greatest stress will be defined as the strong forms of a
word, and those syllables which are weakly and rapidly pronounced, will be defined as weak forms.

In English, alike Spanish, there are thirty-five common words which have both strong and weak
forms ranging from modal and auxiliary verbs to personal pronouns, prepositions, or conjunctions
(i.e. and, as, but, than, that, he, him, does, am, are, was, has, can, must, some, at, for, from, etc).
Yet, we shall pronounce a word in its strong form mainly for reasons of meaning in the following
cases. (1) Firstly, whenever the word is meaningfully relevant in the utterance (i.e. Can I phone?,
Have you finished?); (2) secondly, whenever the word is final in the group (i.e. No, I dont; Whats
that for?) although there are some exceptions of the personal pronouns (i.e. he, him, his, her, them,
us); (3) and thirdly, concerning the negative particle not when attached to can, have, is, etc , but
never otherwise (i.e. I hope not).

Weak forms are not pronounced alone or separate in the sentence, and therefore, they are not
stressed. Their main characteristic is that they contain the vowel schwa. English people often think
thaty when they use weak forms of a word, they are being rather careless in their speech and believe
that it would be more correct always to use the strong forms. However, English spoken with only
strong forms sounds wrong. The use of weak forms is an essential part of English speech and
foreign language learners must learn to use it if they want to sound English.

4.2.4. Adjustments in connected speech.

So far we have dealt with processes, such as word stress, sentence stress, and rhythm, and now we
focus our attention on adjustments in connected speech, which are changes in pronunciation that
occur within and between words due to their juxtaposition with neighbouring sounds. The main
function of most of these adjustments is to promote the regularity of English rhythm, that is, to
squeeze syllables between stressed elements and facilitate their articulation so that regular timing
can be maintained (Celce-Murcia 2001).

In the sections that follow, we shall examine the elaborate language system whereby sounds are
influenced by other sounds in their immediate environment, taking on different characteristics as a
result. We must note that these processes are common to all languages, but here we shall discuss
mainly the differences between English and Spanish language. The processes to be discussed are
those of linking, assimilation, dissimilation, deletion, and epenthesis, as they occur in connected
speech.

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4.2.4.1. Linking.

According to Alcaraz and Moody (1976), whenever the message is visually transmitted (i.e.
written), the receiver may easily determine the word limits as they are marked with blank pauses in
between. However, they say, when the message is orally transmitted, the receiver is offered a cha in
of connected phonemes that will be chopped according to his/her linguistic habits.

Yet, prepositions with articles, nouns, and adjectives are easily recognizable in speech as well as
auxiliary and modal verbs. Though, the speech chain may be often ambiguous and have double
meaning in all languages. For instance, note the Spanish sequence mujeres odiosas and mujeres
o diosas, and the English one A Greek spy and A Greeks pie , where context is a key element
to solve this kind of ambiguous duality.

Therefore, even to the linguistically naive, a salient characteristic of much of nonnative English
speech is its choppy quality. The ability to speak English smoothly, to utter words or syllables that
are appropriately connected, entails the use of linking (or liaison), which is the connecting of the
final sound of one word or syllable to the initial sound of the next.

According to Celce-Murcia (2001), the amount of linking that occurs in native-speaker speech will
depend on a number of factors, such as the informality of the situation, the rate of speaking, and of
course the individual speech profile of the speaker. Thus, the amount of linking that occurs is not
entirely predictable. However, linking occurs with regularity in the following five envir onments.

First of all, (1) linking with a glide towards the semiconsonants /j/ or /w/ (i.e.: ei, ai, oi; au, ou ).
They are common when one word or syllable ends in a vowel or diphthong and the next word or
syllable begins with a vowel (i.e. say it, my own, toy airplane and blue ink, no art, how is it?). In
this environment or after schwa, some speakers tend to add a linking or intrusive /r/ (i.e. I saw Ann,
vanilla ice-cream).

Secondly, (2) when a word or syllable ending in a single consonant is followed by a word or
syllable beginning with a vowel, the consonant is often produced intervocalically as if it belonged to
both syllables (i.e. black and white, Macintosh apple). Thirdly, (3) when a word or syllable ending
in a consonant cluster is followed by a word or syllable beginning with a vowel, the final consonant
of the cluster is often pronounced as part of the following syllable (i.e. lef/t_arm /lefta:m/, fin/d_out
/faindaut/).

Fourth, (4) when two identical consonants come together as a result of the juxtaposition of two
words, there is one single and we do not produce the consonant sound twice (i.e. stop pushing, rob
Bill, short time, bad dog, quick cure, big gap, classroom monitor, le ss serious). And finally, (5)
when a stop consonant is followed by another stop or by an affricate, the first stop is not released,
which facilitates the linking (i.e. pet cat, blackboard, next train, big church).

4.2.4.2. Assimilation.

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During this process, a given sound (the assimilating sound) takes on the characteristics of a
neghbouring sound (the conditioning sound) in connected speech. Although the organs of speech
involved appear to be taking the path of least resistance, such a characterization ignores the fact that
assimilation is a universal feature of spoken language. It occurs frequently, both within words and
between words, and there are three main types of assimilation in English: (1) progressive, (2)
regressive, and (3) coalescent.

In (1) progressive assimilation, the conditioning sound precedes and affects the following sound.
We distinguish two main examples in English: the regular plural /s/ vs. /z/ alternation, and the
regular past tense /t/ vs. /d/ alternation, in which the final sound of the stem conditions the voiced or
voiceless form of the suffix (i.e. bags /z/ vs backs /s/; moved /d/ vs liked /t/). This process also
occurs in some contractions (i.e. it is /z/ its /s/), and in some reductions to schwa (i.e. had to ).

In (2) regressive assimilation, the assimilated sound precedes and is affected by the conditioning
sound (i.e. good boy /gu:boi/). This type of phenomenon occurs commonly and most of them
involve a change in place of articulation or in voicing. However, there are also some cases of a
change in manner of articulation in informal speech (i.e. Give me some money, Let me go) For
instance, in the periphrastic modals has/have to when expressing obligation, and used to when
expressing former habitual action, and its main feature is that it reduces the final sound to schwa
(i.e. have to /hafta/, has to /hasta/, used to /usta/).

Secondly, another clear example of this phenomenon is reflected in the English spelling system,
mainly in the four allomorphic variants of the negative prefix not (i.e. in-, im-, il-, ir as in the words
indifferent, impossible, illogical, and irrelevant). The third type occurs in rapid native-speaker
speech, where sequences of sibilants (i.e. /s/ or /z/) are followed by certain consonants. For instance,
as in the examples Swiss chalet or his shirt, where the sibilants are assimilated to the next sound.

With stop consonants, a final /t/ or /d/ may assimilate to a following initial /p, k/ or /b, g/
respectively (i.e. Saint Patrick, pet kitten, good bye, good girl). With respect to final nasal
consonants, especially /n/, the same phenomenon occurs by adjusting their place of articulation to
that of a following conditioning consonant (i.e. Hes in pain, it rains in May, Theyre in
Korea, Be on guard!)

Finally, in (3) coalescent assimilation, we find a reciprocal assimilation by which the first sound
and second sound in a sequence come together and mutually condition the creation of a third sound
with features from both original sounds. This process occurs most frequently in English when final
alveolar consonants such as /s, z/ and /t, d/ or final alveolar consonants sequences such as /ts, dz/
are followed by initial palatal /j/.

This type of assimilation is often referred to as palatalization where the alveolar consonants become
palatalized fricatives and affricates, respectively (i.e. Ill pass this year, Does your sister
come?, Is that yours?, She lets your dog in, Would you mind moving?, He nee ds your

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help). As with linking, the amount of assimilation depends on variables, such as the formality of
the situation, the rate of speech, and the style of the speaker.

4.2.4.3. Dissimilation.

In this process, alike assimilation, this phenomenon occurs when adjacent sounds become more
different from each other rather than more similar. For instance, a clear example of dissimilation
would be to break up a sequence of three fricatives by replacing the second with a stop (i.e. fifths
/fts/). This phenomenon is considered not to be an active process, and it is rare in English.
Therefore, we shall not examine it thoroughly.

4.2.4.4. Deletion.

The deletion process is also known as omission , a process whereby sounds disappear or are not
clearly articulated in certain contexts. It has two main representations: written and oral. Firstly,
regarding written representation, deletion appears in contracted forms of auxiliary verbs plus the
negative particle not (i.e. isnt). Secondly, regarding the oral component, deletion phenomena
appear in the following environments.

First, (1) the loss of /t/ when /nt/ is between two vowels or before a lateral /l/ (i.e. winter, mantle,
enter); secondly, (2) the loss of /t/ or /d/ when they occur second in a sequence or cluster of three
consonants (i.e. castle, whistle, exactly; windmill, kindness hands); thirdly, (3) the deletion of word-
final /t/ or /d/ in clusters of two at a word boundary when the following word begins with a
consonant (i.e. blind man, East side). It is worth noting that there is no exception to this rule.

However, when the following word begins with a vowel, there is no deletion but resyllabification
(i.e. blin/d eye, wil/d eagle). Then, the loss of unstressed medial vowel (also referred to as syncope)
makes the unstressed vowel, schwa or /i/, drops out in some multisyllabic words following the
stronly stressed syllable (i.e. chocolate, every, mystery, vegetable, different, reas onable ). Note that
if the last syllable is stressed, syncope does not occur (i.e. Compare the verb sepa,rate with the
adjective separate).

Also, we find another process known as aphesis, which is related to the loss of an unstressed initial
vowel or syllable in highly informal speech (i.e. cause, round, bout). There are three main rules
governing this process. Firstly, (1) the loss of the first non initial /r/ in a word that has another /r/ in
a following syllable (i.e. governor, surprise, temperature); secondly, (2) the loss of final /v/ in of
with a reduction to schwa, before words with initial consonants (i.e. lots of money, waste of time).
Thirdly, (3) the loss of initial /h/ and voiced /d/ in pronominal forms in connected speech (i.e. ask
her, help him).

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4.2.4.5. Epenthesis.

Epenthesis makes reference to the insertion of a vowel or consonant segment within an existing
string of segments. The most important type of epenthesis in English occurs in certain
morphophonological sequences such as the regular plural and past tense endings. Regarding regular
plurals, an eclectic schwa is added to break up clusters of sibilants or alveolar stops (i.e. places,
buzzes) since progressive assimilation alone will not make the morphological endings sufficiently
salient.

Regarding regular past tenses, for which we posit the ed suffix, we have the examples such as
planted and handed. Finally, there are other cases of consonant epenthesis in words like prince and
tense, which end in /ns/, and are pronounced with an inserted /t/ so that they sound just like prints
and tents. In such cases, the insertion of the voiceless stop /t/ makes it easier for speakers to produce
the voiced nasal plus voiceless fricative sequence. Besides, the same process at work add a /p/
between the /m/ and /f/ in comfort.

4.2.5. Comparing English vs Spanish sentence stress and rhythm.

Regarding sentence stress and rhythm, the main difference between English and Spanish
phonological systems is that English language is said to have a stress-timed nature whereas Spanish
language has a syllable -timed one. This means that, for Spanish students of English, maintaining a
regular beat from stressed element to stressed element and reducing the intervening unstressed
syllables can be very difficult since their native tongue has syllable -timed patterns.

In Spanish, as well as in other syllable -timed languages (such as Italian, Japanese, French, and
many African languages), rhythm is a function of the number of syllables in a given phrase, not the
number of stressed elements. Thus, in Spanish, the rhythm unit is the syllable, which means that
each syllable has the same length as every other syllable and there are not the constant changes of
syllable length as in English word groups. Then, phrases with an equal number of syllables take
roughly the same time to produce, and the stress received by each syllable is much more than in
English (i.e. Spanish: Los nios estn en la calle; French: Les garons sont dans la rue;
English: The children are in the street).

As a result of these differences in stress level and syllable length, Spanish students tend to stress
syllables in English more equally, without giving sufficient stress to the main words and without
suffic iently reducing unstressed syllables. This involves knowing the English stress patterns for the
individual multisyllabic words in an utterance and deciding which words in an utterance would be
stressed. This is possible by clapping or tapping out the rhythmic pattern of a poem which is read
aloud.

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In the pronunciation classroom is highly relevant to explain and illustrate for students the stress-
timed nature and rhythm of English since, when Spanish learners obscure the distinction between
stressed and unstressed syllables in English, native speakers may fail to comprehend. In fact,
Spanish students usually give all English syllables equal stress, and this actually hinders native
speakers comprehension.

As we have seen previously, all five types of adjustments in connected speech reflect speakers
attempts to connect words an syllables smoothly in the normal stream of speech. Sometimes
underlying sounds are lost or modified (i.e. deletion and assimilation) whereas sometimes other
sounds are added (i.e. epenthesis and linking ).

In general, all these modifications seem to achieve firstly, ease of articulation for the speaker;
secondly, preservation of the preferred English syllable structure; and thirdly, preservation of
grammatical form. These phenomena are, in fact, working together to preserve stress-timed rhythm.
In our next section, we shall deal with the third and last suprasegmental element, intonation in
discourse.

4.3. INTONATION IN ENGLISH.

In the previous sections we have discussed the phenomena of word stress, sentence stress, rhythm,
and adjustments in connected speech, which are largely ruled governed but not particularly sensitive
to discourse and speakers intent. In the present section, we shall focus on those features of
pronunciation that are quite sensitive to the discourse context and the speakers intent, namely,
prominence and intonation so as to highlight important information and to segment speech.

