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The aim of the paper is to give a critical summary of the traditional and more alternative techniques and activities for pronunciation practice recommended in the literature. In the past few decades the theoretical approaches to teaching pronunciation have changed considerably, from giving a strong focus on the accurate production of individual speech sounds to shifting the focus onto the greater communicative relevance of connected speech and intelligibility. Approaching L2 pronunciation teaching is not an easy task, and it needs to be systematically dealt with. The paper discusses several decisions teachers need to make when choosing activities for pronunciation practice: selecting the type of phonological structure to practice, deciding on the speech mode, determining the structural level of practice, focusing on a particular type of instruction, establishing the degree of control of the structure that is practiced, and choosing which cognitive skill to enhance while practicing. With regard to the various techniques for teaching pronunciation, the analysis shows they have adapted accordingly in line with the different trends. Hence, while traditional activities such as automatic repetition, ear-training and explicit phonetic instruction are still considered effective, additional priority is given to activities for raising phonological awareness, communicative activities and techniques that adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
Anastazija Kirkova-Naskova
Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje
Republic of North Macedonia
Despite the fact that pronunciation is recognized as a crucial component of second
language (L2) learning, classroom practice shows that it is largely underestimated as a
language skill in the curricula across language programs. The marginalization of pro-
nunciation is most likely a result of teachers' choices not to teach it as equally as other
language skills, on the one hand, and the lack of appropriate exercises in the textbooks,
on the other. Teachers who are native speakers do not necessarily have specialist training
in teaching L2 pronunciation, and in time they develop tolerance to their learners' pro-
nunciation errors. Teachers who are non-native speakers are unaware or insecure about
their own pronunciation, and pay more attention to practicing other language skills or
grammatical structures (Henderson et al. 2012; Kirkova-Naskova et al. 2013).
Such a state of affairs is no surprise at all: one cannot expect practicing teachers to
have a clear understanding of the theoretical approaches to teaching L2 pronunciation, as
well as the capacity to put them into practice, when there remain contradictions and dis-
putes among these approaches. For instance, a major issue that raises opposing views is
whether pronunciation should be practiced as a separate or integral language skill. In this
respect, some authors feel that pronunciation should be taught as a separate language skill
with a strong focus on the acquisition of L2 sounds through developing good motor skills
and accurate articulation (Brown 1987). Others believe that pronunciation is an insepar-
able part of the communicative process (Pennington and Richards 1986), and point out
that precedence should be given to intelligible rather than accurate pronunciation, espe-
cially given the multidimensional nature of L2 speech reflected in perceptual phenomena
such as accentedness, intelligibility and comprehensibility (Munro and Derwing 1995
1998 1999; Derwing and Munro 2005).
Another methodological issue that has aroused a fair number of opinions concerns
the right approach to teaching and learning pronunciation. According to Celce-Murcia,
Brinton and Goodwin (2007: 2), two general approaches have emerged as dominant in
the field of modern language teaching: a) the intuitive-imitative approach, and b) the
UDK 81'355:37.091.3
DOI: 10.4312/vestnik.11.119-136
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analytic-linguistic approach. The basic premise of the intuitive-imitative approach is that
learners are capable of listening and imitating L2 prosody and sounds, thus implicitly
acquiring the phonological system of the target language. The approach also assumes
that they are exposed to a standard pronunciation model, presented by a teacher or audio
equipment, resulting in their developing acceptable pronunciation. The main principle of
the analytic-linguistic approach is that learners clearly benefit from explicit instruction
of the L2 sound system. A variety of teaching tools facilitate this process, such as charts
with phonemic symbols and vocal apparatus, detailed descriptions of articulatory move-
ments, L1-L2 contrastive information, etc.
When defining the purpose of teaching and learning L2 pronunciation, the principle
of nativeness clashes with that of intelligibility (Levis 2005). Proponents of the nativeness
principle argue that acquiring native speaker competence is the goal of L2 pronunciation
learning. In recent years it has become evident that such a view is unrealistic and imposes
a huge burden on both teachers and learners. Indeed, even though research shows that
few learners succeed in achieving this goal, the nativeness principle is still nurtured in
practice, mostly because it can be conveniently compared to a referent native pronun-
ciation model and because of learners' desire to overcome foreign-accented speech. Ad-
vocates of the intelligibility principle emphasize its simplicity in language use – learners
need to be comfortably intelligible when interacting with native and non-native speakers
(Kenworthy 1990; Morley 1991; Dalton and Seidlhofer 2001; Celce-Murcia, Brinton and
Goodwin 2007). Research shows that the degree of accentedness of one's speech does not
impede spoken communication; in fact, mildly-accented speech, and in some cases even
strongly-accented speech, is perfectly intelligible and comprehensible to native speakers,
and it is more likely that prosodic mispronunciations hinder communication rather than
mispronounced L2 segments (Munro and Derwing 1995, 1999).
Different views aside, scholars agree that teachers' task is to help learners in un-
derstanding the link between the sounds and meaning in general, as well as the physical
aspect of L2 sounds and the corresponding phonological concepts. Teaching L2 pronun-
ciation entails selective focus on those elements that are relevant for successful commu-
nication – for instance, understanding the reduced forms of words is very important for
effective communication in English (Cauldwell 2013). In line with the changing trends,
pronunciation teaching techniques have been modified and prioritized. Therefore, this
paper aims to give an overview of both traditional and alternative techniques for the
teaching and practice of L2 pronunciation.
