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Teaching English Pronunciation at the Secondary School Level


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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The status of the English language as lingua franca is currently unquestionable. The economic and political changes mostly reinforce rather than undermine it. The importance of English as a school subject in secondary schools reflects the same attitude. On the one hand, the growing demand for English and the increasing number of its practical uses have largely contributed to the importance that is placed in teaching on the communicative skills, which nowadays are frequently perceived as a major if not the only reflection of a person’s command of English. On the other hand, however, understanding English or any other language taught as a second language not only as a set of the four communicative skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension), but also as an abstract system, as a code in which such components as the lexicon, grammar, phonology, semantics and pragmatics play a crucial role, belongs more and more to the domain of linguists and not teachers. The concern to enable students to make practical use of their knowledge of English is so strong that more and more often the question of what this knowledge consists of is forgotten or disregarded. Vocabulary less so, but grammar and pronunciation tend to be treated as a necessary evil which must be known but had better be avoided in teaching.

This attitude is frequently reflected in the way the information about grammar and pronunciation is included in school books, grammar often being set apart from the main text...

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