4.3.1. On defining intonation: the notion of pitch.

Following Alcaraz (1976), intonation is the most difficult suprasegmental level to be systematically
defined since it conveys not only general meaning (i.e. questions, statements, doubts, and so on) but
also connotative features, such as personal and regional melodic characteristics, expressive signals
of affection, happiness, and so on, and the speakers mental attitude.

In order to define intonation, it is first necessary to define pitch as the relative highness or lowness
of the voice. This relative notion refers to the differenciated pitch levels of a given speaker as pitch
variations in music. Following OConnor (1988), every language has melody in it, and therefore, no
language is spoken on the same musical note all the time. The voice goes up and down and the
different notes of the voice combine to make tunes. For instance, ascending do, re, and mi represent
progressively higher tones, or musical pitch.

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There are four main levels of phonetic pitch in English: extra high, high, middle, and low. The
function of pitch does not change the fundamental meaning of the word itself. Rather, it reflects the
discourse context within which a word occurs. For instance, the one-word utterance now,
produced with a rising pitch contour from middle to high, could signify a question: Do you want
me to do it now?. Produced with a falling pitch contour from high to low, however, this same word
could signify a command: Do it now! (Celce-Murcia 2001).

Normal conversation moves between middle and high pitch, with low pitch typically signalling the
end of an utterance. The extra high level is generally used to express a strong emotion such as
surprise, great enthusiasm, or disbelief, and the pitch level is often used in contrastive or emphatic
stress. English makes use of pitch variation over the length of an entire utterance rather than within
one word, and this is the reason why it is known as a tone-language.

If pitch represents the individual tones of speech, then intonation can be thought of as the entire
melodic line which involves the rising and falling of the voice to various pitch levels during the
articulation of an utterance. It is said to perform several unique functions, such as to emphasize a
word or utterance, to mark grammatical types of sentences, to express the speakers attitude, and to
highlight new information in a sentence.

Following two of the most relevant figures in this field, OConnor and Arnold (1973), intonation
would be defined, first, as meaningful since it conveys denotative and connotative meanings;
secondly, as systematic , since we are aware of the existence of common intonation units; and
finally, as characteristic feature of individuals, groups, and regional types.

4.3.2. Intonation units.

As we have seen earlier, just as individual utterances can be divided into words and these words
into syllables, we can also divide the stream of speech into discrete stretches that form a
semantically and grammatically coherent segment of discourse. These smaller units in the stream of
speech are called thought groups, word gr oups, or tone groups, and they are essential in English
intonation.

Within the tone group, stressed syllables are spoken in a regular rhythm, and unstressed syllables
are made to fit in between the beats. The stressed syllables of words which convey lexical
information (mainly nouns, adjectives, principal verbs and adverbs) are given prominence in the
intonation pattern, unless the information has already been mentioned or is obvious in context. In
that case, whilst continuing to mark the rhythmic beat, they are not given pitch prominence.

According to van Ek and Trim (2001), every tone group contains a nucleus which is usually marked
by a left to right (also right to left) diagonal falling or rising mark. Many short utterances will
comprise a single tone group, contaning only one prominent syllable, which is then the nucleus of
the tone group. In those cases where there is more than one prominent syllable, the last of these is

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the nucleus and the first is the head, which is usually marked with a rising mark above the line of
writing. Following Gimson (1980), both definitions nucleus and head correspond to primary
accent and secondary accent, respectively.

The head is usually marked by a jump up in pitch to a high-mid level. The actual pitch varies from
mid to high, depending on the attitude of the speaker towards what he or she is saying and towards
the listener. The higher the level, the more cheerful and friendly the speaker sounds. The high head
is marked in the texts by an upright line before the syllable concerned, above the line of writing [].
Some common markers for these divisions or pauses are commas, semicolons, periods, and dashes.
However, in spoken discourse a speaker may pause at points where such punctuation does not
always occur in a written transcription of the utterance.

Non prominent syllables, stressed or unstressed, which precede the head, are spoken on a low mid
pitch (Gimsons secondary accent without pitch prominence). They are often manifested by
qualitative, quantitative, or rhythmic prominence, that is, by weak and strong forms, schwa
reductions, linking, and so on and are usually marked by a rising mark below the line of writing
Those following a high head are kept on the same level, or form a descending sequence. Those
following the nucleus conform to the configuration of the nucleus, as elaborated above. Often,
rhythmic beats are marked in the utterance, but have no effect on the pitch pattern. Non-prominent
unstressed syllables are left unmarked (Gimsons unaccented syllables ).

As we shall see later, the pattern of intonation used will be closely related to the language function
of the sentence and its grammatical category. The term intonation unit describes a segment of
speech but refers also to the fact that this unit of speech has its own intonation contour or pitch
pattern, and typically contains one prominent element. We must note that a single utterance or
sentence may include several intonation units, each with its own prominent element and contour.

Many, perhaps most, short exchanges in conversation consist of single tone groups. Longer
utterances may simply juxtapose tone groups. However, compound (i.e. and, but, either, or, etc) and
complex (i.e. if, because, when, etc ) sentences may have two or more closely linked tone groups.
This sequence is then termed a major tone group, and its completion is shown in a text with two
vertical marks whereas the constituent minor tone groups are marked with a single vertical mark.

To sum up, each typical intonation unit (1) is set off by pauses before and after; (2) contains one
prominent element; (3) has an intonation contour of its own; and (4) has a grammatically coherent
internal structure. The way to divide an utterance into intonation units is no foolproof since it
depends on several factors. Thus, in rapid speech, these may be fairly long, and in slower speech,
they may be shorter, and breaks between units will then be more frequent. Also, some speakers
produce fewer breaks than others, and finally, it is also dependent on the performance context,
pausing frequently to make their message more emphatic (i.e. political meetings).

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Yet, two additional points are to be made regarding intonation units. First, too many pauses can
slow speech down and create too many prominent elements, causing the listener difficulty in
processing and comprehending the overall message. And second, taking into account the process of
blending and linking that occur within intonation units as part of the process of reducing unstressed
vowels to schwa.

4.3.3. The main functions of intonation.

In this section we shall deal with the different functions of intonation that will lead us to establish
and examine the different pitch patterns. Intonation is said to function in order to express whether a
speaker is ready, to signal that a response is desired, unnecessary, or unwanted, and to differenciate
normal information from contrastive or expressive intentions. In other words, intonation is said to
perform an important conversation management function, with the speaker being able to subtly
signal to the interlocutor to quit talking, to respond in a particular fashion, or to pay particular
attention to a piece of highlighted information (Celce-Murcia 2001).

In fact, the meaning of an English utterance, that is, the information it conveys to a listener, derives
not only from its changing sound pattern and the contrastive accentual prominences, but also from
associated variations of pitch as we have already referred to. In fact, the discourse context generally
influences which stressed word in a given utterance receives prominence, and therefore, the word
the speaker wishes to highlight.

Following Celce-Murcia (2001) there are several circumstances governing the placement of
prominence which are closely related to the main functions of intonation. Had we classified these
circumstances following Gimsons distribution (1980), we would have distinguished between
accentual and non-accentual functions, and therefore, we would have included (1) to place emphatic
stress within the accentual function, and (2) to highlight new information, (3) to express emotions
and attitudes, and (4) grammatical patterns within the non-accentual functions of intonation.

Still, although it is not considered to be a function, we must not forget about the relationship
between intonation and meaning. Yet, individual speakers make very specific use of prosody (i.e.
intonation, volume, tempo, and rhythm) to convey their meanings in extended spoken discourse. It
is a fact that nonnative speakers are frequently misinterpreted as rude, abrupt, or disinterested solely
because of the prosodics of their speech, as they may sound unnatural, or not funny when intended
to be.

4.3.3.1. Emphatic function.

The emphatic function is also called the accentual function since it is related to the placing of tonic
stress on a particular syllable. In doing so, since the speaker wishes to place special emphasis on a
particular element, he or she makes the listeners concentrate their attention on the word or words
carrying the primary accent.

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In fact, the element receiving emphatic stress usually communicates new information within the
sentence, and in contrast with normal prominence, it is characterized by the greater degree of
emphasis placed on it by the speaker by means of pitch level. For instance, in the sentence You are
always doing the same, the speaker might place emphatic stress on always to signal a particularly
bad reaction to a repetitive situation.

4.3.3.2. Discourse function.

Similarly, the discourse function places prominence on new information in order to indicate a
contrast or link with previously given information. We shall point out that within an intonation unit,
words expressing old or given information are unstressed and spoken with lower pitch, whereas
words expressing new information are spoken with strong stress and higher pitch.

In unmarked utterances, it is the stressed syllable in the last content word that tends to exhibit
prominence (i.e. I have bought a camera A digital camera?- Yes. A digital camera with
amazing functions in it. It is the last Canon model). In this example, camera functions as new
information in the first utterance. However, in the second sentence, digital receives prominence
because it is the new information. In the third sentence, both camera and digital are old
information, whereas last and Canon are new information, thus receiving prominence.

Similarly, two parallel elements, either explicitly or implicitly, can receive prominence within a
given utterance at the same time. For instance, Is it a cheap or expensive car?, where both
cheap and expensive signal an important contrast in the sentence.

4.3.3.3. Attitudinal function.

The attitudinal function indicates the emotional attitude of the speaker by means of a single word or
more words. In these cases, it is not the situation of the nucleus which is of importance, but rather
the type of nucleus employed, that is, the intonation contours. The choice of pitch patterns can vary
a great deal the discourse context within which a word occurs.

For instance, the one -word utterance No, produced with a rising pitch contour from middle to
high, could mean surprise: Are you sure you dont want to come? whereas, if produced with a
falling pitch contour from high to low, this same word could express anger: I said no!.

It is worth noting again that the attitudinal meaning of an utterance must always be interpreted
within a context, both of the situation and also of the speakers personality. It is likely to happen
that an intoantion which is neutral in one set of circumstances might be, for instance, offensive
when used by another person or in other circumstances.

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4.3.3.4. Grammatical function.

The grammatical function distinguishes different types of sentence by means of different pitch
patterns. In fact, the same sequence of words may, with a falling intonation, be interpreted as a
statement or, with a rising intonation, as a question (i.e. a statement like Sallys moving may be
made into a question if a rising intonation is used instead of a falling intonation type).

Moreover, if an utterance is pronounced with a rising-falling intonation, then it signals speaker


certainty, which often corresponds to a declarative statement. However, pronounced with rising
intonation, the same sequence of phonemes signals uncertainty and corresponds to a special type of
yes/no question with statement word order, showing that intonation can override syntax in spoken
English.

Yet, the main types of utterances which can describe different attitudes by means of pitch patterns
are (1) assertions, (2) wh- questions, (3) yes/no questions, (4) question tags, (5) commands,
requests, and orders, and finally (6) exclamations, greetings, and similar ones. These type of
utterances will be examined later in the section of intonation contours.

4.3.4. Intonation contours.

We have seen how rises and falls in the pitch of the voice in connected speech produce what is
called intonation. The intonation of English RP is used by native speakers on the one hand to
indicate the informational structure of sentences and on the other to express nuances of meaning, to
indicate unspoken implications or reservations and to convey attitudes and emotional states. As
such it plays a very important part in communication and is a frequent source of intercultural
misunderstandings.

The intonation contour (or pitch pattern) of a word group (or tone group) is crucial since the
intonation of the sentence will show the attitude of the speaker. This level are highly dependent on
discourse meaning and prominence, with rises in intonation co-occurring with the highlighted or
more important words that receive prominence within the sentence. Thus pitch and prominence can
be said to have a symbiotic relationship with each other in English, and the interrelationship of
these phenomena determines the intonation contour of a given utterance.

The movement of pitch within an intonation unit is referred to as the intonation contour which
ranges from extra high pitch to low pitch (i.e. extra high, high, mid, low). Pitch patterns are to be
represented by two parallel horizontal lines where, according to Alcaraz (1976), we may find two
types of movements: static and dynamic. On the one hand, the static type includes high, mid, and
low pitch which are to be represented by the imaginary upper line, mid position, and lower line,
respectively. On the other hand, the dynamic type includes rising, falling, or a combination of both
pitches, depending on the direction they take within the two lines.

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Hence, we may distinguish five nuclear tones (van Ek and Trim 2001), thus low falling, high
falling, low rising, high rising, and falling-rising. Besides, another category (i.e. rising-falling) is
added by OConnor (1973). For our present purposes, we shall examine first the main dynamic
pitch patterns, that is, falling and rising, and then, their combinations in relation to the static pitch
patterns and semantic values.

4.3.4.1. Falling tone.

According to Gimson (1980), a falling nucleus, marked by a diagonal falling mark, is considered to
be the most neutral tone among all the pitch patterns to be examined. It is in fact, separative and
assertive, by which the higher the fall the more vigorous the degree of finality implied. Note that the
fall is on the stressed syllable or from the stressed syllable to a following one.

The listener is not made any explicit appeal nor impolite requests. This kind of tone is characteristic
in conversations of acquainted people where there is no need of social courtesies in speech. We may
distinguish two types of falling intonation depending on the tone and the discourse context where
they occur: low falling and high falling.

4.3.4.1.1. Low falling.

This is marked by a left to right diagonal falling mark, below the line of writing, placed before the
nuclear syllable [,]. This mark is to be interpreted as indicating that the next syllable is stressed. Its
vowel starts on a clear, low-mid tone, and then, the voice drops to a low creaky note and remains on
this low pitch until the end of the tone group.

Low falling is used (1) in declarative sentences. First, for factual statements (i.e. identifying,
describing, defining, and narrating as well as in answers to wh- questions (i.e.This is a ,door; They
drove to ,London). Second, for expressing definite agreement or disagreement, firm denials, firm
acceptance or rejection of an offer, intention, obligation, granting or asking for permission. In
general, it indicates an unambiguous certainty (i.e. You must eat your ,dinner).

