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An Integrated Approach to

Pronunciation Lessons:
Practice and Theory
Dr. Marnie Reed and Christina Michaud
Abstract:
This presentation includes an actual
pronunciation lesson that teachers could
teach in its entirety, covering the four key
components of pronunciation. We offer
introductions to these topics for intermediate
or advanced students, plus specific activities.
At key points, we will pause to explain the
rationale for each step and activity.
An Integrated Approach to
Pronunciation
Addresses both suprasegmentals and
segmentals, both speaking and listening:
Shows that production facilitates perception.
An Integrated Approach to
Pronunciation
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4:
An Introduction to Syllables
A syllable is a beat.
But not all syllables (beats)
are equal.
Some syllables are strong (stressed),
and some are weak (unstressed).
Practice Counting Syllables:
Clap or tap once per syllable
What are some one-syllable words for
things you see around the room? Clap as
you say them. Be sure youre only
saying one syllable (beat).
What are some two-syllable words for
things you see around the room? Which
syllable is stressed? Clap as you say
them. Stand up on the stressed syllable.
What is the sound of an
unstressed syllable?
Spelling doesnt matter: The vowel sound in an
unstressed syllable sounds like the vowel in the
word but or in the first syllable of about.
Unstressed syllables can sometimes be difficult to
hear. Practice saying them and listening for them.
Which sentence do you hear?
1. a) They have to change plans.
b) They have a change of plans.
2. a) He has the right of way.
b) He has the right way.
Syllables and Stress Patterns
Mark stressed and unstressed syllables to help
you remember how to say them.
We call the pattern of stressed and unstressed
syllables in a word a stress pattern.
Column A Column B
ego ago
awkward occurred
person percent
Stress Matters!
When you learn a new word, ask:
How many syllables does it have?
Which syllable gets the (primary) stress?

When you add a new word to your vocabulary list,


note the syllables and stress:
piccolo 3.1 piano 3.2 violin 3.3

(Notation system from Murphy, J., Kandil, M. (2004). Word-Level


Stress Patterns in the Academic Word List. System, 32, 61-74.)
A Teacher-Student
Partnership
Prompted production
Corrective feedback
Student logbooks
Student check-lists


Sample Logbooks
Checklist: What do you need to
learn when you learn a new word?
1. meaning (not just translation)
2. part of speech
3. etymology and/or related words
4. usage (phrasal verb, count/non count noun,
transitivity, irregular forms, etc.)
5. number of syllables
6. stress pattern
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4:
Talking about the past. . .
Did you know. . . ?
There are three different ways to say the ed ending.
Sometimes you add an extra syllable, and sometimes
you dont.
If you have trouble saying the past tense ending, it may
be because no one showed you the logic behind the
different pronunciations.
Sometimes, you say the ed:
as /t/ as /d/ as /Id/
fixed borrowed wanted

Good news! Theres a systema rulefor how to


pronounce ed.
Three Pronunciations of -ed
Some regular present tense verbs, such as want or need,
already end in the sounds /t/ or /d/. For these verbs, say
the ed ending as /Id/, with an extra syllable.

Some verbs, such as fix, end in an unvoiced soundyour


throat doesnt vibrate at the end of the word. For these
verbs, say the ed ending as /t/: no extra syllable.

Some verbs, such as borrow, end in a voiced sound


your throat vibrates at the very end of the word. For
these verbs, say the ed ending as /d/: no extra syllable.
Practice with Final Sounds
A Teacher-Student
Partnership
Prompted production
Corrective feedback
Student logbooks
Student check-lists


