How do I teach pronunciation of English?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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How do I teach pronunciation of English?

Unread postby cl » 21 Jul 2006, 07:18

i am a new english teacher,next term i will teach "pronunciation of English",but maybe the course is boring, and i don't know how to handle it, can you give me some suggesting about the course plan, activities and so on ? my students are freshmen of English major.
thanks a lot.

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Teaching pronunciation

Unread postby Lucy » 24 Jul 2006, 18:44

Dear cl,

Some of the areas to focus on are:

Individual sounds – you can introduce the phonemic chart. I would suggest doing this in small chunks.
Word stress
Sentence stress
Connected speech. This includes sentence stress, intonation, as well as sounds that are lost (for example, we often say things such as “a goo boy” and not “a good boy”. Connected speech also covers the addition of sounds as in the sound “w” in go (w) out.

It is important to focus on the sounds that are difficult for your learners. Speakers of different languages have different problems with pronunciation. If you would like help with specific areas, I’d be happy to help.

The students will also need to learn how to recognise sounds as well as produce them. Producing sounds includes repetition after the teacher or a cassette and any speaking practice. To practise recognition of word stress you can read words to students and ask them to categorise the words according to whether the stress falls on the first, second or third syllable. To practise the recognition of intonation, you can read out phrases varying the intonation. Ask students what meaning is conveyed by the intonation. To practise recognising individual sounds, you can do a minimal pairs exercise. For this you read out two words that sound similar but differ on one phoneme. For example, bear and beer; hair and hear. Students listen and organise the words into columns depending on whether the sound is “air or ear” – I’m sorry, I can’t write this phonetically on my computer.

For connected speech, you can take a sentence that you know the students will understand. Read it out in a way that a native speaker would say it to another native speaker. Ask students to write it down. Write their answers on the board and focus on the difficulties. The difficulties are often the use of the schwa, the sounds that are added and lost, as described above.

As for materials, you could look at the book Pronunciation Games. This is photocopiable and contains many fun exercises.

Good luck, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Teaching pronunciation can be fun. Please write in again, if you would like more ideas.


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