This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Recently, at a pan-Asian conference in Seoul, Korea I was entranced by the number and variety of ‘Englishes’ on show, with speakers and participants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and China (amongst others). In this pluralinguistic world English belongs to everybody and anybody, and we are reminded again and again that there are many more speakers of English as a second language than as a first language. Or perhaps we should say that there are many more speakers of English who don’t come from one of the ‘inner circle’ countries (in Kachru’s description) than there are ones who do. In such circumstances it becomes difficult to work out what kind of pronunciation models or behaviour are appropriate for our students. Should we try and force them to adhere to British or American English, for example? And even if they want to sound like Australians or Canadians, what is the best way to help them to do this? These are the kinds of questions which are asked in this updated ELT Forum module on pronunciation – in the selection of materials that you can find in the development pack. Different writers discuss ways of sensitizing students to pronunciation issues as a pre-requisite for any kind of successful production. There are discussions about what kind of pronunciation teaching might be appropriate for business students, and articles about how to use dictation in pronunciation teaching, as well as extracts about how and when pronunciation teaching can be slotted into lessons. But the issue of pronunciation models remains a key one in these times of international English. On this issues, and as far as I can see, students should not be bludgeoned into trying to speak like a British person (for example) unless they want to. On the contrary, the goal of our work should be to help our students to understand as much of what they hear as they can, and to make themselves as appropriately intelligible as possible. That, after all, is all that any of us really want. For as my recent Korean experience reminded me, there can be many many English varieties operating in a system with their different pronunciations, grammars, idiomaticities and richness. The wonder and glory of it is that they are al l mutually intelligible. Jeremy Harmer
But the situation is further complicated by the fact that English is changing its role as a means of international communication. The solution. the frequently . As the articles in the pronunciation module on ELT Forum demonstrate. In the first place. has to come from them. They are the ones to determine how like a native -speaker they need or want to sound. in part. 2 Now read ‘Interested or bored? How should pronunciation be taught?’. the quest for intelligibility on the part of our students can take many forms. And the students themselves have widely differing views on whether they wish to achieve some native-speaker-like proficiency or whether indeed they would prefer to be intelligible but maintain a distinctive version which includes their own L1 background. complete the following tasks: 1 Do you believe that good pronunciation can be taught? What is the relationship between sensitizing learners to pronunciation issues and their own ability to use good pronunciation? List you three favourite pronunciation activities.INTERESTED OR BORED? Before you read ‘Interested or bored? How should pronunciation be taught?’. How far does the article match your views? Are any of your favourite activities described in the article? INTERESTED OR BORED? HOW SHOULD PRONUNCIATION BE TAUGHT? Jeremy Harmer Introduction: pronunciation teaching and pronunciation sensitizing There is considerable anxiety about what kind of pronunciation teaching we should offer our students.
These issues. and understand the significance of what they are hearing. it follows. rather than try and force students to conform to some pre-set model of pronunciation acceptability. how ‘British’ (since I myself am British) should I expect my students to sound? Reception and production One logical outcome from these dilemmas (to my mind) is that the teaching of pronunciation should concern itself not so much with how the students should sound. then. Or rather.repeated statistic is that more people speak English as a second language than as a first language. we should be doing our best to make them able to hear things. therefore. Indeed any competent speaker of a language has a right to ownership of that language. but all of them learn and acquire in countries where English is a functional language of national life. we should. rather than trying to force unnatural (and often one -variety) pronunciation practices onto them. The concept of native speaker is very difficult to sustain as the world gets both smaller and larger. the goals of pronunciation teaching should be firstly to train their ‘ears’. As a result. with the problem of pronunciation teaching and whether offering students a British English model (and let’s face it. a pan-Asian conference with teachers from all over the region. that a large proportion of English-language exchanges take place with no native-speaker participation – that is with no particular advantage to be gained by the use of any approximation of one of the many varieties of native speaker use. to put the question more succinctly. instead get them aim for multi -variety comprehension and intelligibility. therefore. but rather how they can be made aware of how competent speakers sound. from Mongolia to Indonesia. provided that they don’t confuse their listeners into thinking they are . But we are in deep water here. from Singapore to Nepal. yet again. What. Their Englishes may be somewhat different varieties. anyway. and the many difficulties which they provoke. Is the speaker of Indian English a native speaker? Well of course she is. And as I sat and marvelled at the elegance and richness of the many different Englishes on display – all perfectly intelligible to each other – I started to become preoccupied. For our students. and then to help them sound just how they want to sound. arose for me yet again as I attended a conference of Asia TEFL. In other words. But the competent speaker of English who is Korean has as much right to the language as an American person (for whom English is often. of a speaker of Korean English. for example? Clearly not a native speaker? Well of course not! Not in the terms that we have always discussed such a concept. though. from China to Japan. just as a speaker of British English or a speaker of Nigerian English or of Singaporean English is. a second language – as in the case with many Hispanic speakers). it’s more likely to be southern English standard – a sort of modernised RP – than any other British variety) was an appropriate thing to do.
