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Part 3 Understanding Theory and Issues in the Field Reflection on Learning in the MA TESOL program: Reflection on eight courses.

AL 6110: English Phonology and Teaching of Pronunciation During my first semester at HPU, fall 2011, I took the course AL 6110: English Phonology and Teaching of Pronunciation. Before this class I though pronunciation was mainly taught through imitation and repetition of a model. However, this class gave me a new perspective and introduced me to a phonetic alphabet. I was completely new to the field of phonology. None of my previous teachers had ever talked about a phonetic alphabet. I remember seeing phonetic letters in my English to Norwegian dictionary, but I never knew which sounds the symbols represented. This class allowed me to explore the North American English (NAE) sound system. Making me aware of how NAE sounds are produced was one of the most valuable learning experiences from this class. For example, I learned which sounds involve vocal cords vibration, and how consonants are categorized as either voiced (with vibration) or voiceless (no vibration). Furthermore, I found it useful to learn about the anatomy of the speech organs and the different places of articulation. Terms like dental and alveolar reveal the place of articulation. Dental means that the sound is produced with the tongue tip on or near the inner surface of the upper teeth. The alveolar ridge is an area right behind the front teeth. Lastly, in terms of sound production, learning the manner of the airflow to the speech organs was another great aspect. For instance, some consonant sounds are called fricatives. This means that the sound can be maintained as long as there is air in the lungs. The initial letters in the words seal, feet and think represent fricatives.

Learning how sounds are produced will make it easier to guide my students. Instead of saying repeat after me I can give students specific directions. To illustrate, this is an example the guidance I could give students learning to pronounce the voiceless dental fricative sound: Take a deep breath, place your tongue tip between your upper teeth, and breath out as long as you can. Besides learning how sounds are produced I found it very helpful to learn about differences between British English and NAE. In Norway, teaching different variants of English is a requirement. That is why I found it very useful to learn some of the main differences between British and American English. For example, the words butter, water, writing, motto, metal, and little are pronounced very differently. Instead of pronouncing the allophone [t], NAE uses an alveolar flap [], which sound more like a [d] sound. Lastly, learning about the suprasegmental features of NAE was also valuable. Suprasegmental features refer to the linking in connected speech, rhythm, stress, and intonation. Errors with these features are more serious than with segmental features like vowel and consonant sounds. This is because they carry more of the overall meaning load. For example, placing intonation incorrectly can change the meaning of a sentence. Depending on the intonation the sentence: A storm is coming. Im afraid can either mean it is unfortunate that a storm is coming, or I am frightened about the coming storm. Also, a longer pause after a storm is coming will more likely indicate, I am frightened about the coming storm.

In conclusion, learning how sounds are produced has given me several ideas and tools to use when teaching pronunciation. I found it helpful to learn some of the main

points that distinguish British and American English. As an English teacher, I do not believe in only focusing on one variety of English. I think students benefit from learning some of the differences between English varieties. This is because they will encounter several varieties through the media, and if they travel to places like Sydney, London, New York, or Honolulu. Lastly, I will try to focus on teaching suprasegmental features, since errors with these sounds more easily lead to misunderstandings. References Celce-Murcia, M., & Brinton, D., & Goodwin, J. (2011). Teaching pronunciation. A course book and reference guide (2nd ed.), New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

AL 6710: Teaching Oral/Aural English I took the course AL 6710: Teaching Oral/Aural English, in the spring semester of 2012. This course allowed me to develop lesson plans teaching the oral and aural skills. In addition, the course introduced me to new teaching methods and introduced ways to diagnose the needs of English learners. One of the course requirements was a comprehensive group project. The task was to develop a teaching unit consisting of four to five lesson plans. My group was assigned the topic of pronunciation and we develop lesson plans that targeted a group of learners pronunciation problems with English. Two of my group members were from Vietnam, so we chose Vietnamese learners of English. This project introduced me to many different pronunciation techniques. The book Pronunciation Contrasts in English had lists of English sounds that can be difficult to contrast for different non-native speakers of English. According to Nilsen and Nilsen (2002), Vietnamese learners of English have trouble distinguishing between // vs. /i:/, as in ship and sheep, /e/ vs. //, such as set and sat, and finally // vs. /a/ like bass and bus. Minimal pair drills are excellent if the teacher wants to help learners distinguishing between two similar sounds (Celce-Murcia, 2011). We used many of them in our activities. For instance, we created a power point slide that had the three minimal pairs for // and /i:/. They were fit and feet, hill and heel, mill and meal. All of the pairs were accompanied by pictures since they were easy to visualize. After listening to audio segments of the pairs, the teacher explained that the // vowel in fit, hill and mill is a short vowel. Meaning, it is pronounced with less tension and duration. Whereas, the /i:/ sound in feet, heel, and meal is a long vowel with more tension and duration. Then the students were given a listening discrimination exercise, where the teacher only pronounced one of

