Pronunciation blog posts

What accent do students think they want?

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What accent do students think they want? -

Here's Gemma Archer at IATEFL Brighton (on the PronSIG day) explaining how she felt when, starting her teaching career, she was expected to teach pronunciation in a posh English accent. She was teaching in a Scottish environment and has a Scottish accent, so teaching RP just didn't make any sense.

PronPack Shortlisted for ELTons Award!

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PronPack Shortlisted for ELTons Award! -

Proud and delighted to announce: PronPack 1-4 is a finalist of the 16th British Council ELTons Awards for Innovation in English Language Teaching 2018 in innovation in teacher resources.

Seminar on Teaching Phonemes

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Seminar on Teaching Phonemes -

Here's a link to a seminar Mark Hancock did at the British Council about teaching individual phonemes.

Pronunciation Event in Chester!

Event date: 
Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 10:00
Pronunciation Event in Chester! -

IATEFL PronSIG is holding an event in the beautiful city of Chester on February 17th. Only 2 hours by train from London, Chester is a place steeped in layers of history, and the event will take place at the city's University. 'Pronunciation: the Missing Link'.

PronPack in Modern English Teacher

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Event date: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 10:30
PronPack in Modern English Teacher -

The PronPack Sound Chart isfeatured on the cover Modern English Teacher Volume 27 Issue 1, January 2018. Inside, there is my article on the hexagon vowel chart entitled 'Putting Vowels on the Map'. Plus, there is a review of PronPack by Brian Brennan in Ih Barcelona, including the following comments:

“Hancock’s approach is strikingly innovative”

Review of PronPack in ETP!

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Review of PronPack in ETP! -

Great to see a review of PronPack in English Teaching Professional (Issue 113, November 2017, pp. 35, 36)
by Steve Hirschhorn in Hungary. Here are a few quotes:

Which PronPack - ebook or print?

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Which PronPack - ebook or print? -

+ cheaper
+ integrated audio
+ quick to navigate to the page you want
+ good to have as your own personal copy
+ print the worksheets from

New PronPack series now out on Amazon!

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New PronPack series now out on Amazon! -

PronPack is a set of four resource books to help teachers focus on English pronunciation in class. The books contain printable worksheets along with teacher’s notes explaining how to guide the students through each activity.

The Sound of Silence

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Mark's Pronunciation Blog -

Last class, a South Korean student told me about his weekend visit to Liverpool. He said it wasn’t easy to understand the local way of speaking, and gave the example of the question word What? He demonstrated how this word had been said, with the final ‘t’ replaced with a silence, or glottal stop, so it sounds like wha’?

Accent: are we bovvered?

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Accent: are we bovvered? -

Many teachers worry about what the best model accent should be, and whether their own accent serves as a suitable model. My argument is that the premise of the question is wrong – there needn’t be a single model accent, and that the teacher’s own accent will usually be the best model, providing that the teacher is an intelligible speaker of English.

A new look for English Pronunciation in Use

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Event date: 
Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 10:15
Talks in 03/2015 -

English Pronunciation in Use gets a new look this month. The new cover design comes along with a new approach to audio - instead of being on a set of 5 CDs (which were expensive), the audio is now a free online download. Makes the whole package much more affordable.

To articulate or not to articulate, that is the question

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In speaking styles, there is a continuum between mumbling and rolling your ‘r’s –. What I mean by mumbling here is speaking with as little mouth movement as possible in order to minimize effort on the part of the speaker.

Long jumper

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Long jumper -

"My sister went out with a long jumper". Here's a claim with two meanings, and reading it, you'd never be sure which was intended. But hearing it would clarify things, because the speaker has a way of communicating the intended meaning. It's the vocal effort known as 'stress'. "Long jumper" (athlete) is two words acting as a single lexical item.

Surreal Soundscapes

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Listening -

In a language where "What's your address?" can become a homophone of "Watch or a dress?", there's plenty of scope for misunderstanding, even for what you might call 'native listeners'. For learner listeners, the situation is many times more perilous. For them, listening can be like wandering in a surreal soundscape.

Long and short; tense and lax

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Long and short; tense and lax -

Following last weeks post featuring a box set on the price/prize minimal pair, here's a box set on the bean/bin distinction. Again, one person is the speaker and says one of the phrases. His/her partner is the listener and says which they understood - A, B, C or D.

Vowels and voicing, belt and braces

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Vowels and voicing, belt and braces -

This image is a minimal pair, squared - what I call a box set. One person says one of the phrases. The other has to listen and say A, B, C or D. The minimal pairs in this instance involve /s/ and /z/ - these are a pair of related consonants, the first unvoiced and the second, voiced.

Someone called Anne

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Someone called Anne -

This pair of sentences could almost be phrasal homophones (oronyms), except for the differences in punctuation. They play with the fact that the sound bite 'call Dan' is identical to the sound bite 'called Anne'. There are also two meanings of 'called' (to phone or shout out to someone or to be named), which make the pair of sentences rather confusing!

Sick Spies or Six Pies?

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Sick Spies or Six Pies? -

Look at the pictures. Are the two pictures: a. a minimal pair, b. homophones, c. whatever?

Acoustic Drills and Audio Concordances

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Acoustic Drills and Audio Concordances -

There is something missing at the heart of the listening component in most ELT course materials. They fail to dig deep into the actual raw material of the skill – what Richard Cauldwell calls the ‘sound substance’.

Accent by Numbers

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Accent by Numbers -

Eighth and last in the series Accent through the keyhole. Scroll down for the mp3 podcast version.

What’s the correct answer to the accent by numbers puzzle?


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