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Teaching Pronunciation. Fernando Trujillo Sáez. What is Pronunciation?. The Production of Significant Sound. Significant because it is used as part of a code of a particular language it is used to achieve meaning in contexts of use. Auditory Phonetics = The perception of the sound.

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Teaching pronunciation

Teaching Pronunciation

Fernando Trujillo Sáez

What is pronunciation
What is Pronunciation?

  • The Production of Significant Sound.

    • Significant because

      • it is used as part of a code of a particular language

      • it is used to achieve meaning in contexts of use.

  • Auditory Phonetics = The perception of the sound.

  • Articulatory Phonetics = The production of the sound.

Is there a correct pronunciation
Is there a correct pronunciation?

  • “insisting on “correct” pronunciation may not always be desirable. And it may not be feasible, either.” (8)

  • “The relevant question to ask is not: what is correct in relation to a native-speaker norm (RP or otherwise), but: what is appropriate and necessary to be able to communicate in specific situations?”(12)

  • “The task of pronunciation teaching, as in the teaching of any other aspect of language, is to establish models for guidance, not norms for imitation.” (6)

    • Dalton, Christiane & Barbara Seidlhofer (1994): Pronunciation. Oxford. Oxford University Press.


  • Size of unit

    • Sound segments

    • Prosodic units

  • Focus of attention

    • L1 interference

    • L2 communicative value: frequency and functional importance.


  • Exposure Procedures:

    • Communicative tasks with no explicit teaching of pronunciation.

  • Exercise Procedures:

    • Identification of sound features.

    • Practice in perception and production.

  • Explanation Procedures:

    • Sensitizing and Awareness-raising activities about phonetic and phonological facts.

Teachability and learnability
Teachability and Learnability

  • There is an inverse relationship between communicative importance and teachability.

  • Sound segments =

    [+easy to teach, - communicatively important]

  • Intonation =

    [-easy to teach, + communicatively important]


  • Ear training and Awareness building

    • Before learners can be asked to produce the sounds of a new language, they need to learn to perceive them.

    • So, one of the first objectives of PT is to help learners perceive the differences between the significant sounds of English.

    • Important: We tend to hear the sounds of a new language through the filter of our first language.


  • Communicating vs. Noticing

    • Foreign Language Learning =

      • Comprehensible input + Comprehensible output

        ( + Language Awareness)

    • The need of reconciling a narrow focus on sounds with the communicative objectives of learner involvement and meaningful interaction.


  • Innocence vs. Sophistication

    • The younger the learners, the more able they are to learn pronunciation by mimicry.

    • The older the learners, the more sophisticated the instruction that can be used (and the higher the standard of achievement per hour of instruction).


  • Paradox:

    • A decisive element for communication but

    • A continuous problem for pronunciation teaching.

  • Topics:

    • Prominence: a combination of loudness, length, paralinguistic features and, above all, pitch movement.

    • New and Given information (fall-rise for given info & fall for new info).

    • Floor (high for keeping it and low for yielding it).

  • Subliminal activities: Sensitizing and Awareness-raising.


  • Two aspects:

    • Word-stress patterns = important for intelligibility.

    • Prominence = important for communication.

  • Procedures:

    • The impossibility of providing rules.

    • The contrast between stressed and unstressed syllables (foregrounding and backgrounding).

Connected speech
Connected Speech

  • Three processes of connected speech:

    • Assimilation: the changes of a sound provoked by the surrounding sounds.

    • Elision: The leaving out of a sound or sounds in speech.

    • Linking: the insertion of a sound in order to make a smooth transition from one sound to another.

  • Modelling and mimicry.