Ancient and modern pronunciations — страница 5

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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] 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] 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.) 4) Sentence intonation: Intonation patterns in English sentences primarily indicate the degree of certainty of an utterance, i.e. whether it is a statement, question, or suggestion. Statements rise to a plateau, and then end with falling intonation. Most questions end in rising intonation; however, Wh- questions (who, what, where, when, why and how) end with falling intonation. It is important for students to learn these patterns not only in order to communicate meaning, but also in order to avoid unwittingly sounding rude or indecisive. 5) Enunciation: A final important aspect of pronunciation is