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  Lecture 2: Teaching pronunciation - from 'native speaker' target to international intelligibility

Introduction:

Typically, as teachers we pick a certain variety of SE pronunciation to teach to our students. For example, when I was in university, we were taught Received Pronunciation. As a 'native speaker', you might often use your own pronunciation as a target, but as a 'non-native speaker' you might be much more reluctant to do that, and use 'native speaker' models instead. In this lecture we'll look at and question the primacy of 'native speaker' models in pronunciation, and discuss which pronunciation features are necessary for intelligibility in international settings where English is used as a lingua franca.

If you're interested in further exploring this topic, I run two other on-line courses solely devoted to teaching pronunciation and English as a Lingua Franca:

  1. Teaching pronunciation: English as a Lingua Franca perspective. A 6-step practical guide for English teachers.
  2. English as a Lingua Franca and teaching pronunciation. A mini course for English teachers.

Audio Task:

You're going to listen to a 20 minute presentation about two different models of pronunciation - one based on the 'nativeness' paradigm, and the other on intelligibility and the Lingua Franca Core (LFC). Before you watch it, think about and make notes on these questions:

  1. Which pronunciation models do you normally use in class? Why?
  2. Which pronunciation features do you typically focus on (e.g. vowels, minimal pairs, sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, weak forms, etc.)? Why?
  3. Should the focus in pronunciation teaching be on intelligibility or on imitating 'native speaker' norms? Why?
  4. Which pronunciation features are necessary in your opinion for students to be intelligible?
  5. Would these differ when it comes to being intelligible to 'native speakers' as opposed to listeners of different L1s in international contexts?


Listen to the lecture and check your ideas.

In the lecture we talked about the traditional pronunciation syllabus based on Standard British or General American English, and that based on the LFC. Here's a comparison of the two.

What main differences do you notice? How might this inform your pronunciation teaching? Which would be more appropriate in your teaching context? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Reading Task:

You're going to read a short article by Wafa Zoghbor entitled The implications of the LFC for the Arab context. You can also download it from researchgate.net here. When reading the article, consider the following questions:

  1. Do you agree that applying contrastive analysis (CA) can be beneficial in some contexts? Why (not)?
  2. How does the author adopt the LFC to his learners?
  3. How is LFC integrated with the coursebook?
  4. How can LFC be implemented into regular pronunciation teaching?

Speak Out 41 - The Implications fo the LFC for the Arab Context.pdf

Putting it into practice:

Think which ideas proposed by Wafa Zoghbor in her article could be implemented in your context. Try to put at least one of her suggestions into practice next time you're teaching pronunciation. If possible try to:

  • get feedback from your students;
  • get a colleague to observe you;
  • make notes and reflect on the lesson.

Before you do so, however, watch this short video where Laura Patsko explains what key points you need to consider before taking an ELF perspective on pronunciation.

Did any of the ideas she mention surprise you? Do they apply to your teaching context? Which do you think are the most important?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Also, if you need help or want to brainstorm your ideas for your lesson, comment below.

You can share your lesson plan or activity by uploading it to this Google Drive folder (use your name as the file name). Please share the link to the file below, so we can take a look at your ideas and give you feedback. If you'd like to share your lesson idea with a wider audience, I can upload it to TEFL Equity Advocates here.

If you're interested in further exploring this topic, I run two other on-line courses solely devoted to teaching pronunciation and English as a Lingua Franca:

  1. Teaching pronunciation: English as a Lingua Franca perspective. A 6-step practical guide for English teachers.
  2. English as a Lingua Franca and teaching pronunciation. A mini course for English teachers.

Suggested reading:

  • Jenkins, J. (2000). The phonology of English as an international language : new models, new norms, new goals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jenkins, J. (2002). A Sociolinguistically Based, Empirically Researched Pronunciation Syllabus for English as an International Language. Applied Linguistics, 23(1), 83–103. [available for free on researchgate.net here]
  • Levis, J. M. (2005). Changing Contexts and Shifting Paradigms in Pronunciation Teaching. TESOL Quarterly 39(3), 369-377 [available for free on researchgate.net here]
  • Rahimi, M. and Ruzrokh, S. (2016). The impact of teaching Lingua Franca Core on English as a Foreign Language Learners' intelligibility and attitudes towards English pronunciation. Asian Englishes, 0(0), p.1-14.
  • Simpson Davies, K. and Patsko, L. (2013). How to teach English as a Lingua Franca. British Council Voices [available for free here]
  • Spicer, E. (2011). The impact of Jenkins' lingua franca core on teaching of pronunciation on CELTA and DELTA courses. IH Journal, 30. [available for free download here].
  • Walker, R. (2001). Pronunciation priorities, the Lingua Franca Core, and monolingual groups. Speak Out! Pronunciation SIG. [available for free download here]
  • Yazan, B. (2015) Intelligibility. ELT Journal, 69(2), 202-204 [available for free here]
  • Zoghbor, W. (2011). Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca: Reducing Skepticism and Increasing Practicality. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(8), p. 285-288. [available for free on researchgate.net here]
Suggested watching:
  • Davies, K. and Patsko, L. (2014). Teaching pronunciation. Focus on global English. Presentation for the British Council.
  • Patsko, L. (2013). Promoting intelligibility in multilingual classrooms. Presentation delivered at ELF 6 conference.
  • Patsko, L. (2013). Integrating pronunciation work with a coursebook-led syllabus. Presentation delivered at IATEFL Poland 2013.

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