Working with pronunciation, naturally

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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Working with pronunciation, naturally

Unread post by alex » 13 Dec 2004, 14:47

Hello auntie,

You gave me some ideas for planning a series of lessons but I don't understand what you mean by pronunciation that comes up naturally.

Can you please explain

thanks, Alex

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Working with pronunciation, naturally

Unread post by Lucy » 13 Dec 2004, 14:49

Dear Alex,

Teaching pronunciation as it comes up naturally allows classroom activities to be more integrated. It refers to teaching aspects of pronunciation along with the language it links to. For example, if your objective is to teach various forms of the future, you might be looking at:

what are you going to do after class?
will you need your toolkit this weekend?
are you playing tennis on Saturday?

In these phrases, there are a number of unstressed syllables. If your students place equal stress on each syllable, their speech will sound unnatural and stilted. So you can work on stressed and unstressed sounds. I can't write these phrases out phonetically as the schwa (unstressed sound) isn't available in my computer programme. You might also want to focus on the use of "what are you gonna do tonight?"

You could also draw students' attention to the fact that "g" is not usually pronounced in the phrase "are you playin(g) tennis on Saturday?" and "what are you goin(g) to do tonight?". You can also point out the intonation patterns in questions. Even if your students don't produce the phrases with a natural pronunciation, it will help them recognise the words when they hear them.

The work on pronunciation can be done through listening to the phrases, by using symbols to highlight stress and intonation and through drilling and repitition.

For more ideas on integrating pronunciation into your teaching, you can look at the Headway series and particularly the pronunciation books that accompany it. For pronunciation in general, Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill is an excellent book.

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