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Listening to American English

 
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 12:05 am    Post subject: Listening to American English Reply with quote

I've been working on some Listening activities for American English, particularly for the linking we make. So far I have two lessons done, with 12 parts, 8 of which are interactive practice. They are all in Flash. If you are in the mood to try them out, go to: http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~lfried/activity/listening/listeningexp.html

You have to click on the middle choice at the bottom (the list of lessons) to go to the contents. When I finish it, I'll change the opening remarks to explain more. Anyway, there isn't a Listening Forum, and since listening and pronunciation are closely related, I thought I'd post here. If you are on dialup, the first page takes a while to load. I haven't put in a preloader yet.
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revel



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 532

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:25 am    Post subject: Nice work! Reply with quote

Hey Lori!

I just took a quick look at your listening page. I am so glad to see someone besides me consider such themes as important to highlight and cover. I'm looking forward to seeing more lessons. I will certainly be directing my students to having a look at your website.

Several months ago I wrote several entries in this very forum on pronunciation. Don't know if you have had a chance to look at them, but if you have a moment, I'd like to hear what you think of my comments. My experience is from theatrical voice training applied to the ESL classroom through structural practice.

Also, don't know if you'd be interested, but I might have materials that would be of use to you in your development of your page. I think it's a really good idea and resource and would be thrilled to lend a hand in any way I could.

Finally, please don't take offense at my "California girl" comment, I see you are from California and I don't mean to offend.

peace,
revel.
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marybeth11



Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 17
Location: Oakland

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work Laurie! Very Happy I once again am super impressed with what you are doing. I am teaching pronunciation this summer (3 hours a class. 3 times a week) and now have some great ideas for lessons!

Mary Beth
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revel



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 532

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 6:01 am    Post subject: Where, oh where? Reply with quote

Hey marybeth!

I was wondering, what kind of place are you working? Is it a university, or a private academy, or are you giving private lessons?

In 22 years of teaching I have not worked in a single place that offered a class dedicated to pronunciation. Individual teachers might include a bit of pronunciation (that wonderfully complex "international phonetic alphabet" crops up from time to time), but I've not seen any school offer its students a specific class that would help them exclusively with the sound production interference they will encounter when trying to speak English. I was just wondering if where you work your class is "sold" as pronunciation or if this is your own initiative. Either way, it's wonderful, as I mentioned to lori earlier, that some ESL students are getting this information as an important part of language learning and not just as additional information in a class with other focuses.

peace,
revel.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I missed your first post Revel. Thanks for the feedback. I always include some listening/pronunciation in my classes, but for the last two semesters I had a class that was actually called "Pronunciation" and that met an hour a day five days a week for a semester (18 weeks). I work in a public community college teaching non-credit classes, and we can pretty much offer whatever we want (bearing in mind the course outlines, of course) as long as the student demand is there.

Most students say they want to improve their pronunciation, but not too many are willing to put in the effort to do so. (And frankly, I tell them that if they can be understood, it's not necessary anyway.) I do believe, however, that listening and speaking are very related, so working on one can help the other.

By the way, Revel, I tried sending you a PM but I'm not sure it made it through. Doesn't show as "sent". Let me know.
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revel



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 532

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:36 am    Post subject: Message received! Reply with quote

Hey lorikeet and marybeth!

Yes, lori, I received your message, thanks.

I myself consider pronunciation an integral part of listening . Since there is so much reduction and liason in English, since there are so many ways to pronounce a vowel, a native speaker has to rely on the familiar in order to understand. It's like when I visited Scotland years ago and was unable to make out a thing anyone was saying to me, and less when they were speaking to one another. There is no doubt they were speaking English, but I was totally unfamiliar with the way in which they were pronouncing words that I would have pronounced differently, and that was a serious interference in my being able to comprehend.

So, if a student goes about pronouncing English word for word, for example, well, a native might, most of the time, be able to understand that student, but what happens when the native spits out a sentence with all the sounds strung together? The student complains "don't speak so quickly!" and yet maybe the native is not speaking so quickly but rather the student is busy trying to find all the "to" "the" "with" "from" "etcs" in the sentence. What's more, the student says [boo easy nays], believing that the pronunciation is more or less ok so when the native says [bis nes] the student does not have a familiarity reference for understanding.

Naturally, unless they want to become international spies, all students will maintain a certain amount of accent depending on the work they put in on physical exercise of their mouth (lips tounge teeth and vocal chords), and that accent will sometimes get in the way of understanding. But the closer they come to basic, or even standard pronunciation, the less of an interference there will be in comprehension. The mouth can be worked on, for, no matter how much you wiggle your ears, you won't improve your comprehension!

I'll send you, lori, some ideas in a pm later on, got to go to the gym and move large groups of muscles so that people won't laugh when I appear on the beach later this month!

peace,
revel.
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