Intelligibility

In concluding ‘A’ is for accent (2), my second post in this pronunciation blog, I argued that ‘[a]ccent has given way to intelligibility as the main focus of pronunciation teaching in the 21st century’. A couple of weeks later, I ended the post on comprehensibility by tying accent and comprehensibility to a third term, intelligibility, […]

Habit formation

H At the 2014 IATEFL International Conference in Harrogate, there was a veritable buzz of excitement among members of the Pronunciation Special Interest Group. Pronunciation was about to leap forward into the 21st century – ‘listen and repeat‘ was dead. In part, because it was boring (or so we were told), but dead principally because […]

Fricatives (and functional load)

In my posts for ‘B’ and ‘D’ I talked about bilabial and dental consonants. These terms are an indication of where the sounds in each category are made in the mouth. In other words, they are an indication of the place of articulation. In contrast, the term fricative is an indication of how a consonant sound is made. […]

ELF – English as a lingua franca

There are various options for ‘E’, such as elision or epenthesis. However, since English as a lingua franca (ELF) is the thing put my comfortable little pronunciation teacher’s world totally on its head back in the late 1990s, the other ‘E’s will have to wait.  I’ve written about ELF basics so many times that I’m […]

Dental consonants

‘D’ could be for quite a lot of issues in pronunciation including dialect, diphthong or devoicing, but I thought I’d follow up from my post on bilabials with this one on dental consonants. There are two dental consonants in English, /θ/ and /ð/, as in thing and that, respectively. The two sounds are made in the same way, […]

Comprehensibility

The term ‘comprehensibility’ isn’t part of our everyday ELT vocabulary. We’re more used to talking about comprehension in terms of the questions accompanying a reading or listening text we are working on with our students. But ‘comprehensibility’ is a term used in pronunciation that is related to accent and also to intelligibility, and which, together […]

The bilabials /p/, /b/ and /m/

As anyone will know who has studied Latin or who speaks a Romance language, the term ‘bilabial’ comes from bi- (twice, double), and labialis (having to do with the lips). In the pronunciation of English, the three consonant sounds that are made by bringing our lips together are /p/, /b/ and /m/ as in pat, bat and mat, respectively. The action […]

An A–Z of pronunciation

Every cloud, supposedly, has a silver lining. I guess my COVID-19 silver lining is the time I have on my hands. That, and the fact that I’m at home and not in a hotel. So with time on my hands, I thought it was about time that I dug up an idea that has sat […]

Beginner

Sorry, but I can’t resist offering you another extract from Xiaolu Guo’s wonderful A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. It’s her description of her first day at her new language school in London. Beginner n a person who has just started learning to do something. Holborn. First day studying my language school. Very very frustrating. Chinese, […]

‘London is the Capital of fog.’

‘London is the Capital of fog.’ It saying in middle school textbook. We studying chapter from Charles Dickens’s novel Foggy City Orphan. Everybody know Oliver Twist living in city with bad fog. Is very popular novel in China.      A soon as I arriving London, I look around the sky but no any fogs. ‘Excuse […]