TRAINING COURSE IN PHONETICS
Dearest creature in creation,
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy
Tear in eye, your dress you?ll tear.
For years English phonetics has been considered the Cinderella in the field of language studies. Students and teachers complain about the lack of materials available in the market updated and adapted to the actual necessities of our students. Besides the current materials are either far too theoretical or pay little or no attention to practice and self-practice.
Our years of teaching experience together with the requests and comments of our students encouraged us to start this project with the idea of easing and helping the task of familiarising with English phonetics. The present work is aimed not only for beginners but also covers the needs of more advanced students. Whatever their level is, the book is expected to match their challenges.
There is a minimal theoretical part as this is not the main goal of our work. It?s been thought to facilitate our students? production and articulation of English sounds. It also functions as a reminder for some of tasks proposed in forthcoming sections.
The first group of tasks focuses in the correct identification, production, and description of vowels and diphthongs in English. They reinforce the theoretical contents previously introduced in the English classroom.
The second bunch of tasks is devoted to the practice of contextualised consonantal sounds at word and sentence level. Students can use these activities to practise not only the theoretical contents they are studying but also to improve their pronunciation and spelling.
Next section is centred in suprasegmental features of the English language. The reason we place them here and not at the end, as most authors do, is to integrate them right from the very beginning in the practice as they convey meaning. They are fundamental aspects in terms of interpersonal communication. Experience has showed us that if we don?t tackle these issues from the beginning, they may be sidestepped due to the lack of time and the amount of materials to study.
The fourth section presents a number of quotations and texts to transcribe from normal spelling to phonetics symbols and vice versa. The objective is twofold. On the one hand, students have to read these texts paying special attention to intonation, rhythm and stress patterns. In addition, they have to decode phonetic symbols in order to consolidate pronunciation. On the other hand, they have to transcribe them correctly (to and from) to become familiar with phonetic symbols and master English spelling. Most of the texts we have included in this section are embedded within a self-study philosophy. That means, both the phonetically transcribed and the normal English spelled-text appear in the book, so that students can check it automatically without any help. However, there are a set of texts without a key which are expected for developing cooperative tasks.
With the idea in mind of offering would-be teachers examples of how to use phonetics in a joyful and meaningful classroom atmosphere, we present a number of activities to be carried out with students. They mainly focus on vowel production (long vs. short vowels), consonants (contrasting Spanish and English), intonation, stress, and rhythm.
To conclude, we considered useful to include a brief glossary with the main technical words students should be acquainted with to successfully understand and fulfil the objectives of the course.
- Introduction 1
- Theoretical bases 3
- Vowels: 5
- Diphthongs 9
- Consonants 10
- Practical tasks 11
- Part 1: Vowels and Diphthongs 13
- Part 2: Consonants 23
- Part 3: Suprasegmental features. Stress, rhythm, intonation 35
- Phonetic transcriptions 39
- Didactic tasks 137
- Glossary 145