Module 4: Teaching pronunciationg


I. Consonants: 24 consonants

1. Definition: Consonants are the sounds in the production of which one articulator moves towards another or two articulators come together, obstructing the air-stream and the air-stream can’t get out freely.

2. Classification: Consonants can be classified according to:

• place of articulation (where the air-stream is obstructed)

• manner of articulation (how the air-stream is obstructed)

• voicing (+ voiced; - voiceless)


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I. Consonants: 24 consonants
Definition: Consonants are the sounds in the production of which one articulator moves towards another or two articulators come together, obstructing the air-stream and the air-stream can’t get out freely.
Classification: Consonants can be classified according to:
place of articulation (where the air-stream is obstructed)
manner of articulation (how the air-stream is obstructed)
voicing (+ voiced; - voiceless)
- θ
+ ð
- ʃ
+ ʒ
- tʃ
+ dʒ 
+ ŋ
II. Vowels: 20 vowels (12 monothongs + 8 diphthongs)
Definition : Vowels are the sounds in the production of which none of the articulators come very close together so that passage of air-stream is relatively unobstructed and the air can get out freely.
Classification: Vowels can be classified according to:
tongue height (the height to which the tongue is raised)
part of the tongue which is raised 
degrees of lip rounding
III. Word stress
Definition: Stress is an extra force exerted on a particular syllable of a word. It is usually fixed. The stressed syllable is said with greater energy, and stands out in a word. 
Levels of stress: 
Primary stress (tonic/nuclear):
The strongest type of stress
Marked by a small vertical line high up just before the syllable it relates to (/ˈ/)
Secondary stress (non-tonic):
Weaker than primary stress, but stronger than unstressed syllables
Usually found in words of four or five syllables
Represented in transcription with a low mark (/ˌ/)
Unstressed: can be regarded as being the absence of any recognizable amount of prominence
How to identify the placement of stress:
Whether the word is morphologically simple or complex (whether the word is a simple, derived or compound word)
The grammatical category to which the word belongs
The number of syllables in the word
The phonological structure of the word
Rules for stress placement:
Two-syllable words
Two-syllable verbs: If the second syllable of the verb contains a long vowel or a diphthong (except /əʊ/) or it ends with more than one consonant, that second syllable is stressed
Two-syllable nouns: If the second syllable contains a short vowel, the stress will be on the first syllable. Otherwise, it will be on the second syllable.
Two-syllable adjectives, prepositions, adverbs: They follow the rules of verbs.
Three-syllable words
Three-syllable verbs: 
If the last syllable contains a short vowel and ends with not more than one consonant, the last syllable will be unstressed, and stress will be placed on the second syllable. 
If the final syllable contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or ends with more than one consonant, the final syllable will be stressed.
Three-syllable nouns: 
If the final syllable contains a short vowel or /ʊə/, it is unstressed. If the second syllable contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or it ends with more than one consonant, the second syllable will be stressed.
If the final syllable contains a short vowel and the second syllable contains a short vowel and ends with not more than one consonant, both the final and middle syllalbes are unstressed => the first syllable is stressed.
If the final syllable contains a long vowel or a diphthong or it ends with more than one consonant, the stress will usually be placed on the first syllable.
Three-syllable adjectives: They follow the rules of nouns.
Stress in derived words
The affixes will have one of 3 possible effects on the word stress:
The affix itself receives primary stress (employEE, SEmi-circle)
The word is stressed as if the affix were not there (COMfortable, reFUSal)
The stress remains on the stem, not the affix, but is shifted to a different syllable (advanTAgeous, cliMAtic)
Stress in compound nouns
If the first word/part of the compound is in a broad sense adjectival, the stress goes on the second element with a secondary stress on the first (loudspeaker, fastfood)
If the first element is, in a broad sense, a noun, the stress goes on the first element (suitcase, teacup, cupboard)
Word class pair	
In English, there are pairs of two syllable words with identical spelling which differ from each other in stress placement, apparently according to word class
The rule is as follows: The stress will be placed on the second syllable if the word is a Verb, but on the first syllable of the Noun or Adjective.
IV. Sentence Stress
Definition: is an extra force put on a particular word in a sentence. Sentence stress is not fixed. It depends on the speaker’s feelings and attitudes and the message that he wants to get across to the listener.
Content words are usually stressed because they carry meanings (Content words include: nouns, adjectives, (main) verbs, adverbs, numbers, long prepositions, demonstratives, interjections)