It is difficult to single out the most efficient pronunciation technique because the choice
depends on the aim of the practice. When evaluating teaching materials, teachers should
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consider learners' needs and the pronunciation difficulties they face so that they can
choose and/or modify the exercises that are potentially most beneficial for them. With this
in mind, they have to make several decisions concerning the different linguistic properties
of pronunciation as a language skill, the methodological approach of the exercise and the
additional cognitive skills that learners develop in the learning process (see Figure 1).
phonological structure:
word stress
sentence stress
connected speech
type of instrucon:
focus-on-forms (FonFS)
focus-on-form (FonF)
speech mode:
percepon and
degree of control:
complete control
paral control
spontaneous pracce
structural level:
cognive skills:
Figure 1. Linguistic, methodological and cognitive elements that need to be considered when
choosing activities for pronunciation practice
The first decision a teacher has to make is what type of phonological structure to
practice. Ideally, a teacher is expected to explain the different components of pronuncia-
tion or the ‘building blocks’ and the way they are related to each other. Foreign language
courses usually start with units related to the smallest phonological structures, the indi-
vidual phonemes of the language, and gradually progress to more complex structures
such as word and sentence stress, features of connected speech rhythm and intonation.
This creates a false notion in learners' minds that phonological structures function sep-
arately. The reality is quite the opposite – pronunciation acquisition is more meaningful
if approached as a whole i.e. if learners are taught that the structures of the sound system
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function inseparable from each other and that “all aspects of pronunciation are needed
right from the start” (Marks and Bowen 2012: 11). For instance, in English, the syllable
is the basic unit of the rhythm group and contains a vowel as its peak. The syllables
alternate between stressed and unstressed syllables in such a way that the nucleus place-
ment (i.e. the prominence of the tonic syllable) depends on the relevance of the intend-
ed message. Understanding this process not only helps learners improve their listening
skills, but it also strengthens their awareness of the English rhythmic structure. Moreover,
the English rhythm itself is closely related to vowel length, especially their full quality
in stressed syllables or reduced quality in unstressed syllables in certain grammatical
words (pronouns, modals, prepositions, determiners). Being aware of this further helps
learners to better hear, understand and pronounce word stress. Pronunciation is like a
puzzle, where every piece gets its meaning when combined with the others. Therefore,
the teacher should carefully select the phonological structures that require attention and
then choose multifaceted activities (a wide range of activities are proposed in Kenworthy
1990; Laroy 1995; Hancock 2005; Hewings 1993 2007 2011; Vaughan-Rees 2003; Rog-
erson-Revell 2011; Marks and Bowen 2012).
Once the phonological structure is defined, the teacher should focus on the speech
mode (perception only, production only or both perception and production) to be prac-
ticed by the activity, as well as the structural level of analysis (whether the phonological
structure is to be examined at the word, sentence or discourse levels). Choosing the spec-
ific type of instruction1 is another decision a teacher has to make. Saito (2012: 845, 846)
distinguishes between the following three types: a) focus-on-formS (FonFS) the activ-
ity is controlled (decontextualized) and the accurate use of the phonological structure is
practiced (for example, a mechanical drill of words where the only goal is to practice the
form); b) focus-on-form (FonF) the aim of the activity is to practice form not only in con-
trolled contexts but also within the wider communicative context; and c) focus-on-mean-
ing (FonM) – the focus of the activity is solely on the communicative task and the form is
practiced implicitly. The type of instruction also determines the degree of control of the
structure that is practiced: complete control, partial control or spontaneous practice.
Furthermore, it is of utmost importance that learners recognize that by practising a
particular structure or ‘form’, they develop additional cognitive skills that help them ac-
quire the elements of pronunciation more easily (Rogerson-Revell 2011: 212). One can-
not expect learners to pronounce sounds or sound clusters that they have not heard before.
Learners have to learn to notice phonological forms in speech so that they can be aware
of the differences between their own speech and the speech produced by native speak-
ers and/or advanced non-native speakers. Learners' perception is strengthened by per-
forming perceptual discrimination and identification exercises; they learn to discriminate
1 Instruction is generally classi󰏒ed as implicit and explicit. The classi󰏒cation under the parameter type of instruc-
tion in Figure 1 is made based on the focus of the activity.
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the differences between the L1-L2 sound systems, or, more precisely between ‘correct
pronunciation’ (speech that is very similar to the native speaker norm) and ‘incorrect
pronunciation’ (speech that deviates from the native speaker norm). In order to develop
automatic motor skills for precise sound production, learners need to be able to imitate
the sounds (de-contextualized drills and repetition of L2 sounds is a particularly signifi-
cant phase in the initial stages of language acquisition). At the same time, learners should
try to produce sounds until they resemble the target pronunciation model, thus enabling
themselves to reproduce sounds without encouragement or correction. Learners are often
able to reproduce sounds precisely in isolation but not in connected speech. Therefore,
they should be offered many opportunities for sound practice in context so that their
pronunciation can gradually become intelligible and spontaneous. This way, they enable
themselves to generate acquired phonological structures in different or similar phonet-
ic environments i.e. in new words and phrases. In this respect, activities that include
problem-solving and rule-forming objectives are especially beneficial. Such a process
of learning and skill acquisition is complete when learners are able to correct their own
pronunciation errors by practising activities that promote individual or peer evaluation.
