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Teaching Pronunciation

چكيده

         چهارچوب نوشتن طرح درس براي آموزش تلفظ به زبان آموزان : آموزش، تمرين و توليد است . با توجه به اين چهارچوب كلي ، اين مقاله سعي كرده است تا راهنمايي مناسب كه تمامي ابعاد آموزش تلفظ را در بر مي گيرد ارائه نمايد. تلفظ درست زبان تنها اداي درست صداها نيست دانش آموزان بايستي تكيه و آهنگ صدا راهم بدانند. اين مقاله روشهاي مفيد آموزش و تمرين تمامي جنبه هاي تلفظ را ارائه مي نمايد. در آخر روشهاي تصحبح درست تلفظ زبان آموزان  بيان شده است.

 

Key Words: teach, pronunciation, techniques

 

 

Abstract

         The framework for a lesson that teaches pronunciation, is a PPP framework: Presentation, Practice, and Production. Following this framework, this article tried to provide a useful guide in order to cover all aspects of teaching pronunciation. Pronouncing English well is not just about getting the individual sounds right. Students also need to know about stress and intonation. This article also provided useful techniques of presenting and practicing all aspects of pronunciation. Finally, ways of providing feedback and correction were presented.

 Introduction

         The teaching of pronunciation is very crucial to students because it is a filter through which others see them and often discriminate against them. Teachers should help students in order to acquire acceptable accent of the target language.

         In the past, teachers usually focused on the articulation of consonants and vowels. In recent years, the focus has shifted to include other features such as stress and intonation. 

         In case of the accent of the target language, there are many acceptable varieties of English throughout the world.  Whichever variety is used in our country, the most important thing is that students’ pronunciation must be good enough for another person to understand what they are trying to say. The teacher can teach one standard variety as a model, and give learners at least some exposure to others, through the use of live speakers or recordings, in order to raise awareness of other possible accents.

         In many situations the non-native teacher has to be the model whether he or she likes it or not. According to Ur (1996) this teacher can be an adequate model provided he or she is a competent speaker of the language. In any case it is desirable for the learners to be exposed to a number of native and other acceptable accents through the use of recordings.

     

Teaching Pronunciation

     

         The teacher can teach pronunciation consciously or unconsciously. Ur (1996) believed that unconscious pronunciation training is likely to be more helpful with classes of younger learners and beginners. In this case there is no direct teaching of pronunciation, no explanations, and no instruction. Conscious training is suitable for older and advanced learners. The teacher teaches pronunciation directly by talking about pronunciation rules, explains about place of articulation of different sounds, and different types of sentences and their intonation pattern.

         The framework for a lesson that teaches pronunciation can be a PPP framework.  A PPP lesson is divided into three phases: Presentation, Practice, and Production. The teacher presents and teaches new language to the students by demonstrating it to them, explaining it and giving students lots of practice in how to use it.  By the end of the lesson, during the Production phase, the new language becomes part of the students’ own knowledge of language and they should be able to use it easily.

 

    A. Presentation

         What exactly are the pronunciation features that the ESL teacher should cover? First, the teacher should consider what type of ESL/EFL course s/he is teaching. Is it four skills, oral communication, exclusively pronunciation, or something else? The extent of pronunciation instruction will vary according to the time available and the focus of the course.

         There must be sessions directing learners’ attention to and giving practice in aspects of pronunciation. These sessions can be exclusively pronunciation. The teacher should also correct students causally in the course of other activities.

         In determining pronunciation objectives for an ESL/EFL course, the teacher must be well acquainted with the English sound system. This system consists of the English vowel and consonant sounds and their possible combinations, as well as the modifications the sounds can undergo in various contexts. Pronouncing English well is not just about getting the individual sounds right. Students also need to know:

  • Which parts of a word are stressed.
  • Which parts of a sentence are stressed.
  • Basic intonation patterns.
  • What it means when we change the intonation in a sentence.
  • How to link together the sounds within a sentence.
  1. Sound System of English

         Doff (1990) believed, " …there is normally no need to teach the sounds of English individually; students are able to pick up the sound system of the language…" (P113). However, he also stated that teachers should find difficult sounds or sound combinations and focus on them. He suggested the following three steps in order to show sounds that cause difficulty:

         Repetition: The experience of many learners is that pronunciation can be, and often is, acquired by imitation. The teacher can help students to hear the sounds clearly by saying the sounds clearly on their own several times and asking students to repeat it. The teacher can use the sound in one or two words and ask students to repeat it in chorus and individually.  The teacher can also use recordings to be a good model for the students.

