Z – the end of the road

Z. The end of the alphabet and the end of this ‘A–Z of pronunciation‘ blog. There’s a lot more to say, of course, and a lot that could be dealt with in greater depth, but the blog has handsomely fulfilled it’s initial purpose, which was to give my life some sort of structure and direction […]

Weak forms

W I made it! Finally got to ‘W’ and so can talk about something really important. Weak forms. A central feature of spoken English. Crucial to getting the rhythm right. Something we can all wax lyrical about! (If you’re sitting there panicking because you can’t quite remember what weak forms are, don’t worry. Memory is […]

Variation

Variation, the way that speakers of the same language use it in often quite different ways, is a wholly natural, entirely unavoidable phenomenon. In fact, without variation languages wouldn’t actually serve their speakers’ needs. Living here in Northern Spain, what I need from Spanish is not the same as the needs of speakers in the […]

Tonic stress

I’ve just noted that my last A–Z of pronunciation post was back at the beginning of December 2020. Goodness, how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. Sadly, I wasn’t rushing off to England in December to enjoy myself, but to say goodbye to someone very dear to everyone in my family. Not surprisingly, it’s taken […]

Receptive phonological competence

Well, this is quite a mouthful of a name, so as this blog is always about pronunciation, let’s just refer to receptive competence, which is the listener’s ability to make sense of whatever it is that the other person is saying, or, to put it technically, to decode the incoming acoustic signal. Receptive competence, as […]

Quality in vowels – consistent, intelligible, achievable

One of the key messages in my last post on priorities for English vowels, was that you don’t need the twelve pure vowels (monophthongs) of RP in order to be intelligible in English. Evidence for this assertion is pretty overwhelming, and in addition to common sense observation of English in daily use, this evidence lies […]

Quality or quantity – priorities for English vowels

Sorry, I’m a late with this. I got distracted. They’re busy re–roofing the garage and I’ve been negotiating what I want them to do and for how much. “It’s a big job,’ the roofer said, ‘And I guess you want it done well, so it’s a question of both quantity and quality. That’s not going […]

Nativeness (2) – just who do you think you are?

I was cleaning out old photos to reclaim a bit a space for my computer’s ailling memory when I came across this one from the 11th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca, which was hosted at King’s College London back in July 2018. (So wish we could get back to that age of […]