To summarize, pronunciation teaching and learning is a complex task, and needs
to be approached systematically in language courses. The literature in the field of L2
pronunciation teaching (specialist textbooks, books focusing on teachers' professional
development, resource books, research papers) offers a variety of teaching techniques
to facilitate this process. In the following section a selection of pronunciation teaching
techniques is presented. The techniques are categorized and their main features are first
described and then critically evaluated.
3.1 Automatic repetition and imitation
Despite the assumption of being out-dated, automatic (mechanical) repetition and imi-
tation of speech sounds are the most common pronunciation techniques, and play a key
role when encountering new speech sounds. For instance, accurate pronunciation of new
sounds requires developing new motor habits that in time develop as skills at the level of
an automatic response. Such skills can be acquired with frequent regular practice, but if
learners' attention is focused on the content only and not on the form, they may be neg-
lected and this could directly affect learners' pronunciation (Rogerson-Revell 2011: 23).
In sum, automatic repetition and imitation aims at gradual improvement and accurate
speech production.
This technique follows a basic procedure: listen repeat with imitation say it
in a different context. The teacher's role is to pronounce a word or a structure (or play
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an audio recording of a native speaker); the learners have to attempt to imitate what they
heard. It is highly recommended that the repetition is choral at first and all learners are
encouraged to participate. This way, their self-confidence is increased as the practice is
anonymous and they are not publicly exposed (Kelly 2003). The next step is individual
repetition when the teacher has the opportunity to give a corrective feedback. Repetition
can be done with substitution i.e. learners replace one segment with another to form a
different word, or even as pair work where learners practice sound repetition in a ques-
tion-and-answer session (Byrne 1997; Kelly 2003).
Minimal pairs, words that differ in a single sound as in pin-bin-tin-kin-fin-sin, are
considered the best type of exercise for practising sound repetition. They are used when
practising both perceptual discrimination and sound articulation in different phonetic
contexts, and can be modified in many creative ways (a selection of various minimal
pair activities can be found in Kenworthy 1990; Dalton and Seidlhofer 2001; Kelly 2003;
Baker 2006a 2006b; Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin 2007; Nilsen and Nilsen 2010;
Rogerson-Revell 2011; Gilbert 2012). In order to avoid the monotony of drilled repeti-
tion, Bowen (1980) suggests incorporating minimal pairs in a specific situational context
with or without visual aids so that the exercise has an overall more meaningful effect
the teacher first presents key words and then introduces a sentence where the words of the
minimal pair can be alternately used and the learners are required to provide the answer
that matches what they heard, for example, The blacksmith is heating/hitting the horse-
shoe with ____ a) the fire; b) the hammer (Bowen,1980: 65). Minimal pair exercises may
be practiced in the form of games, such as bingo or following a set of instructions to reach
a particular goal (Hewings 2011).
Another type of repetitive drill is backchaining and/or frontchaining i.e. sentences are
gradually built up starting from the last word (backchaining) or the first word (frontchain-
ing) and then adding the next word or phrase in the thought group (Lewis and Hill 1999;
Kelly 2003; Mańkowska, Nowacka and Kłoczowska 2009). Such exercises are partic-
ularly effective for practising nucleus placement (tonic syllable), intonation and reduced
word forms in longer phrases or sentences. Tongue twisters are also useful for sound
repetition because they demonstrate one sound or two similar sounds in close sequence
(Walker 2010). For mastering the rhythm patterns, it is recommended that learners recite
poems (children's rhymes or nonsense poems), read poetry, speeches, or dialogues aloud,
or perform plays (Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin 2007; Hancock 2017d).
It seems that repetition and imitation are an important aspect of pronunciation prac-
tice, and a suitable teaching technique for all age groups. However, though frequently
used it is not a favourite technique because it is tedious and does not guarantee that learn-
ers would apply the phonetic structure consistently when speaking. Nevertheless, many
experts agree that it is an important first step in understanding simple phonetic structures,
which then becomes a good basis for mastering more complex ones (Lewis and Hill
1999; Kelly 2003).
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3.2 Perceptual training (ear-training)
The aim of perceptual training or ‘ear-training’ is to strengthen the sensitivity of the hear-
ing mechanism so that learners can better process acoustic signals. This is because ac-
curate perception is a prerequisite for accurate sound imitation – learners should learn to
perceive L2 sounds first and then attempt to produce them (MacCarthy 1967; Dalton and
Seidlhofer 2001; Cauldwell 2013). However, the L1 perceptual sound system is the main
obstacle to precise L2 sound recognition – when learners are exposed to the sounds of an-
other language they perceive the novel sounds through the filter of their L1 sound system
(Flege 2003). Thus, a process of sound reorganization has to take place where learners
need to be exposed to phonemic and phonetic contrasts between the two systems in order
to be able to notice subtle differences. This is the main goal of perceptual training. The
training itself encompasses different language domains from phoneme differentiation
to exposure and adaptation to different L2 language varieties.
Typical perceptual exercises include primarily L2 sound discrimination and iden-
tification in minimal pairs, as well as noticing different stress and intonational patterns.
Discrimination and identification exercises vary in format, but in essence they are quite
similar – the former require that a learner should listen to two sounds, words, phrases or
sentences and decide whether they are the same or different, whereas the latter require
that a learner should listen to one sound, a word, a phrase or a sentence and then identify
that sound, word, phrase or sentence among similar sounds, words, phrases or sentences
in a previously given list. Such minimal pair exercises are used to contrast not only two
similar L2 sounds, but also L1-L2 sounds (Rogerson-Revell 2011).