         Contrast: Sometimes students confuse two similar sounds, it is obviously useful to contrast them. The teacher can help students distinguish between similar sounds by reading out pairs of words with only one difference between them. Contrasting the sound with a similar sound will help students clearly hear the difference

         Description: sometimes students don't have a particular sound in their own sound system; therefore, they can not produce it correctly. Using simple English or native language, the teacher can explain about the way of the pronunciation of that sound. For a course focusing on pronunciation at a more advanced level, it is useful to present a diagram of the organs of speech, the phonetic alphabet, the consonant chart, and the vowel chart.

 

         Contextualized Minimal Pairs: Bowen (1972) as cited in Celce-Marcia (2001) was one of the firsts to stress the importance of teaching pronunciation in meaningful contexts.  He argued that learners control a feature when focusing on form but lose it once they focus on the meaning of the message.  He believed that the teacher should set up a contextualized situation in which the learner must distinguish the correct form aurally in order to provide the correct response or produce the correct form in order to elicit the correct response. For example:

 

This pen leaks.

                     Then don’t write with it.

 This pan leaks.

                      Then don’t cook with it

         Listening Activities: Most research however, shows clearly that the problem is more likely to be reception - what you don't hear, you can't say. According to Dalton (1997) if the "English" sound is not clearly received, the brain of the learner converts it into the closest sound in their own language. Thus the dental English fricative / d / in "those", becomes converted by Iranian speakers into the dentalised  /d/ , producing "dose" as this is what the speaker hears. Given this reality, it would seem logical to place a heavy emphasis on listening (reception) as a way into releasing appropriate pronunciation (production).

         Integrated Whole-body Approach: This is a model for teaching pronunciation that is suggested by Celce_Murcia (2001). In this approach teachers should use short video taped interactions as the basis for instruction. First, clips from film or television are shown silently for general cues. Then, it is shown with sound to confirm predictions about the context. Through repeated listening each line is carefully analyzed. This intensive listening is followed by intensive speaking practice in which learners try to imitate the pronunciation as well as the movements of each line. Teachers can also use audio recordings in order to provide students with intensive listening activities to improve pronunciation.

 

2. Stress

         In dealing with word stress, first the teacher should talk about syllable. The teacher must be sure that the students understand the meaning of syllable. Through different examples, the teacher should point out that most words with two or more syllables have one stressed syllable and two or more unstressed ones. The teacher should talk about stress and the way of producing stressed syllables through different examples and in a meaningful way. For example:

1) ”A contest for a top job”.    

  ̀̀̀̀̀̀Contest: N

2) “Contest a statement”.            Coǹtest: V

          In the first sentence stress is on the first syllable of contest, and in the second sentence stress is on the second syllable.

         The teacher should also talk about sentence stress. S/he should point out that we also stress certain syllables within a sentence, not just within a word. To mark stress in a sentence, we make those syllables louder and longer, and also higher. This stress comes on the most important word or words in a sentence and these are usually nouns, verbs and sometimes adjectives and adverbs. Other little word, like “on”, “a”, and “and” disappear. We can also change the meaning of what we say by stressing those syllables in a sentence that we want to make more important than the others. Maybe we want to emphasize something, or to express our surprise or to correct what someone else has said. For example:

I saw Mary in the library. (Not in the classroom) 

I saw Mary teaching in the classroom. (Usually I don’t see her teaching in the classroom)

         According to Doff (1990) teachers can show the stress pattern of a sentence by using their voice, gestures, and the blackboard. 

 

3. Intonation

         The way the voice rises and falls at certain different parts of sentences as we speak is intonation. Intonation is very important in expressing meaning, and especially in showing our feelings (e.g. surprise, anger, and gratitude). Students must be aware of two basic intonation patterns: rising intonation and falling intonation. The teacher should talk about intonation pattern of different sentences.   Students will learn intonation patterns by listening to a good model and repeating. As the teacher presents some new language, s/he can show the rise and fall of the intonation pattern by arm and hand movements. When the teacher writes a sentence on the board s/he can show the intonation by writing in the arrows. For example:

                                                

”How do you come to school?”

 

         In order to teach pronunciation especially intonation, teachers can use drama. Stern (1980) as cited by Celce_Murcia (2001) proposes a method for using drama as a means of pronunciation teaching in the classroom. Each pair of students receives the script to a different scene. Rather than memorizing the lines, they simply provide a dramatic reading. The teacher helps them prepare by modeling each line and having students repeat, drawing attention to aspects of pronunciation as they appear. 

B. Practice

         It is very important that the students have enough practice of the new language. Students can do this in pairs, groups or as a whole class. This phase gives the students a chance to physically practice pronouncing the new language, getting the sounds, stress, and intonation right.