lake). A pair might be 1 There are three pubs in town/2 There were three pubs in town’. there are only 3 sounds for 5 letters. They have to say how many sounds (not letters) they hear. Often people say this with only three syllables even though. but only 5 sounds. In that context. sheep.g. Up or down? A staple of pronunciation activities. but rather to hear that there is a difference. it clearly looks as if it has four! Same or different? Students hear pairs of sentences. in other words (the ear-training we have just mentioned) is just as important as production and the two. By that I mean that they should have the ability to analyse the sounds that they come across if they want to. on paper. Here we are not so much trying to get students to identify the different sounds themsleves. this simply involves students trying to work out whether the voice goes up or down at the end of sentences and questions. are in any case inseparable. It goes against the style of many of them. How many syllables ? in the same way we can ask students to say how many syllables they hear in words like ‘secretary’. But at the same time. ‘Shepherd’ has 8 letters. Some ‘getting to students to hear’ activities might be: • How many sounds? Students hear a number of words that they see written down (e. just as with vocabulary learning. I write this in italics because I see no reason why students absolutely have to be analytic in any way. shepherd. mountain. Reception. dog. In other words I want to give them the tools to listen with precision should they so wish or need. cat.hearing something different from what they are actually trying to say. for example. Typical are tag questions where students have to say whether the voice goes up or down at the end of sentences such as ‘You’re Taiwanese. aren’t you?’ • • • . and have to say whether they are the same or different. there are many students who want to be analytic some of the time (my italics again). I want to suggest that there are three main roles for pronunciation teaching: A Training students to hear: one of the things I want for my students is that they should be able to hear what they are exposed to. and based on work I have been doing recently in course design. In the case of ‘sheep’ for example.
’ They are told to think about how they would say them (where they would put the stress etc). All they have to do is say whether the speaker who reacts is genuinely interested or not. on the contrary. to listen analytically). more than anything else. e. ‘well’. Then they hear someone saying the phrases with nonsense syllables. ‘right’ etc) and have to understand what meaning is being communicated – anything from ‘absolutely not’ to ‘tell me more’ or ‘could you say that again’ Football scores one of my favourite activities (which I first encountered in a class given by David Crystal many years ago) concerns football • • • . then we can ask them to put this ability to appropriate use.g. What we want is not so much to train students in a particular piece of listening. Different meanings students hear the same word or words said in a number of different ways (words like ‘yes’. What we want is for them to understand what they hear. Two examples will show what this means: • Interested or bored? Students hear a number of people replying to statements like ‘I just got a new job’ or ‘I’m going to be in a new play at the theatre’ with exclamations such as ‘That’s terrific’ or ‘How interesting’. All of these activities are designed. They will then be able to work out what they are hearing when they hear new words and phrases for the first time B Helping students to understand : if students are able to hear (that is. Students have to be able to is work out what exactly is being asked about in questions like ‘John said he wanted to marry you?’ or ‘John said he wanted to marry you?’ This activity helps them to use their ‘hearing’ skills to understand what is being said. the respondent’s tone of voice (pitch and intonation) were so emphatic that they clearly can’t be budged. Or they hear people responding to requests for help with phrases like ‘I’d rather not’ or ‘Do I have to?’ and all they have to do is say whether it would be worth continuing with the request or whether. for the purposes of this article. to train the students to hear accurately. but rather to become accustomed to listening analytically should they so desire.• Nonsense syllables: an exercise that combines hearing stress and intonation happens when students are given sentences and phrases such as ‘Nice to see you?’ or ‘Please come in. What exactly do you mean? This is an activity devoted to variable stress. ‘Der-di-DER’ for ‘please come in’ and they have to identify the phrase in question.
