Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.


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Using a system of notation is helpful because it's a way of marking a text and reminding you of what's important when you're practising. You can use the notation we are using on these web pages:. Pronunciation — correction and practice. Some tips to help with your pronunciation. Get a 'pronunciation tool box' This should include: a notebook specifically for pronunciation a recording device such as an mp3 recorder or mobile phone a dictionary with phonetic transcription showing the sounds in words.


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Find someone to give you feedback Let's call this person a 'pronunciation buddy', someone who speaks English clearly and fluently, perhaps a friend, work colleague or fellow student. Ask yourself: what aspects of my pronunciation are affecting my communication? What would help me to communicate more effectively? You can slowly build up to controlling more features at the same time: make a note of the words or terminology you use commonly mark the syllable stress and note any problem sounds check your dictionary to get the correct pronunciation practise the items aloud, individually and in sentences.

Pronunciation of the /-ing/ ending in English

You could also ask for feedback on your speech in general conversation. Listen to yourself One of the most useful and powerful forms of feedback on your pronunciation, is to listen to a recording of your voice. Did the speaker communicate meaning effectively? Did the speaker use pausing appropriately? Key words Were key words stressed? Word stress Did the speaker use correct stress in words and word groups?

Was there a clear contrast between stressed and unstressed syllables? Intonation Was the pitch range wide enough to make the most important key words easy to hear? Did the speaker's intonation clearly indicate finished and unfinished information? Was the pitch range wide enough to make the speaker sound interesting?

Nevertheless, although learners are the ones who are acquiring a new language and their perspective of the importance of all aspects of the language is still not formed, teachers should encourage them to do it because, although both teachers and learners are interested in pronunciation, it has for the most part been neglected in English as a foreign language EFL classrooms Kelly, To sum up, as learners of a second or foreign language we need to be aware of what pronunciation entails so that we can work on those areas that may be problematic due to our native language background.

With this in mind, we decided this research should answer the following questions:. A qualitative approach was deemed to be the best way to answer the research questions. This was decided on two main grounds: a the study is to explore the context where the previous question emerged and b the fact that this investigation was not concerned with numbers, ages, gender or other statistical aspects but rather to explore patterns, feelings, and the meaning of a given situation Davies, ; Silverman, , We considered the best way to understand the situation under study was to adopt a qualitative case study approach to research.

Qualitative case study is used to gain understanding of an event or phenomenon which is influenced by the current situation, time, and environment. A case study can only be studied where it exists. It locates the observer in the environment that needs to be understood. A case study involves different methods to collect data since it needs a lot of evidence.

Qualitative case study research usually involves interviewing, observing, and analysing documents. However, Merriam has pointed out that seldom are these three strategies used equally. All the evidence collected is of a high value as it can be contrasted between what researchers observe, what people observe, think, and what they really do Gillham, Hence, as this study seeks to gain understanding of how teachers handle or teach pronunciation in elementary levels of the Language School of Universidad Veracruzana, it was thought that this goal could only be achieved by giving the participants the opportunity to express their own perceptions of the phenomenon under study together with observations of what was happening in the language classrooms.

In the next section the site where the study was carried out and the participants who agreed to cooperate are described. Although there were 18 students in Group A and 11 in Group B, only eight students—four from each group—were chosen to be interviewed later on see Table 1. Their ages ranged from 18 to 20 years old. Two male teachers of elementary English classes agreed to cooperate with this. The reason behind choosing these participants was that by being students of the lowest English level, they were very likely to have many pronunciation problems and their teachers were also very likely to have to deal with these.

Therefore, this represented a great opportunity to observe how teachers in the BA in English language program at Universidad Veracruzana dealt with pronunciation and the important role they play as one of the main input sources for students to acquire pronunciation habits. It must be noted that although the student participants expressed that they did not care whether or not their real names were used, it was decided to use pseudonyms to comply with ethics in qualitative research.

In order to collect data, it was decided to use three different types of instruments: class observation sheets, transcriptions of semi-structured interviews, and recordings of students reading aloud from a written text chosen for this purpose. At the beginning of the class observations, Ana Cristina used an observation sheet including general aspects about how she expected pronunciation would be handled in the classroom. She did class observations for five weeks. During the first week she realized that the two teacher participants dealt with pronunciation issues in different ways.

