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... А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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Ancient and modern pronunciations

Ancient and modern pronunciations


This course paper deals with new ways and methods of correcting students’ pronunciation mistakes. Teaching English pronunciation is important and actual nowadays, so problems of teaching pronunciation and correcting students’ mistakes in pronouncing are discovered in this course paper. There are a variety of good methods and techniques suggested for correcting learners' errors on the spot. Mistakes are part of our life; we all make mistakes now and then. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes as long as we learn from them and avoid repeating them over and over. Additional information has been obtained from the literature on the subject, to verify and assess the findings of the present study. Introduction deals with the description of such items as: actuality of the problem, the aim, the objects, the subject, the tasks, the methods, the sources.

Theoretical part deals with the perceptions of The importance of teaching English pronunciation, Modelling pronunciation, Aspects of pronunciation, The Role of Teaching Pronunciation in FLT.

Practical part deals with the correcting learners’ pronunciation mistakes, the ways and methods of correcting students pronunciation mistakes, Correcting Without Hurting, Exercises for the Pronunciation of Plurals for English second language.

Conclusion deals with the summary of all practical materials concerning the correcting learners’ pronunciation mistakes.



1. The importance of teaching English pronunciation

1.1 Ancient and Modern Pronunciations

1.2 Listening and pronunciation

1.3 Modelling pronunciation

1.4 Performance of a text

1.5 Aspects of pronunciation

1.6 The Role of Teaching Pronunciation in FLT

2. Correcting learners’ pronunciation mistakes

2.1 New ways of correcting spoken errors

2.2 Correcting Without Hurting

2.3 Mistakes Made During Discussions and Activities

2.4 Problems of correcting students’ pronunciation

2.5 Exercises for the Pronunciation of Plurals for English second language





Actuality of the research work.

A lot of time and effort is spent on training courses and beyond in encouraging teachers to consider whether immediate or later correction of student errors during oral work is appropriate. There are a variety of good methods and techniques suggested for correcting students' errors on the spot. Mistakes are part of our life; we all make mistakes now and then. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes as long as we learn from them and avoid repeating them over and over.

To correct students’ errors has always been, and will always be the concern of most teachers. Some teachers are in favor of immediate correction, while others are in favor of delayed correction. Some would even go further to consider the whole process as time–consuming. In this article, I would like to dwell, based on my practical experience, upon this controversial issue to offer some suggestions for both immediate and delayed correction.

When students are corrected in front of their classmates, they feel offended and get discouraged. They expect teachers to continually correct them during classes. Failure to do so is likely to create confusion and suspicion on the part of the students. As such, teachers are expected to strive to find most creative ways to deal with this problem that most typically arises. They need to encourage and stimulate their students to participate in class without any fear of making mistakes.

Most students refuse to answer to the teacher in the classroom on the ground that they are most likely to be the laughingstock of their class fellows. Consequently, they get discouraged and feel humiliated. They refrain from responding to the teacher’s questions which may deprive them of a valuable learning opportunity.

Generally speaking, there are three types of oral mistakes that need to be corrected during class-discussion. These are: grammatical, vocabulary, and pronunciation mistakes. This leads us to a very important question: should we interrupt our students during discussion or avoid interrupting them as much as we can? To answer this question we need to ask ourselves whether the focus is on accuracy or fluency. In fact, to save our students the embarrassment and in order not to distract them, we can employ less provocative approaches. One way is to make notes of the most common mistakes made by a student to be discussed later. Write them on the board without revealing the name of the student in order not embarrass him/her. Ask the rest of the class to identify these mistakes and correct them. Another way is to raise an eyebrow, or say, “Excuse me?” Or the teacher can ask for repetition without indicating the mistake.

Also we can employ another approach called, ‘selective correction’. In this case, the teacher decides to correct only certain errors. These errors can be decided by the objectives of the lesson, or the exercise that is being done. In other words, if students are focusing on past simple tense, then only errors related to this grammatical area need to be corrected. Other mistakes are ignored.

In conclusion, the teacher can decide which is the most beneficial and effective approach to error correction based on the situation itself. It will help students overcome their shyness and play an active role in class discussions without being afraid of making mistakes. In this case, they would acknowledge and accept their mistakes as part of the learning process instead of being offended when they are corrected by their teacher.

