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Teaching English Pronunciation at the Secondary School Level

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Karolina Janczukowicz

This book aims to aid English teachers at the junior and senior secondary school levels in teaching pronunciation within a regular EFL syllabus. It presents such a way of incorporating the phonetic and lexical components so as to facilitate students’ acquisition of a standard phonetic system and to prevent them from forming habitual mistakes in individual words. It highlights key areas of the English phonetic system and provides examples of strategies how to use a course-book for the sake of teaching pronunciation. The discussion of teaching the phonetic system relies on the comparison between its conscious and unconscious acquisition. Teaching individual vocabulary items (especially reversing habitual mispronunciations) is analysed through contrasting mental and behavioural learning.
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In the discussion of teaching the pronunciation of English at the junior and senior secondary school level, one should remember that it usually involves continuation and not necessarily the beginning of the learners’ experience with English. Consequently, the phonetic aspect involves handling potential discrepancies in the level of pronunciation.

The situation may be complicated even further by the fact that in addition to the possible discrepancies, students often represent problems that result from their own wrong conclusions and predictions concerning the interpretation of the spelling. These pronunciation problems are highly individual and, on the whole produce an overall image of people whom it is almost impossible to handle as a group. Even though the image presented here may seem exaggerated, the reality of working at a secondary school always presents at least some of the problems outlined above.

It is because of the difficulties presented in this study that certain issues discussed throughout it become so crucial. The first and, in some cases, most important teaching solution is the use of phonetic transcription. The benefits coming from it go far beyond the advantages described in Chapter 1, such as the chance it offers of making learners aware of different sounds absent from the native phonetic system without the necessity of devoting lengthy explanations to it, or a way of ensuring that new vocabulary items are learnt correctly, without misinterpretations of the spelling, or making the student capable of using the dictionary independently of the...

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