English Pronunciation in Use

Appeared in: 
Developing Teachers .com
Review by: 
Thomas Simon

English Pronunciation in Use is a new addition to the In Use stable of books that began with the very successful English Grammar in Use. As with all books in the series, this book is designed to be used by the individual learner, & in this case with the intermediate & above learner. You may know the author Mark Hancock, through using his excellent Pronunciation Games.

The size & layout are similar to other In Use books, left-hand page for explanation & right-hand side for the practice activities. The book is divided into three sections; A - Letters & Sounds, B - Syllables, words & sentences & C - Conversation, moving from the segmental aspects of phonology to the more suprasegmental aspects.A building-block approach is taken & it is sensibly suggested that the learner rotates a unit from each of the sections in turn, helping to integrate the different areas & provide variety.

The approach to phonology is quite a traditional one. There is more space devoted to the segmental but given the difficulties of dealing with intonation & the medium used, that of a book & CDs, this is hardly surprising. Having said that, there are some useful units on conversation analysis & the major areas are covered clearly. Within the section on sounds there is a very useful strand on spelling rules & there are also quite a few 'Follow up' tasks for the learner in many units. One of them encourages them to record themselves practising different features & then listen back in a couple of weeks to see if the original recording was clear.

The reference section contains an introduction to the phonemic chart through a variety of game activities, a pronunciation test that could usefully be used both before beginning the book, during & on completion, a useful guide for speakers of different languages that references the different tasks to language backgrounds, sound pairs through short listening tasks, a sentence stress phrasebook & finally a glossary of terms used. The key to the tasks finishes the book.

For the teacher, this is very solid classroom material. It would be well worth working through the book or just dipping into it when the need arises. I personally would have like more on suprasegmental aspects & sounds in combination.

English Pronunciation In Use is a very useful addition to the market as phonology work in the classroom does not get the attention it deserves & this is reflected in the lack of available materials. This clear friendly book that should not only be in the staffroom but recommended to all of your students. Let's hope it does for phonology what the predecessors in the series did for grammar

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