Phonemic transcription is another activity that is used for ear-training. For example,
transcribing nonsense words focuses learners' attention on individual sounds, whereas
transcribing words in isolation or in a text focuses learners' attention on allophonic var-
iation, phonotactics and connected speech processes (García Lecumberri and Maidment
2000; Tench 2011). Authentic audio and video recordings present abundant resources
for developing teaching and practice materials for the perceptual training of a particular
phonetic structure, or simply for exposing learners to the speech of native speakers of
various regional and dialectal backgrounds.
Perceptual training is a crucial stage in L2 pronunciation acquisition. It is difficult to
determine whether perception precedes production or vice versa, nevertheless, it seems
that a great deal of exposure to L2 sounds and varieties naturally leads to better L2 sound
production. All the techniques described in this section can be used with any age group if
adapted appropriately. However, practice shows that minimal pair discrimination/identi-
fication activities are more suitable for young learners due to their better brain elasticity
with regard to recognizing different sounds and intonation patterns, unlike adult learners
who might get discouraged as a person's ability to easily recognize speech sounds is
gradually lost as they grow older (Reid 2016: 24). On the other hand, adult learners better
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handle phonemic transcription exercises, because they have greater linguistic experience
and more proficient cognitive skills they can rely on in the learning process.
3.3 Phonetic instruction
Phonetic instruction is specialist training in the phonetics and phonology of a particular
language adapted to the requirements of L2 teaching. It includes activities such as use
of phonetic and phonological terminology to classify L2 sounds, to describe the position
of articulators and the manner of their formation as well as to explain L2 phonological
rules and/or other relevant speech phenomena. Various teaching aids are also frequently
used, for instance, vowel diagrams, tables with consonants and consonantal clusters, il-
lustrations showing intonation contours, pictures with different tongue and lip positions,
sagittal section of the position of the articulators for individual sounds (see Hancock
2005; Baker 2006a 2006b), etc.
Learning the phonemic symbols that correspond to the L2 sounds of the target
language is a necessary step in phonetic instruction, as they are used both for presentation
of L2 sounds and for practice (Underhill 2005). The activities with phonemic symbols
are graded in format: in the beginning symbol-to-sound is practiced, then transcription
of words and sentences and, at more advanced levels, transcription of short texts (García
Lecumberri and Maidment 2000; Tench 2011). Familiarization with the phonemic sym-
bols enables learners to check the pronunciation of new words in a dictionary by them-
selves (given the complexity of the English spelling system), to understand more vividly
the rules of sound adaptation in connected speech, and, with the help of additional tonetic
marks, to grasp L2 prosody (Wells 2006). More analytical exercises with phonemic sym-
bols include word sorting by a particular sound, word association with a particular sound,
and inductive reasoning to form a phonological rule (Hewings 2011). Recent technologi-
cal advances make way for the use of online dictionaries as particularly useful resources
for autonomous learning (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online 2018;
Cambridge Dictionary 2019; Oxford Learner's Dictionaries 2019; Macmillan Dictionary
2009-2019; Collins Online Dictionary 2019). These dictionaries list word entries with
phonemic transcription and accompanying sound files in both British and American pro-
nunciation, thus enabling learners to check their pronunciation and/or phonemic symbol
Phonetic instruction is also used to contrast the phonological systems of L1 and L2:
first, error analysis is carried out following a diagnostic evaluation of potential problem-
atic areas between the two sound systems. Such an approach is particularly effective with
monolingual classes of L2 learners.
Research studies investigating the effectiveness of phonetic instruction report an
overall positive effect on learning mainly because such explicit instruction “orients
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learner's attention to phonetic information, which promotes learning in a way that natu-
ralistic input does not” (Thomson and Derwing 2015: 14). Most of the related studies are
conducted with adult learners leaving a gap in research findings about the effectiveness
of such technique with young learners. In addition, it is relevant to note that these studies
have not yet proposed a unified approach applicable to different teaching contexts.
3.4 Activities for raising phonological awareness and self-awareness
of one's own speech
Being aware of the relevance of pronunciation in spoken communication is a vital step
in its effective acquisition. Learners of a second/foreign language cannot expect to be
understood if they speak in an unintelligible or monotonous way. Teachers should help
learners recognize their mispronunciations and motivate them to improve their overall L2
speech given the emotional and sociolinguistic effects of pronunciation on the pragmatics
of spoken message.
In the early stages of learning, it is recommended that learners are encouraged to
think about the language they study in relation to: a) their own speech and pronunciation
difficulties; b) the importance they give to pronunciation; c) the pronunciation model
they prefer; d) the degree of competence they aim to achieve (native or non-native speak-
er competence); e) any stereotypical prejudices they have and, if yes, how they might
overcome them; f) their self-confidence when they speak; g) how they perceive the L2
language, i.e. the range of emotions they experience towards it; and so on. Thinking
about these issues is very constructive – learners clarify their attitudes towards relevant
topics they may not have thought of before, whereas teachers gain a valuable insight
into learners' belief systems and their language learning goals, which helps them choose
appropriate activities. Questionnaires are ideal for initiating such discussions. They can
be of different format: with given multiple-choice answers, with blank spaces to fill in,
or with open-ended questions that can be responded to in pair or groupwork activities
(Kenworthy 1990; Laroy 1995; Hewings 2011).