So, it was necessary to design a different observation sheet, see Appendix B based on the characteristics noticed in each group and thus be able to collect much richer data. The text chosen for this reading exercise was "Master of Horror" see Appendix C. Although it is of an advanced language level, it was chosen because its length was considered suitable to give each student the opportunity to read it aloud in one session. A further important consideration was that this text featured a lot of regular verbs in the past and past participle.

Thus, asking the students to read it aloud and record them while doing this activity would allow us to be able to detect what pronunciation problems they had and what pronunciation knowledge, received in classes, they had been able to incorporate. Semi-structure interview guides were designed for both teachers and students see Appendix D. The interviews were carried out following the guides designed but in a flexible way. That is, giving the participants the freedom to express what they wanted to share and also how they wanted to be interviewed.

For example, all students were interviewed in Spanish not only because of their English level but because they mentioned they felt less nervous speaking in Spanish when being recorded. On the other hand, the teachers preferred to be interviewed in English.

The closest interaction between researcher and participants happens during the process of data collection. Oliver has noted that "such interactions inevitably generate situations involving ethical issues" p. Therefore, as Merriam states, "ethical dilemmas are likely to emerge with regard to data collection and in the dissemination of the findings" p. Another important ethical consideration when collecting the data for this research was that in our regional and national educational contexts, asking research participants for their written consent is not always compulsory in the institutions where these researchers are affiliated.

From the experience gained in Basurto Santos' research, it seems that, rather than ask participants to fill out a written consent form, what is crucial during the collection of the data is to be sensitive to the local norms and expectations. Finally, following Silverman , the participants were explained what the research was about and their role in this study so that they could decide freely whether they wanted to participate or not.

After a careful analysis of all the data gathered by using the three instruments mentioned, which helped us in the process of triangulation, three main categories emerged: Pronunciation Instruction in the EFL Classroom, Teachers as Instructors of Pronunciation, and Pronunciation and Students' Confidence.

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Due to space limitations we chose to present the most salient themes that threw light on answering the research questions. According to the analysis and interpretation of the data gathered through class observation and student interviews, the question concerning whether or not the students had pronunciation instruction in their EFL classrooms could be answered. The findings of this study are in line with what has been found in previous studies. The instruction of pronunciation, at least with elementary students, is mainly of two types: drilling and "on-the-spot" correction of students' mistakes Pennington, ; Tice, Besides, the time devoted to the instruction of EFL pronunciation inside the classrooms was very limited and it was used, most of the time, to do the textbook pronunciation activities.

That is, in both groups there was not a specific time allocated to the teaching of pronunciation on a regular basis. Nor was there an emphasis on the importance of acquiring good pronunciation habits from the outset concerning the students in the BA in EFL program. Both teachers concurred that. We [all EFL teachers] have to do this because the students are assessed on the contents of the textbook so. Whereas Arnold mostly used drills, a pronunciation technique which has been perceived as useful to teach pronunciation Tice, , Frank sometimes gave explanations about certain words that students showed difficulties with when pronouncing them Griffiths, One example from notes on class observations serves to illustrate a common technique employed by one of the teachers as part of the pronunciation instruction:.

The "repeat after me" technique was also very prominent in the data. It was a technique employed by both professors. Here is a typical example of what was found in the class observation data:. Analyzing the data gathered though class observation, we saw that the transcript of the reading aloud activity together with the notes taken during this activity resulted in the following two categories: Teachers as Instructors of Pronunciation and Students' Practice of Pronunciation. Choral repetition was the most prominent technique that appeared in the data gathered in Group A. There was also evidence of explicit pronunciation explanations.

For example, Frank asked some of his students to remember that he had previously given them a list of regular verbs together with the rules to pronounce their past and past participle forms. As he had some new students in his group he offered a brief review of this topic. In the following extract here is an example to illustrate this:. Frank: We can, apliquen la regla que ya saben [put into practice the rule that you already know].

Finally, in addition to these common ways of how pronunciation is dealt with in the classroom, EFL teachers also provided their students with some pieces of advice about pronunciation. This help can be seen in the following extract:. Very good! Remember intonation is very important, very, very important. It makes your English more intelligible when speaking with native speakers. If you listen to the radio in English, half an hour every day, this will make a difference in your life, then half an hour on internet in English, if you do this, I'll give you 5 Mexican pesos, yes?

