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Integrating Pronunciation for Fluency in Presentation Skills

Abstract

Pronunciation teaching of the segmental aspects needs to be balanced with the inclusion of learner awareness of stress, rhythm, intonation and meaningful production. Yet many formats for pronunciation teaching do not place these skills and an awareness of the suprasegmental features in either a communicative format or a specific speaking situation. Learners' reasons for improving pronunciation may, however, be quite specific. For many ESL and EFL learners skillful pronunciation is linked with effective presentation in an international context of developing globalization. The paper presents a case for the application of pronunciation development to the needs of learners who are undertaking presentation skills courses or speech communication training. A range of pronunciation skills applicable to presentation speaking courses are presented within a framework of integrating accuracy skills with fluency development. Evidence of the importance of the links between suprasegmental awareness and production is discussed. Secondly, the practical application of speech production approaches will be linked to the growing marketplace demand for presentation skills in both EFL and ESL situations. (Author)
DOCUMENT RESUME
ED 408 856 FL 024 624
AUTHOR Hall, Stephen
TITLE Integrating Pronunciation for Fluency in Presentation
Skills.
PUB DATE Mar 97
NOTE 14p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers
of English to Speakers of Other Languages (31st, Orlando,
FL, March 11-15, 1997).
PUB TYPE Information Analyses (070) Reports Evaluative (142) --
Speeches /Meeting Papers (150)
EDRS PRICE MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
DESCRIPTORS Classroom Techniques; *English (Second Language); Foreign
Countries; Language Fluency; Mutual Intelligibility;
*Pronunciation Instruction; *Public Speaking; Second
Language Instruction; Speech Communication; *Speech Skills;
*Suprasegmentals
ABSTRACT Pronunciation teaching of the segmental aspects needs to be
balanced with the inclusion of learner awareness of stress, rhythm,
intonation and meaningful production. Yet many formats for pronunciation
teaching do not place these skills and an awareness of the suprasegmental
features in either a communicative format or a specific speaking situation.
Learners' reasons for improving pronunciation may, however, be quite
specific. For many ESL and EFL learners skillful pronunciation is linked with
effective presentation in an international context of developing
globalization. The paper presents a case for the application of pronunciation
development to the needs of learners who are undertaking presentation skills
courses or speech communication training. A range of pronunciation skills
applicable to presentation speaking courses are presented within a framework
of integrating accuracy skills with fluency development. Evidence of the
importance of the links between suprasegmental awareness and production is
discussed. Secondly, the practical application of speech production
approaches will be linked to the growing marketplace demand for presentation
skills in both EFL and ESL situations. (Author)
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Integrating Pronunciation for Fluency in Presentation Skills
Stephen Hall
Language and Communication Division - Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore
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Integrating Pronunciation for Fluency in Presentation Skills
Stephen Hall
Language and Communication Division - Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore
Abstract
Pronunciation teaching of the segmental aspects needs to be balanced with the
inclusion of learner awareness of stress, rhythm, intonation and meaningful
production. Yet many formats for pronunciation teaching do not place these skills
and an awareness of the suprasegmental features in either a communicative format
or a specific speaking situation. Learners reasons for improving pronunciation may
however be quite specific. For many ESL and EFL learners skilful pronunciation is
linked with effective presentation in an international context of developing
globalisation.
The paper presents a case for the application of pronunciation development to the
needs of learners who are undertaking presentation skills courses or speech
communication training. A range of pronunciation skills applicable to presentation
speaking courses are presented within a framework of integrating accuracy skills
with fluency development.
Evidence of the importance of the links between suprasegmental awareness and
production is discussed. Secondly, the practical application of speech production
approaches will be linked to the growing marketplace demand for presentation skills
in both EFL and ESL situations.
Introduction
Pronunciation teaching has had periods of prominence and periods of neglect in the
field of English Language Teaching. The need to focus on being accurate with
sound has always remained while the emphases on pronunciation have differed with
attention to fluency development through communicative speaking tasks. In
discussing speaking skills and the balance between fluency and accuracy (Brumfit,
1984) it becomes necessary to define what we mean by pronunciation teaching.
Pronunciation activities provide learning experiences to develop accurate control
over the sound system (Murphy, 1991). It is worthwhile to signal that speaking
activities often focus on providing opportunities for improving oral fluency, with
opportunities for getting the message across through interpersonal activities. This
paper will suggest that pronunciation activities can be integrated with fluency
development within the format of presentation skills so that there is a close
relationship between being accurate and communicating effectively. Presentation
skills are speaking skills for an audience whom you wish to inform or persuade in an
engaging way. To be an effective speaker in a public situation one needs to make
use of rhythm, intonation, stress, pitch and non-verbals. All of these
suprasegmentals are part of pronunciation development with research suggesting
their importance. Research will be discussed and related to integrating
suprasegmental awareness with presentation skills.