The position of articulators, which gives the characteristic voice quality, is typical
for every language. It is a concept that we approach intuitively when we give informal
remarks about the way a language sounds or how someone speaks. Speakers of the same
language position their speech organs in the same way (more detailed examples in Rog-
erson-Revell 2011: 38, 39) helping students become aware of this can be done with
appropriate exercises such as breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, exercises for
jaw, tongue and lip positioning, whispering or loud speaking exercise, exercises with
deliberate prolongation of the inherent length of a sound and many more (Wrembel 2001;
Underhill 2005; Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin 2007; Rogerson-Revell 2011;
Gilbert 2012; Hancock 2017a). Catford (2001) believes that learners can benefit from
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becoming conscious of the tactile and proprioceptive sensations associated with speech
organs when sounds are produced: “It is absolutely useless merely to be aware of them
intellectually… one must carry out a great deal of silent introspection concerning these
sensations…” (Catford 2001: 120). He suggests silent practice of sounds with the help of
a pocket mirror so that learners can connect the visible movements and positions of the
tongue and lips with the proprioceptive sensations, as well as the auditory sensations we
feel when sounds are pronounced with whisper or with voice. Underhill (2005: 114) rec-
ommends exercises for proprioceptive sound repetition and forming a mental image: “We
have the ability to hear a sound externally and then to hear it again internally for several
seconds… Only when we discover these latent learning faculties in ourselves do we have
the possibility and the confidence to help our learners make use of them. Our mainstream
procedures tend to recognize and value only the external processes that can be directly
perceived by the teacher. By being unaware of, and unresponsive to, the inner processes,
we lose an opportunity to interest learners in their own learning and in the discovery that
they can rely on themselves more than they thought.”
It is of utmost importance that learners raise their phonological awareness of the
relevant L2 language structures and rules, as well as the awareness to care for their own
speech. In addition to exercises that practice or contrast language structures (Kenworthy
1990; Laroy 1995; Hewings 2011), it is recommended that learners analyse their speech
and get corrective feedback from the teacher this enables them to become aware of
their own pronunciation errors and to decide for themselves what aspects of their pronun-
ciation they should improve. Getting constructive feedback should not inspire a negative
feeling in learners; in fact, according to Morley (1991), learners should be able to learn
how to correct themselves while the teacher should hint what and how should be correct-
ed. Many authors advise making an audio and/or a video recording of learners' pronun-
ciation, both individually and in interaction with another speaker, and then listen critical-
ly to the recordings i.e. analyse them in detail (Fraser 2001; Goodwin 2001; Kelly 2003;
Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin 2007). These activities are particularly constructive
for adult learners, as they enable them to critically assess their own pronunciation. Young
learners, on the other hand, are not equipped with the necessary analytical skills to tackle
such activities; nevertheless, if a game-like element is added, for instance impersonation
or role-play, then they might prove very successful.
Once learners feel more confident in their knowledge of a particular pronunciation
model, it is useful to raise their awareness of other regional, dialectal or sociolinguistic
language varieties by including activities that expose them to diverse authentic speech.
For instance, given the global expansion of English, learners should be aware of the dif-
ferences between the regional varieties of the ‘Inner Circle’, i.e. traditional varieties of
English that are primarily spoken in a country as L1 and are referred to as norm-providing
varieties: British, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand
English, and South African English, as opposed to the varieties of the ‘Outer Circle’,
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i.e. new varieties of English that have become official second language in a country and
are referred to as norm-developing: Indian English, Chinese English, and other variants
that have developed in former US and UK colonies (Kashru 1985). Also of note in this
context is the emergence of International English or English as a Lingua Franca, an amal-
gam variety used in international communication in countries where English has played
neither historical nor political roles (Jenkins 2000).
3.5 Communicative activities
Communicative activities focus on a specific phonetic structure in an interactive context.
They help learners prepare for everyday situational use of L2 outside of the classroom
and gradually reduce their dependence on the teacher's speech, which is usually the main
pronunciation model learners are exposed to.
Their format varies. Games, for instance, are particularly popular as they contain an
element of fun and occupy learners' attention through a set of interesting rules that must
be followed at the same time learners spontaneously practice the intended phonetic
structure. Most games, either competitive or problem-solving, can be played individ-
ually, in pairs, in groups or as a whole class (for a variety of games intended for adult
learners see Hancock 2010; Hancock 2017b, Hancock 2017c; for games intended for
young learners see Nixon and Tomlinson 2009). Games encourage social interaction, as
when playing bingo, cards, and Ludo or solving crosswords, anagrams, etc. Illustrations,
drawings, cartoons and comics may be used to prompt word pronunciation, sentence
formation or even develop a whole story (Trim 2001). They usually take the form of
information gap activities, where learners lack the information needed to complete a task
or solve a problem and have to communicate with other learners in the group to fill in the
gaps. For instance, one learner has to describe a picture that has to be drawn by another
learner, or learners have almost identical pictures that they have to describe and find the
differences between. Mortimer (1995) recommends the practice of short pre-recorded
dialogues that resemble everyday situations – this way, learners are not only exposed to
authentic speech but also memorize chunks of speech, which they can optionally repro-
duce in a recorded version of the dialogue with pauses for the learners to respond or say
the exact phrase. Hewings (1993) proposes tasks that require detailed description to start
a conversation. Giving instructions (based on a map to find something or to describe a
process) or finding out about the missing information (in tables or gapped text) are exam-
ples of activities that stimulate interaction of the question-and-answer type. For more ad-
vanced levels it is recommended that learners participate in group discussions or debates
on a given topic, which gives them the opportunity to practice both phonetic structures
and fluency (more detailed examples of such activities are included in Celce-Murcia,
Brinton and Goodwin 2007: 291-295). In fact, any type of authentic material, such as
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advertisements, popular songs, restaurant menus, magazine articles, book excerpts, etc.,
may be used for practising different aspects of pronunciation through giving comments
or engaging in conversation.