(2) In interrogative sentences expected to be answered by yes or no. Those of the type of demands
(i.e.Have you seen this film be,fore?), requests (i.e. May I come in, please? ), yes/no questions (i.e.
Can you ,eat it?), tag questions (i.e. Is it, red?), and in choice questions, to indicate the list of
options is closed (i.e.Would you prefer ,tea/ or ,coffee?). (3) In wh- questions as a definite request
for a piece of information (i.e. Where is Mary?), and (4) in imperative sentences as a direct order or
prohibition (i.e. Sit ,down!), as an instruction (i.e. Push the door!), and as a strong form of offer
(i.e. Have one of ,my cakes!).

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4.3.4.1.2. High falling.

High falling tone is similar to the low falling one, except that the nuclear vowel starts on a pitch
above the mid point. It is marked by place the mark above the line of writing. High falling is used
(1) in declarative sentences, first, to indicate surprise, protest, enthusiasm, emphasis or insistence
(i.e. Thats great!, Look at that!), and second, to indicate contrast with an element previously
mentioned or believed to be the listeners mind (i.e. No, it was in 1970 he was born).

(2) In interrogative sentences, both those answerable by yes or no and wh- questions, first, to insist
on an answer being given (i.e. Did you mend my bicycle?). Second, to indicate surprise or irritation
(i.e. Are you still thinking about going out?). Third, in rhetorical questions of an exclamatory type,
to which no answer is sought (i.e. Isnt it lovely?). Finally, in tag questions, to insist on the
listeners agreement to a proposition (i.e. You knew it, didnt you?).

(3) In imperative sentences, first, to insist on an order or prohibition (i.e. Dont listen to her, I say).
Second, to indicate the urgency to an instruction (i.e. Stop. Dont move). Third, to insist on the
acceptance of an offer. (i.e. Do let me invite you).

4.3.4.2. Rising tone.

A rising nucleus, marked by a diagonal rising mark, may start from a fairly low, mid, or high pitch
and it may end at a low or high pitch. This tone implies that something more is to be still said in
order to catch the listeners attention.

4.3.4.2.1. Low rising.

This is marked by a rising mark placed before the nuclear syllable and below the line of writing [,].
It indicates that the next syllable is stressed. Its vowel starts on a clear, low level pitch to be
followed by a continuous glide upward, but not rising above mid, until the end of the tone group.

The glide occurs within the nuclear syllable if it is the last in the group. If it is followed by one or
more non-prominent syllables (also called the tail), stressed or unstressed, the nuclear syllable is
spoken on a low level pitch and the rise spans the tail.

Low rising is used (1) in declarative sentences, first, to indicate indifference, resentment,
guardedness or suspicion (i.e. It doesnt ,matter; you shouldnt complain about ,me ). Second, to
reassure (i.e. You ,neednt be worried).

(2) It is also used in interrogative questions, answerable by yes or no, first, to ask politely for
confirmation or disconfirmation (i.e. Shes ,Italian, ,isnt she?). Second, to make polite requests and

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offers (i.e. Would you please close the ,door?). Third, to indicate that the list is open in choice
questions (i.e. Would you like ,tea or ,coffee or something ,stronger?).

(3) In wh questions, first, to indicate polite interest (i.e. Where are you going on ,holidays?), and
secondly, to avoid the appearance of interrogation (i.e. What are you ,doing there?). (4) It is finally
used in imperative sentences for gentle commands, especially to children and hospital patients (i.e.
Just drink this ,medicine slowly).

4.3.4.2.2. High rising.

High rising is shown by placing the rising mark above the line of writing []. It indicates that the
nuclear vowel starts somewhere between low and mid-level, and that the upward glide extends well
above mid.

High rising is used (1) in declarative sentences, first, to convert a statement into a question (i.e. You
went to Ireland last year? ), and second, to query what someone has said (i.e. You said he is
unemployed?). (2) It is also used in interrogative questions answerable yes or no, first, to indicate a
casual enquiry (i.e. Would you care for a coffee?), and second, to repeat a question (i.e. A coffee?
Would I care for a coffee?).

(3) Moreover, in wh questions, first, to repeat a question including a change of first and second
person before answering (i.e. Where do you ,live?- Where do I live? ); and second, having the wh
word as nucleus, to ask for repetition (i.e. He lives in (not understood) He lives where?). (4)
Finally, in imperative sentences to repeat an order, instruction or offer while deciding whether or
how to comply (i.e. Sit down, please Sit down? Why ,not?).

4.3.4.3. Falling-rising tone.

This may be seen as a sequence of high falling and low rising, by which the nuclear vowel sound
starts high-mid pitch and drops to a low creak. An upward glide follows, which does not go above
mid. This tone is indicated by a v-shaped mark placed before the nuclear syllable above the line of
writing [`] and is connected with the stressed syllable of the last important word, like the fall and
rise of the other tones. But it is only completed on one syllable if that syllable is final in the group.
If there is one or several syllables following, the fall and the rise are separated.

This fall-rise tone combines the effect of the fall, which is contradictory and contrastive, with the
emotional or meaningful attitudes, not expressed verbally, associated with the rise. Both of them
may occur wihin a single word.

Thus, the falling-rising is used (1) in declarative sentences to convey various implications, such as
first, warnings (i.e. The traffic lights are `red!); secondly, corrections (i.e. Her brother isnt a

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teacher, / hes an `architect!); thirdly, limited agreement implying disagreement (i.e. I dont know
if I agree with `that); fourth, mental thought of promises (i.e. `Yes, /I `will be good this year);
fifth, uncertainty and hesitation (i.e. I cant be `certain ); sixth, to soften the effects of bad news
(i.e. Youre `wrong, Im afraid); seventh, anxious query with tag-questions (i.e. You do `love me,
dont you?); eighth, discouragement (i.e. You cant go to the cinema if you `like); ninth, tentative
advice (i.e. If I were `you, /Ill do it); tenth, implying something has been left unsaid and contrasts
what has been stated (i.e. Your opinion is `interesting (implying: but I dont agree); eleventh, to
query what has been said, implying that it is mistaken or untrue (i.e. Seven eights are fity `four?).

(2) It is also used in interrogative questions answered by yes or no, first, to add a note of warning or
doubt (i.e. Are you `sure you paid the bill?); second, when the expected answer to the question may
be unwelcome (i.e. Have you thought what might happen if you `did?). (3) In wh questions, first,
to repeat a question, focusing on the key issue in contrast with other possibilities (i.e. What did I do
on `Saturday of last week?), and second, to query a statement with the wh word as nucleus (i.e.
`Where did he buy that motorbike?). (4) And finally, in imperative sentences, first, for issuing
warnings rather than commands or instructions (i.e. Watch where youre `going), and second, for
pleading with the imperative as nucleus (i.e. `Do / try to be / little more careful).

4.3.4.4. Rising-falling tone.

The rising-falling intonation contour is one of the most common patterns. In it, the intonation
typically begins at a neutral middle level and then rises to a high level on the main stressed element
of the utterance. The intonation then falls to either the low level a terminal fall, signa lling
certainty and generally corresponding to the end of the utterance or to the middle level a non
terminal fall, signalling a weaker degree of certainty and usually corresponding to an unfinished
statement, an incomplete thought, or a mood of suspense.

Rising-falling tone is indicated by an inverted v-shaped mark placed before the nuclear syllable
above the line of writing [^]. Besides, intonation patterns of the certainty type are typically used
to convey stronger feelings of approval, surprise, or disapproval. Thus, (1) in declarative statements,
first, to reassure a fact (i.e. John is ^sick. Hes taken an ^aspirin); second, in wh questions to
reassure an action that causes surprise (i.e. Who will ^help?); and third, in commands to show
disapproval (i.e. Fix me some ^soup).

(2) In unfinished statements, first, where a non terminal fall with a slight rise at the end indicates
that the utterance is an unfinished statement in which the speaker has left something unsaid or
implied (i.e. Johns ^sick... (... but I think hes going to work anyway). Secondly, in unfinished
statements where the slight rise at the end creates suspense (i.e. I opened the old ^suit/case... (...
and found a million dollars!). And thirdly, in tag questions eliciting agreeme nt, in which the
speaker is requesting confirmation from the interlocutor. Although it functions almost like a
statement, they typically signal certainty (i.e. We really ought to ^vi/sit him, ^shouldnt we?)

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Once we have discussed intonation regarding its functions and its patterns, we shall move on to
establish a comparison between the English and Spanish phonological systems concerning this
issue.

4.3.5. Comparing English vs Spanish intonation.

We must bear in mind that English and Spanish intonation patterns are quite different, and it is a
phenomenon Spanish learners must face. Firstly, they need to understand that English is a tone-
language whereas Spanish is syllable-based language. Therefore, they also need to understand that
even if all the individual sounds are pronounced correctly, incorrect placement of stress can cause
misunderstanding.

Regarding the placement of word stress, another problem for Spanish students in English is,
namely, that word stress in English is not nearly as predictable as it is in Spanish where stress
patterns are regularly indicated through stress or accent marks in the spelling. Secondly, in English
we find vowel reduction to schwa from strong forms to weak forms in unstressed syllables, whereas
in Spanish schwa does not even exist.

Regarding sentence stress and rhythm, the main difference between English and Spanish
phonological systems is that English language is said to have a stress-timed nature whereas Spanish
language has a syllable -timed one. This means that, for Spanish students of English, maintaining a
regular beat from stressed element to stressed element and reducing the intervening unstressed
syllables can be very difficult since their native tongue has syllable -timed patterns. As a result of
these differences in stress level and syllable length, Spanish students tend to stress syllables in
English more equally, without giving sufficient stress to the main words and without sufficiently
reducing unstressed syllables

Regarding intonation, it is a fact that certain intonation patterns present difficulties for Spanish
learners since they frequently associate questions exclusively with rising intonation, for instance,
and as a result, they have difficulty when producing wh questions, which typically have falling
intonation in English. Tag questions are also difficult for nonnative learners, in terms of both
grammar and intonation.

The main difference between English and Spanish intonation relies on the way Spanish produce the
melodic tone, that is, with a narrower range making the English intonation of learners sound
somewhat flat, bored, and disinterested. In fact, much research has shown that nonnative speakers
are frequently misinterpreted as rude, abrupt, or disinterested mainly because their speech sounded
choppy and with an unnatural rhythm, sometimes with flat intonation, or inappropriate application
of intonation patterns. Moreover, Spanish learners often cannot hear important keys to meaning
because of their limited command of prosodic clues.

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This is especially true when humor, sarcasm, anger, irony, and the like are conveyed through
prosodic elements. Thus, though the message may be understood, the speakers intent may be
misinterpreted, resulting in the entire meaning being miscontrued. Therefore, a top priority should
be given to providing them with adequate opportunities to listen for the shades of meaning in
authentic conversational exchanges and to check their interpretation against that of a native speaker
listening to the same conversational exchange.

5. CONCLUSION.

As we have seen, for foreign learners of English, and in particular, Spanish learners, it is imperative
even at the most elementary stage of language instruction to pay attention not only to the
vocabulary, grammar, and functions of the foreign language but also to the prominence and
intonation, due to the critical role these features play and the meaning they carry. From both the
receptive and productive points of view, learners need extensive practice in distinguishing the subtle
shades of meaning that are conveyed through prosodic clues.

Therefore, once students have understood the concepts of word stress, sentence stress, and rhythm,
these can be integrated into the presentation of prominence and intonation in English. In reality
these features cannot be separated naturally. However, we believe that the various intonation
patterns and accompanying pitch movements make more sense if word stress, sentence stress,
rhythm, and prominence have already been understood.

In this general overview of suprasegmental elements, the main point of this study has been to
emphasize the functions of stress, rhythm, and intonation within authentic conversational situations.
In the present study we have touched on only some of the more straightforward features with
respect to how these prosodic elements are treated in second language learning.

These features allow the learner to turn the basic building blocks of the sound system (i.e., the
vowel and consonant phonemes) into words, meaningful utterances, and extended discourse. A
good command of these features is therefore as critical as command of the segmental features in
order to achieve successful communication for second language learners.

In fact, this unit was aimed to make learners aware of the relevance of these major patterns in
ongoing discourse. Besides, there is a need of alerting students to differences between the
punctuation and intonation systems of English and Spanish, and overall, to teach students to think in
terms of the speakers intention in any given speech situation.

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6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Alcaraz, E., and B. Moody. 1976. Fontica inglesa para espaoles. Teora y prctica (2nd ed.).
Grficas Daz. Alicante.

- Algeo, J. and T. Pyles. 1982. The origins and development of the English language. Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

- Brown, G. & G. Yule, 1983. Teaching the Spoken Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Brown, G. and G. Yule. 1983. Discourse Analysis. CUP.

- Canale, M. 1983. From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy, in J.


Richards and R. Schmidt (eds.). Language and Communication. London, Longman.

- Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., and M. Goodwin. 2001. Teaching Pronunciation, A Reference for
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge University Press.

- Crystal, D. 1985. Linguistics. Harmondsworth, England. Penguin Books.

- Gimson, A. C. 1980. An introduction to the pronunciation of English. Edward Arnold.

- Goytisolo, Juan. 2001. Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of
Humanity 18 May 2001. Speech delivered at the opening of the meeting of the Jury (15 May 2001)

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Press.

- OConnor, J.D. 1988. Better English Pronunciation. Cambridge University Press.

- OConnor, J.D. and G.F. Arnold.1973. The intonation of Colloquial English. Longman.

