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6Evaluation 2


Evaluation 2

The part of a continuing lesson on phonology and pronunciation focuses on the articulation of certain English sounds. Generally, it dealt with the sounds whose articulation involve the velar (that is, the back of the tongue), such as /k/ and /g/, and those that involve the glottis palatal-alveolar (also known as post-alveolar), such as in shed and chips. The lesson uses various activities to train on the articulation of these sounds. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate these activities.

This lesson is invaluable in informing my objectives and goals to teach English pronunciation to Saudi Arabia high school students. The Arabic language does not have some English sounds like ch (as in church). It is, therefore, important for these students start learning these sounds and how to pronounce them.

Activity 1: Velar Sounds

  1. Language

The velar is the part at the back of the tongue. It is also known as the soft palate. There are several sounds whose articulation involve the velar. These include /k/ (as in cow, back, and speak, etc.), /g/ (as in God, bag, good, etc.) and /ŋ/ (as in among, bring, etc.). The idea is to stress the phonemes for the benefit of the listener.

Indeed, this lesson is vital. It is true that many people tend to confuse the sounds with those that are close to them, such as /k/ and /g/. This can be a big problem where ‘phonetically active’ phonetic items need to be clear to help comprehend what the addresser is saying and make their meaning. When one, for example, says cod instead of God, there is risk for misunderstanding. In this respect, this lesson is important.

However, language is not only a matter of pronunciation. The context plays a big role in the interpretation of language. Therefore, context would help the listener to establish whether the speaker is referring to God or cod.

This is a monologue. This makes sense, considering the goal is stress the pronunciation as clearly as possible. But because of the emphasis on sounds, the conversation does not sound natural.

The lesson also utilizes visual aid in the form of pictures generated by CamScanner. These pictures show where the tongue sits when one pronounces certain sounds.

  1. Learning Activity

This lesson utilizes a pre-recorded tape. The speaker uses stress and repetition to make these phonemes salient and comprehensible to the listener, who can then discern between these sounds and understand the speaker’s meaning. The repetition has other advantages for the listener; that is, it gives the listener time to practice. But in the same respect, the use of the a pre-recorded tape makes it possible for the listener to rewind and listen as may times as he or she wishes until they can repeat the sound accurately. The problem of a pre-recorded tape is that the listener cannot get instant feedback on their pronunciation. It is not the same as when the listener practices with another person, who can provide immediate feedback.

The use of the visual aid is also helpful. However, these pictures may not be easy to read for some. Locating the same position as shown in the picture may not be as easy. Moreover, these pictures do not show the differences in voicing that distinguish close sounds like /k/ and /g/.

Activity 2

  1. Language

This lesson deals with the pronunciation of palatal- or post-alveolar sounds. The alveolar is the part in front of the palate (as shown in the picture). There are the sounds articulated with the tongue blade sitting in front of the hard palate (or at the back of the alveolar). These include /ʃ/ (as in should, wish, etc.), /ʒ/ (as in pleasure, etc.), /tʃ/ (as in children, witch, etc.) and /dʒ/ (as in grudge, edge, etc.). This lesson focuses on the articulation process; that is, where what part of the mouth sits. This lesson is particularly important for those whose native languages do not have some of these sounds in their alphabets. For example, Arabs have problems with sounds /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ because these sounds are not part of Arab alphabet. Therefore, this lesson is important.

The lesson involves a monologue, a voice that stresses these phonemes (sounds). This is important for the fact that it helps the listener to hear clearly the differences between sounds and words. It is doubtful if the sounds would come out as clearly in a dialogue. However, the monologue does not sound real or realistic.

The lesson also utilizes visual aid in the form of pictures of the mouthparts and their positions during articulation of some of these sounds.However, like the case above, it can be hard to understand the pictures. Moreover, the pictures do not make the voicing differences between closely related sounds like /tʃ/ and /dʒ/.

  1. Learning Activity

Like above, the training activity utilizes a pre-recorded tape from which one hears these words pronounced. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that one can hears the sounds pronounced clearly. The speaker says the soundsrepeatedly to make the phonemes more salient. Where one does not hear well, they can always rewind and keep listening until they get it right.The one big disadvantage is the lack of feedback. In other words, one lacks the benefit of having another human, who can offer immediate approval or disapproval.


Pamela Rogerson-Revell 2011, English Phonology and Pronunciation Teaching ISBN-10: 0826424031