Function words are stressed in case of emphasis, correction, clarification, repetition, etc. (Function words help create grammatical structures. They include: most pronouns, “to be” as the main verb, modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, short prepositions, possessive adjectives, articles, conjunctions)
V. Strong Forms and Weak Forms
Some rules to use weak forms and strong forms
At the end of the sentence à strong form
e.g.: Watching T.V is what I’m fond of
When a weak form is being contrasted with an other word
e.g.: The letter’s from him, not to him
When a weak form word is given stress for the purpose of emphasis
e.g.: You must give me some money
When a weak form word is being “cited” or “quoted”
e.g.: You shouldn’t put “and” at the end of a sentence
VI. Rhythm
Rhythm is understood as the relatively equal beat between stressed syllables. The stressed syllables tend to occur at relatively regular intervals whether they are separated by unstressed syllables or not. English has stress-timed rhythm. Stresses are altered according to context.
For example:
VII. Linking 
Some rules for linking:
Linking final consonant to initial vowel
Linking identical consonants
Linking /r/ and intrusive /r/
Intrusive /j/ː when a word ending in /iː/; /ɪ/; /aɪ/; /eɪ/; /ɔɪ/ is followed by a word beginning with a vowel.
Intrusive /w/ː when a word ending in /uː/; /ʊ/; /aʊ/; /əʊ/ is followed by a word beginning with a vowel.
VIII. Intonation
Definition: Intonation means the way the pitch of your voice goes up and down when you speak. Two basic intonation patterns: rising tone and falling tone. In falling tone, we start with a high pitch and go down at the end. In rising tone, there is a movement from a lower pitch to a higher one.
Some rules:
Statements: 	falling tone
Wh-questions:	falling tone
Yes – No questions:
Positive yes-no questions usually receive a rising tone
Positive yes-no questions used to make sure about a piece of information receive a rising tone
Positive yes-no questions used to express criticism receive a rising tone
Negative yes-no questions used to show feeling and to encourage others to agree with us usually receive a falling tone
Question tags
When expecting the hearer to acknowledge or to confirm what we have just said is correct (not a real question): falling tone
When inviting the hearer to respond whether what we have just said is correct or not (more of a question):	 rising tone
I. Definition of pronunciation
Pronunciation refers to the way a word or a language is spoken, or the manner in which someone utters a word. 
II. The goals of teaching pronunciation
to enable our learners to understand and be understood, 
to build their confidence in entering communicative situations, 
to enable them to monitor their speech based on input from the environment.
III. Teaching approaches
From segmentals (individual sounds) to suprasegmentals (stress, reduced forms, rhythm, intonation, etc.) 
From suprasegmentals to segmentals 
The question of which approach is better is open for discussion. It depends on particular teaching contexts and situations.
Communicative Language Teaching focuses more on fluency and suprasegmentals
When teaching pronunciation, we need to identify features related to lack of intelligibility and usefulness in communicative situations
IV. Principles in teaching pronunciation
Foster intelligibility during spontaneous speech.
 Keep affective considerations firmly in mind. 
 Avoid the teaching of individual sounds in isolation.
 Provide feedback on learner progress.
 Realize that ultimately it is the learner who is in control of changes in pronunciation.
V. When to teach pronunciation
 4 possible ways:
Whole lesson
Discrete slots: Teachers insert short, separate bits of pronunciation work into lesson sequences. (Note: Even if we want to keep our separate pronunciation phases, we need times when we integrate pronunciation work into longer lesson sequence)
Integrated phases: Teachers get students to focus on pronunciation issues as an integral part of a lesson.
Opportunistic teaching: Teachers may stray from their original plan when lesson realities make this inevitable. Teachers may stop what they are doing and spend some minutes on some pronunciation issues that has arisen in the course of an activity.
VI. A communicative framework for teaching pronunciation
5 stages:
Description and Analysis: the teacher presents a feature showing when and how it occurs. The teacher might present the rules for occurrence either inductively or deductively. For example, the teacher can either present the rules for –ed endings or provide multiple examples and ask the learners to figure out the rules themselves.
Listening discrimination: The aim of this stage is to focus learners’ attention directly on a feature that they might not be recognizing yet.
Example: contextualized minimal pair discrimination exercises
 The speaker (who may be the teacher or another student) pronounces either sentence a or b. The listener responds with the appropriate rejoinder.
a. He wants to buy my boat. Will you sell it?
b. He wants to buy my vote. That’s against the law.
Controlled practice: the learner’s attention should be focused almost completely on form. 
Some possible techniques: 
use poems, dialogues, dramatic monologues, anything whose content and level can engage a learner’s interest.
contextualized minimal pair activities (as mentioned above) are a combination of controlled practice for the speaker and listening discrimination for his or her partner.
Guided practice: the learner’s attention is no longer entirely on form. The learner now begins to focus on meaning, grammar and communicative intent as well as pronunciation.
Example: memory activity while practicing –s endings
Students are instructed to study a picture containing a number of common objects for one minute (two bridges, three suitcases, four glasses, etc.). With the picture hidden, they then try to recite the correct number of each item, while concentrating on pronouncing the plural –s correctly.
Communicative practice: activities strike a balance between form and meaning
Example: 	role plays, debates, interviews, simulations, and drama scenes
Note: 	The learner’s attention should still be focused on one or two features at a time. 
It is overwhelming to suddenly monitor all pronunciation features at once. 
Note: The three final stages, which involve practice and production, actually progress on a continuum. It is less important to define an exercise as strictly controlled, guided, or communicative. Rather, it is important to sequence our oral production activities so that they move forward systematically. 
VII. Some teaching techniques
1. Contextualized Minimal pairs
Bowen (1975) was one of the first to stress the importance of teaching pronunciation in meaningful contexts. Rather than just distinguishing pen and pan as isolated words, Bowen embedded these minimal pair contrasts into contextualized sentences and rejoinders:
The pen leaks.	Then, don’t write with it.
This pan leaks.	Then, don’t cook with it.
2. Cartoons and drawings: can be used in the description and analysis stage of teaching a particular feature or can be used to cue production of particular sentences or an entire story as well as for showing language in context. 
3. Rhymes, Poetry, and Jokes: Nursery rhymes, limericks, and many poems all have strong patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables that help our learners hear (and to a certain extent feel) the rhythm of English. 
4. Drama: Drama is a particularly effective tool for pronunciation teaching because various components of communicative competence (discourse intonation, pragmatic awareness, nonverbal communication) can be practiced in an integral way.
Steps to conduct:
Each pair of students receives the script to a different scene
The teacher helps them prepare by modeling each line and having students repeat, drawing attention to aspects of pronunciation as they appear
The pairs rehearse (they don’t need to memorize the lines; they are simply to provide a dramatic reading – looking up frequently at the partner and reading with feeling)
The pairs perform the scene. 
The pair of students, remaining in characters, is first interviewed by the audience and then performs a short improvisation based on the scene. (optional step)
5. Kinesthetic activities: relaxation and breathing exercises, basic hand gestures to teach pronunciation, etc.
Some examples: 
Syllables are shown by the number of fingers one holds up or by tapping out the number with one’s hand. 
Linking thumb and forefingers between both hands illustrates linking. 
A sweeping hand motion for rising and falling pitch illustrates intonation. 
Once students are familiar with the gestures, the teacher can use them as silent correction techniques.
6. Reading aloud: most useful to practice with stress patterns of phrases, the interaction of sounds between endings and beginnings of words, and the resulting pronunciation and rhythm of these phrases.
7. Backchaining: have students repeat the word by starting with the last syllable and extending backwards to the beginning. It is especially useful in dealing with a more-than-three-syllable word. 
8. Games: Games can be employed to teach pronunciation because they are motivating. 
9. Comparing the mother tongue and target language: Teachers should be aware of the differences between the two languages (mother tongue and target language) in terms of segmental and suprasegmental features. Teachers should also help learners to see them and practise their pronunciation during the lesson.
10. Tongue twisters: Tongue twisters are an interesting way to practise and contrast similar sounds and have fun at the same time. But it is difficult for teachers and students to do it well. Teachers should tell students at first not to feel upset at making mistakes because it is even challenging for native speakers. 
11. Songs: Using songs is another motivating technique to teach pronunciation. It should be noted that teachers should design the tasks in which different aspects of pronunciation are practised. 
Một số lưu ý khác:
Với từng mục tóm tắt (đặc biệt các phần rules), các thầy/cô có thể xem lại tài liệu đã được phát để nghiên cứu các ví dụ và hiểu thêm về vấn đề
Các thầy/cô đọc kĩ phần lí thuyết giảng dạy (Part 2), quan tâm đến phần này nhiều hơn là phần kiến thức về pronunciation
Bài thi Pronunciation dưới dạng trắc nghiệm. Do đó, các thầy/cô chỉ cần đọc – hiểu bản chất vấn đề, không phải học thuộc lòng từng từ, từng chữ
Những chỗ chữ xanh, các thầy/cô có thể dành ít chú ý hơn

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