- van Ek, J.A., and J.L.M. Trim, 2001. Vantage. Council of Europe. Cambridge University Press.

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UNIT 10

LEXIS. WORD FORMATION FEATURES IN ENGLISH.


PREFIXATION, SUFFIXATION, AND COMPOUNDING.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF VOCABULARY.


2.1. The status of vocabulary in ancient times.
2.2. The development of lexicography: dictionaries up to date.
2.3. Vocabulary and language teaching methodologies.
2.4. Word-formation within a linguistic theory.

3. ENGLISH LEXIS: GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS.


3.1. On defining the term lexis.
3.2. Lexicography: on the organization of lexis.
3.3. Lexicology: the study of lexis and key terminology.
3.3.1. On defining word, lexeme, and word-form.
3.3.1.1. What is a word?
3.3.1.2. What is a lexeme?
3.3.1.3. What is a word-form?
3.3.2. The grammatical word: morpheme, morph, and allomorph.
3.3.2.1. What is a morpheme?
3.3.2.2. What is a morph?
3.3.2.3. What is an allomorph?
3.3.3. Free vs bound morphemes.
3.3.4. Types of morpheme structure: root, stem, and base.
3.3.5. Inflectional vs derivational morphology.
3.3.6. The notion of word-formation.

4. WORD-FORMATION PROCESSES. MAIN FEATURES.

4.1. AFFIXATION.
4.1.1. Prefixes.
4.1.1.1. Negative prefixes.
4.1.1.2. Reversative or privative prefixes.
4.1.1.3. Pejorative prefixes.
4.1.1.4. Prefixes of degree or size.
4.1.1.5. Prefixes of attitude.
4.1.1.6. Locative prefixes.
4.1.1.7. Prefixes of time and order.
4.1.1.8. Number prefixes.
4.1.1.9. Conversion prefixes.
4.1.1.10. Other prefixes.

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4.1.2. Suffixes.
4.1.2.1. Suffixes forming nouns.
4.1.2.2. Suffixes forming adjectives.
4.1.2.3. Suffixe s forming verbs.
4.1.2.4. Suffixes forming adverbs.
4.1.2.5. Other form classes as bases.
4.1.2.6. Suffixes on foreign bases.

4.2. COMPOUNDING.
4.2.1. Compound nouns.
4.2.2. Compound adjectives.
4.2.3. Compound verbs.
4.2.4. Compound adverbs.
4.2.5. Other compound types.

4.3. CONVERSION.
4.4. ACRONYMS.
4.5. BLENDS.
4.6. CLIPPINGS.
4.7. BACK FORMATION.
4.8. FOLK ETYMOLOGY.
4.9. EPONYMS.
4.10. ONOMATOPOEIC COINAGES.
4.11. WORD MANUFACTURE.

5. VOCABULARY IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.

6. FUTURE DIRECTIONS ON THE TREATMENT OF LEXIS.

7. CONCLUSION.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

This study on English lexis is aimed to know more about the way vocabulary works. It attempts to
provide the background knowledge necessary for the readers to make informed choice about
vocabulary and word formation. By the time this study is finished, you should be aware of the
major issues in the field of lexis and word formation, and equipped to read more advanced writings
on them if you so wish by the bibliography provided at the end of this presentation for further
exploration.

The structure of this study can be divided into four main sections. Chapter 2 provides a historical
background on lexis in an attempt to review (1) the status of vocabulary in ancient times, (2) the
development of English lexicography up to present-day trends, and (3) how different language
methodologies have dealt with vocabulary over the ages. Chapter 3 provides an introductory and
elementary account of the term lexis regarding (1) its definition, (2) the organization of lexis by
means of lexicography, and (3) the study of lexis regarding key terminology so as to prepare the
reader for the linguistic background which is analysed in next chapter.

Key terminology includes several basic concepts required in the study of word formation at a
morphological level in order to provide the necessary background to describe word-formation
processes with precision. So this section reviews (a) the definition of word, lexeme, and word-form,
(b) the definition of morpheme, morph, and allomorph, (c) the duality free versus bound
morphemes, (d) types of morphemes: root, stem, and base, and (e) finally, word-formation
processes: inflection and derivation, including the notions of affixes (suffixes and prefixes).

Chapter 4 provides, then, a theoretical approach to the word-formation process in which the main
tenets on this issue are examined and analysed with respect to its main features and organisation.
Thus, (1) inflectional which includes (a) prefixation, and (b) suffixation; and (2) derivational
processes which include (a) compounding. Other minor devices in word-formation are also
included.

Chapter 5 accounts for lexical implications on the field of language teaching, and Chapter 6
examines future directions on this issue. From all these chapters we shall draw some conclusions in
Chapter 7, and finally, bibliography will be listed in Chapter 8.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on lexis and word formation in English, we have
dealt with the works of relevant figures in the field. For instance, an approach to the nature of
vocabulary and lexical knowledge in second language teaching is provided by Norbert Schmitt in
his work Vocabulary in Language Teaching (2000), since he represents one of an active group of
scholars whose research has put vocabulary at the forefront of contemporary applied linguistics.

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Another reference book, still indispensable, is that of Valerie Adams, An Introduction to Modern
English word formation (1973) in which we are presented careful considerations to the many
complex kinds of regula r patterns in word-formation, including its history and traditions.

Another essential reading on this field is Bauer, English Word-Formation (1983), and other classic
references of interest are those of Aitchinson, Words in the mind: An introduction to the mental
lexicon (1994); McCarthy, Vocabulary (1990); Nelson, The English language (1974); Payne,
Lexeme-Morpheme Base Morphology (1995); Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of
English (1973); and again Schmitt & McCarthy, Vocabulary: Description, acquisition, and
pedagogy (1997). Besides, other influential works on the origins and development of vocabulary are
Algeo & Pyles, The origins and development of the English language (1982); Baugh & Cable, A
History of the English Language (1993), and Crystal, Linguistics (1985). Finally, for more
information on educational implications, see B.O.E. (2002), and for future directions in vocabulary
assessment, see Assessing Vocabulary (2000) by John Read. He is a scholar who has devoted many
years to the study of vocabulary in the context of second and foreign language learning, teaching,
and assessment. In fact, John Read is at the forefront of recent work in the area, and as a language
teacher, he offers a familiar approach to the challenges faced by students acquiring vocabulary and
using it in a second language.

Three good places for vocabulary research on the Internet are: (1)
http://www.swan.ac.uk/cals/calsres.html; (2) http://www1.harenet.nejp/-waring/vocabindex.html;
and (3) http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course.

2. A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF VOCABULARY.

In order to better understand the current state of vocabulary and word-formation processes, as
discussed in subsequent chapters, we will first briefly review the status of vocabulary in ancient
times, and then, we shall offer an account of some of the historical influences that have shaped the
field as we know it today. Therefore, we shall review the numerous different approaches to
language learning, each with a different perspective on vocabulary, which at times have given
vocabulary pride of place in teaching methodologies, and at other times neglected. Finally, a
historical background to word-formation processes will lead us to a theoretical grounding on lexis
and key terminology in Chapter 3.

2.1. The status of vocabulary in ancient times.

The status of vocabulary in ancient times in undoubtely related to language teaching since people
have constantly attempted to learn second languages for more than two thousand years. In fact, the
earliest evidence we have of interest in vocabulary traces back to the fourth century B.C. in a work
carried out by Panini in Sanskrit in the form of a set of around 4,000 aphoristic statements about the

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languages structure, known as sutras. In one of those chapters, Panini provided a detailed
description of word-formation processes.

Later on, records of the importance of vocabulary extend back at least to the time of the Romans in
the second century B.C., when students were taught the art of rethoric. In fact, at this point in time,
this Greek art was highly prized, and would have been impossible for Roman children to study
Greek without a highly developed vocabulary. In early schools, students learned to read by first
mastering the alphabet, then progressing through syllables, words, and connected discourse. For this
purpose, before reading a text, lexical help was provided either alphabetized or grouped under
various topic areas (Schmitt, 2000).

A similar work to that of Panini, took place later, around the seventh century A.D., in connection
with the Koran and Arabic studies. It was less influential due to the fact that the Koran was not to
be translated, but to be literally interpreted, promoting considerably the study of Arabic, both as a
native and as a foreign language. Therefore, in subsequent centurie, this religious stimulus
promoted developments in lexicography, that is, dictionary-making, the study of pronunciation, and
language history (Crystal, 1985).

Later, in the medieval period, under the aegis of the Church, Latin became the medium of educated
discourse and largely because of this, the study of grammar became predominant. Throughout this
period, there was a high standard of correctness in learning, and mistakes were heavily punished in
Latin classes. Language instruction during the Renaissance continued to have a grammatical focus,
although some reforming educators rebelled against the overemphasis on syntax.

In the seventeenth century, two scholars, William of Bath and John Amos Comenius, attempted to
raise the status of vocabulary by promoting the idea of contextualized vocabulary. They suggested
the direct use of the target language in translation, getting away from rote memorization, and
avoiding the grammar focus. Thus, in 1611 William wrote a text that concentrated on vocabulary
acquisition through contextualized presentation. In his work, he presented 1,200 proverbs that
exemplified common Latin vocabulary. On the other hand, Comenius created a textbook with a
limited vocabulary of eight thousand common Latin words, which were grouped according to topics
and illustrated with labelled pictures.

The notion of a limited vocabulary was important and was to be further developed in the early
twentieth century as part of a current language teaching methodology called Vocabulary Control
Movement, which is aimed to systematize the selection of vocabulary. Unfortunately, the emphasis
of language instruction remained firmly and many grammars were written based on Latin models,
which received general acceptance, and helped prolong the domination of grammar over
vocabulary. This preoccupation filtered over to English as well, and it was reflected in the
standardization of vocabulary in the eighteenth century by means of grammar books and
dictionaries.

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2.2. The development of lexicography: dictionaries up to date.

Regarding dictionaries, this section reviews the development of English lexicography from the
earliest evidences of dictionaries to the phase of standardization in the eighteenth century up to
present-days. Moreover, we shall review the contributions of well-known lexicographers which
helped the English language be standardized, that is, be ascertain, refined, and fixed as we
know it today.

Historically speaking (Howatt, 1984), the earliest attempt in the development of lexicography was a
bilingual lexicology that dates from around 2500 B.C., and later on, in medieval times, several
compilations of Latin manuscripts were found. In the seventeenth century, the earliest English
dictionaries followed the tradition of lists of hard-words of difficult comprehension. Mainly, two
works are to be mentioned: first, Robert Cawdreys Table Alphabeticall (1604) which was compiled
with the purpose of providing the interpretation [...] by plaine English words [...] whereby they
may the more easily and better understand many hard words. Second, Henry Cockerans The
English Dictionarie: or, An Interpreter of Hard English Words (1623). It was divided into three
basic parts: (1) simple language definitions, (2) elegant equivalents, and (3) mythological names in
Latin terms.

There is evidence of other attempts within this tradition, but quite often the same definitions were
copied from one compiler to another and no new information was added. Here are some of them:
John Bullokars English Expositor (1616); Thomas Blounts Glossographia: or a Dictionary,
Interpreting all such Hard Words (1656); Elisha Coles An English Dictionary, explaining the
Difficult terms that are used in Divinity, Husbandry, Physick, Philosophy, Law, Navigation,
Mathematicks, and other Arts and Sciences (1676); and the anonymous Gazophylacium Anglicanum
(1689).

However, the eighteenth century English linguists attempted to ascertain, refine and fix the
language, according to the rationalistic spirit of the period. With this purpose in mind, the creation
of an English Academy was proposed in 1617 by the linguist Edmund Bolton, although finally the
project did not succeed. Nevertheless, important dictionaries and grammar books were composed in
order to provide a new standard with the minimal variation in form, reducing it to rule and
fixing it permanently so that change and corruption did not affect the language.

The second half of the seventeenth century and the early years of the eighteenth century saw the
progressive inclusion of general vocabulary and definitions of common uses in dictionaries. They
gradually incorporated further information on the etymology, grammar and history of each word.
Among the dictionaries which reacted against the Latinized tradition of preceding years we may
mention the following. (1) First, John Kerseys A New English Dictionary (1702) which was the
first English dictionary to include grammatical information whose purpose was to provide a
collection of all the most proper and significant English words. (2) Second, Nathan Baileys
Dictionarium Britanicum Or, a more Compleat Universal Etymological English Dictionary Than

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any Extant (1730). It was the first dictionary to include etymologies or cognate words and entensive
encyclopedic information.

However, although many others followed, we must trace back to the eighteenth century to meet the
man who changed English lexicography. He was Samuel Johnson, and his work Dictionary of the
English Language soon became a standard reference in 1755. He reacted against the hard-word
tradition which was very easy to copying and plagiarism. His work is directly related to the typical
aims of the period: ascertaining, refining and fixing the language.

Johnsons most important contribution was the establishment of the inductive principle, that is,
definitions based on particular instances of usage from which meanings were drawn inductively.
Moreover, he introduced a new standard to English lexicography by bringing together the features
we recognize in dictionaries today: definitions in context by means of quotations taken at that time
from literary works of the Elizabethan period; etymologies in square brackets; and numbered
meanings.

However, one of the problems with this dictionary was the absence of information on
pronunciation, except for stress assignment in compound words. So his success lay not only in his
utilization of contemporary pronunciation and usage to guide his spellings and definitions, but also
in elegantly combining witty and, sometimes cutting, definitions with backed up written evidence.
Only in ambiguous cases did he resort to arbitrary decisions based on logic, analogy, or personal
taste.

