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Phonology Case

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  • Pages: 9
  • Word count: 2232
  • Category: Teaching

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In teaching pronunciation and essentially spoken English there are some factors to be considered in facilitating learning and teaching. This article emphasizes the consideration of sequence of activities so that the learners can build the skills they need. Such activities are telephone conversations, listening to model dialogues from audio-tapes and video. The issue at hand is to figure out what needs to be incorporated into teaching spoken skills. There is equally a concern into helping teachers develop an appropriate sequence of teaching and learning activities. Another issue addressed is the development of appropriate way of assessing and evaluating the chosen activities. In doing so, there is the need to give learners the opportunity to develop their spoken skills in the context they will find most relevant to their needs. Another issue highlighted is the identification of grammatical, lexical and phonological features. Teachers have the challenge of incorporating contextual use of language and activities on word stress in words. The article equally looks at the understanding of socio-cultural knowledge of the society that the pronunciation is done.

Summary of Article two

Challenges in teaching English Conversation. http://www.pascal-network.org/Challenges/PRONALSLYL/Introduction/

The article highlights the teaching pronunciation to a non-native speaker of the language. There is the issue of direct translation that makes it difficult for the second language learners to express themselves in English. The solution provided in this scenario is to teach the language as if you are teaching a five years old child. The article considers the challenges faced by Japanese speakers in learning pronunciation. The challenges manifested are similar to those in other societies that show inability of nonnative speakers to effectively communicate in English. It emphasizes the importance of mastering rhyme if not so then what is said will have difficulty to be understood. In essence the article critically looks at the influences of the first language in understanding the second language. It goes ahead and considers how the first language rhythm and syllable influence the learning of the second language syllable thus creating difficulty in learning the English as the second language. The article shows the activities that are involved in learning pronunciation for instance, hearing practice when the teacher reads script to the students.

Summary of Article Three

The Fluency Pronunciation Trainer: Update and user issues.



The article addresses what ought to be done in a pronunciation lessons. In the pronunciation lesson there might be a lot of errors which need to be corrected. It is therefore important to select what is to correct so as not to interfere with the flow of the lesson. There is need to teach one thing at a time, i.e. phones and syllables are taught and later words thus pronunciation. The article highlights on identification of errors which was initially focused on phone error and detection. It looks at the importance of confidence in teaching and learning pronunciation, thus fluency. The need for practicing listening and speaking concurrently is equally emphasized.

The article cites lack of confidence with teachers in teaching pronunciations stemming from their lack of training in specifically this area. This is contrary to the wish of the teachers who want to help the students to improve their pronunciation. Essentially teachers need to be equipped to deal with a wide range of learners, who in turn have a wide range of needs and constraints. It advocates for teaching of pronunciation in a more flexible way where pronunciation is integrated into the lessons in a natural way that is suitable for all levels. The emphasis of students hearing their own mistakes and becoming aware of what the listener is hearing is addressed. The simplification of teaching pronunciation has lead to limited discussion of phonemes of English, supplemented by little basic English prosody, whereas what teachers most need to know is how and why speakers of other languages may find the phonology of English as a second language so difficult. The article considers teaching pronunciation by focusing on larger chunks of speech, such as words, phrases and sentences.

This is considered easier compared to focusing on single sounds and syllables- thus the general focus should be on larger units. Another issue in focus is that the pronunciation lessons should involve the student in actual speaking rather than just learning facts and rules of pronunciation. Therefore, teachers are expected to device activities which require learners to actually speak in their pronunciation classes. Further the pronunciation problem is attributed to difficulty in articulation: that the learner has not been able to articulate new sounds therefore the focus is on the need for learners to gain information about articulation of sounds. It further attributes pronunciation problems stem not from physical, articulatory causes, but from cognitive causes. In essence the article cements the issue of learning pronunciation by emphasizing conceptualization of phonological concepts and thus speech or language.


These readings provide an insight of various approaches to tackle the teaching of pronunciation. They are indeed all relevant in teaching of pronunciation and should therefore be integrated. As much as the learners should be given the classes purely on spoken English they should also be made to understand the rules in pronunciation. Therefore, when teaching pronunciation, I would encourage a holistic   approach of teaching. There is need to consider listening, speaking and reading when teaching pronunciation.There is equally the need to introduce audio-visual resources to facilitate the teaching-learning process. As a teacher the learning of pronunciation tend to be approached from an amicable point to enable the students not to feel shy and build a favorable environment for students to freely utter their words.


Summary of Article 1

The article relates the description of individual languages and language standards that can be related to the notion of speech community. In this sense a speech community is viewed as a unit that binds the community in terms of their values. They tend to agree on what is appropriate or inappropriate style of speaking in a given circumstance. The style of speaking depends on the choice of a casual or formal style of pronunciation. Therefore pronunciation makes certain impression on the listener. The article goes ahead and shows that pronunciation depends also on the age and relationship of the people communicating. In this sense pronunciation is used to enable one to identify with a certain group of people.

