Phonetics PhonologyPurpose: To explore pronunciation, phonetics, and phonology, the most vital aspects of communication, as the most neglected of english
language teaching; and how phonological awareness and analysis uncovers a new dimension for effective communication.
Results: I, a new teacher, realize the rich history, importance, and dire need of/for a pronunciation system that gives life and new meaning to speech.
Implications: Students will be better for a method, a phonological approach, that opens the english
language up to them in such a way that challenges them to receive information accurately and to speak clearly.
To utter, to articulate sound, is the heart of, the purpose of pronunciation. We speak to engage in the act of communication, trying to understand others and have them understand us in return. It is an aspect of our psychological conditioning as humans that we pursue in order to live full and meaningful lives. “Phonetics and phonology are the basis of the english
language... [and due to] the complexity of the english
language, [phonetics and phonology are] a fundamental first (Horton).”
One of the earliest forms of phonetics goes back as far as 600 B.C. (Langley). The Aramaic language is a pre-dated form of phonetics whose sound system was sung out in musical notation (Langley). While early phonetics are not documented, and its topic is the source of much debate and confusion, there is evidence from Holy Scripture that supports the use of phonetics and the study of language as far back as the time of Babylon, around 1750 B.C. Why is it significant to make note of this? It seems that the powerful tools, that Phonetics and Phonology are, have not been utilized to their full potential but have slipped under the radar time and time again despite their immense value.
So then, what does it mean to be phonologically aware? How is it important to the success of our students’ ability to read, speak, listen, and even write in english
? Phonological awareness is a cognitive substrate to language acquisition. “Becoming phonologically aware prepares [students] for later reading instruction, including instruction in phonics, word analysis, and spelling (Chard).” It is obvious to anyone who studies language that there is a great need and importance for bridging the gaps in language acquisition. “No area of reading research has gained as much attention over the past two decades as phonological awareness (Chard).”
While most people, even native speakers, find english
pronunciation to be the most difficult aspect of its communication, it is rarely taught. “Since the english
language is not an easy language to learn, the spelling of english
words is not a direct indication of how they should be pronounced,” it is important for teachers to make themselves phonologically aware and “set pronunciation teaching in a context of everyday english
language use (Horton).”
This is not technique, method, and approach for its own sake, but it makes a difference to have them in place. “Skilled pronunciation teaching can give life to a class because it can reveal feelings and reactions (Ching).” Stress, rhythm, intonation, and the place and manner of articulation are elements of articulatory phonetics. Knowing how to utilize this science will give the teacher and student a strong foundation that allows for lasting success. The phonological approach brings traditional teaching methods to completion. Grammar, vocabulary, structure, listening, reading, writing, and speaking coupled with a pronunciation system will help english
students to achieve language acquisition and to be confident in their skills and in their life.
Language constantly evolves. And it is important to have a system in place that assists students, native and foreign speakers, in taking part of it. The IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet, makes it possible for speakers of the english
language to demonstrate how we put sounds together to form words. While most Americans use a diacritical system, the IPA is a special way for the student of english
to successfully acquire and understand the english
sound system. “IPA offers a wealth of symbols that can show a wide range, from very “broad”, general pronunciations to “narrow”, specific ones. IPA can therefore make extremely fine distinctions, conveying information accurately and with precision (Random House).”
It behooves those of us who speak english
, and those of us who aspire to do so, to acquire and hone skills that will bring richness to the process of english
language acquisition. Accurately receiving information and speaking clearly in the english
language are skills worth having.
Random House Inc. Quick and Easy Vocabulary Builder. New York
House Inc., 1998. Print.
“Phonetics.” Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language. Senior
Edition. 1969. Print.
“Phonology.” Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language. Senior
Edition. 1969. Print.
Chard, David J., and Shirley V. Dickson. Phonological Awareness: Instructional
and Assessment Guidelines. 1999. Web. 26 Aug. 2011. .
Ching, Carmen. Phonetics and Phonology of the english
Language. Web. 26 Aug.
Horton, Andrea D. Phonetics and Phonology and their Relation to EFL. Web. 26
Aug. 2011. .
Julian, Alison. Phonetics and TESOL. Web. 26 Aug. 2011. .
Langley, David Byron. A Brief History of the Phonetic Alphabet. Web. 26 Aug.