The aim of the research work is to consider what benefits correction of any kind might have for learners, as well as to present some ideas for conducting later correction (correction slots).

The object is theoretical phonetics of the English language.

The subject of the research work: correcting students’ pronunciation.

The tasks of research:

1. To analyze theoretical material on the problem of the research.

2. To reveal peculiarities of English pronunciation.

3. To investigate new ways and methods of correcting students’ pronunciation.

Following methods of the research were used during the writing of the work:

1. study and analyze of methodical literature;

2. determined observation on usage of studying materials.

The source consists of scientific, phonetic materials, teaching aids, articles on phonetics.

1. The importance of teaching English pronunciation

Contributing this particular gift can occasionally be a bit tricky, for several reasons. First, your students have already studied English for years and their pronunciation habits are not easy to change. A second problem for those of you who are native speakers of English is that you produce sounds so naturally that you may not be aware of how you do it, so even when you know that your students' pronunciation is wrong, you may not know what the problem is or how to correct it. Finally, the overwhelming majority of Amity teachers are not native speakers of the British "RP" accent ("Received Pronunciation", also known as "BBC English" or "the Queen's English") which is the accepted English standard in Kazakhstan in most textbooks, including Junior and Senior English for Kazakh. (Even in the UK, this accent is spoken by only a fairly small minority.) The upshot of all this is that teaching pronunciation may a more complicated issue than it seems.

The good news, however, is that through dint of hard effort it is possible for students to make some improvement in their pronunciation, particularly when they are attending to their pronunciation. (In other words, even future teachers with fairly heavy accents can learn to pronounce words accurately enough when paying attention that they provide an acceptable model for their own students.) If you pay attention to your own pronunciation, and spend a little time browsing through typical Kazakh English textbooks, you should also be able to learn enough about the mechanics of pronunciation to be able to help students. Finally, as long as you are aware of the differences between your own accent and RP, you can provide a useful pronunciation model for your students.

In class, speak naturally using your own accent, although if there are marked regional features to your speech you might lean as far in the direction of a more broadly accepted standard as is comfortable for you.

Learn the differences between your accent and RP. If you are not familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet and the accepted RP pronunciation of words.

When teaching pronunciation, in places where your accent differs from RP, don't insist that students follow you rather than the standard. (Future teachers will need to teach the standard in textbooks.) Rather, point out the difference between your accent and the standard so that students are aware of it.

Many of the pronunciation problems you encounter in students will have less to do with the fine tuning of a particular English accent than with simply getting them to pronounce words in a way that is more or less acceptable in any variety of English, so focus your efforts on the many areas where you can help students in their pronunciation. [1,52]

1.1           Ancient and Modern Pronunciations

We cannot be sure exactly how the ancient Romans pronounced their Latin, although the discipline of Historical Linguistics has given us a reasonably good idea of their general spoken practice. The early borrowings from Latin into various languages give some idea of the Roman pronunciation, for example Gothic "wins" meaning 'wine' was borrowed from Latin "vinum"; this shows the -w- pronunciation of -v- in Latin clearly, at least at the time that the borrowing took place.

In English speaking countries, two problems arise: First, are we to pronounce -v- as -w- is pronounced in English, or like English -v-? And then are we to say -ch- for Latin -c-, palatalizing the consonant before the fronted vowels, as in Italian, or pronounce it like English hard -k-? Teachers trained in the tradition of the Catholic Church will generally use the fricative -v- and the palatalized -ch-, others will use the other sounds, which the majority of modern scholars feels to be more authentic. A great deal of heat, if not light, has been spent on the problem of the "correct pronunciation of Latin". Probably most students will go with the method that their teachers use., but whichever way you follow, remember that this is a matter of scholarship, not of religion or faith. If there is any overriding parameter of judgment, it should probably be on the side of convenience, but in the last analysis the student who is really concerned with the way Latin may have sounded, as a part of his esthetic appreciation of a poet like Vergil, must try to find out the best way, so far as he can determine it, and follow it.

