Peculiarities of Teaching FL Pronunciation.

Lecture № 7.

1. The role of TP in FLT.

2. The program requirements to TP at school.

3. Peculiarities of English Pronunciation and Intonation.

4. Methods of TP.

5.Types of ex-s for TP.

6. Typical pronunciation mistakes.

The communicative approach holds that teaching pronunciation and intonation is important for the purposes of communication.

Mastering pronunciation and Intonation of a FL presents too many difficulties though the goal of teaching pronunciation is not to make the learners sound like the native speakers. A more realistic approach is to enable the learners to pronounce the language without detracting from the ability to comprehend the message. The approach to teaching pronunciation is approximating. However mistakes in pronunciation and intonation may cause many comprehension problems, because the language learners find it difficult to distinguish FL sounds and patterns of intonation different from those in the native language .

According to the Audio-lingual method teaching pronunciation as a necessary prerequisite was a very important for teaching Speaking. Nowadays when we teach FL for communication teaching correct pronunciation and intonation is very important because this we’ll enable our students to use the language as a mean of communication. It is not an easy thing to teach correct English pronunciation but it is 40 times difficult to get rid of pronunciation mistakes. It presents too many difficulties both for the teacher and for the pupils. Because in this case we face the problem of articulation, palatalization , aspiration, the problem of interference (inter and intra). Teaching FL Pronunciation was always one of the problems in FLT. But this problem was solved differently by different specialists, by different trends in Methodology. There was time when teaching pronunciation was overvalued. H. Palmer, Henry Sweet insisted on pure phonetic introductory course for beginners. The results were altogether unsatisfactory because of the lack of the interest, interference of two systems ( graphic and sound).

Proceeding from aims and objectives of FLT nowadays for communication in FL the school program sets the following requirements for TP and intonation: 1) to teach pupils correct literary pronunciation which is based on the received standard English pronunciation (pronunciation of TV, radio); 2) to enable students to understand the spoken English and to speak correct English. And this implies the following tasks: 1) to teach them to correctly pronounce not only the isolated sounds, but in combination with the other sounds, in the flow of speech (phonetic context) ; 2) to teach word and sentence stress and melody; 3) to teach pupils to divide the sentences into sense groups(rhythm).

Teaching FL Pronunciation at school meets a principle of approximation. According to the school program our pupils are to master pronunciation and intonation during the first years of study and constantly develop and support pronunciation habits. That is why TP at school should be developed at all stages from start to finish.

Each language has its own trouble spots so does the English. We should distinguish between errors and mistakes. Error is a slip of the tongue. Mistake is more serious and should be corrected. Constant correction is necessary because false habits are formed and difficult to break. English presents many difficulties because it has its own specific phonic system. The sounds of English are not the same as in other languages but sometimes occur in both languages. The points of difference are : 1) word stress, the difference in the power of stress. In English it is very strong, usually it is first syllable and in Kazakh- last syllable. The stressed syllable is pronounced more distinctly. In this connection the vowels are pronounced with a tension. This is the reason why the English vowels preserve all the qualities in stress position. In unstressed potion they lose their qualities. In English we distinguish long and short vowels, in Russian and Kazakh we don’t have such vowels. Acc. to Лукницкий phonemes may be divided into 3 groups: 1) the phonemes which are very close to those into native language; 2) the phonemes which are absolutely different in both languages; 3) the phonemes which have much in common with those in native language but at the same time differ from them.

Due to these points of difference in the phonic system of the target language and the native language there may occur some mistakes caused by interference of languages. Rule for teachers: prevent mistakes before they occur. E.g. Kazakh sound «б» is not very often used by Kazakh people, they often substitute it by «п» . The combination of 2 consonants is not usual for Kazakh language.

Wrong pronunciation and intonation often leads to misunderstanding, e.g. wide-white, it- eat, etc. Л.В. Щерба differentiates 2 types of mistakes: 1) phonetic m-s, they do not change the meaning of the word (palatalization and the lack of assimilation and aspiration); 2) phonematic mistakes - do change the meaning of the word. Phonematic mistakes include the following: the substitution of long sounds by the short one and vice-verca e.g. sheep- ship; the substitution of a voiced consonants by the voiceless e.g. his-hiss; the substitution of one consonant phoneme by another one e.g. pang-pan; the incorrect placing of stress e.g. present- present; the incorrect division of sentence into sense groups.

