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Teaching

Pronunciatio
n
ELT METHODS II
Overview
I. What is pronunciation?
II. TP History / background
III. Importance
IV. Our goals in TP
V. Factors affecting pronunciation learning
VI. Issues in TP focusing on specific
features
VII.Techniques, activities & materials
for improving students pronunciation
I.

What is
pronunciation?
how we produce the sounds that we
use
to make meaning when we speak.

It includes:
particular consonants and vowels of a
language (segments),

aspects of speech beyond the level of the


individual segments, such as stress, timing,
rhythm, intonation, phrasing, (suprasegmental
aspects), and how the voice is projected (voice
quality).
II.

HISTORY of TP
GT little or no attention; irrelevant
DM from the beginning; read aloud, dict, self-correction
AL - from the beginning; drills, dialog memo, labs, min
pairs
SW - from the beginning; melody, self & peer-
correction, charts
CLT - from the beginning; suprasegmental &
suprasentential levels high priority.

Today
Two basic groups of approaches:
1. Listen and repeat. ( Intuitive-Imitative Approaches)
2. Analyse and understand. ( Analytic-Linguistic
Approaches)
III.

Importance:
WHY teach
pronunciation?
Still neglected in many classrooms

Improve Comprehensibility

Minimise miscommunication

Develop communicative
effectiveness rather than
native-like pronunciation
IV.

OUR GOALS
What & How
Help sts achieve CCCP
Clear comfortable comprehensible pron

Decide which aspects are most important.


Diagnose.*
Varies from learner to learner, context to context .

Plan class activities* that will help sts improve in


these aspects
1 Exposure to authentic spoken utterance
2 Chorused imitation of T, audio-video recorded native speakers
3 Individualised language lab work
4 Reading aloud phonetically weighted textual material
5 Ear-training & phonetic drilling
6 Use of transcribed texts
7 Explicit phonetic training
8 Learning orthoepic conventions (how to pronounce written forms, silent
letter)
What do you need to know
when you teach
pronunciation?
1 know how our mouths produce various sounds
of the language.
2 know how stress, rhythm, connected speech,
and intonation work.
3 understand problems your sts might have with
pron.
4 know how to teach these things to your
students and help them practice effectively.
5 choose how much youll teach your sts. You
cant tell them all the details you know. Itd be
too much. You need to decide what to include &
what to leave out.
Reflection/Discussion
Question
Can you think of an instance
where mispronunciation
brought about confusion,
embarrassment, or some other
problem?

Examples from English (L2)


Examples from Serbian (L1)
V.

Factors
affecting pron.
learning
Review of theory & research Kenworthy, 1987

MOTHER TONGUE most influential; overcome carryovers by


focused attention

AGE the younger the better a myth. After puberty just foreign accent
stays but chances are the same if other factors are equal.

EXPOSURE quality & intensity count more than quantity

INNATE PHONETIC ABILITY ear for language helps, but


so does effort & concentration

ATTITUDE & IDENTITY positive to target language speakers;


acculturation

MOTIVATION & CONCERN FOR GOOD P


most influential;
Well-known
barriers to good pron
&
strategies for dealing with them
Anxiety unwillingness to experiment with sounds, a general lack
of fluency that makes it hard to blend sounds correctly, and poor
control of the sentential elements of pron, like intonation and
stress.
REMEDY: highly structured, low-pressure practice games. Jazz
chants, handclap rhymes, reading aloud, dialog practice, rote
phrases, drills for correct pron, recitations, drama

Learned helplessness reaction people have to a hopeless


situation. after trying something several times and consistently
being unable to get a positive result, we shut down, stop trying.
REMEDY: stay positive, praise frequently and specifically, and
periodically tape sts speaking so that they can hear the difference
after a few months

Cultural identity An accent is a clear message about one's


roots and history, and people may be unwilling to completely give
it up.
REMEDY: Impersonations, role play
Brief refresher on phonology