A Broad View of Speaking Skills
Speaking as a skill may be seen in two important groupings. The first is that of
motor perceptive skills and the second is that of interaction skills. Audio-lingual
approaches emphasised perceiving, recalling and articulating, (Mackey, 1965), the
motor perceptive skills of hearing and saying the sounds, but to purely focus on
these is rather like learning to ride a bicycle on a road with no traffic. The interaction
skills of a language using situational awareness are also necessary. Wilkins (1975)
points out that learners must be able to transfer 'knowledge from a language
learning situation to a language using situation' (1975: 76). For to extend the
argument, the motor perceptive skills will often be context-less and the learner may
not transfer them to comprehensible output (Swain, 1985). In another framework,
pronunciation skills need to transfer to speaking skills in context. Activities for doing
this then involve placing pronunciation in a communication situation in order that
motor perceptive skills and interaction skills can be integrated. In a succinct
summary of interaction skills Bygate (1987) notes their importance.
Interaction skills involve making decisions about communication, such as:
what to say, how to say it, and whether to develop it, in accordance with one's
intentions, while maintaining the desired relations with others. Note that our notions
of what is right or wrong now depend on such things as what we have decided to
say, how successful we have been so far, whether it is useful to continue the point,
what our intentions are, and what sorts of relations we intend to establish or
maintain with our interlocutors. This of course is true of all communication. (Bygate,
1987: 6)
Pronunciation and the Development of Meaning.
Interaction skills have become the subject of many programmes and much text
production for spoken English while views of pronunciation as a linguistic
competency have led to beliefs that pronunciation is primarily the development of
phonemic discrimination - a motor perceptive skill. Yet pronunciation is now being
revisited (Celce-Murcia and Goodwin, 1991; Dalton and Seidlhofer, 1994;Laroy,
1995; Naiman, 1987;) in a move away from the traditional phonemic based
approach. There is consideration of placing the motor-perceptive skills, which are
the prime focus of pronunciation teaching, in a communicative framework. The
accuracy focus of many programmes needs a context to link the smaller units of
speech to explorations of fluency, being message oriented instead of only means
oriented both because learners do not transfer learning and because of learners'
needs.
There is a realisation that one may integrate part-skills, such as knowing the
segments of speech, with practical situations of production (Littlewood, 1992). The
part skills of knowing the segments can be put in a larger context in terms of what
we know from discourse analysis.
Discourse analysis reveals pronunciation skills as being both for expressing
referential meaning and part of an interactional dynamic. Sounds are a critical part
of the process in which we communicate meaning in a complex mix of vocalic,
grammatical and sociolinguistic experience (Brazil, Coulthard and Johns, 1980).
Pronunciation is then the physical competence of hearing and producing sounds as
A
Suprasegmentals and Non-Verbals
Studies point to links between prosodic features, in particular rhythm and gesture,
noting that pause and the framing of important or foregrounded ideas is often
accompanied by non-verbals (Gilbert, 1994). To cite Pegolo (1993):
Hadar (1989: 246), in a recent investigation of the role of head movement in
speech production, cites a number of studies which strongly suggest that 'speech
production may be enhanced by body movements, both motorically and
symbolically'. Hadar's experiments allowed him to postulate in greater detail how
motor enhancement, i.e. improved co-ordination of the articulatory organs, may
occur and thus, by extension, how speech may be rendered more intelligible...
Hadar is suggesting that such pre-vocal head movements actually enhance speech
intelligibility because of their coordinative function on the articulatory organs and
thus on production of individual sounds at the segmental level (ibid, 55).
Pegolo develops the argument further by focusing on how tensions in the
body and the effect of making meaning through speech production involve external
and internal movement. Speech therapists have for many decades recognised the
link between movement and mastering sound. Second language teachers working
on speech production could note that research in aphasia therapy supports the role
of suprasegmental development through structured techniques which work with
tempo, rhythm, distinct stress and gesturing to create awareness (Shewan, 1968;
Sparks and Holland, 1976).
Guberina (1985: 40) has written that speech rhythm and intonation have both
evolved 'genetically from movement, internal and external...' Thus, movement
which is compatible with suprasegmental features is given priority over segmental
aspects because rhythm and intonation are believed to set up the appropriate
tensions for the perception and production of individual sounds (Renard 1970,
Guberina 1976 cited in Pegolo). First language public speaker trainers have also
written at length about the importance of linking movement and effective
presentation using the suprasegmentals (Turk,1985).