the pairs, so the students had to guess which one. Another technique we used involved showing pictures of the mouths sagittal sections, and explaining where and how sounds are produced. For instance, the /e/ sound is a high front vowel. It is articulated with the front of the tongue high in the mouth near the front of the hard palate, and with the jaw in a relatively closed position (Celce-Murcia, 2011). To simplify, a teacher can explain to learners the lips position (rounded or spread), the tongues position (front, central, back) and the jaw position (high, mid, low) through pictures and modeling. This course required us to create a great deal of teaching material, like lesson plans and handouts. This was a new to me, as I had no teaching experience prior to the MA TESOL program. Before the course, I thought a lesson plan was only an explanation of the activities. Thanks to this course I was introduced to a good lesson plan format. I learned that it is important to provide some background context, if you are creating several lesson plans for a course. This could include a description of the program, course, and the students. When it comes to the lesson plan, it should specify the goals and objectives of the lesson. In addition, it could also list vocabulary, structures and other key language points to be taught in the lesson. Likewise, materials needed, such as handouts, should be mentioned. There is no ideal format for lesson plans. However, the points mentioned can make it easier for a substitute teachers to execute your lesson. One of the parts I struggled with was writing the lessons goals and objectives. At first, I wrote them without using measurable verbs. For instance, two of my objectives were: Learn how to make questions and give responses in small talk, and understand common phrases/expressions, and vocabulary used in school talk. The verbs learn and understand

were not measurable. A teacher needs to be able to observe whether or not the learner understood the instruction. In conclusion, this course allowed me to explore methods and techniques to use when teaching pronunciation. In addition, it provided me with a good lesson plan format, and allowed me to practice my lesson planning skills, like writing goals and objectives using measurable verbs. References Celce-Murcia, M., & Brinton, D., & Goodwin, J. (2011). Teaching pronunciation. A course book and reference guide (2nd ed.), New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Nilsen, D. L. F. & Nilsen, A. P. (2002). Pronunciation contrasts in English. Illinois, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

AL 6760: Teaching English to Children During the fall semester of 2012, I took the class AL 6760: Teaching English to Children. This course brought my attention to how different teaching children is from teaching adults. Sitting still and listening to lectures like grown ups can be very difficult for children. Words are not enough. Children need to stimulate more of their senses. Teachers should therefore prepare a great deal of supplementary material, such as pictures, music, games, or objects. Children also need to be more physically active. Furthermore, children have more needs than adults, which can make them challenging to teach. This course taught me me several theories and methods appropriate for teaching children.

If you are teaching children, you have to keep in mind that some might be in their silent period. This means that children spend a long time listening before they become comfortable enough to speak. As a young leaner of English myself, I remember how uncomfortable I was when I had to do read aloud exercises because I was not proficient enough with this skill. It was therefore embarrassing to read aloud in front of an audience, when I could barley pronounce the words. I believe Total Physical Response (TPR) is a good teaching method for young learners or beginners of English. This language teaching method was developed by Dr. James Asher, and is based on the coordination of language and physical movement. Instructors give commands to the learners using the target language, and the learners respond with physical actions. It is especially successful with children in their silent period, since it only requires them to listen and act out commands with fellow classmates. This also makes the method nearly anxiety free, which is good for language development.

