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LFC grid: for identifying overlapping areas of likely difficulty in ELF intelligibility among different L1 backgrounds

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My students:

/p/ (aspirated)

word-initially (some between vowels and


/p/ (in general)
speakers) before /æ/

between vowels;
/b/ contrast with /v/ contrast with /p/ before /æ/
contrast with /v/

/t/ (aspirated)

before /ɪ/, /iː/, /ʊ/ word-initially (some


/t/ (in general) word-finally before /ɪ/ and /iː/ between vowels
and /uː/ speakers)

before /ɪ/, /iː/, /ʊ/ word-finally; before


/d/ between vowels
and /uː/ /ɪ/, /iː/ and /e/

/k/ (aspirated)

word-initially (some
/k/ (in general) contrast with /g/ between vowels
speakers)

word-initially (some
/g/ between vowels between vowels contrast with /k/
speakers)

contrast with /h/


/f/ contrast with /h/ before /æ/
(some speakers)

word-initially (some contrast with /w/ and before /æ/ and


/v/ contrast with /b/ contrast with /b/ contrast with /f/
speakers) /f/ contrast with /w/

before /m/, /n/ and word-finally (some contrast with /ʃ/


/s/ word-finally before /ɪ/ + /iː/ between vowels word-initially
/l/ speakers) (some speakers)

word initially and


CONSONANTS

/z/ word-initially word-finally


before /ɪ/ and /iː/

contrast with /s/


/ʃ/
(some speakers)

contrast with /ʤ/ contrast with /r/


/ʒ/ contrast with /ʤ/
(some speakers) (some speakers)

contrast with /r/


/h/
(word-initially)

only for some


/ʧ/ between vowels
speakers

contrast with /z/


/ʤ/ contrast with /j/ contrast with /ʒ/
(some speakers)

word-finally and
/m/ word-finally after /z/ word-finally word-finally
before /æ/

contrast with /l/


/n/ after vowels word-finally word-finally
(some speakers)

/ŋ/

contrast with /h/ contrast with /l/


/r/ contrast with /l/
(word-initially) (some speakers)
contrast with /w/ at
word-finally and
/l/ contrast with /r/ ends of
before consonants
words/syllables
contrast with /v/ and
word-initially and
/w/ before /ʊ/ and /uː/ contrast with /v/ with /l/ at ends of contrast with /v/ contrast with /v/
contrast with /v/ words/syllables

/j/ contrast with /ʤ/ before /iː/ and /e/ before /iː/

may be voiced/
may be (de)voiced/short /s/, /t/ may be /v/, /b/, /d/, /g/ short vowel may be /v/, /b/, /d/, /g/, /z/ /b/, /d/, /g/, /ʤ/
word-final consonants most devoiced dropped/short vowel
vowel added on dropped devoiced added on devoiced devoiced
added on

some consonants clusters that do not


at start of words: may be dropped, or contain /m/, /n/, /l/,
no dropping of any so many short vowels /r/ or /j/ are
sounds added that the word pronounced as
becomes very long voiceless throughout
CONSONANT CLUSTERS

/r/, /l/, /t/, /d/, /f/


and /v/ frequently
in middle/at ends of some consonants some consonants
deleted in word-
words: /z/ may be dropped may be dropped, or may be dropped; final some voiced
some consonants some consonants final consonant may final consonant may final consonant may medial clusters after
can only drop what from word-final so many short vowels unstressed syllables consonants may be
may be dropped may be dropped be devoiced be devoiced be devoiced a vowel (e.g. silver
sounds a native speaker clusters added that the word may also appear to be devoiced
becomes siver); final
might drop becomes very long dropped
consonants may be
dropped

length only distinctive


long-short contrasts all vowels quite short all vowels quite short
for some vowels
VOWELS

/ɜː/ after /w/

long vowels shortened


before unvoiced
consonants

learners may also use learners may also use


placement of nuclear
changes in word changes in word
OTHER

stress, especially for


order for contrast/ order for contrast/
contrast/emphasis
emphasis emphasis

Reading the grid


The column down the left-hand side shows all the aspects of pronunciation which are thought to be essential for successful communication in English between non-native speakers.
The general rule to reading the grid is: the darker the box, the bigger the problem with this aspect of pronunciation.
(Thus, an entirely white box means this is a minor area for attention; a grey + black box means this may be very difficult for these learners.) This grid and accompanying notes are
Specifically, the colour-coding works as follows: © Laura Patsko 2013

notes generally problematic (especially in those contexts detailed in notes the box)
descending order of generally problematic
difficulty notes generally NOT problematic (except in those contexts detailed in notes in the box)
generally NOT problematic

Example 1. This box: after /w/ means Russian speakers tend to have trouble pronouncing the sound /ɜː/ in general, but especially after /w/ (e.g. in the word 'work').

Example 2. This box: before /m/, /n/ and means Italian speakers tend to generally have no trouble with the sound /s/, except when it comes before /m/, /n/ or /l/ (e.g. the word 'smoke' might be pronounced like 'zmoke').
/l/