Apart from the importance of suprasegmentals from a motor-perceptive
orientation there is the importance of units of meaning created by pauses and
intonation. In developing fluency it is worthwhile to focus on the units of speech
which relate to concepts of intonation.
Utterances and Fluency
Given that our speech is determined by breathe and breathe control it is not
surprising that units of production relate to our biological limitations and our
neurological limitations. Our physical production echoes our thinking. Units of
speech in terms of information and intonation units may differ with the essential
division of tonal and stress based languages yet all work within what we could term
a 'breath unit.' There are only so many sounds one can produce in a breath.
Researchers have become interested in links between the breath unit, which can be
termed an utterance and the information unit (Crookes, 1990).
well as the meaningful development of the sound and word level skills through
linking speech performance, and purpose. The part skills of production may
develop best if linked to sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and
strategic competence (Cana le and. Swain, 1980). in learning situations where there
is a balance between the physical motor-perceptive skills, and situations where
learners will transfer the parts of productive speech to a range of competencies.
Pronunciation development may then be seen as the development of the, way
we convey meaning by being intelligible through integrating motor-perceptive skills
with delivering a clear message. One area of pronunciation methodology where an
awareness of discourse contexts and communication skills meet is that of applying
an awareness of suprasegmentals to the conveying of meaning. It is in focusing on
suprasegmentals that one sees the notions of accuracy and fluency, motor-
perceptive skills and communication strategies meet in a useful approach.
Approaches to Suprasegmental Skills Development
Much traditional work on segmental analysis and teaching was conducive to ordered
and structured safe approaches to pronunciation development. The 'building block'
nature of consonant and vowel segments and the influence of behaviourism lead to
conducive contrastive analysis and neatly ordered texts tailored for the language
laboratory market (Baker, 1977).
Most modern researchers and practitioners agree that suprasegmental
features such as stress, rhythm and intonation are if anything, more important than
segmental features ( Bradford, 1988, Brown, 1992; Kenworthy, 1987; Morley,
1991). Given that being intelligible involves interacting it is worth quoting a
communication study on the weight of importance in communication. Mehrabion
and Ferris (1967) cited in Brown (1992) have the following interesting results for the
weight of importance in communication: face 55 per cent; tone 38 per cent; words
7 per cent. Tone in its general sense is conveyed by stress, rhythm and intonation
which leaves little return if one is focusing all of a pronunciation course on phonemic
discrimination: a segmental approach.
This is not to deny the role of difficult sounds and mastering them as part of a
programme but the fact is that many texts on pronunciation teaching took little
cognisance of research into listeners perceptions and the importance of
suprasegmentals (Brazil et al, 1980; Halliday, 1985; Brown, 1990). Many
pronunciation teaching texts centre on the phonemic discrimination approach
oblivious to a mass of research on how people decode the spoken word. Some
specialised texts recognise the need to balance segmental work with intonation
development demonstrating that while individual sounds may cause difficulties the
rhythmic patterns created by the occurrence of stress are an under rated factor in
decoding (Roach,1983; Rogerson and Gilbert,1990). An example of a useful
decoding tool is that content words tend to be stressed while generally function
words, connectives and affixes tend to be unstressed (Hamill, 1976; Brown, 1990).
It is within one breathe that there is an utterance, an accepted unit of describing
speech. An utterance may have a time boundary of one to eight seconds (Scollon,
1974) and it has features that are worth considering when comparing spoken
English and written English, for in developing fluency we face the issue of units of
language to be taught. An utterance is a stream of speech with the following
characteristics.
1. It is bounded by pauses of variable length.
2. It is under one intonation contour
3. It constitutes an idea unit
This definition (Hall, 1996) derived from earlier research (Kroll, 1977; Long,
1980; Crookes and Rulon, 1985; and Crookes, 1988; Crookes ,1990) has valuable
features for both discourse analysis and teaching. It has been applied to research
into talk (Hall, 1991) and found to link to "changes in content" (Shewan, 1988: 124).
Speech can then be analysed, conceptualised and understood as the
organisation and development of utterances, which are not always complete
sentences, but are the building blocks of information. Halliday (1985) uses the term
'tone unit' with many identical features to the term 'utterance'. In his incisive
work he links the tone unit with an information unit describing it as the basic building
block of speech. The effort of production and the stress are seen to reflect the
importance of particular pieces of information.