Following Schmitt (2000), the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought the Age of Reason where
people believed that there were natural laws for all things and that these laws could be derived from
logic. Language was no different. Latin was held up as the language least corrupted by human use,
so many grammars were written with the intent of purifying English based on Latin models. These
grammars received general acceptance, which helped prolong the domination of grammar over
vocabulary.

With the exception of printing in general, Johnsons dictionary did more to fix standard spelling and
lexical usage than any other single thing in the history of English. Anyway, the inductive path
opened by Johnsons Dictionary was continued throughout the second half of the eighteenth
century. The result was a dictionary that would remain unchallenged in influence until Noah
Webster published an American version in the following century. Until then, the only innovation
worth commenting is the inclusion of phonological transcriptions, as in John Walkers A Critical
Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language (1791) or Thomas Sheridans
General Dictionary of the English Language(1780).

Noah Webster was Americas answer to Samuel Johnson. He wanted to produce a dictionary which
would reform American spelling phonetically, and in fact, the spelling changes he proposed, such as
catalog, color, humor, and program became the American standard. Webster was seventy when his

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greatest dictionary was eventually published in 1828, and the sober clarity of his definitions rapidly
made his work be well-known throughout the United States, and subsequently the world.

In continental Europe, the increasing interest in the world of nature forced changes in lexicography
since technical words, originally known only to specialists, needed to be familiar and accepted in
general use. Biologists, chemists, geographers, and others gradually demanded the general adoption
of scientific terminology. Therefore, scholars begun to apply similar techniques to their study of
language, and in 1879, a British schoolmaster called James Murray took up the challenge of
preparing a dictionary so as to offer the history and meaning of the vocabulary of English
throughout the world with scientific exactness. Murrays work, previously called A New English
Dictionary, and later, Oxford English Dictionary was published in regular instalments between
1884 and 1928.

In the twentieth century, two celebrated lexicographers are worth mention: Eric Partridge and
Robert Burchfield, both New Zealander. First of all, the New Zealander Eric Partridge devoted his
life to writing about the vagaries and curiosities of language, and compiling dictionaries on it. In
1937, he published his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English and later he published the
lesser-known Dictionary of the Underworld which reads about a analytical listing of the cant and
slang of convicts, mobsters, and other specific marginal groups. Secondly, Robert Bruchfield,
considered to be one of the leading lexicographers nowadays, brought the Oxford English
Dictionary into the twentieth century, and paved the way for the comprehensive ongoing revision
which the dictionary is currently undergoing.

Finally, regarding contributions in the twenty-first century, it is worth mentioning that the area of
computers and, therefore, the use of corpora in vocabulary studies has been one of the most
significant developments in lexicography or dictionary writing. Lexicography has been
fundamentally affected since the four major learner dictionary publishers all relying on corpus input
to set their word definitions and examples. In recent years, databases of language have
revolutionized the way we view language, particularly because they allow researchers, teachers, and
learners to use great amounts of real data in their study of language instead of having to rely on
intuitions and made-up examples.

Further comments on this area shall be offered in chapter 6, in which future directions on lexis and
word-formation will be provided. Moreover, a definition of lexicography and its main features is
included in chapter 3.

2.3. Vocabulary and language teaching methodologies.

When dealing with vocabulary in the field of language teaching, we acknowledge that among the
numerous methodologies in the more than two thousand years of second language instruction, just a
few have been interested in vocabulary as part of the learning process. Therefore, before placing
word-formation in a linguistic framework, it is relevant to offer an brief review of the status of

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vocabulary over the ages in order to understand why word-formation seems to be emerging from a
fallow period, and why it is suddenly of central interest to theoretical linguists in the twentieth
century. For historical background in this section, we shall mainly follow Howatt (1984) and
Schmitt (2000).

Following the spirit of previous centuries, the beginnin g of the nineteenth century saw Grammar
Translation as the main language teaching methodology. This approach, originally reformist in
nature, was an attempt to teach through explicit grammar rules and translation from L1 (first
language) into L2 (second la nguage), or viceversa, as language practice. This method grew into a
very controlled system, with a heavy emphasis on accuracy and explicit grammar rules.

Since the content focused on reading and writing literary materials, the obsolete vocabulary of the
classics was highlighted. In fact, the main criterion for vocabulary selection was often its ability to
illustrate a grammar rule, and besides, students were largely expected to learn the necessary
vocabulary themselves through bilingual word lists, which turned into a list of items for translation
purposes. As a result, the bilingual dictionary became an important reference tool.

However, the method proved incresingly pedantic, and its weaknessess came up to the surface.
First, it focused on the ability to analyze language, and not the ability to use it, and second, it did
little to promote an ability to communicate orally in the target language. Therefore, a new
pedagogical direction was needed, and by the end of the nineteenth century, new use-based ideas
had coalesced into what became known as the Direct Method.

The Direct Method emphasized oral skills, with listening as the primary skill. There was no need to
translate since meaning was directly related to the target language, and explicit grammar teaching
was down-played, trying not to use L1 in order to make the process more natural. This method
attempted to imitate the natural learning process of a native speaker with listening first, then
speaking, and only later reading and writing.

Vocabulary was thought to be acquired naturally through the interaction during lessons, and
connected with reality as much as possible. Therefore, initial vocabulary was simple and familiar
(e.g., bedroom objects or food) and concrete vocabulary was explained with pictures or through
physical demonstration. Only abstract words were presented in the traditional way of being grouped
according to topic or association of ideas.

Yet, like all other approaches, this method had its weaknesses. Since the focus was squarely on use
of the second language, teachers were required to be proficient in the target language, which was
not always the case. It mimicked L1 learning, but it was not taken into account that L1 learners had
abundant exposure to the language, whereas learners of a second language typically have little,
usually only a few hours per week for a year or two.

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During the first half of the twentieth century, in the United States relatively few people travelled
internationally, and this situation was actually transferred to the educational field. Since oral skills
were not needed nor considered an ultimate goal in schooling, writing skills were given a place of
pride. Then, the 1929 Coleman Report took this limited instruction into account, and concluded that
it was not sufficient to develop overall language proficiency, but also to teach how to read in a
foreign language. Therefore, reading and writing were considered the most useful skills that
secondary students could take, and consequently, vocabulary was needed as a main tool.

At the same time, in Britain, the Michael West was also stressing the need to facilitate reading skills
by improving vocabulary learning. The result was an approach called the Reading Method , and it
held sway until World War II, along with Grammar-Translation and the Direct Method. However,
during the war, the American military needed people who were conversationally fluent in foreign
languages, and once more, the weaknesses of all of the above approaches became obvious, and
there was needed a means to quicly train its soldiers in oral/aural skills.

Back to America, a program was being developed by American structural linguists which consisted
of a mixture from principles borrowed from the Direct Method, and behaviourism, for mostly
mature and highly motivated students to build good language habits through drills. From the Direct
Method, this program drew especially its emphasis on oral skills (i.e., listening and speaking ). From
behaviorism, it borrowed the rationale that language learning was a result of habit formation.

This Army Method came to be known as Audiolingualism and it had such a dramatic success that
it naturally continued after the war. Because the emphasis in Audiolingualism was on teaching
structural patterns, the vocabulary needed to be relatively easy, and so was selected according to its
simplicity and familiarity. New vocabulary was rationed, and only added when necessary to keep
the drills viable. This method tried to lead to an increased vocabulary by means of good language
habits and exposure to the language itself, so no clear method of extending vocabulary later on was
spelled out.

A similar approach was current in Britain from the 1940s to the 1960s. It was called the Situational
Approach, because of its grouping of lexical and grammatical items according to what would be
required in various situations (e.g., at the train station, at the shop, at a restaurant). Consequently,
vocabulary started to be treated by the Situational Approach in a more principled way than
Audiolingualism.

In the late 1950s, the behaviorist underpinnings of Audiolingualism were attacked by Noam
Chomskys cognitive approaches to language learning. This attack proved decisive, and
Audiolingualism began to fall out of favor. Language, then, was seen as governed by cognitive
factors, particularly a set of abstract rules that were assumed to be innate.

Yet, vocabulary gained importance in 1972 when Hymes coined the concept of communicative
competence , which highlighted sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors. This meant that field-specific
vocabulary was important to maintain communication successfully. This also helped to swing the

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focus from language correctness (accuracy ) to how suitable language was for a particular context
(appropriateness).

The approach that developed from these notions emphasized using language for meaningful
communication, and a new methodology emerged in this field, the so-called Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT). The focus was on the message and fluency rather than grammatical
accuracy, and besides, on the negotiation of meaning by means of different strategies (i.e.
grammatical, strategic, discourse, sociolinguistic ).

Once again, one would expect vocabulary to be given a prominent place since this is a meaning-
based approach. However, vocabulary was given a secondary status, this time to issues of mastering
functional language (e.g., how to make a complaint, how to make an apology) and how language
connects together into larger discourse. The Communicative Language Approch gives little
guidance about how to handle vocabulary, other than as support vocabulary for the functional
language use mentioned above. As in previous approaches, it was assumed that L2 vocabulary, like
L1 vocabulary, would take care of itself.

Fortunately, in the twenty-first century, the current status of vocabulary in language teaching has
recently changed in our educational framework due to the development of new technologies and
educational and personal needs in society (i.e. business, international relationships, educational
purposes, computers). It has been realized that mere exposure to language and practice with
functional communication will not ensure the acquisition of an adequate vocabulary or an adequate
grammar, so current best practic e includes both a principled selection of vocabulary, often
according to frequency lists, and an instruction methodology that encourages meaningful
engagement with words over a number of recyclings.

2.4. Word-formation within a linguistic theory.

As stated before, the earliest evidence of interest in vocabulary, and in particular, word-formation
traces back to the fourth century when a detailed description of word-formation was provided by
Panini in Sanskrit. However, since then, many questions on this issue in the seventeenth, eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries have had no answer, and in many ways the subject of word-formation has
not until recently received much attention from descriptive grammarians of English.

As Adams (1973) points out, this is ma inly because of two reasons, first, its connections with the
non-linguistic word of things and ideas, and second, due to its inequivocal position as between
descriptive and historical studies. Actually, the nineteenth century was a period of exciting
discovery and advances in historical and comparative language studies, comparable in its methods
with those of natural sciences at that time. Therefore, word-formation processes were thought to be
subject to random, and sound change laws to be irregular. Then, word-forms lost their validity since
linguistic relations could only be established historically by extralinguistic evidence (Adams 1973).

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However, it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that Ferdinand de Saussure
changed directions in linguistic studies by establishing the dichotomy between synchrony and
diachrony in his work Course in General Linguistics (or Cours de Linguistique Gnrale) published
in 1916, three years after his death. Since then, his influence has been unparalleled in European
linguistics and has shaped language studies even after his publication.

His work was a clear reaction to the totally historical view of the previous hundred years where he
emphasized the importance of seeing language as a living phenomenon from two distinct views.
First, the diachronic view, also called external linguistics, which deals with the evolution of
language through history, and second, the synchronic view, also called internal linguistics, which
deals with the study of language system and rules at a particular point of time.

However, it was internal linguistics, stimulated by de Saussures work that was to be the main
concern of twentieth-century scholars and within it there could be no place for the study of the
formation of words, due to its close connections with the external world and its implications of
constant change. At that moment, any discussion of word-formation processes meant the
abandonment of the strict Sausserean distinction between history and the present moment.

Yet, although some scholars like Jespersen succeeded in merging synchronic and diachronic
approaches in their study of word-formation in his work A Modern English Grammar on historical
principles (1942), most linguists supported the neglecting Saussurean view towards word-
formation. They did it from a totally synchronic point of view, such as Harris and Leonard
Bloomfield who, in their respective works Structural Linguistics (1951) and Language (1933),
considered language as a fixed state of affairs at a particular point of time, or from a totally
diachronic view such as the German scholar Koziol who, in his work Handbuch der englischen
Wortbildungslehre (1937), reaffirmed the productivity of language through history and culture.

Until the nineteen-fifties, phonology and morphology were the main concerns of American
structuralism, and therefore, in the 1940s and 1950s interest was not centred on the word, but in
units smaller than the word. Thus, the isolating of minimal segments of speech, the description of
their distribution relative to one another, and their organization into larger unit were given
prominence in structuralist theory.

So, once again, attention to word-formation was precluded from the linguistic field since the
fundamental unit of grammar was not the word but a smaller unit, the morpheme. However, in 1957
the linguistic situation of word-formation research would radically change by the publication of
Noam Chomskys Syntactic Structures. Chomsky stated that the idea of productivity, or creativit y,
previously excluded from linguistics, was seen to be of central importance. But still word-formation
remained a topic neglected by linguists since Tranformational Generative Grammar was interested
in units larger than the word, that is, syntax and the structure of phrases and sentences. Words as
such played no real role.

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Although Chomsky made the distinction between linguistic competence (knowledge of language;
grammar) and performance (the use of language in concrete situations), Pennanen, in his work
Current Views of Word-Formation (1972), states that it is an obvious gap in transformational
grammars not to have made provision for treating word-formation, since the ability to make and
understand new words is obviously as much a part of our linguistic competence as the ability to
make and understand new sentences.

This approach was standard in the majority of transformational studies and, as Bauer (1983) points
out, this dispute brought the data of word-formation into the centre of linguistic interest. For
instance, just a few linguists approached the problem in word-formation, such as Marchandss
monumental work The Categories and Types of Present-Day English Word-Formation (1969). The
study of word-formation within the Transformational Generative tradition seems to have become
more widespread since it was partially inspired by Chomsky (1970).

