Materials writing conversations #3: natural, authentic speech

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

Editor: So, do you have any suggestions for the pronunciation stage? We were thinking of, maybe, catenation.

Me: Right. Okay, I can do that. If it appears in the listening text I mean.

Editor: What do you mean?

Me: Well, just… if catenation is a feature of the text. Like, if catenation is actually used by the speakers in the dialogue.

Editor: Well… it will be. If we decide it’s the main pronunciation point for this spread then…

Me: Hang on, can we back up a bit here? Aren’t we doing things backwards?

Editor: How so?

Me: Well, we want to focus on natural features of connected speech, those that occur in spontaneous conversation, right?

Editor: Yeah.

Me: Okay, so I get that the dialogues we’re using aren’t authentic, they’re sort of pseudo-authentic, because we’ve written them to, sort of, appear authentic.

Editor: Right, where are you going with this?

Me: So why don’t we just get the voice actors to record the dialogue as naturally as possible. Then, we listen to the finished dialogue as it would appear in the book. Then we pick out the pronunciation feature we want to focus on, based on what seems challenging, useful, and … salient in the text.

Editor: What do you mean by salient?

Me: Er… I don’t know… I think ‘important’ or ‘obvious’. The phrase ‘salient features of connected speech’ has a ring to it. I can’t remember where I heard it first but…

Editor: Have you seen the syllabus mapping document?

Me: Yes.

Editor: That lists what the pronunciation focus is for each module.

Me: Yes, I know.

Editor: So, we feel that catenation would be a good area to focus on here.

Me: Woah Woah Woah. Hang on. You asked me if I have any ideas about what the pronunciation focus should be.

Editor: Yes

Me: But you’re telling me what it is?

Editor: …Yes

Me: And you’re telling me that it will definitely appear in the listening text?

Editor: Yes

Me: So, by hook or by crook, that pronunciation feature will appear in the listening text?

Editor: Yes

Me:

Editor: Okay?

Me: Yeah.

Editor: So, can you write an activity focusing on features of catenation in the text?

Me: That ‘can you’ is an imperative, right?

Editor: Yes.

Me: Okay. The only problem is that you haven’t finalised the listening text. You keep asking me to edit it and you’re not happy with stuff. So you’re asking me to write an activity focusing on pronunciation, but the examples I give might be edited out of the text…

Editor:

Me: Shall I highlight the places where the speaker should use catenation in the text?

Editor: That would be useful.

3 comments

  1. “Me: Okay. The only problem is that you haven’t finalised the listening text. You keep asking me to edit it and you’re not happy with stuff. So you’re asking me to write an activity focusing on pronunciation, but the examples I give might be edited out of the text…

    Editor: …”

    ROFLMAO

    No editors were harmed in the making of this dialogue.

    (In a spirit of fairness, I must confess that having been on the other side of the fence in the past, I’ve almost certainly said something along much the same lines to a by now world weary author ….)

    Liked by 2 people

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