Coulthard and Brazil (1982) also describe the importance of intonational units
in terms of interaction. Intonation is defined as a major aspect of defining meanings,
oppositions, contrasts and comparisons. Speakers present concepts foregrounded
as important information or backgrounded as that which a speaker already knows
through stress patterns and accented markers (Taylor, 1993). The marking of
important information is through attention and greater effort in emphasising the
important utterance. The utterance, deserves greater attention as a teaching unit
for fluency development.
Developing Learner Awareness of Utterances
Raising learners awareness depends on our motivation, and developing both
pronunciation and listening ability for utterances beyond the sound recognition level.
Chances are that many EFL students would not have perceived English in its
spoken form, that is a series of utterances, rather they may have heard read aloud
grammatically correct sentences. The heart of the rhythmic system - syllable length
may also be initially difficult for students to apprehend through the ear but it may be
demonstrated through other senses (Wong, 1987) graphing, drawing or as Judy
Gilbert an American oracy specialist is fond of doing through the rubber band as a
demonstration of stretching out the syllables.
Listening to what Gilbert (1993, 1994) terms the baseline emphasis where
content words are emphasised and structure words de-emphasised is useful. For
learners need to listen in order to understand, and then produce with a focus on the
semantic cues, the information, and not a focus on syntax (Rivers 1984;
Mendelsohn, 1994). Listening to the focus word, to that which is emphasised to
foreground information is another useful skill which parallels L1 public speaking text
instruction modes, a point I shall develop later. There are after all, many ways of
saying 'I love you' but all speakers know that in all speech, the relationship and the
purpose link to how one says something.
Graphics may highlight the focus word and they are also useful in defining the
information unit, the utterance. Learners enjoy listening to dialogues or lines and
deciding what mood is being expressed. For in listening the learner builds meaning
beyond the linguistic level and then sees communicative applications to building
fluency. For pronunciation is not only a motor-perceptive skill. It is also a skill for
interaction in that tone, stress and rhythm can, with one set of words, produce a
wide range of results.
Putting Pronunciation Fluency into Formats
Pronunciation development of suprasegmental features involves changing
perspectives of which pronunciation model is taught, which means of developing
skills are used and what specialised areas of language link to pronunciation skills
development.
The question of which pronunciation is taught needs to be seen in the light of
English as an intranational and international language (von Schon, 1987). The
complexity of World Englishes is becoming a field of research with many issues as
most English speakers are non-native speakers Kachru (1994). Clearly the day of
RP and the Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle is over with the contesting mid-
Atlantic accent along with a growing recognition of various modes of the
international medium (Kachru, 1982). Morley describes a need for "reasonably
intelligible pronunciation" so that learners are "served with instruction that will give
them communicative empowerment" (1991: 489).
The types of instruction that link pronunciation and communication have
began in the last decade to broaden in scope. Some modes of learning place
pronunciation in communicative contexts in which the focus is on conveying a
message rather than practising sounds in isolation (Pica, 1984). The use of
dialogues, pair work segmental practise and group processes marks a
communicative emphasis but does not incorporate suprasegmentals or draw
learners' attention to the form of the language. Recent SLA research suggests that
attention to form of language is useful (Ellis, 1989; Long, 1988) and recent texts
show a developing awareness of the importance of suprasegmentals in conveying
meaning.
Conveying meaning through mixing the motor-perceptive awareness and
interaction skills needs a format of speaking tasks. Recording short speeches in
groups and interviewing peers are useful techniques (Morley, 1993). Linking
listening comprehension skills and pronunciation is another important area. The
building blocks of word stress, reduced vowels and patterns are often best taught in
utterances which emphasise basic rules for context and structure words. Research
informs recent texts which mix listening awareness with prosodic features (Gilbert,
1993, Laroy, 1995).
One difficulty that all texts face is the movement from part-skill learning to
putting the parts into a meaningful situation. It is crucial to place suprasegmental
practice in context given that much research stresses that understanding a message
links to suprasegmentals. In an example of EFL classrooms Evans (1993) found
teaching skill-specific and integrative approaches to pronunciation useful. The
Japanese learners benefited from suprasegmental practice through marking texts
for thought groups, shifting the emphasis in sentences, and changing the moods of
scripts by exploring different intonational patterns. Success with the segmental
difficulties led the writer to term his approach as 'Right side-up Pronunciation for the
Japanese.' The approach also used specific role play and presentation speaking
tasks based on learners' ideas on the situations that they needed speaking for.
A task analysis, when we ask why do are learners need to talk and to whom
do they need to talk to would seem in order. In the field of specific purpose teaching
we find the most detailed examples of task analysis in terms of speech performance.
Yet even in detailed speaking texts where accuracy is critical, pronunciation aspects
are often missing. In aviation English where functions and details are delineated as
if life and death depend on it, as they do, there is a lack of attention to pronunciation
aspects of the code. Listening examples are provided but little credence is given to
the critical role of suprasegmentals (Leveson, 1984; Robertson, 1987).