Since this is intonation based it combines the twin functions of a hearing activity (in the terms of this article) and an understanding article. Those then (the difficult words) are the ones we will concentrate on. rather than the ones we had previously thought we would focus on. they should gain greater insight into how things work. Instead of the usual monolithic approach to pronunciation which gets students to practise things even if they neither need nor want to do so. granting the students some say over their own pronunciation syllabus. My own view is that students have no need whatsoever to write phonemic symbols. whilst others think it gets in the way of learning since it is a technical ability that not many people use in real life. building up their range bit by bit. C Giving the students a useful tool: there has been some controversy about whether or not students should learn phonemic symbols or not. This is the giving of ownership. They have to guess what it is. All of the activities in this section are designed to help students understand what people mean when they use certain stress and intonation patterns. ‘Football scores’ is interesting because once the teacher has explained how it words (the different rises and falls) the students themselves can try and have the same effect. ‘Football scores’ has the students hear results but with the second score missing. 6 or more than 6. However it will greatly help them if they can recognise phonemic symbols when they access paper dictionaries for example. while small is nevertheless important. therefore. It seems worthwhile. or rather. D .scores given as football results.’. We might. Some purists think they should.5. Liverpool …. but it is listening and being aware that matters most. Giving ownership: a final point needs to be made here which. for without it is highly unlikely that they will ever be able to produce the same patterns themselves even if they wanted to. Thus ‘Manchester United 6. but rather that. It’s fun and helps them to understand better. for example. by trying it out. In its simplest form this involves students telling the teacher what they need rather than teachers deciding on student needs. But we do not really want to train them to be football announcers. for example giving them simple words written phonemically which they have to re-write orthographically. The speaker’s intonation will tell them whether the number is 0 . Of course we will get students to have a go themselves. give them a list of words they have been using recently and ask them to say which words they find easy and which words they find difficult. to introduce phonemic symbols for recognition only – by.
It also means. The goal of pronunciation teaching. It means asking students when and if they want correction of pronunciation errors. must be to help students both understand and be understood by the widest possible range of English speakers around the world – or by the community they wish. If. primarily. in the end. and then to get them to understand what they hear. that if students have some say in what goes on. on top of this. I am suggesting. however. we can give them some control over their learning their motivation will most assuredly increase. complete the following tasks: 3 4 5 Who should be responsible for deciding on the goals of good pronunciation teaching according to the article? What. having students say what their pronunciation goals are. sounds or stress) they particularly want to work on. according to the article. they are more likely to be helped to pronounce better.we are letting them decide for themselves what will be most relevant for them. and letting those opinions guide some of our actions as teachers. perhaps. of course. Now that you have read ‘Interested or bored? How should pronunciation be taught?. should be the goals (for students) for pronunciation teaching? Complete the charts Name of the activity Description (in your own words) Your opinion of the activity . especially in the areas of differing stress and intonation. I am not suggesting that teachers should be obliged to hand over all decision-making to their students. Ownership means much more than this. to communicate in. And the only way to do this is to help them hear well. and which particular aspect of pronunciation (intonation.
Training students to understand Name of the activity Description (in your own words) Your opinion of the activity .
Does the author agree with you? What has he suggested that is different from what you have thought? ‘The Business English learner .pronunciation’. if at all.pronunciation’.pronunciation’. English Teaching Professional 34 (2004) Now that you have read ‘The Business English learner . does the author resolve this problem? Complete the following chart about t he activities that John Hughes suggests: Activity 1 2 3 4 Name of activity Describe the activity.pronunciation’ by John Hughes.THE BUSINESS ENGLISH LEARNER Before you read ‘The Business English learner . complete the following tasks: 3 4 What do students say about pronunciation. complete the following tasks 1 2 How important is pronunciation to the business English learner? What kinds of pronunciation activities might be appropriate for the Business English learner? Now read ‘The Business English learner . what’s your opinion of it? 5 . and what arguments does the author advance for teaching pronunciation to business students? Why is pronunciation teaching a problem for the business English teacher who believes in communication tasks? How.
and how convinced are you that it is a good idea (or not a good idea)? PRONUNCIATION AND DICTATION Before you read ‘Using dictation to teach pronunciation’ complete the following tasks: 1 2 Have you ever used dictation to teach pronunciation? If so. how have you done it? What is the status of pronunciati on teaching in most modern curricula? Has this always been the case? Now read ‘Using dictation to teach pronunciation’.6 What do you understand by the concept of ownership. How closely do your answers match the author’s? ‘Using dictation to teach pronunciation’ by Patrick Blanche. Modern English Teacher 13/1 (2004) Now that you have read ‘Using dictation to teach pronunciation’ complete the following tasks: 3 Complete the table: People/movements that stress or stressed the importance of pronunciation teaching People/movements that were/are less keen on the importance of pronunciation teaching 4 What two things does Patrick Blanche suggest doing before the class? A ___________________________________________________ .
B 5 ___________________________________________________ What five things does Patrick Blanche suggest doing in the class? A B C D E ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ 6 What five things does Patrick Blanche suggest doing as follow-up activities? A B C D E ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.