Algeciras?

I was in Seville the other day, bound for Algeciras. The name brought back echoes of my childhood – on Sunday mornings in the 1960s the BBC had a radio programme where families could ask for music for loved ones who were serving abroad with the British Forces. Many of these servicemen and women were […]

The globalization of English: implications for ELT

I’m coming towards the end of a series of articles on the globalization of English, and ELF (English as a lingua franca). They’re being published in Modern English Teacher, and there are five already out there, plus one more to round the series off. The five that are out there are: The globalization of English: implications […]

A load of crap?

Last Friday I was travelling home by train. As we approached the mountains that separate Asturias from the great plains of Central Spain, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me, who I’d seen using English in a message he’d been writing on his phone. He turned out to be an American […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Recent pronunciation articles

Over the past the past year I’ve put together a series of six articles for on pronunciation English Teaching professional, one of the world’s leading teacher’s magazines. The articles are relatively short. but cover a range of topics: Pronunciation Matters. ETp 90, January 2014. A look at the way that poor pronunciation impacts on every other […]

Accent, identity and intelligibility

Yesterday a colleague invited me to look at a video on the web site of the Guardian newspaper. We’ve been colleagues for a while now and she knows I’m really interested in everything to do with pronunciation, especially the non- standard pronunciation of non-native speakers. The clip I was going to watch, she warned me, […]

‘Castles’ in the air

International flights are a great opportunity to see English working as a lingua franca. When you take off from Zurich to Madrid as I did the other day, the safety demonstration and other standard messages that you get over the speakers are not aimed at native speakers, and usually aren’t given by native speakers. It was interesting […]