The functional approach and clear statements of speech needs inform other
specific purpose fluency texts for example; texts for the hospitality industry (Potter
and Assumpca, 1980; Adamson, 1987; Revell and Stott, 1988) and texts for
specific communicative functions such as business socialising (Ellis and Driscoll,
1987). Yet it is rare for recent specific purpose fluency texts to acknowledge that
intermediate level learners as well as beginners need to be aware of prosodic
speech features. It is if pronunciation is only gained by listening. Yet a very recent
work in response to a large and profitable specific purpose market incorporates the
recent upsurge in pronunciation teaching. This is fluency development for
International Teaching Assistants.
International teaching assistants are a major part of the American academic
scene and their presence creates a demand for clear instruction and accurate
presentation (Morley, 1991). Analysis of the tasks of spoken English performance of
speakers of other languages in the TA situation found that pronunciation is a major
issue, as ITAs are often at a high level of context awareness and a lower level of
speech delivery skill. This situation is paralleled in many of the ASEAN region's ESP
courses (Tan Chor Eng and Hall, 1995).
In work with international teaching assistants the types of specific speaking
tasks were analysed by three teachers from the University of Minnesota. (Smith,
Meyers and Burkhalter, 1992). ITAs need to answer questions, so question and
answer intonation is featured in instruction. They need to separate longer
sentences into thought groups, a tip that old-fashioned best selling writer Dale
Carnegie would applaud (Carnegie, 1962). Listening awareness is integrated with
marking of rising and falling intonation patterns. It is as if this needs-derived text
recognises an old public speaking maxim: If you want to speak well, listen to a good
speaker. If you want to say it well, know your topic, your audience and your
purpose. Keep it short and sweet and break up your ideas into short statements that
suit your communicative purpose.
Learners will make the effort to develop tone, rhythm, pitch and appropriate
stress if it is purposeful. International telephone operators will work at concise
accurate sentences while hotel staff focus on politeness markers. An increasing
area of more general need is the ability to present ideas internationally and to be
fluent in presentation speaking especially given a growing globalisation of markets,
and the use of English to sell ideas and products across borders.
Pronouncing and Presenting in a Purposeful Context
Presentation speaking as opposed to two-way speaking in a reciprocal
situation is highly demanding. Speaking in front of others is stressful and it is there
that the consciously acquired features of our speech often slip. The need to frame
and mark information is an important part of presenting effectively. If one speaks
using a manuscript, oral communication textbooks advise that the a speaker mark
off the pause boundaries (Turk, 1985). This technique parallels awareness of the
utterance. Many public speaking texts contain sections that look identical to recent
ELT suprasegmental work features such as stress the important word, use the
pause, highlight by volume, link the question to a rising pitch and so on (Fletcher,
1990; Michael, 1988; Payne and Prentice, 1990).
A purposeful context for suprasegmental development in terms of providing
motivation and transfer situations is presentation skills development. Presentation
skills are now marketable as a useful intranational and international skill (Ellis and
O'Driscoll, 1992; O'Connor and Pilbeam, 1987). Effective presentation to sell ideas
involves suprasegmental development. The concepts of framing an important word
are the defining of an utterance, with the emphasising of an important selling point
through appropriate changes in tone, volume and pitch. People selling ideas as
native English speakers or second language learners wanting to present
internationally all need this skills development.
With globalisation there are more learners who will need to confidently
present ideas in international contexts. Students who may have seminars as part of
their international education, academics presenting in international forums,
businessmen travelling abroad to sell products. All of them will, for better or worse,
be judged on their speaking beyond the delivery of individual sounds. Ideas will be
presented with body language, tone and emphasis. One can not deny the
importance of phonemic discrimination but suprasegmental development has an
important role in effective speaking. In presentation speaking there is a valid format
for focusing on suprasegments to develop fluency in spoken English.
Paper presented at TESOL Convention March 11-15 1997, Orlando, Florida
Stephen Hall
Language and Communication Division
Temasek Polytechnic Singapore 529763 Fax:65 7894080 stephen@tp.ac.sg
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... In discussing the importance of pronunciation activities, Murphy (1991), cited in Hall (1997), describes them as vital in providing the much needed learning experiences to develop accurate control over the sound system within a language. While pronunciation activities were stressed in some decades, they took a back seat in others depending on the teaching method that was popular during that particular time. ...
... The consensus was that we needed to produce students who could communicate effectively on a global platform. Therefore, our desired aim should be to design lessons that promote what Morley (1991:489), cited in Hall (1997), describes as "reasonably intelligible pronunciation" so that learners are bestowed "communicative empowerment". ...
... Suprasegmentals on the other hand, "transcend the level of individual sound production, extend across segmentals and are often produced unconsciously by native speakers" (Florez, 1998). Hall (1997) contends that one cannot deny the importance of phonemic discrimination but goes on to cite several researchers who contend that suprasegmental features such as stress, rhythm and intonation are if anything, more important than segmental features. Wong (1993:45), cited in Okita (1999), reminds us that the most relevant features of pronunciation -stress, rhythm, and intonation -play a greater role in English communication than the individual sounds themselves. ...
Article
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Being able to speak English includes a number of skills, involving vocabulary, grammar, pragmatics, and so on. It can be argued that by far, the most important of these skills is pronunciation. Despite having a good grasp of vocabulary and the grammatical rules of the English language, speakers would be unintelligible if they had poor pronunciation. Though pronunciation is an aspect of language that is difficult to acquire, the reality is that in many English language classrooms, teaching pronunciation is granted the least attention. When ESL teachers defend the poor pronunciation skills of their students, their arguments could either be described as a cop-out with respect to their inability to teach their students proper pronunciation or they could be regarded as taking a stand against linguistic imperialism. This paper begins by discussing these views and will then outline the current status of pronunciation teaching from the viewpoint of several experienced English language teachers. Some information regarding the nature of second language pronunciation and the needs of the ESL teacher for teaching pronunciation, with particular focus on material selection and teaching methodology will be provided. Finally, this paper makes a number of recommendations as to how the teaching of pronunciation can be made more effective in the ESL classroom.
... Supra-segmentals on the other hand, transcend the level of individual sound production, extend across segmentals and are often produced unconsciously by native speakers (Florez, 1998). Hall (1997) contends that one cannot deny the importance of phonemic discrimination but goes on to cite several researchers who contend that supra-segmental features such as stress, rhythm and intonation are if anything, more important than segmental features. Wong (1993) reminds us that the most relevant features of pronunciation -stress, rhythm, and intonation -play a greater role in English communication than the individual sounds themselves. ...
... Fraser (2000a, p. 11) describes it as "unfortunate" when segmental and suprasegmental features of pronunciation are separated and cautions that it is not the way to go when taking a communicative approach to teaching pronunciation. Hall (1997) stated that Japanese learners benefited from suprasegmental practice through "marking texts for thought groups, shifting emphasis in sentences, and changing the moods of scripts by exploring different intonational patterns." Lambacher (1999, p. 138) adds to this point and submits that with communicative ability (and not native-like pronunciation) as the main goal of learning, "the prevailing view is that improvement in the prosodic features has a closer correlation with improved intelligibility of L2 learners." ...
Article
Full-text available
Speaking a second language involves different skills like grammar, vocabulary, instruction, and so on. Pronunciation is one of the most important skills in English Language Teaching. If speakers have very bad pronunciation, their speech will not be understandable to the listeners. Despite the fact that acquiring pronunciation is so difficult, in many ESL/EFL classrooms, teaching pronunciation is granted the least attention. In this article, the researcher discusses the status of pronunciation teaching from the viewpoint of many English language teachers, researchers, and writers. Firstly, a brief history of teaching pronunciation and factors affecting the learning of pronunciation are discussed. Secondly, the reason of encouraging students to improve their pronunciation and the time of introducing pronunciation will be discussed. Thirdly, the researcher investigates the kind of pronunciation materials and segmental and suprasegmental features. Finally, the article discusses a number of suggestions for teaching pronunciation and indicates that the teaching of pronunciation can be made more effective in the ESL/EFL classrooms. Keywords: Pronunciation, Materials, Segmental, Suprasegmental, Suggestions
... ESFPs, as argued by Florez (1998), transcend the level of individual sound production, and are often produced unconsciously by native speakers. Significance of ESFPs has also been the subject of discussion by several researchers around the world (e. g. Hall, 1997 Wong, 1993), and intelligibility of L2 learners (Lambacher, 1999). Needless to say, such findings are indicative of the considerable benefits of developing ESFPs. ...
... Needless to say, such findings are indicative of the considerable benefits of developing ESFPs. Likewise, on his discussion on the benefits of practicing suprasegmental features, Hall (1997) stated that language learners could practice ESFPs through marking texts for thought groups, shifting emphasis in sentences, and changing the moods of scripts by exploring different intonational patterns. In his study on the appropriate place of practicing ESFPs among non-native speakers, Bott (2005) asserted: ...
Article
Full-text available
English suprasegmental features of pronunciation (ESFP), as key elements in developing effective communications, are regarded as critical aspects of language proficiency to be practiced markedly in language classrooms. They have pivotal roles in determining the utterance meaning, and change in some of these features can lead to change in meaning. The present study was, therefore, motivated to explore how ESFPs were viewed and treated by language instructors in Iranian English language private centers. It is an account of interviews with 12 experienced language instructors reporting their insights into significance and treatment of these features in the language institutes. The results emerging from the detailed analysis of the data indicated that ESFPs were perceived by the respondents as critically significant aspects of language proficiency due to their substantial sensitivity in speech perception and production as well as boosting language learners’ self-esteem and motivation. Further, close examination of the data suggested that EFSPs were assigned short shrift in pedagogical practices mainly due to such factors as skill prioritization, insufficient class time, improperly developed materials, and language learners’ negative attitude and unwillingness towards such features.
... Although the number of studies which have focused on teaching suprasegmental features of an L2 is at large (e.g., Champagne-Muzar, Scheneideran, & Bourdages, 1993; Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998; Hall, 1997), there are few number of studies, to the best of the present researchers' knowledge, which have focused on the segmental features (i.e., vowels and consonant) of an L2. Champagne-Muzar, Scheneideran and Bourdages (1993) implemented a program focusing on both French segmentals and suprasegmentals that consisted of 12 one-hour lessons. ...
Article
Full-text available
In spite of the importance of pronunciation in L2 learning, its training has remained largely neglected in the field of English language teaching (ELT) and does not have a secure place in most L2 curricula (Setter & Jenkins, 2005). On the importance of teaching speech features, Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Goodwin (1996) introduce the intuitive-imitative approach, an approach that deals with listening and imitating the sounds and rhythms of an L2 without explicit teaching. It can be done by using audiotapes, videos, and computer programs. On the other hand, a majority of L2 teachers use the analytic-linguistic approach, an approach in which they use explicit and structured teaching of speech features by articulatory descriptions, charts of speech, phonetic alphabet, and vowel charts. This study was an attempt to investigate the effectiveness of intuitive-imitative and analytic-linguistic approaches on teaching pure vowels and diphthongs, and also, sought to examine whether elementary L2 learners respond differently to the abovementioned approaches. The participants were 40 Iranian L2 learners attending a language school in Isfahan in the form of 2 elementary classes. In one class, English vowels were taught through intuitive-imitative approach, and in the other one, through analytic-linguistic approach. Then, the participants ʼ audio-recorded data were given to an English native-speaker instructor to be rated. The results of the paired samples t test and comparing means indicated that the L2 learners taught through the intuitive-imitative approach had a better pronunciation in diphthongs, and accordingly, the L2 learners taught through the analytic-linguistic approach outperformed in pure vowels. The study could have some implications for L2 research and pedagogy that will be discussed throughout the paper.
... The most relevant work was 'Integrating pronunciation for fluency in presentation skills' (Hall, 1997). Hall illustrated the use of presentations as meaningful context to practice pronunciation with an analogy: the process of hearing and imitating sounds is like 'learning to ride a bicycle on a road with no traffic ' (1997, p. 4). ...
Article
Full-text available
Studies about the learning value of group presentations in ESL and EFL have become increasingly common, particularly in relation to spoken fluency. However, few studies have explored their impact on students’ intelligible pronunciation. In a Vietnamese context, recent changes in teaching and learning strategies set by the government have shifted attention to students’ ability to communicate effectively in today’s increasingly globalized environment. This inevitably turns the spotlight on pronunciation, an aspect of EFL long ignored in Vietnam. Qualitatively describing a case where group presentations were a key mode of teaching, learning and assessment for 17 second-year students majoring in English for Political Discipline at the Institute of International Studies in Hanoi over the course of one semester, this study suggests that monitored and transcribed group presentations may be one rational answer. The study investigates the impacts on participants’ pronunciation of sounds and word stress and considers their attitude towards this method. The results reveal that students acknowledged the benefits of group presentations and experienced improvements in pronunciation, confidence and range of political vocabulary. These changes were diverse depending on each participant’s attitude. The article concludes with reflective evaluations of the lessons and explores the pedagogical implications for future projects on implementing research into presentations among Vietnamese students of foreign languages.
... Advancements in the fields of phonetics and phonology from the latter half of the century are derived upon and often "watered down" for utilize in the language classroom. Celce-Murcia (2000) elucidates the significance of pronunciation has been Hall, 1997) have concentrated on instructing suprasegmental traits of language, like stress, intonation, and rhythm-the musical feautres of pronunciation. Henning (1964) investigated the impact of separation training and pronunciation exercise on French sounds. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study was intended to examine the impact of teaching phonological rules on English pronunciation among Iranian pre-intermediate EFL learners. To fulfill, 50 pre-intermediate students who were studying in a private language institute in Ahvaz, Iran were selected via non-random sampling (convenience sampling). They participated in a homogeneity test (Oxford Quick Placement Test) to determine their homogeneity level. Then they were randomly divided into two groups of control (n=25) and experimental (n=25). Before starting the treatment, a validated teacher-made pronunciation test was administered to both groups as the pre-test. Then the experimental group received the treatment, which was teaching phonological rules activities and the control group received conventional instruction including examples in an implicit method. At the end of the treatment, a post-test on pronunciation was administered to evaluate the effect of phonological rules instructions to assess the participants' pronunciation improvement. At the end of the study, the analysis of the obtained data was carried out using SPSS, version 25. The obtained results indicated that there was a significant difference between the performances of both groups. The experimental group participants were found to have a better performance than the control group. Generally, the experimental group outperformed the control group. This study suggests that teaching phonological rules can help learners to learn pronunciation more easily and effectively.
... Schneiderman & Bourdages, 1993; Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998;Hall, 1997) have focused on teaching supresegmental features of language, there are several researchers who have investigated the effect of pronunciation instruction on the segmental features (vowels and consonant) of language. Henning (1964) in a study investigated the effect of discrimination training and pronunciation practice on French sounds and concluded that the subjects who received discrimination training without pronunciation practice could pronounce the sounds of French more accurately than the subjects who received the pronunciation practice without discrimination training. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates the influence of the discourse narrative structure on verbal morphology in L2 learners' interlanguage temporality system. The aim was to retest the Discourse Hypothesis predictions regarding of the influence of discourse structure on verbal morphology use in oral narrative in an English as a Foreign Language context. The discourse hypothesis predicts that L2 learners will use past forms predominantly in the foreground of the narrative while non-past forms will be used in the background. Data obtained from 36 learners was randomly chosen from a pool of pretest productions by Thai L2 learners of English. Participants were asked to narrate a strange dream after looking at six pictures. Results revealed that participants show more use of the past forms in the foreground than the background while they use more non-past forms in the background. Learners' systematic errors in tense marking could be understood in the light of the results of the present study. The paper concludes that the discourse hypothesis is supported and that English as a Foreign Language learners exhibit similar use of tense and aspect to English as a Second Language learners.
... This might serve as a technique to relate meaning to form and enhance learners" output. At the level of pronunciation, it should be noted that teachers" repetitions can be effective in stressing what to keep and follow and what to avoid or repair (Kenworthy, 1994;Florez, 1999;Hall, 1997). ...
Article
Learning English, especially speaking skills, requires a variety of accurate strategies. The aim is to make it easier for students to learn English, the more ways they can learn it the easier it is to master it. However, it is important to remember that learning English is not learning knowledge that requires high logical reasoning, memorizing formulas, mastering tenses, grammar, and formal English grammar, and so on. But learning English is nothing more than a skill that is continuously practiced until it is accustomed, any language learned requires the practice of speaking the language learned.
Article
Full-text available
As oral skills are increasingly seen as a high priority, phonology and pronunciation teaching are occupying a central position in the teaching and learning of other languages. The present study is an attempt to shed some light on identifying and exploring the difficulties of Iranian EFL learners in phonology and pronunciation. To achieve this goal, 3 male language learners (elementary, intermediate, and advanced) were randomly selected and were required to articulate 3 different types of material. Having analyzed the data, the study revealed that, first, pronouncing /ɪə/ as /eə/, /æ/ as /e/, /ɑ:/ as /ɔ:/, /ʊ/ as /u:/, /aɪ/ as /ɔɪ/, /ɪ/ as /i:/, /əʊ/ as /ɔ:/, /w/ as /v/, /ð/ as /d/ or /z/, /θ/ as /t/ or /s/ and /ŋ/ as /ng/ and mispronouncing /ɒ/, /ʌ/, /ɜ:/, /ə/, /ɔɪ/, /eə/, /r/ and /aʊ/ are the most frequent errors among Persian-speaking learners. Second, the study indicated that the speed of reading was inappropriate for all the beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Chapter
The article presents a broad outline of the history of second-language learning from behaviorism with its emphasis on habit formation and the normative view of errors, through cognitive approaches focusing on language learning as skill learning and information processing to sociocultural theories of interaction and strategies. Furthermore, the article introduces specific topics within the field such as the relation between age and second-language acquisition, the differences between second- and foreign-language learning, and finally the key issues of school education and second-language learning in relation to minority children.