Further works dealt with the basic assumption that the words formed were special kinds of
sentences whose internal shape was determined by the phonology. Based on an American tradition
of morphophonemics, Generative Phonology is mainly concerned with specifying rules which
generate all the surface shapes of a morpheme. This is the closest Transformational Generative
Grammar really came to dealing with word-formation.

The study of word-formation seems to be the point at which various theoretical facets of linguistics
come together, such as diachrony and synchrony, morphology and phonology, syntax and
semantics. Despite the lack of accepted doctrines on the issue, the study of word-formation is
expanding day by day thanks to more theoretically linguists which are considered to be more
eclectic than those of Transformational Generative Schools.

Following Bauer (1983), in more recent years, word-formation has thrown light on other aspects of
language, such as syntax, phonology, morphology, semantics and pragmatics. Moreover, from these
different approaches it is drawn that a growing number of linguists are interested first and foremost
in how word-formation reflects la nguage in general in present society.

3. ENGLISH LEXIS: GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS.

In this chapter, we shall approach first (1) the concept of lexis in terms of its definition, and then we
shall examine two related issues, such as (2) lexicography on the organization of lexis, and (3)
lexicology, on the study of lexis, where we shall offer a description of key terminology in order to
clarify and make the reading of following chapters accessible and coherent straightforward for the
reader. This introduction is intended to provide, together with the historical background, a basic
linguistic background for next chapter, in which a theoretical approach to word formation features
is offered.

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3.1. On defining the term lexis.

From a linguistic theory, the term lexis is to be found in the framework of language as a system
together with other language levels, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and more
recently, society, culture, and pragmatics. It is worth noting that, since the major purpose of
language is to communicate, all these levels are interrelated to convey meaning to speech, and
therefore, when focusing on the study of lexis, word changes are directly related to all those
interrelated fields again.

The term lexis refers to the stock of words a language consists of, and it may be used
interchangeably with the term vocabulary. These two non-count nouns, when addressing individual
items, are referred to as lexical items or vocabulary items. Another term related to lexis is that of
lexicon which can be used in two main ways. Firstly, as a more technical version of the term lexis,
and secondly, as a synonym to refer to a dictionary.

The science which studies lexis or vocabulary is to be called lexicology, and means the study of
words, from Greek lexiks (words) and logia (study). In general, it may be defined as an area of
language study concerned with the nature, form, meaning, history and use of words and word
elements, and often also with the critical description of lexicography. Both lexic ography and
lexicology will be examined for our purposes in the present study.

3.2. Lexicography: on the organization of lexis.

Accordingly, lexicography accounts for the way in which lexical items can be organised and it is
defined as the procedure of arranging, describing, and compiling lexical items in such works as
dictionaries, encyclopaedias, glossaries, thesaurus, synonym guides, pictorial dictionaries, and
usage guides, in libraries and more recently, computers. This meticulous work is carried out by
the writers of dictionaries or lexicographers, who are in charge of finding out the correct meaning
of a word and listing it in their dictionaries as accurately and objectively as they can.

The most common ways to organise vocabulary are (1) alphabetical listing, by which items in
dictionaries and encyclopaedias are listed in alphabetical order under headwords with an entry; (2)
word class , by which lexical items are classified according to parts of speech, that is, nouns,
pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and so on; (3) frequency, by which lots of texts
are collected in corpora (or corpus) and it is possible to group words into frequency bands in order
to make distinctions between common words and obscure words; (4) grouping by acquisition level
for graded reading, by which vocabulary is selected and categorised in terms of frequency,
prominence, universality, and utility for teaching purposes. Hence, the Longman Structural Reader.

Moreover, we find (5) lexical fields, by which vocabulary is grouped in a thesaurus according to its
semantic field, for instance, feelings, colour terms, social class, houses, or means of transport; (6)
associative fields, by which the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure made a distinction between
paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations in 1916. Paradigmatic relations involve lexical choice at

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different points in the sentence at a vertical level (i.e. The little girl played with her doll, rejecting
the choice for another noun like person, woman, or lady) whereas syntagmatic relations involve the
co-occurring of the lexical item within the other units in the sentence (i.e. definite article the,
adjective little, verb played, etc).

Finally, (7) other ways of organising vocabulary are on the levels of formality (i.e. very formal,
formal, neutral, informal, colloquial), specialisation (i.e. medical, scientific, business, etc),
geography (i.e. British versus American English, Spanglish, etc), and eventually, on the source of
the lexical items (i.e. Roman, Germanic, Scandinavian, etc).

3.3. Lexicology: the study of lexis and key terminology.

Since lexicology is the study of lexis in terms of its nature, form, meaning, history and use of words
and word elements, this section is mainly an introduction to some of the terminology required in the
study of vocabulary, and therefore, it covers morphology as a whole. Then, much of the
terminology used is, in fact, common to all morphological study, and will offer an elementary
background to help place word-formation in its broader framework. In doing so, we shall mainly
follow Adams (1973), Bauer (1983), Crystal (1985), McCarthy (1990), and Schmitt (2000).

During the writing of this study, we shall retain the terms vocabulary and word as much as possible
in favour of terms like lexicon or lexis and lexical item or lexical unit, respectively, in order to
adopt a much broader conception of the terms than the traditional ideas about vocabulary. However,
it is necessary to keep the broader view in mind, especially in the light of current and likely future
comments in this study.

3.3.1. On defining word, lexeme, and word-form.

When we speak of the vocabulary of a language, we mainly refer to the words of that language. The
term word is usually taken for granted, and never offers any difficulty until we try to state precisely
what we mean by it. In fact, a major problem for linguistic theory has been, for a long time, to
provide a definition for the term word since it has proved to be conditioned by the way speakers of
a language organize their linguistic reality.

Actually, studies carried out in general linguistics within the framework of different fields, for
instance, grammar, semantics, phonetics, or socio-cultural among others (Saussure 1916, Sapir
1921, Hymes 1972, van Ek 2001) have shown, first, that the word across languages can only be
defined with respect to a particular language, and secondly, that rules of word formation depend on
the genealogical method of classification a given language (chapter 4).

For instance, Sapir stated in his work Language (1921) that a word-like unit is equally central and
unmistakable for speakers of very diverse languages. It means, then, that every speaker can easily

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determine word by word in a sentence whereas difficulties may be found when learning to break
up a word into its constituent sounds.

Thus, in Latin, Eskimo, and Maori languages we find sentences structured by word meaning (i.e. in
Maori, i means past tense); other languages are agglutinative, that is, ruled by stress patterns,
such as Icelandic, Polish, and Turkish, where words are delimited by stress; note also the case of
Japanese language, where the same word has different meanings depending on where the stress is
placed. With respect to Indo-European languages, and to a large degree English, word formation
processes involve mainly affixation, derivation, and compounding, which are easily predictable
under universal rules.

3.3.1.1. What is a word?

As we can see, the term word is too general to encapsulate the various forms vocabulary takes.
Anyway, for our present purposes, we shall think of words as freestanding items of language that
have meaning by themselves (McCarthy 1990). This means that a word is the smallest unit of syntax
that has distinctive me aning and can occur by itself at the phrase level and above (i.e. verb, noun,
adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunctions, and so on). Sometimes, in a hierarchy of grammatical
units, a word is sometimes placed, above the morpheme level and below the phrase level.

The term word is considered to be identifiable according to such criteria as (1) being the minimal
possible unit in a reply; (2) having certain features such as, firstly, a regular stress pattern, and
secondly, phonological changes conditioned by or blocked at word boundaries; (3) being the largest
unit resistant to insertion of new constituents within its boundaries; and (4) being the smallest unit
that can be moved within a sentence without making the sentence ungrammatical.

On examining the subtlety and magic of lexis, we refer to Schmitt (2000), who considers the case
of six items which are synonymous, and are made up of from one to four words (i.e. die, expire,
pass away, bite the dust, kick the bucket, give up the ghost). These examples show that there is not
necessarily a one -to-one correspondence between a meaning and a single word (i.e. as in die and
expire), and that, very often, meanings may be represented by multiple words (i.e. phrasal verbs or
idioms: pass away, bite the dust).

3.3.1.2. What is a lexeme?

In order to handle these multiword units, we shall use the term lexeme (also called lexical unit or
lexical item) to refer to six different lexemes with the same meaning. The term lexeme, then, is
defined as an item that functions as a single meaningful unit, regardless of the number of words it
contains (Schmitt 2000). They refer not to the particular shape that a word has, but to all the
possible shapes that the word can have in a given paradigm.

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For instance, the words fly, fle w, flown, flying, flies, flight are all subsumed under the lexeme fly ,
comprising each not only the lexeme fly but also the representations of the various inflectional
categories attached to that lexeme. Moreover, when they appear in an utterance on a particular
occasion, and it is not the lexeme that is under study, but the particular shape that a word has, we
refer to the term word-form.

3.3.1.3. What is a word-form?

A word-form is defined as an item which represents or realizes the inflectional paradigm of


lexemes by means of phonological and orthographical shape. This means that a word-form is the
smallest unit of speech or writing which has distinctive meaning and can occur by itself (in most
orthographies it is separated from other word-forms by a space).

It is worth noting that a word-form has a precise phonic and orthographic form whereas a lexeme is
considered to be a much more abstract unit. For instance, in the example given above, the word-
form flight is referred to as the form of the lexeme fly.

At a phonological level, it is relevant to establish here a difference between a word-form and a


syllable since a syllable is considered to be the smallest unit of pronunciation but has no inherent
distinctive meaning. Therefore, it cannot occur by itself unless it is sometimes represented by a
word-form in terms of a monosyllabic word (i.e. yes, no, and hi).

3.3.2. The grammatical word: morpheme, morph, and allomorph.

The term word has been defined above in lexical terms, that is, in written form, but we need to
consider other facets of knowing a word regarding some grammatical aspects of vocabulary,
namely, in morphological terms. Therefore, we shall deal with the grammatical word at the level of
inflectional morphology, which deals with the various forms of lexemes.

For instance, if we take the example from the previous section, the form flies represents both the
verb form flies in third person singular and the countable noun flies, in plural form. Thus it can be
said that the word-form flies represents two grammatical words, both of which are in the paradigm
of the lexeme fly . It is worth remembering that other forms of the lexeme can be reconstructed from
this (i.e. flying, flown, flight).

Since morphology deals with the internal structure of word-forms, we shall examine the basic units
of analysis which are recognized in this sub-branch of linguistics: morphemes, morphs, and
allomorphs, which are directly related, in phonological terms, to their counterparts phoneme, phone,
and allophone, examined in section 2.3.3.

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3.3.2.1. What is a morpheme?

First of all, a morpheme is defined as the smallest meaningful unit of grammatical analysis in which
a lexeme is segmented. This means that it is the smallest unit of syntax that has a distinctive
meaning, but cannot occur by itself unless it is a monomorphemic word (i.e. be, was). In this case,
these constituents could only be described as combinations of phonemes or phonetic features, and
analysing the structure of morphemes will lead you straight into the concept of morph and
allomorph in the field of phonology, since the notions of morpheme-phoneme, morph-phone, and
allomorph-allophone have a parallel relationship in a linguistic theory.

Crystal (1985) defines the term morpheme as the smallest bit of language which has a meaning. He
distinguished two main features of it. (1) Firstly, he said, if you add a morpheme to an utterance, or
take one away, by definition you alter the meaning of that utterance. Thus words such as nation,
national, and nationalize mean different things. (2) Secondly, he stated that when a morpheme is
analysed into its constituents, it loses its identity, and then they are seen as a sequence of
meaningless noises, as stated above. In fact, if you try to analyse a piece of speech into its
constituent grammatical elements, there would come a time when you could analyse no further.

Current approaches to morphology conceive of morphemes as rules involving the linguistic context,
rather than as isolated pieces of linguistic matter. They acknowledge that (1) meaning may be
directly linked to suprasegmental phonological units, such as tone or stress, and (2) that the
meaning of a morpheme with a given form may vary, depending on its immediate environment
(Payne 1995).

It is worth remembering that each of these segments or minimal units has its own form or set of
forms, its own meaning, and its own distribution. Yet, a morpheme can be viewed from a number of
different angles in terms of classification, identification and distribution, respectively. Firstly, it is
a formal, or physical unit with a phonetic shape. Secondly, it has a meaning. And thirdly, it has a
syntactic role to play in the construction of larger grammatical units.

For instance, take a sentence like The two little girls played with a cute puppy in order to identify
different morphemes. The, two, little, with, a, cute, and puppy are all minimal, meaningful,
syntactically relevant units. Girls and played have two each: take the s away from girls and we get a
distinct meaningful unit girl (i.e. the s carries the singular/plural difference), and similarly, the ed
can be removed from played to turn the past tense into present.

Yet, although it is stated (Bauer 1983) that morphemes, like lexemes, are actually abstract elements
of analysis with their own form, meaning, and distribution, we must take into account that what
actually happens is a phonetic or orthographic realization of the morpheme. This realization, then, is
manifested into smaller units that are called morphs, which may appear as one or more in different
environments.

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3.3.2.2. What is a morph?

As mentioned, when a morpheme is analysed into its constituents, you end up with a sequence of
meaningless noises which are combinations of phonemes or phonetic features. When these
meaningless phonetic constituents are analysed in phonological terms, they are called morphs. A
morph is defined as the phonetic realization of a morpheme, and three main types are featured:
portmanteau morphs, zero morphs, and when it appears in complementary distribution, allomorphs
(to be examined in next section).

Regarding the three main types of morphs, we shall discuss: (1) portamanteau morphs, (2) zero
morphs, and (3) allomorphs. Firstly, (1) a portmanteau morph is defined as a single morph which
represents two underlying morphemes when analyzed. For instance, the combination of two specific
prepositions and the definite masculine article both in Spanish and French gives way to a new
morpheme phonologically conditioned. For instance, the Spanish sequences a + el or de + el
turn into al or del. Similarly, the French sequence + le or de + le turn into au and du.

(2) Secondly, a zero morph is defined as a kind of morph with no phonetic form, and it is often
related to irregular plural forms which have, therefore, no plurality marker (i.e. -s, -es) such as
sheep, deer, fish, and foot-feet among others. In some analyses, it is proposed as an allomorph of a
morpheme which is ordinary realized by a morph having some phonetic form, that is, vowel
changes in verbs or nouns (i.e. come-came or tooth-teeth), or the masculine and feminine marker
(i.e. -a and -o) in Spanish and Italian. Another realization of zero morph is given by the context.

For instance, the word-forms girls and kisses are easily handed in terms of morph segmentation (i.e.
girl-s and kiss-es), but what happens to countable nouns like mouse-mice or man-men? These forms
do not really add anything at all but undergo a vowel change in which the vowel in the singular is
replaced by the vowel of the plural.

In order to make irregular plurals be fit with the morpheme principle, many solutions were proposed
in the 1940s, and two possibilities were open to this kind of problem in sentences like The sheep is
coming and The sheep are coming. (1) Firstly, the verb form is the only indicator of a difference
between the two sentences (i.e. is and are), where the first sheep is singular and the second plural.
(2) Secondly, since the verbs influence is eliminated when we find identical verb forms (i.e. The
sheep came ), the plurality is said to be present in principle by means of context (i.e. The sheep came
in groups of twenty).

(3) Finally, the third type makes reference to allomorphs, which refer to those morphs which
undergo a phonetic change because of the influence of environmental conditions (voiced, voiceless
preceding sounds), and therefore, they take on different forms. These variants of the same basic
morph, then, are called allomorphs whenever the phonetic shape of a morpheme is altered because
of the direct phonetic influence of the sounds around it.

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3.3.2.3. What is an allomorph?

As stated before, an allomorph is defined as one of two or more complementary morphs which a
morpheme manifests in its different phonological or morphological environments. This means that
an allomorph is a phonetically, lexically or grammatically conditioned member of a set of morphs
representing a particular morpheme since they are derived from phonological rules and any
morphophonemic rules that may apply to that morpheme.

First of all, let us consider an example of a phonetically conditioned allomorph in English. The
plural morpheme , usually written as -s in its regular forms, has three different phonological
realizations. (1) Firstly, it is realized as es /iz/ after sibilant consonants (i.e. alveolar fricatives /s,z/
as in horses and houses, palato-alveolar fricatives (i.e. washes, garages), and palato-alveolar
affricates (i.e. churches, bridges). (2) Secondly, it is realized as s (the alveolar voiceless fricative
/s/) after any other voiceless consonant, as in cats, books, and maps. (3) Finally, it is realized as s
(the alveolar voiced fricative /z/) after any other voiced consonants, as in boys, dogs, and bones.
Note that the grammatical function of the s is constant whereas the phonetic shape is not.

Secondly, an example of a lexically conditioned allomorph in English is that of the OE paradigm


for plural nouns ending in en (i.e. ox-oxen, child-children). These variants of the plural morpheme
(oxen, children) are conditioned by their lexemes (i.e. ox, child, brother) which, historically
speaking, underwent certain morphophonemic processes (phonological and morphological) which
shaped the morphologogy of ME nouns.

Finally, regarding grammatically conditioned allomorphs, we shall deal with the definite article (i.e.
the) in English and the form of the genitive singular definite article (i.e. des, der) in German. Again,
historical reasons shaped contemporary gramma r and syntax since in Middle English there was a
change from a synthetic system into an analytic one, that is, from relying on case endings to mark
the functions of words in the sentence to rely on a relatively fixed word order established by
grammatical categories.

The general loss of declensional patterns (case, number, and gender) had an influence on the
morphology of this grammatical category. For instance, the English definite article the followed a
regular phonological development from Old English to Middle English (i.e. the weaking of vowels
and the loss of inflectional endings) although it was finally restricted by a morphological
reorganization. Providing that specific forms were no longer necessary for masculine, feminine, and
neuter, it adopted the function of article, for all cases, genders and numbers. It was, then,
phonologically determined by usage and distribution, and grammatically determined by word order
and context.

Consider now the genitive singular of the contemporary genitive singular form of the definite article
in German (i.e. des, der) where these forms are still determined by declensional patterns which can
be traced back to their Old English ancestors of case, number, and gender. For instance, the form
des is used with a masculine noun like mann man or a neuter form like kind child - meaning of

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the man and of the child (saxon genitive pattern with s)- whereas the form der is used with a
feminine noun like frau woman. We observe here that the definite article is conditioned, not by
the phonetic shape of the noun or of any other word in the sentence, nor by specific lexemes, but by
a grammatical feature of the noun with gender.

3.3.3. Free vs bound morphemes.

Once we have dealt with the internal structure of morphemes, morphs, and allomorphs at the level
of inflectional morphology, we shall go deeper by establishing another relevant difference in word
analysis, such as the difference between free and bound morphemes. In next section (2.3.4) we shall
deal with further basic elements, such as root, stem, and base.

In previous sections, the term morpheme has been defined as the smallest meaningful unit of
language in which a lexeme is segmented, unless it is a monomorphemic word which cannot be
segmented (i.e. hat-s and hat respectively). It is worth remembering that in combinations which are
made up of two morphemes, one morpheme carries the main part of the meaning of the whole, and
the other is bound to appear in conjunction with other morphemes.

Therefore, regarding types of morphemes, on the basis of word formation characteristics, we


distinguish between free and bound morphemes. A free morpheme can occur in isolation and cannot
be divided into smaller units (i.e. dog, luck, strong), carrying the main part of the meanin g when it
is made up of two morphemes (i.e. teach-er) These specific morphemes are capable of standing by
themselves and of entering rather freely into grammatical combinations. The second type of
morpheme is called bound morpheme, and it refers to a morpheme which can only occur in a word-
form in conjunction with at least one other morpheme (i.e. philo-, retro-, -ly, -able, -er, -s, -ed,
-ing).

Yet, in some languages such as Latin, Spanish, or Italian, the morphs which realize lexemes are
regularly bound morphs. Thus in amo I love, the morph which realizes the lexeme amo is am-, and
can only occur when bound to another element, which in this case is the portmanteau morph o,
realizing the morphemes of first person, singular, active, present, and indicative. Here, the am- part
is not further analyzable, and therefore, it is considered to be a bound morph. Morphologically
speaking, when bound morphs do not realize unanalysable lexemes are affixes.

In turn, following Bauer (1983) affixes can be divided into (1) prefixes , which are attached before a
base (as in dislike, where dis- is a prefix), (2) suffixes, which are attached after a base (as in
freedom, where dom is a suffix), and (3) infixes, which are attached inside a base. Infixation (the
use of infixes) is virtually known in English, and comparatively rar throughout Indo-European. In
English, prefixation is always derivational while suffixation may be either derivational or
inflectional.

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Thus in a lexeme like predetermined, we find three morphemes: pre-, determine- d. The first
morpheme refers to a prefix (derivational), the second morpheme is of free type since it can occur in
isolation and has meaning by itself whereas the third morpheme refers to a bound type since the
ending ed can only occur if it is attached to other morphs. Note that this analysis is characteristic
of languages that depend heavily on the use of inflections, either internal or suffixed (also called
synthetic).

3.3.4. Types of morpheme structure: root, stem, and base.

On the basis of word-formation, we must deal not only with the distinction between free and bound
morphemes, but also with the types of morpheme structure by which morphemes may be classified
into the following types: root, stem, and base, in order to accurately examine the manner in which
affixes are attached to the base forms of words. The terms root, stem, and base are used in the
literature to designate that part of a word that remains when all affixes have been removed (Bauer
1983).

(1) First, a root is that part of a word that remains after removing all inflectional and derivational
affixes. It may, or not, be both free and bound, free because it has a simple structure, and is made up
of a single morpheme, and bound because it is considered to be a basis for compounding and
affixation. In the form unforgettable , for instance, the root is forget, to which have been added, first,
a prefix (un-), and then, a suffix (-able ). It is also possible to find two roots in the same word (i.e. as
in armchair: arm and chair).

(2) Second, a stem is that part of the word which remains after removing all inflectional affixes. It
differs from a root in that it has a complex structure, and is made up of one or more morphemes. It
may also be both free and bound, for instance, free because it may contain derivational affixes (i.e
nation-al) and bound because it may contain more than one root (i.e. red-skin). Moreover, it is only
a basis for affixation and not compounding, and only deals with inflectional morphology. For
instance, in a word like unforgettables, the stem is unforgettable, and in the form armchairs, the
stem is armchair although it contains two roots.

(3) Third, a base is defined as a form to which affixes are added, that is, when rules of word-
formation are applied. This means that it has a simple structure to which prefixes, suffixes, and
clitic forms are added (a clitic is a kind of morpheme that is phonologically bound but syntactically
free). Both the terms root and stem can be called a base, but a set of bases does not imply the union
of roots and stems. For instance, a base functions as a derivationally analysable form to which
derivational affixes are added, that is, fortunately can act as a base for prefixation to give
unfortunately, but in this process fortunately cannot be referred to as a root because it is analysable
in terms of derivational morphology, nor as a stem since it is not the adding of inflectional affixes
which is in question (Bauer 1983).

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3.3.5. Inflectional vs derivational morphology.

In the previous section, we have made reference to inflectional and derivational processes which, in
a theory of language, are to be defined as the two main processes by which morphology internally
structures words. They are important for an understand ing of the distinction between word-
formation and syntax. Both processes account for the internal structure of a word-form, which is
internally realized by means of lexemes, morphemes, morphs, or allomorphs although they deal
with the types of morphemes in different ways.

Inflectional paradigms are only added to stems while derivational paradigms deal with bases and
roots. Why? Inflectional morphology and derivational morphology (also called lexical morphology
or word-formation). Inflectional morphology deals with the various forms of individual lexemes
from given stems, whereas derivational morphology or word-formation deals with the formation of
new lexemes from given bases or roots.

It is worth remembering at this point the classification of affixes when added to bases or roots. So,
again following Bauer (1983), affixes can be divided into (1) prefixes, which are attached before a
base (as in dislike, where dis- is a prefix), (2) suffixes, which are attached after a base (as in
freedom, where dom is a suffix), and (3) infixes, which are attached inside a base. Infixation (the
use of infixes) is virtually known in English, and comparatively rare throughout Indo-European. In
English, prefixation is always derivational while suffixation may be either derivational or
inflectional.

Derivational and inflectional processes alike involve a relation between the members of a pair,
consisting of the unmarked base form and the marked affixed form. The function of inflections
is to indicate relationship between words: the addition of an inflection to a word in a sentence is not
a matter relevant to that word alone. However, derivational affixes are not dependent in this way on
the form of other words in the sentence: their function is to signal the formation of new words.

3.3.6. The notion of word-formation.

As stated before, word-formation is defined as the morphological process which deals with the
formation of new or complex lexemes from given bases or roots (but not stems). The formation of
new lexemes involves different processes, among which the most relevant are the addition of
affixes, mainly prefixes in derivational processes and suffixes in either derivational or inflectional
processes, and the notions of complex and compound in order to classify new lexemes when there is
a combination of two or more lexemes (to be discussed in subsequent sections).

However, there are more factors than the morphological one to be taken into account when dealing
with the creation of new words, factors from the past up to the present day. The coinage of new
words in a language is further justified by a cultural history of language at social, scientific,

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political, and technological levels, among others. English, as any other language, has reflected over
the centuries the revolutionary changes that have affected the general development of humankind.

New words are constantly created parallel to external influences on the language and society needs,
for instance, the evolution of English in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which reflected the
widespread contacts of English with other world languages. As a result from the expansion of the
language with the British Empire, many borrowings were taken then from French, Italian, Spanish,
German, and many other languages.

Besides, other historical events may be mentioned in the enlargement of English vocabulary, such
as the growth of science in the fields of medicine, physics, electronics, chemistry and biology, and
astronautics and astronomy. More recently, the importance of ma ss-media and the development of
new means of communication (i.e. broadcasting, transport, internet) has also favoured not only the
coining of new words, but have also contributed to accelerating the diffusion of different terms
coming from all fields of knowledge.

4. WORD FORMATION PROCESSES. MAIN FEATURES.

Once the notion of word-formation has been given a historical and linguistic framework, we shall
be ready to provide a theoretical approach to word-formation processes. Therefore, in order to show
how the English language has enriched itself by using its own native internal resources, we shall
provide an account of the different processes involved in the creation of new words, together with
their characteristics, and recent contributions to this field.

The chief processes of English word-formation, by which the base may be modified are mainly (1)
affixation, (2) compounding, and (3) conversion. Apart from these major word-formation processes,
English calls upon a number of minor devices, such as coinages which are the creation of new
words on the basis of old, such as (4) acronyms , (5) blends, (6) clippings, (7) back formation, (8)
folk etymology, (9) eponyms, (10) onomatopoeic expressions, and finally, (11) word manufacture
coinages.

We shall discuss the different processes on the basis of word-formation main characteristics. Thus,
(1) definition, (2) morphological forms, (3) historical origin of the process, if necessary, (4)
phonological implications, if necessary, and (5) their grouping by means of meaning. In order to do
so, we shall follow the main authors: on defining terms, Quirk and Greenbaum (1973); on
morphology, Adams (1973) and Bauer (1983); on historical origins, Algeo and Pyles (1982) and
Howatt (1984); on phonology, Celce-Murcia (2001); and finally, on grouping according to
meaning, again Bauer, Adams, and Quirk.