One person finds it ludicrous to read Vergil with an accent which appeared a thousand years after the poet's death; but another reads Vergil the way Dante read him, thinking this is good enough for him. Here as elsewhere de gustibus non disputandum est.

But if you are going to try to read Latin authentically, be sure you do not aspirate the stop-consonants, which is one of the oddities of English which makes the study of English so far for most others. It is virtually necessary to say "arpor" for 'tree" in order to avoid the Anglicized "arbhor". We know from grammarians that the Romans said "urps" for the city of Rome, and this is probably typical of their general pronunciation of the stop consonants. Furthermore, you should not use that nondescript English -r-, but roll your -r- broadly, as most of the Romanic language do. Whether it is a tongue trill, or a throat rumble is not important, so long as it isn't an English vanishing- consonant with a tongue flap (like "berry" pronounced 'Betty') or an American hybrid.

More important is the matter of the pronunciation of verse, for which see Section 14) of this supplement for a full discussion. The substitution of stressed accent in the place of genuinely LONG vowels is arbitrary and quite against the nature of both Greek and Latin poetry, which was length-conscious without any special attention to stress. If this process is justified by saying that it is a habit, understand that it is a bad habit, and please cut it out. Substituting STRESS for LENGTH is about as sensible as tapping your foot every time you hear a Chinese rising tone. [2,56]

Incidentally much the same misfortune has accrued to the sensitive and lovely Classical Greek language, where a perfectly attested pitch inflection of a musical fifth (marked by an acute accent in the Alexandrian period for the benefit of benighted foreigners like us) is regularly replaced by a heavy stress. This identical stress is also used for the circumflex, which loses its double-length and up-and-down musical inflection, so reminiscent of Swedish. And (believe it or not!) this same stress is used for the grave, which is nothing more than the replacement of an acute by a low (barytone) at base level, and is so marked in some extant papyri on every syllable for real dunderheads in the Alexandrian schools. But for the pig-headed, caution to the winds!

If you did these thoughtless things to modern Bengali, people would fail to understand you, or jeer if you persisted. But since the Classical peoples are not around to defend themselves, it look like a case linguistic open-season on whatever is around. But the bottom line: You are losing authenticity, and more important a large measure of esthetic appreciation.

1.2           Listening and pronunciation

Unless you are fortunate enough to have very small classes, it will be difficult to give much individual attention to students' pronunciation. Students must therefore learn to rely on their ears to tell them whether their pronunciation approximates that of native speaker models. However, many students are not in the habit of listening carefully before attempting to repeat. In fact, they have often been trained for years to immediately repeat whatever the teacher says, no matter how vague their impression is of the jumble of sounds they are trying to reproduce. Another problem is that while students are listening to the teacher's spoken model, their attention is often focused more on preparing to repeat than on listening. The teacher's sentence consequently serves less as a model for pronunciation than as a starting shot announcing that students should try to speak.

The first approach to pronunciation is thus helping students develop the habit of listening carefully before they speak. To do this, the first time you say a word or sentence, ask students to listen just listen. They should not murmur the utterance quietly after you; instead they should concentrate on fixing the sound in their memories. It is helpful if you repeat the model utterance several times before asking students to repeat; this not only allows them more chances to listen but also helps students break the habit of blurting out a response as soon as you finish.

Exercises which require listening but no oral response may also help sharpen student listening skills. Minimal pair drills are particularly good for helping students learn to hear the difference between similar sounds. Minimal pairs are words that are pronounced exactly the same with the exception of one sound (Ex: pin--pen, bid--bit). Sample exercise: To help students learn to hear the difference between the short "i" and "e" sounds, ask students to raise their pen when you say the word "pen" and a pin when you say "pin."

Training students' ability to hear sound distinctions will not necessarily result in good pronunciation. However, students who have not clearly heard a sound obviously have less chance to produce it correctly than those who listen carefully. [3,47]

1.3           Modelling pronunciation

Most native speakers of English have not formally studied the mechanics of English pronunciation, so this is an area in which it would be helpful to do some homework so that you are prepared to explain how sounds are made if called on to do so. However, you will almost certainly be expected to serve as a model for pronunciation, and for this purpose a limited amount of choral drill can be useful. Steps for such a drill would be as follows:

1) Choose a text that represents normal spoken English (as opposed to more bookish language). A dialog from your textbook would be a good choice.

