intonation

Pronunciation articles for DipTESOL students

I’m trying to persuade our DipTESOL students to engage with some pronunciation-related research. I’ve hand-picked these five articles for their relevance to our context (well, the last one is more general), and I’ll be sharing them with our candidates this week. Thought I’d chuck them on the blog as well, as others might be interested in them. I’ve left in the reasons why I’ve chosen them for the candidates here – you might find they connect similarly to your own context.

Darcy (2018)Powerful and effective pronunciation instruction: how can we achieve it?

This offers a nice summary on teacher attitudes to teaching pronunciation (14 respondents, teaching an intensive program at Indiana University). Check out the section ‘What’s holding teachers back?’ for some interesting opinions on the value of pronunciation instruction –are these true in your own context? Also, skip to page 30 to view the ‘central aspects of a pronunciation curriculum’ – would you agree with these?

Relevance to our context: the article highlights a mismatch between how much teachers feel that learners value pronunciation (a lot) yet how much they teach it (a little). We have pronunciation stages in every lesson – do you value these, and do you think the learners do?

Thompson (1995)Intonation on question forms

Thompson provides evidence from small scale research suggesting that intonation forms for questions vary depending on communicative intention. There is a tendency for teachers and teaching materials to simplify/generalise pronunciation rules to make certain pronunciation points “teachable’’. Thompson highlights that such generalisations are unreliable, and suggests an alternative approach.

Relevance to our context: there are 12 lessons in our pre-intermediate syllabus that teach intonation patterns for questions. Each opts for the general rule of falling intonation for Wh- questions and rising for YES/NO questions. Have you ever thought that this pattern seems a bit… contrived? (more…)