Monday, January 2, 2012

Essential English Pronunciation--Is that all there is to love?

Clip art: Clker
Pronunciation work should be exceedingly rewarding--and often downright fun--for both learner and instructor. If not, it probably is just not going far enough. There is general agreement in the field today on what elements of English pronunciation are essential for developing intelligibility. For example, here is the Jenkins model of essential Global English. Here is a relatively concise list for Vietnamese learners and an hour video of Gilbert's version @New School (also linked in a previous post on a different topic) that includes more than the essentials--and some I consider decidedly nonessential--but worth watching.

Where there is some consensus in how to
(1) prioritize those various "bits and processes,"
(2) which techniques are most effective in specific learning contexts,
there is far less (or even any discussion) as to how to 
(3) anchor and 
(4) integrate those elements into spontaneous speaking--along with creating a 
(5) consistent routine and 
(6) "phonological acquisition readiness."

HICP is really more about the last four than the first two. In principle, any theoretically grounded schema today (such as that of Jenkins, Gilbert or Tran) can be used in identifying the critical elements for a specific learner population. (See earlier posts on the "end" of pronunciation methodology!) Likewise, once the foundation is established, the course of further instruction is quite open. EHIEP protocols (12  basic teaching techniques) should be applicable in virtually all classroom or personal development settings. Hence the "haptic-integrated" in EHIEP and the "clinical" in HICP, beginning where most contemporary methodology leaves off or (typically) consigns to the learner how to figure out and manage. To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear: To ESSENTIAL AND BEYOND!


Bill Acton said...

I should note that EHIEP does have it own "inventory," something of a hybrid between Gilbert and Jenkins--and Morley. The techniques, however, are all haptically grounded (involve movement and touch.)

beatman said...

Great video! Judy Gilbert, is the master of simplicity. At 45:30 on the video she is struggling for a word in reference to the use of the rubber band. She ends up by saying she doesn't know what to call it, but she believes in it! I think she could have said that the rubber band serves as an "anchor" or the rubber band "haptically grounds" the idea of lengthening the key syllable. What do you think Bill?

Bill Acton said...

It is anchoring, B-man, just not quite the kind I am recommending (See my 2011/11 post titled "Hands on." It works well on demonstrating vowel lengthening before voiced consonants--just not the approach I'd use generally in anchoring words, etc.

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