2) Read sentences aloud, clearly but at a fairly normal speed. Have students listen to each sentence once or twice before attempting to repeat it. Remind them that they should be listening to and trying to mimic the rhythm, stress, and intonation patterns of your speech as well as your pronunciation.

3) Build up longer sentences from the end, starting with the last few words, and then adding the previous ones. Ex: "...give you money?" "...expect me to give you money?" "Do you really expect me to give you money?" (This approach tends to preserve sentence intonation better than working from the beginning.)

One fun way to practice the rhythm of English sentences is by taking a dialog from a book, preferably one with short sentences, and turning it into a "jazz chant." In essence, this means finding the natural rhythm of each sentence and then chanting it with emphasis on the key words, something like a group cheer at a football game or a chant at a protest rally ("Hell no, we won't go" and so forth). Clapping or pounding desks adds to the festive nature of the activity. This exercise is particularly good for driving home the point that not all words in English sentences get equal stress.


If you want students to prepare choral drill of a dialog before class, it is best if they have a taped model to work with. Without having heard a dialog before they repeat it, they may wind up polishing an incorrect performance.

Choral drill is best in small doses. It generally only takes a short period of drill for students to get the point you wish to make, and drill beyond that point rapidly turns into mindless parroting. [4,58]

1.4           Performance of a text

Once students are able to repeat accurately after a spoken model, the next step is to have them practice speaking from a written text. Keeping pronunciation accurate while reading a text aloud is more difficult than repeating after a teacher, but it is still easier for students than maintaining correct pronunciation in free conversation because they can focus their attention on pronunciation rather than grammar or word choice.

One way to do this is to choose a text and copy it for students. If the goal is to teach daily conversational English, it is best if the text represents normal spoken English, though an argument can be made for sometimes including texts of literary and cultural merit (famous orations, poems, etc.) that were also intended to be read aloud or recited. Having chosen a text, go over it with students in class and have them take whatever notes they need on pronunciation, syllable stress, sentence intonation and stressed words. Next have students practice reading the text aloud (either in class or at home). Students should become very familiar with the text. Finally, either have students perform the text in class or -- if the equipment is available -- have them tape a reading of the text. The advantages of the latter approach are that students don't all have to listen to each other read the same text, and that you can listen at your leisure. [5,95]

1.5           Aspects of pronunciation

Many students tend to think of pronunciation primarily as accurate production of the sounds of English words, but this is neither the only aspect of the problem nor the only important one. Consequently, one way in which you can help students improve is by ensuring that they are aware of all of the important issues. (see Appendix 4)

1) Accurate pronunciation of sounds: This is really two problems, one of ability and one of knowledge. Students first need to learn to pronounce as many of the sounds of English as possible accurately. The particular sounds with which students will have difficulty depend to a large extent on students' first language, but there are some sounds in English such as the "th" sounds in "think" and "this", or the short vowels in "head," "hit," and "put" which are difficult for students from many language backgrounds.

The second problem is making sure that students know what sounds they should pronounce in a given word. Common pronunciation problems include omitting sounds, adding extra ones, or simply pronouncing the wrong sound.

2) Syllable stress: Unlike many other languages, English requires that one syllable in each word be stressed more than others. The importance of putting the stress on the right syllable in English cannot be underestimated; putting the stress on the wrong syllable is more likely to make a word unintelligible than is mispronouncing one of its sounds. For many students who are especially hard to understand, misplaced syllable stress is the main problem.

3) Sentence word stress: In English sentences, not all words are given equal emphasis. Key words (usually the words that contain new or important information) are stressed and pronounced more slowly and clearly than other words. Take, for example, the question "Are you going to go to Boston?" If the focus of the question is on where the listener will go, the sentence will sound something like "Ya gonna go ta Boston"; the word "Boston" would be pronounced clearly and with more emphasis. If, in contrast, the emphasis is on who is going, the sentence would sound like "Are you gonna go ta Boston?" While students don't necessarily need to learn to reduce the unimportant words in sentence, they should learn to stress key ones. (Students should also be made aware of English word reductions for listening comprehension.)

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