Pronunciation blog posts

Pronunciation at IATEFL 2015 - some reflections

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I can’t remember ever having seen so many pronunciation-focused talks on an IATEFL programme as there were in Manchester this year. Too many to fit into a single PRONSIG strand day. What’s more, many of them were so over-subscribed that there wasn’t even space to sit on the floor, as I found out to my own disappointment. I did get to see a fair number, nevertheless.

Mark's chart explained on video

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See video below. Get printable copies of the chart here. See some discussion of the vowel chart here.

Marks Chart

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Here are the phonemic chart for vowels and consonants. See a video explanation of the vowels here. Click on the jpegs below for either the colour or black and white versions. If you prefer a version with no mention of alcoholic drinks, choose the files with ME at the end of the title.

Mark's Vowel Sound Chart

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Check out the full chart here. See a video here. I’ve been developing a new phonemic chart to use with my students.

Adam Brown: Pronunciation and Phonetics

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Follow the link to see my review of Adam Brown's Pronunciation and Phonetics in the ELT Journal. (I'm sorry to say that this item is now in the membership section of the ELTJ but you can read more in the Articles section.)

A grey-tie deer

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Here's another phrasal homophone image to add to the collection. It's the homophone of 'A great idea!'.

Pronunciation Tasks Video

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This is a video showing clips from a presentation I did at Living Learning English in Bristol.

A Map of Pronunciation

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IATEFL Pronsig's "Speak Out" magazine 50th Edition celebratory issue is just out, and what an amazing collection it is. Contrats to Robin Walker for getting it together! I'm very proud to have an article in it myself, entitled "A Map of Pronunciation Teaching". Here's the map and excerpts from the intro and conclusion of the article.

Alphabet Poem

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For awareness of pronunciation features including sounds and spelling, and features of connected speech, for B1 upwards: put this poem on the board and ask students to read it and work out what it's all about. Here's what happened when I tried: they all looked totally blank. One or two asked for vocab items, like 'gee!', which I then explained.

Ray Parker on stress-timing

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Event date: 
Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:15
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Ray Parker argued that, regarding stress-timing and rhythm, we have tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The notion that natural spoken English has a regular rhythm, he says, has been discredited by the research, but our response has been to abandon both that, and any attention to stress-timing.

Pron event in Bath

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Event date: 
Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:00
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Mark: Great pronunciation event at the weekend. Adrian Underhill shared insights in how sounds are articulated and relate to one another (see his blog on the phonemic chart here).

Adrian Underhill on pronunciation as the Cinderella of ELT

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Adrian began by pointing out how central pronunciation is to language learning. And while this is obviously true for spoken production, it is also true, surprisingly enough, for reading, writing, or even thinking in the target language. For example, during reading, we tend to sub-vocalize, that is, hear the words aloud in our heads. And how will these words be pronounced in our heads?

Yolanda Calvo on Spanish perceptions of pronunciation

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Yolanda, a PHD candidate from Galicia, Spain, reported on her research into how students and teachers at post-secondary level in Galicia perceive the importance of pronunciation in ELT, and how it is covered in schools. She began by pointing out how problematic this area is.

Walker, Spiewak and Hancock on English as a Lingua Franca

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The Pronunciation SIG Pre-conference event for 2013 took an ELF perspective on teaching pronunciation. The speakers were Robin Walker, Grzegorz Spiewak and Mark Hancock, and it was hosted by Wayne Rimmer. Robin Walker started off the day by showing the differences this perspective makes in terms of goals, models, view of L1, variations and accents, and intelligibility.

Richard Cauldwell on the jungle of connected speech

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Event date: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 11:30
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Richard Cauldwell is gradually developing a whole new set of words and images for conceptualizing connected speech, and his system is given power by his long experience in close analysis of natural, unscripted recordings. His principle claim is that unscripted speech radically departs from anything that the written form might lead us to expect.

Robin Walker on technology in pronunciation teaching

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Robin Walker (read our review of his latest book here) began by positing 3 stages in acquiring pronunciation: 1. the cognitive stage - becoming aware of a feature; 2. the associative stage - training yourself to be able to deal with the feature; 3.

Mark Hancock at IATEFL Liverpool

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Event date: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 (All day)
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Mark Hancock: I will be presenting a workshop entitled "Pronunciation for listeners: making sense of connected speech" at the conference on the Tuesday. I'm also speaking at the pronunciation sig pre-conference event.

Pronunciation in Coursebooks

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My impression is that coverage of pronunciation in current coursebooks is usually imbalanced in favour of individual sounds, to the detriment of syllables, connected speech and discourse.

Dangerous dictation no.5

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What basic information question has been misunderstood in this picture? Answer = "What's your address?". Surprisingly, for many speakers, these two sentences are perfectly identical in sound. The S in "what's" and the Y in "your" combine to make an SH sound. This in turn joins the T in "What" to create the CH sound. That makes "Watch". The "Your" minus that first Y sound becomes "or".

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