One of the course requirements was a group project. I was involved in a group that developed a teaching training video for TPR. The project gave me several ideas on how to teach through TPR. For example, one of our exercises was called Lets Go Hiking. The idea of the exercise was that students get to act out a story. The teacher is the director, and gives the students commands like: Youre going to go on a hike in the mountains. Start climbing up the mountain. Youre getting thirsty, stop and have a drink of water. Ok, get going again. This activity is easy to use since there are numerous stories children can act out. This course also introduced me to teaching approaches appropriate for children. The Language Experience Approach is based on the childs spoken language. The approach involves writing down what children say to acknowledge that their English language has value. This can be achieved by having students share their ideas, experiences, interests, and adapt it to a story. The steps of this approach would be to first have students talk about a shared experience (Scott & Ytreberg, 1990). An essential part of Norwegian culture is to experience nature through hiking. Mandatory hiking trips are occasionally planned in Norwegian schools. Having students share their experience of a recent hike could therefore be an example of the first step. After a short discussion, the student could dictate their stories to the teacher. This would be good practice for speaking. This then could be used to teach students about the process of writing. For instance, the teacher could write the stories on the board. Once that had been established, the next step would be to revise the text, by asking if something more should be added or deleted from the text. Thereafter, students could copy the text in their notebooks. The finished material could then be used for reading practice, or other activities like role-play.

In conclusion, I learned that children will develop their language skills better if their visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses are stimulated. I will therefore need to prepare material that will stimulate these needs. Reinforcements like pictures, music, objects are essential for childrens language development. Also, children are more active and have a hard time sitting still. The TPR method allows children to move, and is therefore a great tool to maintain childrens attention and participation.

References Scott, W. A. & Ytreberg. L. H. (1990) Teaching English to children. New York: Longman Inc.

AL 6730: Assessment in TESOL The course AL 6730: Assessment in TESOL was taken in the fall semester of 2012. This course introduced me to important evaluation principals such as validity, which is an important factor for creating good tests. In short, a test is valid if it measures accurately what it intends to measure (Hughes, 2003). The course also explored the different purposes of testing, common test techniques, test administration, and scoring. One of the course requirements was to design, develop, administer, evaluate and analyze a proficiency test. The group I was involved in created a vocabulary test assessing vocabulary recognition. Our testing technique was in multiple choice format.

Throughout my own experiences as a student, I have taken many tests that used multiple choice format. This is a common technique to use, since the scoring can be done quickly, and it also allows the teacher to be completely objective (Hughes, 2003). However, I had no idea how challenging it would be to create good distractors. There are many considerations to think about when you create distractors. Firstly, the distractors should have similar word length as the key. This is to prevent the key from standing out. Also, if the key is an adjective, then all the distractors should also this part of speech. Furthermore, I learned a distracting technique. For example, if youre testing the word exuberant, and you want students to choose the synonym of the word, then you can make a distractor that has the same prefix -ex. Students might choose this distractor because the morphology of the word looks the same, and they might therefore assume the words are similar. An organizational aspect to think about with multiple choice is to range the options in a logical order. For example, if the options to an items were: all the responsibility, most of the responsibility, little responsibility, no responsibility. Then

these items should be presented in a logical order form most-to least, or vice versa. In the project, we were limited to only testing recognition, which led us to choose multiple choice as our testing technique. However, our item analysis of the students test results revealed that most of our distractors were not chosen by anyone: they were too easy. This led me to believe that the test would have suited the students proficiency level better if it had assessed vocabulary production. I therefore did some research on vocabulary production, which allowed me to see how our vocabulary test could have been done differently.

In our test, one of our sections assessed synonyms. In my literature review I discovered a productive way of testing synonyms. The following item illustrates how we could have used gap filling instead of multiple choice: The opposite meaning of near is ____________ (Pearson, Hiebert & Kamil, 2007, p. 286). Gap filling was the technique that most of my sources mentioned. However, the challenge with gap filling is that there are often alternative options to put in the gap. Providing contextual cues can be a solution to this problem. For example, providing the initial letter of the key would eliminate other alternative answers (Read, 2000). However, that technique will reduce the authenticity of the item. Using pictures in the gap can be one way to limit alternatives. This is more easily done with testing of young language learners or concrete vocabulary items, and yet vocabulary items that can be visualized is very limited (Hughes, 2003).

Lastly, learning how to do item analysis was a great experience. Here I can do different types of analysis to find how easy an item is (item facility), or if the item

discriminates between high and low scorers (item discrimination). I can also do a distractor analysis to see if your distractor are serving their purpose of distracting (Bailey, 1998). This is something I definitely want to do with my future tests because it will help me identify weak items that need to be revised. For example, my groups item analysis of our vocabulary test revealed that many of our distractors were not chosen. I believe getting feedback from an item analysis will push me to become a better test creator.

