Friday, 8 December 2017

English Phonetics and Pronunciation Practice

Last September saw the publication of English Phonetics and Pronunciation Practice (EPPP),
Routledge. The book is authored by Paul Carley, of the universities of Bedfordshire and Leicester, Inger Mees, Associate Professor in the Department of Management, Society and Communication at the Copenhagen Business School, and Beverley Collins (1938-2014), who held lectureships at the universities of Lancaster and Leiden and was Visiting Professor at Ghent University.

EPPP is an excellent resource book for both teachers and students, effectively bridging the gap between courses in English phonetics and those in English pronunciation.
My endorsement, included inside the front cover of the book, together with the words offered by such eminent scholars as John Wells, Jane Setter, Petr Rösel and Geoff Lindsey, is as follows:

“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome this excellently written book. The coverage and organisation are exceptionally good. The authors are to be congratulated on producing a groundbreaking textbook combining English phonetic theory with copious amounts of material for practice. Anyone studying or teaching English or wishing to understand or speak the language with clarity and accuracy should read this book.”

EPPP provides an up-to-date description of the pronunciation of a twenty-first-century model of educated British English, ‘General British’ (GB). Also, it demonstrates the use of each English phoneme with a selection of high-frequency words, both alone and in context in sentences, idiomatic phrases and dialogues.

The book is supported by a fantastic companion website featuring 2,615 audio files, including full recordings of the examples given in the theory sections, full recordings of the practice material by a male speaker from Wokingham, Berkshire (15 hours) and a female speaker from Petersfield, Hampshire (another 15 hours), and transcriptions of all the practice material. The 30 hours of practice material recordings are in two versions: one for self-study with only minimal pauses, and one for the language lab with pauses of different lengths depending on whether it’s a word, phrase, sentence, etc.

English Phonetics and Pronunciation Practice truly is the masterpiece that the English phonetics world had been waiting for!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Luke Nicholson's online British English pronunciation course

Luke Nicholson (picture left) is an experienced accent coach qualified by the International Phonetic Association and a member of both the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and the DialectCoaches Agency. Besides holding an IPA certificate, he has a BA in German Studies and Italian Studies from the University of Birmingham and an MA in Acting – Distinction in Voice and in Articulation. He has taught English pronunciation to people from over 65 different countries, including Bahrain, Ethiopia, Holland, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

He recently launched an online British English pronunciation course which includes in-depth information on the vowel and consonant sounds of English as well as the main features of connected speech, stress, rhythm, intonation and voice quality. You can take a look at the contents page here. The course is just excellent and a wonderful resource for anyone with an intermediate/advanced level of English who’s interested in improving their pronunciation as well as their listening skills.

The course starts with six introductory lessons. After completing them, you’re immediately directed to the language guides section of the course, where you can choose your native language and study the sounds that will make the biggest differences to your accent.

What is so helpful about this course is that it also contains numerous relevant links to native speakers to listen to, as well as suggestions of TV shows and films to watch. Additionally, the learner has clear guidance about how to practise, how to know if they’re making a sound accurately, and how to incorporate new sounds into everyday speech. Here’s one of the videos from the course about the schwa vowel.

Luke is also the author of two carefully planned and extremely useful freely available sound charts: the consonants chart and the vowels chart of Standard Southern British English (= General British). These are clickable charts which enable you to listen to recordings of the sounds of English as spoken by the author himself. At the bottom of the charts one finds questions about phonetic symbols and the realization of certain sounds to which detailed answers are provided which the reader will find extremely useful. Another highly recommendable resource for students (and teachers!) of British English pronunciation.

Congratulations, Luke!