It’s six o’clock in the morning and already awake. Bugger! Today is the day I don’t have to teach first period but my mind doesn’t seem to know and has already decided it’s time I get down to some serious work so I’ve decided to turn on my computer and listen to the amazing voice of this guy ,James Arthur , apparently the winner of the XFaxtor. I am not a follower of this programme but the truth be told I think he’s got that kind of voice I could fall in love with and, to top it all, I have just heard his version of the song “I’m sexy and I Know it” originally sung by Lmfao and I can’t hardly believe it’s the same song. Well, I just wanted you to know.
Anyway, I wanted to share with you this tool that can come quite handy when working with phonetics .You can find it in a blog called Random Idea English, which is worth a visit. Here’s what it looks like ; you just need to type and copy/paste. Here’s the link.Easy peasy!
Here’s the song and the guy I was telling you about. By the way, he is also the one singing the latest hit “Impossible”
Yeahhh! Ok ! Sometimes students deserve a treat! It’s the end of the course and most of them have studied pretty hard for their exams and it’s only fair that you reward them with a class in the computer room playing games!
GAMES??? before you start thinking I’ve gone mad allowing teenegers to play games , iiiin the computer room and iiiiiiin the English class , let me tell you that the games are reasonably inside the scope of what even parents would agree with being academic stuff.
The site is called eslgamesworld.com and ,even I ,would be returning from time to time to play the games and have fun.
Have you ever wondered how we sound to speakers of other languages when we speak our native language? Some languages are easy to imitate, as for example the Italian language or the German one but I would never have guessed how a Spanish speaking native sounds to the rest of the world.
While I was in Malta ,and to introduce some intonation issues, we were shown this video. It was so funny that I ended up crying with laughter. At the end I was probably only paying attention to faces rather than to the mimicking of accents. I highly recommend you watch the video until the end as it only gets better.
In this video the British Sketch comedian, Katherine Tate, volunteers to translate into seven different languages. Hilarious! And I hope nobody takes offence.
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Some time ago I went to Edinburgh to do a course for teachers. I spent about a fortnight enjoying the city and struggling to understand Scottish people.
I remember that, on my last day , there was a girl on Princess Street , which is Edinburgh’s main street , trying to sell flowers. She was shouting ,like mad, two or three words . I stopped and decided not to move ‘till I could grasp what she was saying. It was important for me at that time. I can’t tell you ,without running the risk of lying , the time I spent staring at her mouth trying to see what my ears couldn’t hear but at the end , I convinced myself that she was saying something on the line of: “three for a bunch” but to be completely honest, I think I tricked myself into believing I could finally understand the Scottish accent! Why is it so difficult to understand Scottish Pronunciation? To start with, English has 5 more vowels sounds . Scottish people don’t pronounce the schwa as English people do , for example, the pronunciation of the vowel in “the” is the same as the one in “sit” ; they don’t make long /o/ , for them ,”cot” and “caught” are both pronounced with short /o/ . What is more, the diphthong in “coat” is also pronounced as /kot/ and the vowel in “heard” is the same as the vowel in “bet”.There is no /æ/-/ɑː/ distinction so bath, trap, and palm have the same vowel
And finally /ɪ/ may be more open for certain speakers in some regions, so that it sounds more like [ɛ] Other speakers may pronounce it as [ɪ], just like in many other accents, or with a schwa ([ə]) quality. Others may pronounce it almost as [ʌ] in certain environments, particularly after /w/ and /hw/. (from Wikipedia)
And now, after this boring explanation , watch this hilarious clip in which two Scottish guys get stuck in a lift which uses voice recognition for selecting the floor.
Should you have problems understanding the accent ,read the transcript below.
Every single time I have to teach phonetics to my students I never fail to remember my professor of phonetics at the University of Oviedo. His name was Raymond Harris and he was an exceptional teacher.
It’s never easy to teach phonetics and even though I love it I don’t think my students share my feelings on this subject. Anyway,in case you find it interesting or useful this is how I’m planning to teach diphthongs tomorrow .
