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Macmillan Online Conference 8th November 2012

Pronunciation: The Cinderella of ELT

Two key problems and two practical solutions
Adrian Underhill Blog:

Q: Why is pronunciation so important? A: Because it infuses all language activity:

Reading Writing Speaking Listening Thinking Remembering

In spite of this pronunciation is neglected

Pronunciation is neglected in favour of grammar and vocabulary a 2-dimensional matrix Pronunciation provides the third dimension that gives language volume and body The pronunciation slot is a disintegrated approach to pronunciation teaching

Pronunciation is the Cinderella of language teaching

Two (unnecessary) complications make pronunciation seem difficult to teach:

Problem 1 Pronunciation is seen as mysterious, endless. It lacks a thinking tool or map Problem 2 Pronunciation is cognitively taught when it should be physical, muscular, like a dance

Possible resolution for first problem:

1. The chart It provides a map, a thinking tool, a complete gestalt This can be demonstrated in a few minutes

Possible resolution for second problem

2. Physicality Teach it physically, as if a subtle inner dance. Reconnect with the muscles that make the difference. This also makes it visible.
This can also be demonstrated in a few minutes

The muscle buttons:

1. Tongue (moving forward and back) 2. Lips (spreading and bringing back, or rounding and pushing forward) 3. Jaw + tongue (moving them up and down) 4. Voice (turning it on or off, to make voiced or unvoiced sounds)

Chart as geographic map Physical and visible approach Use of pron chart as worktable Visual dictation: default classroom activity Few special materials needed Possibility for full integration of pron Mistakes are the syllabus We do not teach the symbols

Further information:
5-Day intensive training: Bell School Cambridge 1st July 2013 Blog: App: SOUNDS: The pronunciation app Book: Sound Foundations (Macmillan ELT) Online: Links to demos, videos etc in handout

SOUNDS: The pronunciation app

The ultimate mobile English pronunciation aid for students and teachers. Based on the best-selling Macmillan title Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill
SOUNDS helps you study, practise and play with British and American pronunciation

Macmillan Online Conference 8th November 2012

Pronunciation: The Cinderella of ELT

Thank You!
Adrian Underhill Blog: