1. Why we don’t teach pronunciation.
And why we must.
February 7, 2014.
2. Choose if you’re ONE or TWO:
ONE: yes, stop, goodbye, high, why
TWO: no, go, hello, low, I don’t know
3. Why we don’t teach pronunciation.
“Pronunciation can be an overlooked area of language
teaching, partly because teachers themselves may feel
more uncertain about it than about grammar or lexis,
worried that they don‟t have enough technical knowledge
to help students appropriately.”
Learning Teaching, Jim Scrivener (p 271)
4. Why we must.
“While practice in pronunciation may not make perfect,
ignoring pronunciation totally can be a great disservice to
“The native language not only affects the ability to
produce English sounds but also the ability to hear
Teaching American English Pronuncation, Ehrlich & Avery
How much pronunciation do you teach?
What aspects of pronunciation do you teach?
Describe a pronunciation lesson you taught recently.
6. Whose pronunciation?
More non-native speakers.
American vs . British?
English as a Lingua Franca / EIL / EIC etc.
7. Phonology: the study of sound features used in a
language to communicate meaning. In English these
• word stress
• sentence stress
• connected speech
8. Phonemes are the different sounds within a
language. Kelly, How to Teach Pronunciation.
9. Examples of phonemes (minimal pairs)
and phonemic transcription
so /soʊ/ vs. show /ʃoʊ/
did /dɪd/ vs. deed /diːd
tɪ.fəl/ US /-t ̬ɪ-/ - word stress (‘)
vedʒ.tə.bl ̩/ - schwa /ə/
amazing /əːme.zɪŋ/ - diphthong /eɪ/
Where do you live?
Where do you live?
Intonation is the way a speaker changes the level of their voice to
show meaning, emotions, attitudes, emphasize or make less
important particular things we say, and signal to other people the
function of what we are saying (stopping speaking, asking a
11. Sentence stress
I’d like a cup of herbal TEA. (A simple request)
I’d like a cup of HERbal tea. (Not any other sort of
I’d like a CUP of herbal tea. (Not a bucket)
primary stress/contrastive stress / secondary stress /
12. Connected Speech
• contractions – I’ve / They’re / It’ll etc.
• vowel shortening – schwa and other
• weak forms – can /kən/ when unstressed
• linking– join words together at word
up above /ʌp əːbv/ - consonant+vowel sound
13. Connected Speech
• Intrusion – addition of a new sound
• Go away /goʊwəːwe/ - intrusive /w/
• The idea is that… - intrusive /r/
• A tree in the park. – intrusive /j/
• Assimilation – sounds change
• Green paper - /n/ becomes /p/
• He’s coming. /z/ becomes /s/
14. Connected Speech
93 million miles from the sun
People get ready, get ready
„Cause here it comes, it‟s a light
A beautiful light, over the horizon
Into our eyes
Oh, my, my how beautiful
Oh, my beautiful mother
She told me: „son, in life you‟re gonna go far
If you do it right, you‟ll love where you are‟
15. In the classroom
• English is a global language. Understanding of
various accents is expected.
• Learners need hearing and recognizing before
production can be expected.
• Regular focus on different aspects (rather than
one pronunciation per term) raises awareness.
• Focus on problematic phonemes.
• Use phonemic charts. Have them on the
16. In the classroom
• Introduce phonemic symbols a few at a time,
rather than all at once.
• Use phonemic symbols whenever presenting
new vocabulary (a dictionary will help)
• Phonemic symbols might not work for all
students, e.g. kids, but tend to be very
helpful for teenagers and adults.
• Teachers must learn/know all the symbols.
17. In the classroom
18. Words of wisdom
Attempting to completely eradicate a foreign accent is an unrealistic
The native language not only affects the ability to produce English
sounds but also the ability to hear English sounds.
It’s as if learners hear the second language through a ‘filter’, the filter
being the sound system of the native language.
While practice in pronunciation may not make perfect, ignoring
pronunciation totally can be a great disservice to language learners.
19. Many thanks! And a
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
How to Teach Pronunciation, Gerald Kelly
Teaching American English Pronunciation, Ehrlich & Avery
English Phonetics and Phonology, Peter Roach
Sound Foundations, Adrian Underhill
21. Next courses:
Pronunciation for teachers – February 14
X (Fri) and 15 (Sat)
CPE prep. – February 14
CAE prep. – February 14
TDC & TKT – February 14
22. Contact info: