Have you anything to say for yourself?

If you were with me in Bilbao or Madrid at my session on fluency in speaking in English, I promised to make the presentation slides available. Just go to downloads and you’ll find them there. Thanks for coming to the session. Thanks also to MacMillan for inviting me to speak, and to Trinity College London for sponsoring me.

Doubts about ELF pronunciation 2 – weak forms

In this second post about doubts about ELF pronunciation I want to respond to two questions about weak forms: 1. … regarding the use of weak forms, the LFC states that they are not to be taught (unless the student’s needs are for EFL) so speakers are encouraged to use the strong form of the word. In […]

Doubts about ELF pronunciation – 1) schwa within words

I recently received a very interesting email from someone doing their PhD on the teaching of pronunciation for English as a Lingua Franca. The person in question is researching at a Spanish university and hopes that their work will ‘help Spanish speakers of English improve their pronunciation in the language, following the Lingua Franca Core’. Obviously I […]

Nex week

When I was in the UK over Xmas I came out of the cinema after seeing The Imitation Game (nothing to do with pronunciation, but still brilliant) and was confronted with this  store sign (also nothing to do with pronunciation and only three-quarters brilliant). It could be that the ‘t’ had simply failed to light up, though I like to think that […]

Hidden meanings

Do you remember being told at some stage during your early training that the meaning isn’t necessarily in the words? Remember – all that stuff about the meaning coming from the words in a given context, with a given speaker and interlocutor, etc.  All that stuff that we learn to get through the exam and so qualify […]

To IP(A) or not to IP(A) – that is the question.

I’ve been working with quite a lot of primary school teachers recently. During the workshop I’m running with them on basic pronunciation teaching techniques I often get asked if they should use IPA symbols with their learners. It’s a question I’ve not been comfortable answering because I don’t have the relevant classroom experience, but I’ve spoken to […]

On how not to get hung up about pronunciation

One of my local newspapers regularly publishes a ‘teach yourself English’ course. It’s been doing this since I came here to live in 1981, which could be seen as a sign of its commitment to teaching its readers English. Alternatively, it could be that the course doesn’t work. Here’s a bit about the difference in pronunciation between […]

Italy is Eataly

When I was in Milan last week, IH gave me a bag of wonderful Italian goodies – cheese, sweets, etc. The food came in a very re-useable canvas bag, which bore the slogan ITALY is EATALY. It’s gloriously tongue in cheek, which is not inappropriate given that they are a food company. It’s also a great example of what happens […]

Goal setting

What’s the connection between what I talked about at IH Milán on Friday (and also at the British Council at the end of September), and what I was doing last Sunday, which you can see here? a) None. b) I was in all three events. c) There were a lot of people at all three […]

IH Milan Annual Conference 2014

Congratulations to IH Milan, and especially to Richard Twigg and Mike Riley, for organizing their 7th Annual Conference around the theme of pronunciation. As I never tire of saying to teachers, pronunciation really does matter, but sadly it’s not that often that it is given the attention it received yesterday at the Centro Congressi Fast. […]

Evaluating standard English accents

While I was struggling to access this blog I used Facebook to let you know about the excellent chapter on attitudes to L2 accents by Stephanie Lindemann, Jason Litzenberg, and Nicholas Subtirelu (from Social dynamics in second language accent (2013, Levis & Moyer, eds). I quoted the authors … “We argue that while negative attitudes […]