In conclusion, this class was very practical, and I got a lot of training in creating test items. Also, being able to create a test for a group of real students was the assignment I appreciated the most. It definitely made me more aware of some challenges with techniques, such as multiple choice and gap-filling. However, it also allowed me to explore some solutions to the problems. Lastly, creating a test made me realize how comprehensive the process of designing, developing, administrating, and evaluating a test can be. References Bailey, K., M. (1998) Learning About Language Assessment. US: Heinle & Heinle Publishers. Hughes, A. (2003) Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pearson, P., D., Elfrieda, H., H., & Kamil, M., L. (2007) Vocbulary Assessment: What We Know and What We Need to Learn. Vol. 42, No. 2 (pp. 282-296). DOI: 10.1598/RRQ.42.2.4 Read, J. (2000) Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

AL 6715: Second Language Reading The course AL 6715: Second Language Reading was undertaken the fall semester of 2012. This course introduced me to several strategies to use when teaching the reading skill. It also focused on adaptation of materials and building vocabulary fluency. Finally, it explored lesson planning and assessment of the reading skill. Two points that really stuck with me was a speed reading strategy and how to adapt a text for the students proficiency level. The Speed reading strategy is an excellent technique for raising students reading fluency. Sometimes careful or slow reading can interfere with a students concentration because their mind starts to wander. This technique can help students become more efficient. Another benefit with this technique is that it can give students an estimate of how long their reading assignments will take. Text adaptation should be used if the students textbooks are too difficult to comprehend. A teacher can adapt the text to an instructional level, which means that the students can read the material, but they need some support and help. One of the tools I found very useful was the readability formula in Microsoft Word. It helped me see how complex a text was, and if I had adapted it to fit the target proficiency level. I also learned several ways to make texts more readable. For example, deleting non-essential information, avoiding slang, jargon, or idiomatic phrases, writing in the active voice, and producing short and simple sentences. This class also allowed me to individually create a teaching unit. The course instructor required us to send in two drafts of the teaching unit. Her feedback was very valuable. In my first draft, I discovered that my lessons were too teacher centered. I

therefore had to create more communicative activities, which requiring more social interactions between the students. After all, in a language class the students should do most of the talking. Creating a team quiz is one example of how I tried to accomplish this. Here I placed students into several teams that would compete against each other. I then created a power point containing the quiz questions. This class also focused on teaching vocabulary, and I was able to see how vocabulary games can stimulate learning. An example of this is the Just a Minute Game developed by Elizabeth Claire. Here the students can be paired in groups of three, were they would rotate between three different roles; the player, the timer, and the listener. Each group would be given cards containing the target vocabulary to be guessed. If I were teaching the student about American holidays, like Halloween, I could give them cards containing several words related to Halloween. For example, one card could have the word ghost written on it. The speaker would then have to explain the word without directly saying it, while the listener would try to guess the word. This game helps the students develop fluency and clarity of expression. I believe games that stimulate learning are an excellent way to get students involved and motivated. In conclusion, this course helped prepare me for teaching reading. Learning about strategies like speed-reading and text adaptation were two valuable learning points. It also gave me ideas on how to make lessons more engaging through games. Lastly, creating a unit plan allowed me to discover how lessons should be more student centered. Students need opportunities to socially interact with their peers. The unit plan also provided me with teaching material that I can use in my future teaching.

AL 6600: Second/Foreign Language Teaching ESP The course AL 6600: Second/Foreign Language Teaching ESP was taken during the fall semester of 2012. ESP is short for English for Specific Purposes. More straightforwardly, some English learners have more specific needs due to prospective education or career opportunities. There are many different types of ESP such as Business English, Technical English, Scientific English, English for Medical Professionals, English for Tourism etc. The main workload of the course was a comprehensive group project. The task was to develop a teaching unit for a specific ESP branch. My group chose to focus on English for Travel and Tourism. We then narrowed it down to English for travel agents. The end result of the project was four lesson plans designed for a fictional training program offered by Dragon Travel Agency located in Beijing. The project taught me a great deal about ESP. Our major group project consisted of several required assignments. Doing a needs analysis was one of them. According to Hutchinson and Waters (1987), a needs analysis allows you to establish the learners needs, lacks and wants. In order to establish this, we interviewed a travel consultant and a travel agent. As a result, we found the following needs for travel agents: Clear communication with costumers and partners. In addition, to improving related work skills, such as customizing and budgeting are also important. According to the interviewees responses some of the customers lacks were: Communicative English speaking ability and fluency in communicating with English speakers. Lastly, some of the interviewees employed travel agents wants were: Knowledge of a more exotic culture, studying abroad, and maintaining customer relations to ensure job security. We based our four lesson plans on this knowledge.

