Monthly Archives: August 2013

Standard American English? Whose standard?

When teaching English pronunciation, every teacher runs up immediately against the same question: whose pronunciation should we teach? In Japan, the trend for the last number of years has been to try to teach “standard American English”, whatever that means.

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Posted in Phonetics and Phonology, Teaching Tips

How to Teach Pronunciation

How do you teach pronunciation to students learning another language? This is basically the question I’m trying to answer at grad school now. It turns out that there isn’t any one solid, evidence-based approach to doing so, but I mean

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Posted in Teaching Tips

Learn some stuff about vowels, why don’t ya?

Let’s talk about vowels. Vowels are sounds made without blocking airflow in your mouth, more or less. The consonant sound [t] involves your tongue touching the area behind your teeth. A vowel, on the other hand, is a sound like

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Posted in Phonetics and Phonology

Aptitude and Motivation

Among all factors affecting successful second language acquisition, aptitude and motivation have the strongest correlation with positive learning outcomes. This may not come as much of a shock to anyone actively engaged in learning a language. For teachers, though, this

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Posted in SLA