This shows speakers of English in certain region developing a distinctive social identity. This is why “the speaker of English as a second language may have a little motivation to introduce or maintain a complex variation and subtle phonological features in language for intricate social identification” (Martha 1996:13). A formal language might not be important to many people in the day to day communication. It may end up being restricted to schools and other few restricted circumstances. Furthermore the article asserts that phonology of a language or speech community changes over time and is influenced by the circumstances. Though there is association or attachment to a certain pronunciation in various social-stratification, the article shows that there is no variety of English seen as inherently superior to another. Most people tend to learn the variety associated to the most educated or who have political power. A student will benefit a lot if he or she is exposed to a wider variety of language- thus the article encourages students to have knowledge to diverse varieties of the language.


Summary of Article Two

The article considers Cathy’s modalities she employs by using pronunciation assessment review, reading aloud test and confidential scale.  Within her assessment she looks at overall intelligibility and gauging learner’s level of commitment and motivation. She considers motivation as a key player in learning of pronunciation. In the interview sessions the learner is made to be relaxed while speaking to avoid discomfort. Therefore in the process the learner is helped to eliminate the accents by identifying and distinguishing the anomalies that come along with their pronunciations.

In reading aloud Cathy endeavors to determine weaknesses including substitutions, intrusions and omissions of consonants and vowels which is one of the main challenges that learners get while learning pronunciation. Another issue raised in the article is the influence of reading proficiency and how it affects pronunciation proficiency. Cathy tackles the issue of confidence by using confidence scale. At this juncture the role of confidence in learning pronunciation is equally taken into consideration. In learning pronunciation, Cathy shows that students ought to evaluate themselves by recording their speech, then later on listening to it and trying to identify their own errors. Indeed if Cathy’s way of assessment can be put into consideration and developed tailored on the context or social setting then it can facilitate the learning of pronunciation. The teacher pronunciation assessment considered in this effect has to be flexible enough to accommodate the various dialects.


Summary of Article Three

The article starts by bringing into limelight importance of visual and graphic element in the learning and teaching pronunciation. It shows how speech visualization can denote patterns of intonation, accents of syllables or words and phonemic level features. It is therefore important that visualized speech to complement the traditional training methods rather than eliminating them. By using visualization speech students are able to figure out the errors made during pronunciation by seeing pronunciation patterns displayed on the screen. This in essence enables the students to produce sounds without needing intermediate step of viewing the patterns. Also this involves the teaching of intonation, stress and rhythm. However there is the need of the student to continuously reinforce the pronunciation that has been learnt so that they continuously produce the correct of pronunciation. Another advantage that comes along with visualized speech is the learner’s fascination that comes along with it thus tending to reduce their self-consciousness regarding their own utterance. Essentially this enables the learners to be confident with whatever they utter. In addition speech viewing enables students to get instant feedback instead of relying on other students for feedback and equally enables the students to hear clear sounds unlike hearing unclear sounds from other students.


Summary of Article Four

The article looks at the hindrance factor that might influence the production of the right articulation. Some of the factors considered in this effect are the presence of the problematic sound in the first language of the learner and the substitution of the sound if not found in the first language. The position of the sound is equally taken into consideration that is either, initial, medial or final position. The article considers the need to teach the learner to recognize the sound by listening. The distinction of the sounds in this case is done by enabling the students to see the sound, listen to its pronunciation and later pronounce the sound by themselves. There is also the use of pairs of words in distinguishing various sounds.

By the teacher pronouncing unfamiliar words to the students and making the student to write the words, enables the teacher to know if they have mastered the sounds, that is when they make correct sounds. A way of learning discussed in this article involves learners learning by following the teacher’s guidelines after the teacher produces the sounds. In this case the teacher shows the learners the articulation of speech organs involved in the production of sounds. Articulation of sounds in this scenario is not done in isolation, but in relation to the environment in which the sound appears in. The length of the sound is equally taken into consideration and it is to this effect that long and short sounds are taken into account when teaching pronunciation. Structures of syllables are also looked at and exercises are given to ensure that all this is taken into consideration while teaching pronunciation. Consequently the need for continuously repeating the learnt sounds ensures that the learners are adept to the pronouncing the relevant sounds.


Teaching of pronunciation remains a very challenging issue to the English teacher due to the complexities that come along with the phonological concepts of the language. Another challenging issue in teaching of pronunciation is the strategy to motivate and build confidence to the students since from the above analysis it is much easier and faster for a students to learn pronunciation when they are motivated and confidence. The evaluation or assessment of the pronunciation session is equally of paramount importance since it provides the end product of the whole process of learning pronunciation.  It is important not to rely only on the traditional ways of teaching pronunciation but infuse the recent technological ways like the use of computers and visualized speech. This will enable the learners to practice uttering sounds by themselves and thus avoiding the ridicule that might come from the other students. Teachers have to show confidence while teaching so that students can emulate them.

List of References

Paul, N (1989). “Pronunciation”, in Language Teaching Techniques. Victoria: University of Wellington, (33-39)

Martha, P (1996). “Language Varieties and English”, in Phonology in English Language Teaching. Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman. (8-17)

Sara, Z (1991). “Teacher-produced Pronunciation Assessment” Interchange17, March (26-38)

Stephanie, C (1994). “Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Pronunciation” Interchange23, January. (35-38)

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