I believe our lesson plans cater to the needs and wants of prospective travel agents. The first two lessons centered on telephone bookings. More specifically, how travel agents should communicate with their clients in specific situations like offering suggestions and recommendations, and dealing with requests and confirmations. For example, lesson two, focused on how travel agents should offer suggestions and recommendations to clients. Besides teaching common use of vocabulary and phrases, the lesson centered on helping learners distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate dialogues. Correct etiquette is essential in the tourism industry. Lesson four also focused on correct etiquette with e-mailing travel confirmations. As mentioned earlier, one of the needs analysiss results indicates the goal of improving costumer relations, in order to assure job security. Furthermore, one of the needs was to have clear communication with costumers. I believe lesson one, two and four help prepare travel agent trainees for this. In lesson three, we focused on the customizing and upselling of travel packages. One of the activities introduced the soft-selling strategy. This strategy can help travel agents convince clients to upgrade in their travel plans, and maybe going a bit over their travel budget, for better amenities. This is a great skill to have, and will make the students more attractive to employees, because having this skill can help increase a companys revenue. Also, customizing travel packages that meet the costumers budget was one of the needs in the analysis. In conclusion, the major group project gave me great insight on ways to teach ESP. Teachers in this field must often often do their own research in order to prepare teaching materials because not all ESP branches will have books on the matter. Teachers have to do needs analysis and interview employers in the target situation. We did this

ourselves when we interviewed both a travel agent and a travel consultant in order to plan our teaching unit for English in Travel and Tourism. References Hutchinson, T., & Waters, A. (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A Learning Centered Approach. New York, US: Cambridge University Press.

AL 6806: Using Corpora in the Language Classroom In my final semester I took the course AL 6806: Using Corpora in the Language Classroom. This was the first time this course was offered at HPU, and this field was completely new to me. A corpus is defined as a large, principled collection of naturally occurring texts (written or spoken) stored electronically (Reppen, 2010, p. 2). Naturally occurring texts means that the texts are from actual language situations, like conversations between friends, or meetings, letters, newspapers etc. There cannot be any made up language, the language has to be authentic. Principled means that the corpus needs to represent the type of language it intends to capture. For instance, is the focus on written language or spoken language, or both? If the focus is only on written language, then the corpus would have to include different texts of written language situations, like fiction, academic prose, personal letters, business letters etc. Lastly, large means that there has to be enough samples of the target language. We can say that you have enough samples if adding more data wouldnt give any new information (Reppen, 2010). One of the most valuable points this class taught me was the importance of authenticity in the classroom. After this class, I believe it is important to expose students to authentic language from real life situations. A problem with many traditional textbooks may be that their language, like dialogues for role-play activities are made up. This means that it can sound unnatural and does not represent how successful users of English talk. I also discovered that corpora could be a helpful tool in terms of preparing language material for students. The course instructor introduced us to many searchable corpora, such as COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) and MICASE

(Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken Language). I found these corpora useful, since they can help me find spoken or written texts to use as classroom materials. For example, if you want to teach English for specific purposes, like business English, then word lists from a business genre can be useful. A corpus with a large collection of business letters can provide a frequency word list of the most common vocabulary used, in that register. This then would let the teacher see which vocabulary is important for the students to know, when they are writing business letters. Another great tool for teachers are concordance lines. They let you see the language that surrounds a target word or structure. Many corpuses, like COCA, have concordance programs that generate KWICs (key word in context). This can help teachers or students see language patterns that occur with the selected structure. For instance, it can help you see common collocations, the position of the structure, or functions of the structure. For example, I once analyzed the different functions of well when it was used as a discourse marker. Looking at at several concordance lines allowed me to discover its different functions of use. Also, if teachers are unsure about which context typically surrounds two similar words or expressions, then reading concordance lines can be of help to figure this out. For example, it can help you figure out in which situations Im sorry versus excuse me would be more appropriate.

Finally, one teaching approach commonly used with corpora is data driven learning. The principle with this approach is that students will play detectives with the language rather than be told by the teacher or textbook about the language patterns. They can discover grammatical patterns or functions by looking through several collections of data. The data can be concordance lines that show the target word or words in context.