PARTS OF PRONUNCIATION

sounds (phones or phonemes)

stress and rhythm

Intonation
Phoneme
Smallest unit of sound that has meaning
Represents various sounds that consonants and
vowels, or combinations, can create
"any of the perceptually distinct units of sound in a specified
language that distinguish one word from another, e.g. p, b, d,
and t in the words pad, pat, bad, and bat."
Written with phonetic symbols
Why use phonemic symbols?
English spelling is not a reliable guide to pron. because:
26 letters/44 sounds ( French 26 letters, 37 speech sounds, and 130 graphemes)
Some letters have more than one sound
Sometimes letters/syllbls indicated by the spelling are not pronounced at all
The same sound may be represented by different letters
IPA
IPA
Regions within the mouth referred to in the
chart Active Passive
A labial 1 bilabial
2 labiodental
B apical 1 linguolabial
2 dental
3 alveolar
4
postalveolar
5 retroflex
C dorsal 5 palatal
6 velar
7 uvular
D radical 8 pharyngeal
9 epiglottal
Glottis 10 glottal
Phonemic chart
More phonology
SEGMENTS: (discrete/individual sounds)
Vowels
Diphthongs
Consonants

SUPRASEGMENTALS: (tone, stress,


prosody, nasalization, voice quality etc.)
The music of a language
Stress patterns emphasis and reduction
(rhythm)
Intonation pitch rise and fall (melody)
Linking, voicing, assimilation, aspiration, etc.
VI.

Issues in PL
focusing on specific features
Voicing / throat vibration; Have sts touch their throats while
pronouncing voiced and voiceless sounds.
Aspiration / /p,t,k,ch/ ;illustrate aspiration, have sts hold up a
piece of facial tissue a few inches away from their mouths
Mouth Position / model, mime, use gesture, draw simple
diagrams of tongue and lip positions , have students use a mirror *
Intonation /humming, board illustration, emphasising content
words
Linking / board illustration, mime
Vowel Length /stretching rubber bands on the longer vowels
and letting them contract on shorter ones,e.g. 'fifteen' vs 'fifty'
Syllables / stress pattern fingers,clap softly and loudly, lists
of words with the same or different syllabic stress pattern, draw
dots or CApital LEtters to denote stressed syllable, underline
Specific Sounds / Minimal pairs, Tongue twisters , accents
Mouth Position
VII

Techniques:
Exercises and
Activities
for improving students pronunciation
VII Techniques: Exercises and
Activities
Mechanical and decontextualized
exercises

Examples:
sound formation
drills
repeating words and other forms of high-frequency
use and practice
Pros:
Intense focus on a sound
Raises awareness
Cons:
Integrating with certain communicative approaches
to FL teaching and learning?
Techniques for teaching
pronunciation
Awareness and consciousness
raising activities

Calling attention to pron having explicit


conversations about its importance, error
correction.
Coaching, modeling (you as aProficient
L2 User), motivation.
Raised awareness tends to lead to more
careful listening, noticing.
Techniques: Exercises and
Activities
Distinction activities
Typically involves listening for and/or producing
the differences among minimal pairs (bat vs.
bet)
Pros:
Can be more contextualized than drills and sound
repetitions
Integrates target sound with other sounds
Can be communicative to some extent
Cons:
Focus on a particular sound may be somewhat reduced.
Is meaning being negotiated?
Techniques: Exercises and
Activities
Gap and other meaning-based activities
Grids, maps and other partner/group activities that
rely on pronunciation, usually involving minimal
pairs, to solve a problem, or communicate
something.
Pros:
Quite contextualized
Integrate target sound with (all) other sounds
Can be very communicative
Cons:
Focus on a particular sound may be very reduced.
Is meaning being negotiated?
Techniques: Exercises and
Activities
Readings, recitations or impromptu language production
Can be recorded or done face-to-face.
Recordings can be submitted or used for self- or peer-evaluation.
Material can be prepared (practiced) or unprepared (on the spot).
Can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify pron problems, or as an
evaluated act.
Examples:
Lists of words, a paragraph or passage that contains examples of one
or more pronunciation-related elements of focus.
Responding to a prompt, such as an opinion question, that will elicit
certain types of language, sounds, etc.
Pros:
Can be very mechanical to quite meaningful.
Can integrate target sound(s) with (all) other sounds &features of language (voc,
gr)
Allows for individualized diagnosis and/or evaluation.
Cons:
Time-consuming, though doing them regularly reduces time needed.
Recording and submitting requires technology.
Materials
ESL/EFL industry

www
Different pronunciation features
Different types of activities.
Inspiration for materials development.
Small group work I
Segmentals: Vowels & Consonants
Lets think about vowel and consonant sounds in
English that speakers of our language tend to have
problems with.