Classroom practice shows that communicative activities are beneficial for any age
group, as they encourage speaking and interaction in a more realistic context.
3.6 Interdisciplinary techniques
In addition to traditional activities, recent pronunciation pedagogy marks a trend in ex-
perimenting with other innovative techniques adapted from other scientific disciplines,
such as psychology, neurolinguistics and dramatic arts (Wrembel 2001; Celce-Murcia,
Brinton and Goodwin 2007). These techniques are suitable for all age groups and add
variety to conventional classroom practices.
Drama techniques are especially efficient as they create a friendly atmosphere where
learners feel free to express themselves, thus reducing their affective filter and enhanc-
ing their self-confidence. Such techniques include voice modulation and sound sequence
articulation, exercises for pitch, volume, rate and tone control, dramatic improvisations
and simulations, as well as imitative techniques that impersonate someone's behaviour
and speech. Furthermore, other suggested activities include tasks with picture imaging,
as well as breathing and resonance exercises so that learners can gradually relax and start
speaking more naturally.
Multisensory activities aim to help learners discover their learning style. This ap-
proach seems to be holistic learners' senses are heightened by the use of all modali-
ties: a) visual techniques include the use of pictures, tables, three-dimensional models,
diagrams, colours, cards, photos; b) auditive techniques include intensive listening to
recordings, association of various natural sounds to speech sounds, use of mnemonic
devices; c) tactile techniques include the use of various objects to demonstrate elements
in the sound system, for instance, a rubber band to demonstrate vowel length, a sheet of
paper or feather to demonstrate aspiration, a membranophone instrument such as kazoo
to demonstrate intonation contours, mirrors for self-inspection of the vocal tract, dentures
for pointing out the place of articulation of consonants and the movement of the lower
jaw; and d) kinaesthetic techniques include hand movements in the air for demonstrating
intonation contours, using fingers to count the number of syllables, stomping with the
feet to show the stressed syllable or rhythm in general, moving the facial muscles around
the lips with hands to show lip position, etc.
Neurolinguistic techniques aim to strengthen the interpersonal relation between the
teacher and the group or among peers by developing mutual trust and accepting posi-
tive suggestions and/or constructive criticism. These techniques include visualizations
of speech sounds and phonological processes for memory improvement, reformulating
Vestnik za tuje jezike 2019 FINAL.indd 130 30.12.2019 8:33:18
negative experiences about pronunciation into more positive ones, remembering short
catch phrases at the end of the class, etc.
Unlike other language skills, L2 pronunciation is “not tied to proficiency – a beginner can
have excellent productions and an individual with a superb grasp of L2 syntax and vo-
cabulary can be difficult to understand” (Thomson and Derwing 2015: 14). This in itself
makes the process of learning L2 pronunciation “a complex task which requires motivation,
time, and patience on the part of the learner and teacher” (Pennington and Rogerson-Rev-
ell 2019: 201). Choosing the most appropriate teaching technique requires that a teacher
demonstrates sensitivity to additional factors not necessarily related to the development of
proficiency. These concern not only understanding of the essential parts of pronunciation
and how they interact in speech, but also taking into consideration the learners' age, their
learning context, the communicative context, learners' goals and to what extent they are
achievable, as well as learners' projected L2 identity and emotional state. The reality of this
is certainly daunting for practicing teachers, and presents a serious challenge.
According to Henderson et al. (2012), the most common techniques2 used in Euro-
pean classrooms include listen-and-repeat, spontaneous error correction, reading aloud,
and phonetic instruction/training. Compared to the types of teaching techniques found in
the literature and categorized in our discussion, it is noticeable that traditional activities
such as automatic repetition, ear-training and phonetic instruction are still considered
beneficial. However, if teachers aim to teach their learners about the relevance of L2
pronunciation to successful spoken communication they also need to incorporate less
conventional teaching techniques, such as activities for raising phonological awareness,
communicative activities and techniques that adopt an interdisciplinary approach. Most
importantly, they need to be critical of the abundance of pedagogic resources now on
the market, and make informed choices based on related research and applicable results
(Pennington and Rogerson-Revell 2019).
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2 The study does not test the e󰏑ectiveness of the listed teaching techniques.
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Izgovorjava v tujem jeziku: pregled tehnik poučevanja
Pričujoči prispevek ponuja kritičen pregled tradicionalnih ter sodobnejših tehnik in dejavnosti, ki
so namenjene vadenju izgovorjave in so obravnavane v znanstveni literaturi. V preteklih desetle-
tjih so teoretični pristopi k poučevanju izgovorjave doživeli pomembne spremembe: če so se sprva
osredotočali predvsem na natančno oblikovanje oz. izgovorjavo posameznih glasov, sta danes v
središču njihovega zanimanja sporazumevalni pomen tekočega govora in njegova razumljivost.
