Although largely disregarded in language teaching, phonetics is the only way to learn how to pronounce properly, except if the language is learnt at an early age. Spanish has only five vowels, whereas English has twelve vowels. How will a native Spanish speaker map his vowels onto the English ones? Many methods are purely based on repetition. However, that does not work in general and results in a deficient pronunciation, sometimes on the verge of intelligibility, and often kept for many years. By learning phonetics, first of all, learners will be able to recognize what sound they are hearing and, therefore, they gain confidence in their understanding of English. Also, they will acquire accuracy in their pronunciation as the rules for producing the sound will be now clear.
I will start this course by reviewing some English phonetics. This will help students to brush up on their English. For some it may even be the first time they hear about phonetics. During the course I will be writing down the phonetic transcription of those words hard to understand or pronounce.
I have written a document on English phonetics. It is a pdf file and can be found HERE.
The document has the following structure:
Vowels. Definition of vowel. Vocal height. Vocal backness. Classification of vowels according to vocal height (open, mid, close and other positions) and vocal backness (front, central and back). Roundedness. Length of vowels. Examples. Sound discrimination.
Consonants. Definition of consonants. Manner of articulation. Place of articulation. Voiceless and voiced consonants. Classification of consonants. Examples. Sound discrimination.
Semi-Consonants. Definition of semi-consonants. Articulation. Examples. Sound discrimination.
Diphthongs. Definition of diphthongs. List of the English diphthongs. Examples.
Pronunciation of plurals. Rules and examples. Pronunciation of possessives.
Pronunciation of the Third Person of Singular of Present Simple. Rules and examples.
Pronunciation of Past Simple. Rules and examples.