And reading aloud. Do it! Students: laughter Yes, teacher, yes. With regard to the second research question posed in this study, the analysis of the evidence collected from class observations and the reading aloud activity helped to find out if students, who had received some pronunciation instruction in their EFL classes, developed confidence when producing or pronouncing words and sentences in English. Due to the fact that participants of the reading aloud exercise had somehow been taught the pronunciation of some words included in the text, it was expected that they show confidence when facing those words again.

The results of the transcriptions of the reading aloud activity showed the following:. Reading exercise. This sample clearly shows how Javier had not yet assimilated some of the instructions he had been taught see Appendix E. Besides, we could also perceive his lack of confidence when he read with an interrogative tone and, at the same time, looked for approval. Furthermore, the same occurred with students from Group B:.


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Master of horror. It became apparent, in the analysis of data collected through class observations and the notes taken, that when students were asked to read a list of words, one per student, they always used a rising intonation at the end of the word when they were not sure about their pronunciation. The used this strategy to implicitly ask their EFL teachers for feedback or help. It proved to be a good student strategy as they immediately got what they were looking for: either their teacher's approval or the error correction:.

All student participants attributed their lack of confidence when pronouncing some words to their lack of practice. This perception was shared by Frank, one of the EFL teachers who participated in this study. Javier, Francisco, Laura, Jesus, and Monica also said they still used to get nervous and forget to apply the rules when doing oral activities in their EFL classroom. Finally, all participants showed awareness as to how important the existence of a pronunciation course could be and that teachers give more instructions to their students during the class.

It is also worth mentioning that Erika expressed that pronunciation instruction and practice should be mandatory "since we, as future teachers, will have to support others as well. An important number of limitations need to be considered. The main limitation was the number of participants, both students and EFL teachers.

No generalizations can be made from this study nor were they expected as this is a qualitative study. Another limitation was the time to carry out this research. The topic and the number of instruments to collect the data deserved much more time so that more conclusions could have been drawn.

Finally, when students were asked to read the text aloud, they were afraid of being tested on their pronunciation because they had the idea that the researcher was there to evaluate or criticize them. This may have altered their reading aloud a bit. For this reason, the initial idea was to have all of them doing the reading exercise at the same time but due to the researcher's and their timetables it was impossible.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the main objective of this study was to find out how teachers handled pronunciation instruction in the first levels of English in the BA of EFL program at the Language School of Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico, and if or how this handling influences in students' confidence. It can be concluded that not enough time is devoted to working on pronunciation. Moreover, the time allocated to students' work on pronunciation is used in having the students do drills or focusing on the textbook activities most of the time. This should be complemented with other types of pronunciation exercises if EFL teachers want to avoid the fossilization of both pronunciation errors and students' views on pronunciation as something that does not require much importance.

Concerning the students' lack of confidence, it can be said that the students seem to need more time to practice and develop their oral skills so that they can assimilate the knowledge and thus be able to put it into practice when using the FL. Both teachers and students need to be aware of how important it is to develop appropriate pronunciation habits from the outset.

Students will need all this in real communication situations and as future EFL teachers. Finally, there is a contradiction between what the participants think about pronunciation and their treatment of it.

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In some cases or due to the complexity of meetings it is required to have a professional translator or interpreter, but in my point of view it will be very simple if we all could communicate in the same language. Examples of early intervention include clinical teaching, peer and expert consultation, teacher assistance teams, and alternative programs such as those that offer tutorial or remedial instruction in the context of general education. Clinical teaching is carefully sequenced. Students are expected to: A plan a first draft by generating ideas for writing e.

Choice D is flatly wrong since the speaker makes the distinction between "discursive" and "higher" understanding, and Paradise Lost is the latter ref. She sat watching out the window. They live in the vastness of the Kalahari in small family groups. One family of Bushmen might meet up with another once in a few years.

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But for the most part, they live in complete isolation unaware there are other people in the world. The parents quoted below touch on some of the issues that schools and parents of ELL children must deal with together: meeting the challenge of a new language. In other words, at the level of comprehension, I could manage to understand everything, but at the level of production I may not be able to express everything I heard in exactly the same way.

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Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.
Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation. Practical Words. Practical Pronunciation.

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