Ker je poučevanje izgovorjave v drugem jeziku zahtevno, se ga je treba lotiti sistematično. Prispe-
vek ponuja razmislek o različnih odločitvah, ki jih morajo učitelji sprejeti pri izbiri vaj za izgovor-
javo: izbrati morajo vrsto fonološke strukture, ki naj jo vaja obravnava, določiti način govora in
strukturno raven govora, na katero naj se vaja osredotoča, odločiti se morajo za vrsto vaje, opre-
deliti stopnjo nadzora nad strukturo, ki je predmet posamezne vaje, in določiti kognitivne veščine,
ki naj bi jih spodbujalo izvajanje določene vaje. Analiza znanstvene literature je pokazala, da so
se tehnike poučevanja izgovorjave prilagodile različnim sodobnim smernicam. Tako tradicionalne
dejavnosti, kot so samodejno ponavljanje glasov, zaznavni trening in pouk fonetike, sicer še vedno
veljajo za učinkovite, vendar je več poudarka tudi na dejavnostih za razvijanje fonološke zavesti,
na sporazumevalnih dejavnostih in na tehnikah, ki se opirajo na interdisciplinarni pristop.
Ključne besede: ponavljanje glasov, zaznavni trening, pouk fonetike, fonološka zavest, sporazu-
mevalne dejavnosti
Vestnik za tuje jezike 2019 FINAL.indd 135 30.12.2019 8:33:18
The aim of the paper is to give a critical summary of the traditional and more alternative techniques
and activities for pronunciation practice recommended in the literature. In the past few decades the
theoretical approaches to teaching pronunciation have changed considerably, from giving a strong
focus on the accurate production of individual speech sounds to shifting the focus onto the greater
communicative relevance of connected speech and intelligibility. Approaching L2 pronunciation
teaching is not an easy task, and it needs to be systematically dealt with. The paper discusses
several decisions teachers need to make when choosing activities for pronunciation practice: se-
lecting the type of phonological structure to practice, deciding on the speech mode, determining
the structural level of practice, focusing on a particular type of instruction, establishing the degree
of control of the structure that is practiced, and choosing which cognitive skill to enhance while
practicing. With regard to the various techniques for teaching pronunciation, the analysis shows
they have adapted accordingly in line with the different trends. Hence, while traditional activities
such as automatic repetition, ear-training and explicit phonetic instruction are still considered ef-
fective, additional priority is given to activities for raising phonological awareness, communicative
activities and techniques that adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
Keywords: sound repetition, ear-training, phonetic instruction, phonological awareness, commu-
nicative activities
Vestnik za tuje jezike 2019 FINAL.indd 136 30.12.2019 8:33:18
This chapter explores learners’ and teachers’ attitudes towards English pronunciation in elementary schools in Croatia, as well as the relationship between pre-service education and pronunciation teaching methods and techniques. The participants included 152 learners and 31 teachers. The results show that teachers feel inadequately trained, and that both teachers and learners have positive attitudes towards pronunciation and believe that language exposure greatly contributes to improving pronunciation. Classroom practices include teaching word and sentence stress, use of listen-and-repeat activities and teacher-led corrective feedback. Some learners are motivated to improve their pronunciation, while others wish to express their Croatian identity. We consider the pedagogical implications of these findings and propose recommendations that can make pronunciation teaching more effective in this context. Keywords: teaching, learners, ELF, elementary school, pronunciation activities, teaching methods, attitudes, Croatia
Full-text available
This work is motivated by the desire to understand why individuals who learn an L2. especially those who began learning the L2 in late adolescence or adulthood, differ from monolingual native speakers of the target L2. A variety of proposals have been offered as to whether or how L2 speech learning is “constrained” in comparison to L1 speech learning. If constraints exists, do they differ for production and perception? Will certain learners inevitably differ from L2 native speakers? This chapter begins by reviewing theory and evidence relating to the production and perception of L2 phonetic segments. It considers how production and perception are related, and concludes with suggestions regarding goals for future future research
Full-text available
Over the past 25 years second language (L2) acquisition researchhas paid considerable attention to the effectiveness of instruction onL2 morphosyntax development, and the findings of relevant empiricalstudies have been extensively summarized using narrative review meth-ods (e.g., Ellis, 2002) as well as meta-analytic review methods (e.g.,Spada & Tomita, 2010). These researchers have reached a consensusthat (a) integrating language focus into meaning-oriented classroomsis more effective than a purely naturalistic approach, and (b) contextu-alized grammar teaching methods (e.g., focus-on-form instruction,form-focused instruction) is more effective than decontexualized gram-mar teaching methods (e.g., focus-on-formS instruction, grammar-translation method). What is surprising in this vein of L2 acquisitionstudies, however, is the lack of research in the area of L2 pronuncia-tion development. Pronunciation teaching has been notorious for itsoverdependence on decontextualized practice such as mechanicaldrills and repetition, reminiscent of the audiolingual teaching meth-ods of several decades ago (for discussion, see Celce-Murcia, Brinton, 1Goodwin, & Griner, 2010). Furthermore, very few language teachersactually receive adequate training in the specific area of pronunciationteaching (Foote, Holtby, & Derwing, 2011).1234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829303132333435363738394041424344
