Listening blog posts

Accent: are we bovvered?

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Accent: are we bovvered? - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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.

Long jumper

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Long jumper - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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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Surreal Soundscapes - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/surreal-soundscapes

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 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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? - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/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’.

Ray Parker on stress-timing

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Event date: 
Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:15
 - hancockmcdonald.com/talks/calendar/day/2013-09-28

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.

Richard Cauldwell on the jungle of connected speech

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Event date: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 11:30
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201304

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.

Annie McDonald on materials for listening

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 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog.xml/2

Read a review by a member of the audience here. Find the annotated handout below.

Mark Hancock at IATEFL Liverpool

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Event date: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 (All day)
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog.xml/9

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.

IATEFL Hungary: Annie McDonald on authentic listening materials design

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Event date: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 20:00
Blog - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/2

Annie began the workshop with a snippet taken from a BBC studio interview and participants listened and brainstormed the problems the text would present for a student approaching a B2 level in English.

More on authentic listening

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Modern English Teacher Vol 21 No 2

In the current issue of Modern English Teacher, http.//www.onlinemet.com, there's a very informative, useful and convincing article by Sheila Thorn on 'Debunking Authentic Listening (MET Vol 21, No 2, pgs 65-69) in which she puts the case for using authentic listenings in the classroom.

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