 

   1. English sounds 

          After presenting English sounds, the teacher should help students practice difficult, similar, and new sounds. The following three activities are suggested by Doff (1990):

 

         a. Minimal Pairs: minimal pairs are pairs of words that only differ in one feature. For example: ship- sheep/ loose-lose.   Minimal pairs can be used to focus on differences in vowel or consonant sounds. The teacher writes a long list of contrasted words on the blackboard.  Students draw two columns in a notebook. They write one sound at the top of one column and the other sound at the top of the other. They have to write the list of contrasted words down in the correct column.

         b. Missing words: sometimes the teacher wants to practice a difficult sound. In this case s/he can say short sentences or phrases in which one word is missing. That missing word contains that specific difficult sound.

For example:

A boy and a ------.

First, second and ----------

A pigeon is a kind of ---------.

 

         c. Making sentences: By using Bowen‘s technique the teacher can provide lots of meaningful practice of English sounds. The teacher writes a list of minimal pairs and students write sentences by using those words. For example: Thin-tin, sit-seat

He is thin.

He has tin.

Don’t sit on that seat.

 

         Classification activity: Celce-Murcia (1991) suggested that the teacher could provide a classification system, usually consisting of one example or model for each category. Students are divided into groups. Then, different packets of cards with additional words or phrases are distributed to each group and they must decide in which category each card belongs. For example, for regular past -ed endings, the teacher writes at the top of three columns on the blackboard:

          

              /¶d/                       /d/                       /t/

            added                moved               baked

 

        The teacher first shows how the -ed ending is pronounced in each case. Then, cards with regular past-tense verbs are distributed among the groups. Each group should classify each word and then write it into the suitable columns on the board. 

 

        C for consonant, V for vowel: Alan Stanton (2002) suggested the following activity to be carried out before introducing phonemic symbols. It is a good activity to practice vowel and consonant sounds in English.

 

Procedure:

  • Choose ten words that students already know. It is important that they be familiar words.
  • Choose four or five other familiar words as examples.
  • Demonstrate on the board that the word 'cat', for example, can be written CVC, Consonant sound, Vowel sound, Consonant sound. This is a very easy example but there are more difficult ones. 'Caught' is CVC, 'through' is CCV, 'breakfast' is CCVCCVCC, 'brother' is CCVCV, 'hour' is VV, and ‘carrot’ is CVCVC.
  • Ask students to do the same with the ten words you have chosen. You can ask them to do this by looking and writing, by looking, listening (to you) and writing, by listening, saying (to each other) and writing - whichever combination seems valuable and necessary.
  • If you are not sure about a word, check the phonemic symbols in a dictionary.
  • Check students' answers and explain any difficulties.

         This activity will clarify many points for students. For example, that 'br' is two sounds but 'th' is one, final 'er' is one and 'rr' is one. It will show that 'h' is sometimes silent and sometimes not and that final 'r' is silent. Note that diphthongs count as one vowel sound. This activity is good preparation for learning phonemes because it focuses on sounds and not letters.

 

         The Silent Sounds Game is another interesting activity that is suggested by Liz Oldham (2002). This game is a good way to practice the vowel and diphthong sounds, and young learners particularly enjoy it.

         In 'Silent Sounds' you mouth a sound silently and the children guess the sound from the shape of your mouth. Use the game to contrast sounds that are often confused such as / I/ and /e/ - found in words like 'sit' and 'set'.

         Before you start, divide the board into two halves - left and right. On one side write the phonemic symbol for one of the two sounds - for example /ǽ/, or a word containing the sound - such as cat. On the other side of the board, write the other sound; for example, /e/ or the word 'bed'. Now mouth one of the two sounds, the children should watch your mouth closely and then identify the sound by shouting the correct sound.

         

  2. Stress

         There are different techniques that the teacher can use in order to provide students with enough practice on stress. Followings are some examples:

        Repetition:  The easiest way for students to practice stress is by repetition. For this to be effective, it is important for teachers to give a good model of the sentence themselves; saying it at normal speed, making a clear difference between stressed and unstressed syllables. The teacher can also show stress by using gestures. S/he must make sure that the students pay attention to stress when they repeat the sentence.    

         Underlining the stressed syllable: The teacher can help students to practice hearing these patterns by writing a list of words of two or more syllables on the blackboard. Students copy these into their notebooks. The teacher reads the words aloud. Students have to underline the stressed syllable in each word.

         Another useful version of the above activity according to Gallacher (2002) is that the teacher can give the students the tape script and play a very short extract. Students should underline the words that are stressed on the tape script. Discuss the kinds of words that are stressed. They will usually be the words that give meaning: verbs, nouns and adjectives.

         The teacher can give the students the tape script to a listening before they hear it and ask them to predict which words they think will be stressed. S/he can play the tape to check the predictions.

 

        Dictation: Regarding sentence stress it is also possible to employ a dictation with gaps as a means of making students aware of reduced speech. According to Celce_Marcia (1991) dictation exercise provides students with some word endings and unstressed words left out for them to provide. For example, in the following dialogue (read on tape or by the teacher), the underlined word or words are omitted from the students’ text and must be filled in.