This method can help students develop their analysis skills, and might make them more independent learners. Meaning, they see how they can discover a languages grammar by looking at data, which they can find for themselves on corpora databases. In conclusion, the most valuable learning point from this class was the importance of authenticity in the classroom. I believe it is important that students get to read and hear how successful speakers of English use the language. In order to achieve this, teachers need to collect authentic language material. Corpora, like COCA or MICASE, are great sources for finding authentic language material.

References Reppen, R. (2010) Using corpora in the language classroom. New York: Cambridge University Press.

AL 6310: History of the English Language Another course taken in my final semester was AL 6310: History of the English

Language. This class focused on the origins and the evolution of the English language. The main focus was on the development of Proto-Indo-European into phases known as Old English, Middle English and Modern English. This class made me aware of the many events that shaped the English language. The English language has its roots in Indo-European proto-language, which is also the source of several other European and South-Asian languages. Little is known about the early history of the Indo-European languages. However, researchers have been able to infer knowledge about the Indo-European culture on the basis of cognate words. Linguists have found words for domesticated animals like sheep, pig, ox, which indicates that the Indo-Europeans were farmers. Likewise, several words for family have been found, such as mother, father, and sister. This means that they had a sense of family. In terms of religion, it is believed that they were polytheistic, since words like sky father have been found. Furthermore, several theories on the Indo-European homeland are based on clues found from plant and animal names. For example, no words for palm tree, lion, tiger and olive indicates that the homeland was not located far south. Furthermore, no word for sea suggests that the homeland was inland (Algeo, 2010). The recorded history of English began when Anglo-Saxon tribes migrated to the British Isles. Their arrival in AD 449 is marked as the beginning of the Old English period, which lasted until 1100. Before their arrival, the Celts lived on the British Isles. One of the major events of this period was the Christianization of England. This was a long process, and it began when Pope Gregory I sent a band of missionaries to the Anglo-

Saxons in 597. As a result, Latin had a great influence on English (Algeo, 2010). Another influential event in this period was the invasion of Vikings. The beginning of the many invasions started in 787, with small isolated bands that raided churches and pillaged towns. Eventually, several Vikings settled in eastern and northern England. Consequently, Scandinavian linguistic features influenced English. Common English words today like sky, window, egg, and sister originate from Old Norse, the Vikings language (Nielsen, 1992). The end to the Viking Invasions began when Edward the Confessor became King of England in 1042. After his death in 1066, Harold, son of the Earl Godwin, was elected king. This greatly upset William of Normandy, who believed he was the rightful heir to the English throne. He therefore led a great army to attacked England and managed to defeat King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. He was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, in 1066. This marked the beginning of the Middle English period. Williams defeat over King Harold was called the Norman Conquest. The conquest resulted in a large number of French loan words. In this period, the aristocracy and the clergy spoke French. However, the connection to the ancient French language was greatly weakened when King John lost Normandy to France in 1204. After this event, the English language was greatly reestablished from 1200 to 1500. For example, in 1349 English returned in schools and in 1362 courts had to be held in English. This is marked as the end of the Middle English period (Algeo, 2010). Finally, the Modern English period was from 1500-1800. One of the rather significant changes to English phonology in this era was the Great Vowel Shift. The long and tense vowel used in Middle English underwent an extensive alteration when they passed into Modern English time. For example, the Middle English [i:] as in ride became

a diphthong [] in Modern English. After that it changed again and is today [a]. The same process occurred with Middle English [u:], as in hous. It became the diphthong [] in Modern English, and is today [a], as in house (Algeo, 2010). According to Baugh (1978), the Great Vowel Shift is responsible for the unorthodox spelling of vowel symbols. The spelling of English had become fixed in a general way before the shift. It therefore did not change when the quality of the long vowels changed. This means that our vowel symbols today no longer correspond to the sounds they represent. In conclusion, I found it very insightful to learn about the history and the development of the English language. It helped me understand why English is the way it is today. I had no idea how greatly complex the linguistic situation in England was throughout the Old, Middle and Modern English periods. The English language has been greatly influenced by several languages. Especially by Latin, Greek, Celtic, ancient French and Old Norse. Learning about the Great Vowel Shift was another important learning point because it helped me understand the confusion learners of English must have when they try to pronounce English spelling. References Algeo, J. (2010). The Origins and Development of the English Language, 6th Ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Baugh, A. C., & Cable, T. (1978). A History of the English Language, 3rd Ed., New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. Nilsen, F. C. (1998) The Continental Backgrounds of English and its Insular Development until 1154. Denmark: Odense University Press