A diphthong is a sound made up of two vowels, or in other words ,a vowel sound that starts near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves toward the position for another.In RP (the approved pronunciation of British English) , there are eight diphthongs.
An easy way for them to remember the diphthongs is by drawing a face such as this one and then eliciting the diphthongs in the head.
You’ll get seven out of the eight diphthongs as you can see from the picture . To get the last sound you can always ask students :” Which Diphthong is missing ?” and set this task as homework .
face |eɪ| | boy /ɔɪ/ ear / ɪə/ eye /aɪ/ nose /əʊ/ mouth /aʊ/ hair /eə /
What diphthong is missing ? /ʊə/ as in tourist | ˈtʊərɪst |
Click hereif you want to listen to the pronunciation of these diphthongs.
Learning and mastering English pronunciation can sometimes feel like a daunting task. I have been marking heaps of exams lately and now it’ s time for the oral test and if you want to know the truth… I ‘m dreading it!! Students insist on mispronouncing words they have heard a thousand times , like the word “since” , which they insistently pronounce as /sains/ and the “l” in words such as : walk, talk, should, half …. and would, when I’m well aware they know it’s never pronounced.
By the time you finish watching this video, I bet you won’t forget how to pronounce “would”.
This clip from the movie “The Pink Panther” is probably one of the funniest I have ever seen and Steve Martin is at one of his best performances
The problem with English names is that you can never be sure how to pronounce them unless you have heard them before.
The thing is that I always find myself under great pressure when I have to figure out how to pronounce an English name. People assume that just because you have some knowledge of English you are supposed to know how to pronounce every single name they come across. What they don’t seem to know is that ,in English,there are no pronunciation rules you can rely on and that there are lots of English personal and place names whose pronunciation is counter-intuitive to their spelling.
How are you supposed to guess that a name such as Happisburgh, is pronounced /heizbr∂/, for God’s sake! I would have never guessed it!
I remember some years ago I took a course in a place called Hastings (like the battle) in South West England . Before leaving for England I carefully checked how to pronounce the name /heistinz/ but when I took a taxi to take me to this vilage, to my dismay , the taxi driver pronounced the name as /hi:stinz/ and then after some time in the village I realised that the name could be pronounced in several different ways.
Anyway, here is a list of film stars whose names are frequently mispronounced: no more James Dean /james dean/, if avoidable.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Bette Davis Daniel Day-Lewis
There are many differences between Spanish and English pronunciation. English is a time stressed language, as opposed to Spanish , which is a syllabic language.
This is important because we, as Spanish, try to give equal importance to each syllable but in English, only some words in a sentence are considered important and therefore pronounced with more emphasis (Content words) while others are quickly spoken (Function words) some would say ,swallowed.
Look at these two sentences. Although the first has 7 words and the second 12 , it should take you the same amount of time to read both sentences. Why? Because as English is a time stressed language there is always the same distance between two stressed words.
Peter said horrible things about your mother.
He left after dinner taking most of his books in his suitcase.
Another thing to take into consideration is Linking.Words , when they are pronounced in isolation do not sound the same as when pronounced in a sentence. Why? Because of this linking.
Linking occurs in English in these situations: Consonant+ vowel :when a word ends with a consonant sound and the next one starts with a vowel sound , we , very often , link them
Ex: Liked it /laiktit/
And I /∂nai/ Vowel+ Vowel : when one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound.
To simplify :
♥ If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:
Ex: do it /du:wit/
♥ If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:
Ex: Ray is /reiyiz/
And then we have the Linking “r” for example, the “r” in “here” would not be pronounced in “Here they are ” (because it is followed by a consonant), but it would be pronounced in “Here I am”. Likewise, the “r” at the end of “far” would only be pronounced if the next word begins with a vowel, as in “far away” /fa:r∂wei/ or” far off”. /fa:rof/
Listen to these sentences and repeat after them paying attention to the linkings.linking.mp3
Not at all
Isn’t it a pity Ian’s wearing odd socks?
Was ever a bride so pretty?
Here is a song to practise linking. Pay special attention to the chorus where linkings are much more noticeable. If you want to to an exercise with this song click here.