Identify relevant problem sounds (a


segmental vowel/consonant) for EFL.
Share tricks/techniques you used or heard of
for teaching these sounds.
Together, develop a brief and simple activity or
lesson for one of your problem sounds to
present to the rest of the class. Youll need to
choose a reporter to present your activity.
You wont actually teach this lesson / activity,
you will simply describe it to the others.
Exercise Sharing / Reporting
Reporters: Dont teach the activity,
describe it.
Audience: in the interest of time,
please offer any constructive
feedback to the activity creator(s) in
oral or written form.
video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=1kAPHyHd7Lo
Adrian Underhill
Suprasegmentals
Intonation
Example: the Music of English

Excuse me. Wheres the bank?

How do you spell easy?


Suprasegmentals
Rhythm and stress patterns:
Rubber band exercise
Emphasizing content words
What are you studying?
English. What about you?
Indicating stressed syllables
What are you studying?
Suprasegmentals
Contractions and Reductions
Careful speech vs. quick speech
What are you studying? vs. Whaddya
studyin?
Typically stressed for receptive, not
necessarily productive, purposes.
Suprasegmentals
Assimilation
The sound at the end of one word
blends into the sound of the beginning
of the next word
Hot potato = hoppotato.
Suprasegmentals
Aspiration
The burst of air accompanying certain
consonant sounds. Many consonants can
be aspirated or unaspirated, and in
certain languages, these are separate
phonemes.
Example: Where do you /p=/ark?
English speakers tend to use heavy
aspiration.
Candle/tissue/hand exercise.
Suprasegmentals
Linking (usually the end sound of one
word to the beginning sound of the
following word).
Example: when the vowel sounds /iy/,
/ay/ or /ey/ link with a following vowel,
the vowel sounds are connected by the
off-glide /y/.
We agree: Weyagree.
I often say a lot: Iyoften sayya lot.
Activities for
Suprasegmentals
Same categories as the segments,
but focusing on these features.

Paradox: suprasegmentals are often


MORE impactful on comprehensibility
than segment issues, but are also
HARDER to learn.
What else could/should
we teach?
Accents
British/American/Australian/Canadian but also Globish,
Serblish
Video: 21accents
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
feature=player_embedded&v=3UgpfSp2t6k

Stress-timed vs Syllable-timed language


(Sp,Fr,It)
stressed syllables fall at regular intervals throughout an utterance
(Crystal, 2003, p. 245), and rhythm is organized according to regularity in
the timing of the stressed syllables. That is, the time between stressed
syllables is equal because unstressed syllables are spoken more
quickly and vowel reduction occurs.
Kim cooked fried rice.

Kim cooked me some fried rice.
Small group work II
Create another pronunciation mini-
activity, focusing on a suprasegmental.
Make sure your mini-activity can be
done in 5 minutes or less.
Practice teaching your mini-activity to a
group.
Afterwards, you will reflect and your
students will give you feedback, which
you will report to your original group.
Resources
Harmer J (2001) (3rd ed.) The Practice of English
Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman
Kenworthy, J. (1987) Teaching English
Pronunciation. London: Longman
Nunan, D. (1991) Language Teaching
Methodology: A textbook for teachers.
Phoenix ELT Prentice Hall Int.
Scrivener, J. (1994) Learning Teaching: A
Guidebook for English Language Teachers.
Oxford: Heinemann
Ur, P. (1996) A Course in Language Teaching:
practice and theory. Cambridge: CUP.
Yates, L. and Zielinski, B. (2009) Give it a go:
teaching pronunciation to adults
Resources
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kAPHyHd7Lo Adrian
Underhill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=g2bHdXcszJ4&feature=related Jenifer ESL Intonation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=nwWPUfaqnpE&list=FLenOg7WRWN-3m-
C2XNalDJQ&index=31&feature=plpp_video Jenifer ESL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=n0tRphsvM8M&feature=related Amy Walker British
Accent Training Tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
feature=player_embedded&v=3UgpfSp2t6k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=BPmjGHdK5v8&feature=rellist&playnext=1&list=PLF
B3D4F7DFB5D1C17 Judy Gilbert
http://accent.gmu.edu/
Objectives reminder
1. Weigh the importance of accurate
pronunciation and reasonable
expectations.
2. Consider various techniques for improving
students pronunciation.
3. Examine pronunciation materials from EFL.
4. Identify pronunciation issues in LL; develop
some materials to address 1 or 2 issues.
5. Apply your materials and gain feedback.
6. Consider/refine/further develop your own
approach to teaching pronunciation.
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