This collaborative work by two-well-known pronunciation specialists breaks new ground in presenting an applied, sociolinguistic orientation to pronunciation teaching and research that is both up-to-date and comprehensive in scope. It is a welcome addition to the pronunciation literature that should be on the reading lists of all language teachers and applied linguists.” —Rodney H. Jones, University of Reading, UK “This book makes a valuable contribution by connecting research and practice while providing a comprehensive scope. This is much appreciated given the extensive amount of research in the field as well as in related areas.” —Jose Antonio Mompean Gonzalez, University of Murcia, Spain This book offers contemporary perspectives on English pronunciation teaching and research in the context of increasing multilingualism and English as an international language. It reviews current theory and practice in pronunciation pedagogy, language learning, language assessment, and technological developments, and presents an expanded view of pronunciation in communication, education, and employment. Its eight chapters provide a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of pronunciation and the linguistic and social functions it fulfils. Topics include pronunciation in first and second language acquisition; instructional approaches and factors impacting teachers’ curriculum decisions; methods for assessing pronunciation; the use of technology for pronunciation teaching, learning, and testing; pronunciation issues of teachers who are second-language speakers; and applications of pronunciation research and pedagogy in L1 literacy and speech therapy, forensic linguistics, and health, workplace, and political communication. The chapters also critically examine the research base supporting specific teaching approaches and identify research gaps in need of further investigation. This rigorous work will provide an invaluable resource for teachers and teacher educators; in addition to researchers in the fields of applied linguistics, phonology and communication. Martha C. Pennington is Professorial Research Associate in Linguistics at the School for Oriental and African Studies and a Research Fellow in Applied Linguistics and Communication at Birkbeck College, both of the University of London, UK. Pamela Rogerson-Revell is Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the University of Leicester, UK.
Phonology for Listening brings listening in English Language Teaching into the 21st century. Learners have problems decoding fast spontaneous speech, and Phonology for Listening - using many recorded examples - provides teachers of English with new concepts, fresh thinking and innovative practical ideas to help students decode the realities of fast spontaneous speech. It is written for teachers of English worldwide.
Empirical studies are essential to improving our understanding of the relationship between accent and pronunciation teaching. However, the study of pronunciation has been marginalized within the field of applied linguistics. As a result, teachers are often left to rely on their own intuitions with little direction. Although some instructors can successfully assist their students under these conditions, many others are reluctant to teach pronunciation. In this article we call for more research to enhance our knowledge of the nature of foreign accents and their effects on communication. Research of this type has much to offer to teachers and students in terms of helping them to set learning goals, identifying appropriate pedagogical priorities for the classroom, and determining the most effective approaches to teaching. We discuss these possibilities within a framework in which mutual intelligibility is the primary consideration, although social ramifications of accent must also be taken into account. We describe several problem areas and identify some misconceptions about pronunciation instruction. In addition, we make suggestions for future research that would address intelligibility, functional load, computer-assisted language learning, and the role of the listener. Finally, we recommend greater collaboration between researchers and practitioners, such that more classroom-relevant research is undertaken.
One of the chief goals of most second language learners is to be understood in their second language by a wide range of interlocutors in a variety of contexts. Although a nonnative accent can sometimes interfere with this goal, prior to the publication of this study, second language researchers and teachers alike were aware that an accent itself does not necessarily act as a communicative barrier. Nonetheless, there had been very little empirical investigation of how the presence of a nonnative accent affects intelligibility, and the notions of “heavy accent” and “low intelligibility” had often been confounded. Some of the key findings of the study—that even heavily accented speech is sometimes perfectly intelligible and that prosodic errors appear to be a more potent force in the loss of intelligibility than phonetic errors—added support to some common, but weakly substantiated beliefs. The study also provided a framework for a program of research to evaluate the ways in which such factors as intelligibility and comprehensibility are related to a number of other dimensions. The authors have extended and replicated the work begun in this study to include learners representing other L1 backgrounds (Cantonese, Japanese, Polish, Spanish) and different levels of learner proficiency, as well as other discourse types (Derwing & Munro, 1997; Munro & Derwing, 1995). Further support for the notion that accent itself should be regarded as a secondary concern was obtained in a study of processing difficulty (Munro & Derwing, 1995), which revealed that nonnative utterances tend to require more time to process than native-produced speech, but failed to indicate a relationship between strength of accent and processing time.The approach to L2 speech evaluation used in this study has also proved useful in investigations of the benefits of different methods of teaching of pronunciation to ESL learners. In particular, it is now clear that learner assessments are best carried out with attention to the multidimensional nature of L2 speech, rather than with a simple focus on global accentedness. It has been shown, for instance, that some pedagogical methods may be effective in improving intelligibility while others may have an effect only on accentedness (Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998).
In this reexamination of the status of pronunciation in language teaching, the traditional phonemic-based view of pronunciation is contrasted with a broader, discourse-based view comprising segmental, voice-setting, and prosodic features. A description of the nature and interaction of these three aspects of pronunciation serves to raise issues which are then reviewed in a survey of research on the acquisition of pronunciation. Central issues are the influence of the first language, the acquisition processes operative in L2 phonology, psychosocial and individual factors, and the role of instruction. A broader focus on pronunciation in the context of discourse is suggested as the emphasis of both second language acquisition research and second language teaching. From this perspective the effects of voice setting, stress and intonation, as well as coarticulatory phenomena, assume greater importance for teaching. Pronunciation should be taught as part of the means for creating both referential and interfactional meaning, and not merely as an aspect of the oral production of words and sentences.