Mark's Pronunciation Blog

This is Mark Hancock's blog strand devoted specifically to ideas and issues connected to pronunciation teaching.

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.

A new look for English Pronunciation in Use

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Event date: 
Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 10:15
A new look for English Pronunciation in Use - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/new-look-english-pronunciation-use

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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To articulate or not to articulate, that is the question - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/articulate-or-not-articulate-question

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 - 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?

Accent by Numbers

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Accent by Numbers - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/accent-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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