written by Alistair Dickinson
A new book on developing
phonology in the classroom is always welcome & this
one, 'Pronunciation Practice Activities'
provides a very solid practical overview.
To begin with, quite a few
books for developing pronunciation assume a knowledge
of phonology on the part of the teacher before they
can begin to use the material effectively but here we
have a succinct summary of each area plus a discussion
of some areas of debate within pronunciation teaching,
such as which models to provide for our students &
which areas are considered most important. A useful
introduction for most teachers.
The book consists of the
Developing awareness of English pronunciation
Sounds: vowels, consonants & consonant clusters
Syllables, word stress & stress in phrases
Pronunciation & other parts of the language:
spelling, grammar & vocabulary
Resources for teaching pronunciation
Appendices include; a key
to the phonetic symbols, common pronunciation problems,
initial consonant clusters in English, some word stress
rules & a bibliography - all useful.
Each activity, nearly a hundred
in total, conforms to the ordered informational outline
of the Handbook series. The focus of the activity, level,
estimated time, preparation & procedure, with accompanying
extensions, make up each activity. Most are accompanied
by photocopiable worksheets & there is a cd that
provides clear models, as well as authentic sounding
monologues & dialogues.
The activities themselves
have clearly been tried & tested, & range from
the traditional minimal pair task to the more communicative.
Listening, as it should, plays a big role in the approach
to developing phonology. A lot of the tasks start with
perception before moving on to production, & there
is also the emphasis on the natural, guiding students
towards natural production through connected speech
There is generally more on
the segmental rather than the suprasegmental aspects
of phonology, a reflection of how much easier it is
to deal with the former & how difficult it is to
pin down the intonation system to manageable treatment.
Voice quality is occasionally touched on & does
warrant a chapter of its own but there are so many other
good ideas that there is little room for any more.
Activities' is full of imaginative activities.
Teachers who feel insecure about dealing with phonology
in class should pick this book up & go through the
activities with their students. The outcome would clearly
be greater awareness & improvement for the students
& a much better understanding of phonology for the
teacher. Very highly recommended for all levels of teacher