Should I write out the phonemic alphabet?

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Should I write out the phonemic alphabet?

Unread postby JoCheong » 26 May 2010, 06:49

Dear Lucy

I am a foreign teacher of English in a language centre in Turkey. I am teaching the young learners and adult programmes. Because Turkish students are so particular about the translation of the English words to Turkish, I usually board them (both). Then I go through the pronunication with them without giving them phonemic alphabet. I will do the drilling with the whole class and then again with smaller groups.

What is your thought about this? Do you think I should write down the phonemic alphabet? I would think the students will be more confused.



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Re: Should I write out the phonemic alphabet?

Unread postby Lucy » 27 May 2010, 11:06

Hello Jo,

For older children (eg teens) and for adults, you could start introducing phonetic symbols. You could start with the schwa and with sounds your students find difficult e.g. diphthongs. I don’t think it’s necessary to write down everything using the phonemic alphabet unless the students are very interested in learning it.

As for very young learners (under 10), I think it would be confusing as they are still mastering reading and writing in their own language. I suggest you avoid its use with this age group.

best wishes,


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Re: Should I write out the phonemic alphabet?

Unread postby Alex Case » 27 May 2010, 12:20

Absolutely agree with Lucy. Also, start by only putting the phonemics of a single sound for each word, usually the one they might have problems with, and put another word with that sound above it as an example of what sound you mean. Having a phonemic chart in their books and/ or on the wall can really help, as can quick explanations of things like the signs of long vowel sounds and diphthongs.

More ideas here: ... phonemics/

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Re: Should I write out the phonemic alphabet?

Unread postby hoprea » 27 May 2010, 14:39


I also agree with the teaching of the phonemic alphabet. I don't know if you've already watched this training video by Adrian Underhill, but I find it really nice when thinking about the IPA. There are four videos in this series (Adrian Underhill on Successful Pronunciation). The whole thing (4 parts) will last about 20 minutes and it's time well spent. (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4)

I hope you find it helpful.


Henrick Oprea

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