Say it to hear it: pronunciation to benefit listening skills

Event date: 
Saturday, March 5, 2022 - 16:00
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Say it to hear it: pronunciation to benefit listening skills -

We often think of pronunciation in terms of productive skills, but it’s equally important for receptive ones. Indeed, some aspects of pronunciation learning are primarily for the benefit of listening – connected speech in particular. In this presentation, I will demonstrate activities which, although they may engage learners in active production, do so for the purpose of improving listening skills. The slides from the talk, and the audio files, can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. Much of the material in this talk is from my forthcoming book 'PronPack: Connected Speech for Listeners', expected in April 2022!
In this session, we will try some practical techniques for practising connected speech with the goal of improving listening. The focus is on the bottom-up aspects of listening which involve deriving linguistic meaning from the continuous stream of speech – a process known as decoding. During the course of the session, I hope to make clear the following points:
1. Pronunciation learning is just as much for the benefit of the learner’s listening as it is for their speaking.
2. Assuming that the goal of pronunciation learning is improved intelligibility, there are some features which are essential for productive mastery, such as distinguishing phonemes, and others which are optional – in particular the features generally labelled ‘connected speech’.
3. Although learners can speak intelligibly without using features of connected speech, they do need to be able to cope with these receptively, as listeners, so it is appropriate that they remain on the syllabus for that purpose.
4. While the purpose of teaching connected speech may be receptive, practice of these features may be productive, on the basis that there is no better way to understand a pronunciation feature than by trying to produce it for yourself.


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