Teaching Talk:
The Language of Instruction
Make the language you use to introduce the concept or
rule the same language you use to correct the student:
T: What is the final sound of the word: is it /t/ or /d/?
T: Can you add the extra syllable? Yes or no?
The language of instruction becomes the same language
the student uses to self-correct (prompted production):
T: What questions do you ask yourself?
S: What is the final sound of the word: is it /t/ or /d/?
S: Can I add the extra syllable? Yes or no?
The language of instruction is the language the student
uses to internalize the rule and self-monitor:
S: Is the final sound /t/ or /d/? Can I add the extra syllable?
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4: theta, eth, er
English doesnt sound the way it looks.
Sounds are linked.
Link the final consonant sound at the
end of one word to the vowel sound at
the beginning of the next word.
If two consonant sounds are produced
in the same spot in your mouth (like /t/
and /d/), you can also link consonant
sounds to consonant sounds.
English doesnt sound the way it looks.
The sound /h/ in the words he, his, her,
him is often deleted in connected speech:
Is he in his office?
Try her on her cell.
Ill talk to him later.
Put a line through the h when you delete
the sound /h/ to help you remember.
Link sounds when you delete /h/:
[IzibIzi]?
A Teacher-Student
Partnership
Prompted production
Corrective feedback
Student logbooks
Student check-lists


Checklist: Three Kinds of
Information, and Three Steps
to Decoding What You Hear
A Three-step Solution to Decoding
English: What Teachers Need to Know
Dictation example: Tell her Ill meet her.
Students may be able to read and say this sentence without difficulty. But
can they understand this sentence when it is spoken in everyday speech?
Step 1: Have students write what they heard on the board.
Teller all meter.
Step 2: Read it over. Does it make sense?
Step 3: Try to reconstruct what was said.
1. With no context, background information wont help.
2. Use sound information. Recall that English sounds are linked together
in everyday speech: words are blended. Also recall that sounds are
deleted: h deletion is common.
3. Use language information. Every sentence, even an imperative, needs a
verb: Tell her and meet her make sense now. The only word or
words in English that sometimes sound like all and
make sense in this sentence is Ill.
Practice deleted /h/ and linked sounds
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4:
Thought Groups
A thought group is a group of words in
English that go together. Link words within
a thought group, and pause slightly
between thought groups.
How do you know what words go together?
Use everything you know about grammar,
punctuation, and stress to help.
Mark thought groups with [ brackets ] to
help you remember when to link and when to
pause when you read aloud.
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4:
Focus on Consonant and Vowel Sounds
Focus on Consonant and Vowel Sounds
A Sample Integrated
Pronunciation Lesson
Strand 1: linked sounds, deleted /h/
Strand 2: syllables, word level stress,
thought groups
Strand 3: regular past-tense ed ending
Strand 4:
Contexts for Practice
Use any context for practice:
assigned texts
student choices
newspapers, etc.
If context is set, work backwards: context
determines which segmentals, etc. you target
If context is flexible, choose a context which
demonstrates target segmentals, etc.
Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Put it all together!
[An inmate serving a life sentence for murder]
[asserts that just before his friend died 18 years
ago,] he confided that he had been involved in the
1990 theft of more than $300 million worth of
artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
and had stashed the masterpieces at an
undisclosed "safe house" in Maine, according to his
lawyer.
Adapted from: Murphy, Shelley. Inmate offers tip on 90 Gardner
heist. Boston Globe. 2/24/09. Web.
Put it all together!
In 1891, a Boston socialite named Isabella Stewart Gardner
inherited a fortune.
She traveled the world in the 1890s and collected works of art.
In 1903, she completed construction on her new home and
opened it to the public.
Before she passed away in 1924, Gardner willed her home to
the City of Boston.
On March 18, 1990, the Gardner Museum was
robbed by two unknown men.
They were dressed as police officers.
That night, the thieves escaped with thirteen
works of art.
The stolen art included three Rembrandts and a
painting by Vermeer called The Concert.
The next day, the estimated value was reported
to be over $300
million.
The FBI investigated the case; they
called it the biggest art theft in US
history.
In 2009, a journalist published a book
about the robbery.
The reporter thinks hes solved the
case.
An Integrated Approach to Pronunciation
Lessons: Practice and Theory

Dr. Marnie Reed and Christina Michaud

Some materials copyright M. Reed and C. Michaud: Sound Concepts:


An Integrated Pronunciation Course, McGraw-Hill 2005, 2006.