A: Have you seen Tom?

B: He’s not here.

A : Where did he go ?

B: I don’t know.

 

3. Intonation

         The teacher can help students practice intonation and sentence stress in different ways. Followings are some ideas:

     

         Repetition: Students can also practice intonation patterns by listening to a good model and repeating.

 

 
   

 

 What is your name?        Students repeat several times.

                                             

When are you going?       Students repeat several times.

 

Would you like some tea?   Students repeat several times.

 

         Chain drills: According to Baker (2003) by organizing chain drills round the class or groups, the teacher can provide useful practice on intonation for students. Students can practice asking and answering questions. It is fun to tell students some surprising information and ask them to respond with the correct phrase and intonation, for example:

Teacher: “My grandmother is 117”.

 

 
   

 

Student: “Really?”

 

Teacher: “I went to the cinema six times last week.”

 

 
   

 

Student: “Did you?”

       

        Believe it or not: The teacher can also use pictures to practice intonation of surprise; it is called ‘Believe it or not.’ Take a picture (pictures of people work best for this) and hold it up for the whole class to see. Say some statements about the person in the card, e.g., ‘He’s 40, he’s a bus driver’. Get the students to repeat the statements after you, as in a straightforward drill. Then say something that is either not believable or very surprising, e.g. ‘He’s had a head transplant!’, ‘He won a gold medal in the Olympics!’ Repeat these sentences yourself with the intonation of disbelief or surprise, as a model. You may like to analyze your own way of showing surprise through stress and intonation before you do this. Practice this with the students for a while, with a mixture of believable and unbelievable sentences, and let the students show their reaction in the way that they repeat the sentence. You may find the students have different ideas of what is credible. Finally, the students can be given their own pictures to make up believable and unbelievable statements for, and allowed to practice in pairs.

 

         Shadow reading: According to Lucy Baylis (2002), the teacher can use a text from the course book in order to practice pronunciation. This task is challenging and motivating and can be used at any level.

Procedure:

  • Teacher reads the text aloud and students follow, marking the text for sentence stress.
  • Teacher reads the text a second time and the students mark for intonation.
  • Individual chunks that show good examples of intonation patterns or problematic pronunciation can then be drilled.
  • Students practice these aspects of pronunciation by reading the text to them before the teacher reads the text aloud again and they listen.
  • Then the students read the text with the teacher and they have to start and finish at the same time as the teacher, who reads the text at normal speed
  • This works well after some exposure to the rules of pronunciation, connected speech, stress and intonation.

C. Production

 

          Activities, which are performance oriented _such as interviews, speeches, role-plays, drama scenes, and debates_ are useful techniques in this phase. They provide opportunities for self-correction.

         An interview allows for a great deal of question formation and is an interesting way to practice the intonation patterns for questions.

            Teachers can give students topics for oral presentations. A student presents a topic and other students try to monitor him or her for one particular phonetic feature in each speech, for example, blending, intonation, stress, and individual sounds.

         Role-plays and drama scenes are always fun and ideal vehicles for practicing pronunciation. They are fully contextualized, include gestures and body language, and provide opportunities for practicing natural speech.

 

 Feedback and Correction

         Providing feedback is very important during instruction because it gives learners a sense of their progress and reveals where they need to focus their attention. According to Celce-Marcia (2001) the teacher can provide feedback in three main ways:

 

A. Self monitoring

         Self-correction is the most valuable since it encourages the student to be autonomous. Students can correct themselves and improve their pronunciation by listening to the recordings of own speech. The teacher should point out students' errors silently through gestures. Hand gestures can represent different aspects of pronunciation, for example, number of syllables, linking, rising or falling intonation, etc. Then, s/he lets students correct their mistakes. 

 

B. Peer feedback

         Learning from someone who is only a little further along than you can be an effective alternative to instructor feedback alone. By listening to other students’ speech, and finding errors, students will become aware of their own problems in speech.

C. Teacher Feedback

          As the final step, teacher feedback is indispensable in making students aware of errors that they are unable to distinguish. The teacher might also repeat the student’s utterance and pause just before the error occurred to give the student an opportunity to complete the utterance and correct the error. Correcting by simply repeating the student’s utterance without error is distracting and gives little clue about where the error occurred. For these reasons, explicit nonverbal correction can often be more effective. It is better to focus on errors that occur as a pattern, not as isolated mistakes. This might include only the feature currently being dealt with in class or that student’s specific difficulty, which might be rhythm, word and sentence stress, blending, intonation pattern, final voiced consonants, or similar elements. The teacher should ask whether the error cause a breakdown in communication. If the error hinders the process of communication, the teacher should correct it.






تاريخ انتشار : دوشنبه 19 بهمن 1394
موضوعات: مقاله های علمی مدرسین ،
برچسب ها: مقاله، اساتید، Pronunciation ،



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