Module 1 The Teaching of Pronunciation, Jeremy Harmer (2007), Chapter 2
The Sounds of Language
In writing we represent language through orthography and punctuation. But when speaking, we construct words and phrases through individual sounds, and we use pitch change, intonation and stress to convey different meanings.
PITCH: We can have a “high-pitched” or low voice. Pitch will change according to our feelings, e.g.: excitement, emotion, fear, tiredness, boredom.
It conveys mood and emotion.
One of the uses is to show the grammar of what we are saying : I’ll arrive at 8 o'clock . (falling :statement). TONE UNIT. (rising tone) used as a question.
It is used to signal ends, beginnings of conversations.
It conveys emotion, involvement, empathy. It modifies the strength or intention of what we are saying.
Intonation is crucial in communicating meanings: USE OF PARALINGUISTIC FEATURES.
Phonemes on their own do not carry meaning, but in combination, they make words and phrases.
Standard English has 44 phonemes.
Voiced/ voiceless sounds.
Vowels: all voiced. Position of the lips. Glottal stop.
Competent speakers of the language use the right places of articulation to produce these sounds.
Sounds and Spelling
A problem for foreign students is that there is no correlation between sounds and spelling:
won young funny flood enough through though
Differences in the sound used according to STRESS: was, can. Stress/unstressed words (schwa)
ELISION: I can’t dance./flower/ I should have asked him.
ASSIMILATION. Bad guy. This year.
JUNCTURE: is changed by stress.
Ice-cream - I scream
LINKING: we insert sounds between vowels.
Law and order – Working - Legal
STRESS: It can be primary or secondary. It may change the function of the word.
Stress is vital in conveying meaning in phrases and sentences.
Paralinguistic Features of Language
They are divided into those that include the VOICE and those that include the BODY.
Vocal paralinguistic features
David Crystal (1995) mentions the importance of different tones of voice: whispering ( secrecy), breathiness (deep emotion), huskiness (to show importance), nasality (anxiety), extra lip rounding (greater intimacy, with babies).
Physical Paralinguistic Features
Facial expression: eye gaze, raising eyebrows, biting your lower lip.
Gesture: they vary from one culture to another. Shrugging shoulders, crossing your arms.
Proximity, posture and echoing : Physical distance between speakers. Adopting the same posture as if in agreement. Japanese and Argentinean speakers. (Fanny’s example)
Revise the tasks solved at home
Vowels. Consonants. Diphthongs.
Place of articulation.
Web pages: problems for Spanish speakers.
Phonics: Sounds Fun, Unit 1.
Syllabus for Primary school where everything we have discussed is used. Sailing 2, Macmillan.