Pronunciation Teaching in the UK

Event date: 
Saturday, November 7, 2015 - 12:30
English UK Teacher's Conference 2015
Prospero House, London
Extra info: 
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Pronunciation Teaching in the UK -

In this session, I will deal with the question of how pronunciation teaching can be flexible  enough to accommodate different varieties of English. We will focus on individual sounds, and I will begin by presenting a new phonemic chart and explain how it is organized. We will then look at areas of the sound  system which are particularly prone to variation across different UK accents. We will see that some variants are generally accepted, such as the Northern short a in grass, while others tend to be stigmatized, such as a glottal stop before an l in bottle.

We will address the question of how relevant a phonemic chart can be in situations where the local people on the streets outside the school, and perhaps the teacher too, do not speak with a standard RP accent. Indeed, many teachers have been put off teaching pronunciation because of this mismatch. So I will put forward the idea that for teaching purposes, the sounds in the chart should be viewed as bendy, adapting to how we – and our students – actually speak. Finally, we will exchange opinions as to whether there should be any limits to this bendiness. I plan to take votes from the participants on whether some specific accents variants should be promoted, tolerated or avoided in the pronunciation class.


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