Methods of TP.

Now it is necessary to decide how correct pronunciation can be achieved and cultivated. There are different approaches to this problem: 1) articulation approach ( Acc. to Грузинская and Колосов to teach pupils to correctly articulate). 2) Acoustic approach. We should train students’ ears by systematic training; 3) imitation approach – mechanic training . The teacher’s pronunciation should be standard for the class, because they unconsciously try to imitate teacher’s pronunciation, that is why it should be clear and moderately paced. More than that a rich pleasing voice will make the language more attractive. O’ Conner says : ‘There is only way to master pronunciation of FL to repeat the sound features over and over again, correctly and systematically until they can be said without any consciousness, until the learner is incapable to say them another way’. They call them drill. ; 4) the most rational approach is the analithical-synthetical which implies all three mentioned above. Because in fact none of them can be universal. Taking into account the analithical-synthetical approach the procedure work on a certain sound should be as follows:

Procedure of teaching sound

Teacher Pupil

A sentence

A word


Pronunciation habits are formed with the help of exercises. Acc. to Шатилов there are 3 stages of the formation of the habit :1st – orientation and research (understanding); 2nd the formation of the stereotypes (drill, constant repeatition); 3rd various situations ( different examples).

The peculiarity of the pronunciation habits is as follows. It doesn’t exist separately from Vocabulary and Grammar habits. Pronunciation habits are formed must be constantly supported or otherwise they may be lost. For this we need a special system of ex-s. Specialists divide all phonetic ex-s into 2 types: 1) receptive for training ear 2) reproductive ex-s. Receptive ex-s = reproductive x-s are subdivided into subtypes a) recognition ex-s which develop pupils’ ability to recognize and distinguish sound and sound sequences. These ex-s are very important, because the mastery of pupils depends on the degree to listen with care and discrimination. Different types of sound producing aid must be used there (tape-recorder, TV,etc) ; b) imitation ex-s. 2) Reproductive ex-s may be of dif. types a) from only auditory perception of the text; b) through auditory and visual perception.

Phonetic drills needed for overcoming mistakes. As phonetic drills we can use proverbs, sayings, poems, tongue twisters e.g. The black cat sit on a mat and ate a fat rat. Betty Botter bought some butter but she said the butter is bitter but a bit of better butter will make my butter better. A sailor went to the sea to see what he could see and all he could see was sea. She sells sea shells on the sea shore.

Techniques for teaching Pronunciation and Intonation are as follows:

1. Intonation exercises.

2. pronunciation drills.

3. listen and imitate exercises.

4. tongue twisters: This thin feather is thinner than that thick leather.

5. learning by heart.

The procedure of work with the poem.

1. Listening to the poem, produced by the teacher or tape. It is a receptive stage . Tasks for it : 1) Listen to the poem and try to understand what it is about.2) Listen and read ( 2 analyses are at work at the same time: visual and audial).

2. Checking up the pupils’ comprehension

3. Words (introduce new words)

4. Reproductive stage. Learning of the poem is done concentrically through repetition.

5. Recitation in chain one by one or individually.

6. Dramatization- role play.

Pronunciation should be developed through the all course of studies. Phonetic drills should be used at the lessons irrespective of the stage of the teaching. Pronunciation is an integral part of FLT, it is closely connected with teaching Vocabulary,Grammar, L-g, R-g, W-g, S-g.


1. Лекции по методике.

2. Гез Н.И., Ляховицкий М.В. и др. – Методика обучения иностранным языкам в средней школе. М., Высшая школа, 1982.

3. Глава I. Методика как теория обучения ИЯ. § 4. Методы исследования. Стр. 11-17.

4. Глава II. Связь методики со смежными науками. Стр. 21-43.

5. Rogova G.V. Methods of teaching English. L. 1975. Chapter I. Pp. 5-9.

6. Гальскова Н.Д. – Современная методика обучения ИЯ. Москва, 2000, стр. 37-48. Лингвистические основы обучения ИЯ.