How to Teach Pronunciation

Topics: Phonology, English language, Stress Pages: 10 (2835 words) Published: July 10, 2012
Communication can be a tricky business, especially when the listener and speaker are from different linguistic backgrounds. There are pitfalls aplenty with poor word choice and improper inflection, and there are numerous reasons a student has difficulty reproducing the sounds of English correctly. Perhaps pronunciation had little focus in previous classes, or maybe the student has never had any formal language instruction. Even students with significant educational experience can have problems. Perhaps early pronunciation was taught by nonnative speakers who themselves have oral production problems. Maybe the student’s first language contains different phonemes and the student simply cannot hear the sounds, let alone accurately replicate them. A consideration of learner’s pronunciation errors and of how these can inhibit successful communication is a useful basis on which to assess why it is important to deal with pronunciation in the classroom. There are two key problems with pronunciation teaching. Firstly it tends to be neglected. And secondly when it is not neglected, it tends to be reactive to a particular problem that has arisen in the classroom rather than being strategically planned.

A question we need to answer is how good our students’ pronunciation ought to be. Should they sound like native speakers, so perfect that just by listening to them we would assume that they were British or American or Australian? Or is this asking too much? Perhaps we should be happy if they can at least make themselves understood.

Difficulties in FL Pronunciation
Two particular problems occur in much pronunciation teaching and learning * What student can hear: some students have great difficulty hearing pronunciation features which we want them to reproduce. There are 2 ways of dealing with this: 1. show them how sounds are made through demonstration, diagrams and explanation. 2. draw the sounds to their attention every time they appear on a tape or in our own conversation * The intonation problem: Some of us and many of our students find it extremely difficult to hear ‘tunes’ or to identify the different patterns of rising and falling tones. Material in pronunciation

There are various features of pronunciation.
A. Vowels
Vowels are articulated when a voiced airstream is shaped using the tongue and the lips to modify the overall shape of the mouth. English speakers generally use twelve pure vowels and eight diphtongs. Sound should be dealt with in class as and when theneeed arises. This can be done remedially as a reaction to a communicative difficulty which occurs in class, or because the sounds are an important feature of the grammar or lexis being taught. Sounds can also be practised in their own right, as a way of focusing on a particular area of difficulty for examples: 1. Using Phonemic Chart.

2. Drilling, repetition and associating sounds with ideas
Some samples of practice lessons; bingo cards, noughts and crosses, snap, etc. The eachers should involve their students in deciding on priorities for classroom pronunciation work, through helping them to be aware of their pronunciation difficulties. B. Consonants

Consonants are formed by interrupting, restricting, or diverting the airtflow in a variety of ways. There are three ways of describing the consonant sounds: 1. the manner of articulation
2. the place of articulation
3. the force of articulation
Teachers focus on individual sounds usually as a response to communicative difficulty which arises, or becaause they are an integral feature of the language being taught. Teachers should always integrate pronunciation aspects into lesson planning and language analysis, in order to raise students’ general awareness. Onee of the best methods of helping students to master pronuunciation in the classroom remains that drilling, the repetition of the sound giving learners the opportunity to practise the correct movements of theeir...
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