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4.1. AFFIXATION.

Traditionally called derivation, this process deals with the formation of new lexemes by means of
affixes, that is, by adding prefixes and suffixes to a given base. Usually, suffixes undergo more
interesting developments than prefixed elements since most of English prefixes are of Latin and
Greek origin, and are much used in forming scientific words. However, suffixes are more often of
native origin, or have come into the language via other languages, such as French, Italian, or
Spanish, among others.

Many affixes were at one time independent words, as for instance the ly of many adjectives, like
manly, or homely, which has developed from the Old English suffix lic, which originally meant
something like having the body or the appearance of, thus the literal meaning of manly was
having the body or form of a man. Other affixes have been particularly popular during certain
periods.

For instance, following Algeo & Pyles (1982) distinguish some of them, like wise affixed to nouns
and adjectives to form adverbs until the 1940s, and which was practically archaic, occurring only in
a few well-established words, such as likewise, otherwise, and crosswise. The form type has enjoyed
a similar vogue and it is on its way to being a freely used suffix. With it, adjectives may be formed
from nouns, as in Catholic-type, and Las Vegas-type. Finally, just mention the so-called suffix ize,
which became very productive in the 1950s, and dozens of new creations have come into being:
moisturize, glamorize, and personalize; and other voguish affixes, such as the Latin non- and de- ;
the Greek -ismos and isma, and the Russian one nik.

Affixation is closely related to word accentual patterns in simple and compound words since it is
included within the main factors that influence stress placement, together with the historical origin
of a word. One important difference between words of Germanic origin and those of non-Germanic
origin is the way in which stress is assigned. For words of Germanic origin, the first syllable of the
base form of a word is typically stressed (i.e. father, yellow, twenty, hammer, water). Today,
even many two-syllable words that have entered English through French and other languages have
been assimilated phonologically and follow the Germanic word stress pattern (i.e. music, doctor,
flower, foreign, manage).

According to Gimson (1980), we may distinguish between simple and compound words because
they both undergo different stress patterns. Words that have not been assimilated to the Germanic
pattern have less predictable word stress in their base forms, but stress is often predictable if certain
affixes or spellings are involved. Therefore in the following sections we shall examine how
affixation may affect stress on simple words, depending on their historical origin.

4.1.1. Prefixes.

A prefix is defined as an element placed before and joined to a word or base in order to add or to
qualify its meaning (i.e. disability). Following Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), when adding prefixes to

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the base, they do not generally alter its word-class (i.e. pilot and co-pilot), except for a special type
called conversion prefixes, by which a word-class change is forced (i.e. from noun to verb: calm,
becalm).

Prefixes may be classified either in terms of the form class of the base to which they are added, or
in terms of groups of meaning. In this study, prefixes are to be classified in terms of their meaning
(Quirk, 1973). However, their classification in terms of class-form (Bauer, 1983:217) would be as
follows: prefixes used exclusively with (1) a noun base: arch-, mini-/-maxi-, step-, mal-, and pro-
(i.e. archbishop, minidress, maxicar, stepmother, malnutrition, proconsul); (2) a verb base: de-, dis,
and un- (i.e. deboost, discard, undo ); (3) an adjective base: a-, un- cis-, extra- (i.e. atypical,
unpolitical, cislunar, extrasensory).

We may also find prefixes added to (4) nouns and verbs: fore-, re- mis- (i.e. foreground, forewarn;
rearrangemet, recycle; misfortune, mislead); (5) nouns and adjectives: in- (also im- + p/b; im-in- +
f/v; i- + m,n,l,r; in- + k/g; and in- +t,d,s,[ch],dj, j, vowels) as in the words insane, improbable,
infraction, illogical, irrational, innate, immediate, incapacity, in-joke. Also, mid-, ex-, un- (i.e. mid-
November, ex-president, unfair); (6) verbs and adjectives: circum- (i.e. circumnavigate,
circumjacent); (7) nouns, verbs, and adjectives: counter- (i.e. counterculture, counterdemonstrate,
counterattractive ), dis- (i.e. disinformation, disbound, disambiguate), and co- (i.e. co-author ), inter-
(i.e. interdigital), and sub- (i.e. subwarden, subconscious).

As mentioned before, most prefixes survive from Old English times, such as those of Germanic
origin (i.e. a-, be-, fore-, mis-, and un-), but according to Algeo & Pyles (1982), most English
prefixes are of Latin, Greek, and French origin, since English has had with them the closest cultural
contacts in earlier times. Besides, one of the most commonly used prefixes of nonnative origin is
Greek anti- against (i.e. antipathy, antislavery, antiabortion). Also, pro- for and super- huge,
great.

Productive prefixes, says Quirk (1973), normally have a secondary stress on their first (or only)
syllable whereas the primary stress falls on the base. In fact, regarding phonological rules, those
words, such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs, containing prefixes tend to be strongly stressed on the
first syllable of the base or root element, with the prefix either unstressed or lightly stressed (i.e.
nouns: surprise, proposal, award; adjectives: unhealthy, incredible; verbs: declare, forget)
(Celce-Murcia, 2001).

In English, prefixes tend to fall into one of two categories: (1) firstly, prefixes of Germanic origin
and (2) secondly, prefixes of Latinate origin. Among (1) the Germanic prefixes we may mention:
a-, be-, for-, fore-, mis-, out-, over-, un-, under-, up-, and with- (i.e. awake, belief, forgive, forewarn,
mistake, outrun, overdo, untie, understand, uphold, and withdrawn) and, as we may note, these
words follow a general pattern by which there is no stress on the prefix and strong stress on the
base.

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It is worth noting that some of these prefixes (a-, be-, for-, and with-) are always unstressed in the
words in which they occur whereas others receive light stress in prefix + verb combinations (i.e.
un-: ,undo, ,unhook; out-: ,outrun, ,outlast; over-: ,overlook, ,overtake; under-: ,understand,
,underpay). However, an exception to this general rule occurs when the prefix functions as a noun
and has the same pattern as a compound noun. As a result, the prefix tends to be strongly stressed
(i.e. forecast, outlook, overcoat, underwear, upkeep).

The second category is (2) prefixes of Latinate origin which usually receive strong stress on the
word base and not on the prefix. These include a(d)-, com-, de-, dis-, ex-, en-, in-, ob-, per-, pre-,
pro-, re-, sub-, and sur- (i.e. complain, display, inhabit, persuade, subdivide, and so on). We
must note that, when added to verbs, unlike Germanic prefixes, most of Latinate prefixes are
unstressed when part of a verb. Among the most frequent we may mention com- (also co-, col-,
con-, cor-) as in command), dis- (i.e. disturb), pro- (i.e. protest), ex- (i.e. extend ).

Moreover, the sense-groups into which prefixes fall show a different general pattern from the sense-
groups of suffixes. According to Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), the largest groups of prefixes in terms
of meanings are the expressions of: (1) negation, (2) privation, (3) pejorative words, (4) degree or
size, (5) attitude, (6) location, (7) time and order, and (8) number. Other special types of prefixes
include (9) conversion prefixes, and (10) others.

4.1.1.1. Negative prefixes.

Among the most common negative prefixes, we shall mention: (1) un-, which means the opposite
of or not, and is added to adjectives and participles (i.e. unfair, unexpected, unkind); (2) non-
which means not, and can normally be regarded as corresponding to clause negation (non-
smoker=a person who does not smoke). It is added to various classes, for instance, nouns: non-
smoker, adjectives: non-drip (paint) or verbs: non-stop. (3) in- which has the same meaning as un-,
and is added to adjectives. It has different realizations: in- before /n/ (i.e. innate ) il- before /l/ (i.e.
illogical), im- before bilabials (i.e. impossible), and ir- before /r/ (i.e. irrelevant). (4) dis- has the
same meaning as un-, and is added to adjectives, verbs, and abstract nouns (i.e. disloyal, dislike,
disfavour). And finally, (5) a-, which means lacking in and is added to adjectives and nouns (i.e.
aside, asymmetry).

4.1.1.2. Reversative or privative prefixes.

Among the most common privative prefixes, we include : (1) un- which means to reverse action
and to deprive of which is added to verbs (i.e. untie, undress); (2) de- which means to reverse
action again, and is added to verbs and abstract nouns (i.e. defrost, deforestation); and finally (3)
dis- which has the same meaning as the previous ones, and is added to verbs, participles, and nouns
(i.e. disconnect, disinterested, discontent).

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4.1.1.3. Pejorative prefixes.

The most common pejorative prefixes are the following: (1) mis- which means wrongly and
astray, and is added to verbs, abstract nouns, and participles (i.e. misunderstand, misconduct,
misleading); (2) mal- which means badly, is added to verbs, abstract nouns, participles, and
adjectives (i.e. malform, malfunction, malfromed, malodorous); (3) pseudo- or quasi-, which means
false, imitation is added to nouns, adjectives (i.e. pseudo-intellectual). Other prefixes with
pejorative overtones are arch- (i.e. arch-enemy ), over- (i.e. overloaded), under - (i.e.
underminimalist), and hyper- (i.e. hypercriticized).

4.1.1.4. Prefixes of degree or size.

Among the most common prefixes of degree or size, we include: (1) arch- which means highest,
worst, and is added to nouns, mainly humans (i.e. archduke, arch-enemy); (2) super- which means
above, more than, better, is added to nouns (i.e. superwoman, supermarket) and adjectives (i.e.
supernatural); (3) out- means to do something faster and longer than, and is added to verbs,
mainly intransitive (i.e. outrun, outcast, outlive); (4) sur-, which means over and above, is added
to nouns (i.e. surface ) whereas (5) sub- means lower than, less than, and is added to adjectives
(i.e. substandard ).

(6) Over- means too much and is added to verbs (i.e. overheat), participles (i.e. overdressed), and
adjectives (i.e. overconfident); (7) under- means too little, and is added to verbs (i.e.
underestimate) and participles (i.e. underpriviledged); (8) hyper- means extremely and (9) ultra-
extremely, beyond, and both are added to adjectives (i.e. hypercritical, ultra-violet, ultra-modern);
finally (10) mini-, which means little, is added to nouns, as the famous mini-skirt, in contrast to
prefixes like maxi- (=large, long) and midi- (=medium), which are less common (i.e. maxi-skirt). It
is often used for humorous coinages.

4.1.1.5. Prefixes of attitude.

Among the most popular prefixes of attitude, we may find: (1) co-, which means with, joint, and is
added to verbs and nouns (i.e. cooperate, co-pilot); (2) counter- means in opposition to and
suggests action in response to a previous action. It is added to verbs and abstract nouns (i.e.
counteract, counter-revolution); (3) anti-, which means against denotes an attitude of opposition,
and is added to nouns (i.e. anti-missile ), denominal adjectives (i.e. anti-social), and adverbs (i.e.
anti-clockwise); (4) pro-, denoting on the side of, is added to nouns and denominal adjectives (i.e.
pro-Europe, pro-communist).

4.1.1.6. Locative prefixes.

Among the most common locative prefixes we may mention: (1) super- which means over and is
added to nouns as in super,stratus; (2) sub- with the meaning of beneath, lesser in rank, which is

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added to nouns, adjectives, and verbs (i.e. sub,marine, subconscious, submerge); (3) inter- with the
meaning of between, among and is added to denominal adjectives, verbs, and nouns (i.e.
intermediate, interact, internet); and finally, trans- which means across, from one place to
another, and is added to denominal adjectives and verbs (i.e. transatlantic, transplant).

4.1.1.7. Prefixes of time and order.

The most common prefixes of time and order are said to be the following: (1) fore-, which means
before and is added to mainly verbs and abstract nouns (i.e. foretell, forehead); (2) pre- with the
meaning of before, and is added to adjectives and nouns (i.e. pre-test, premature); (3) post- with
the meaning of after used with nouns and adjectives (i.e. post-war, post-romantic); (4) the prefix
ex- meaning former is added to human nouns (i.e. ex-wife, ex-president); and finally (5) re-, with
the meaning of again, back, and is added to verbs and abstract nouns (i.e. redecorate,
resettlement).

4.1.1.8. Number prefixes.

The most common Latin and Greek number prefixes can be added to any word category. Among
the most common ones, the following are to be mentioned: (1) uni- and mono-, whose meaning is
one (i.e. unicorn, monotheism); (2) bi- and di-, whose meaning is two (i.e. bilingual, dipole).
There are some ambiguous examples, such as bimonthly, which can mean either every two months
or twice every month as well as biweekly. Also, note biennial, which normally has only the
meaning every two years (in contrast with biannual twice a year); (3) tri- whose meaning is
three (i.e. triennium); and (4) multi- and poly- whose meaning is many (i.e. multicultural,
polysemic).

4.1.1.9. Conversion prefixes.

As stated before, when adding prefixes to a base, they do not generally alter its word-class (i.e. pilot
and co-pilot), except for a special type called conversion prefixes, by which a word-class change is
forced (i.e. from noun to verb: calm, becalm). In these special cases, the following prefixes change
the word category of the word to which they are added into another. Thus, (1) be- when added to
nouns, converts the base into participial adjectives (i.e. bemused), and when added to verbs,
adjectives, or nouns the word changes into transitive verbs (i.e. from dazzle to bedazzle , calm-
becalm, and witch-bewitch ). Note that sometimes the category word change involves pejorative
meanings; (2) en- turns nouns into verbs (i.e. danger-endangered; courage -encourage); and (3) a-
turns verbs into predicative adjectives which have a colloquial meaning rathe