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"This is Tom" = /zyzys'tom/. Pronunciation in beginners' EFL textbooks then and now

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Title: "This is Tom" = /zyzys'tom/. Pronunciation in beginners' EFL textbooks then and now


1
"This is Tom" /zyzys'tom/. Pronunciation in
beginners' EFL textbooks then and now
  • Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak, IFA UAM

2
Abstract
  • In this presentation I first take a sentimental
    journey back in time to my first EFL textbooks
    Nauka angielskiego, English for everyone, Present
    day English for foreign students and First things
    first. I then compare those old textbooks with a
    random sample of these which can currently be
    found on bookshop shelves Angielski dla
    samouków, Angielski nie gryzie! and Korepetycje
    domowe. I look at the contents of the respective
    "lesson/unit one" in each of these books, with
    particular attention paid to how pronunciation is
    presented and taught. Phonetic Difficulty Index
    (PDI) is used to analyze some phonolexical
    variables and demonstrate its potential as a tool
    for textbook writers.

3
Presentation plan
  • Some theory the importance of the textbook in
    FLT
  • A tool Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI)
  • Data and analysis unit one of some EFL textbooks
    then and now
  • - changing methods
  • - pronunciation aspects
  • - some PDI phonolexical statistics
  • Application measuring and controlling PDI from
    unit one

4
The importance of the textbook in FLT (1)
  • Coursebooks have multiple roles in ELT and can
    serve as
  • a resource for presentation material (spoken and
    written)
  • a source of activities for learner practice and
    communicative interaction
  • a reference source for learners on grammar,
    vocabulary, pronunciation, etc
  • a syllabus ()
  • a resource for self-directed learning or
    self-access work
  • a support for less experienced teachers ()
  • (Cunningsworth 19957)

5
The importance of the textbook in FLT (2)
  • The importance of the textbook cannot be
    overestimated. It will inevitably determine the
    major part of the classroom teaching and the
    students out-of-class learning (Rivers
    1981475)
  • The heavy reliance on a coursebook in a foreign
    language classroom is a crucial issue. The fact
    that the teachers and learners use the coursebook
    and its supporting materials as their basic aid
    proves the importance of selecting and evaluating
    an appropriate coursebook (Inal 200622)

6
Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI) 1
  • PDI is a global numerical measure of the
    phonetic difficulty of the given English lexical
    item for Polish learners. The measure combines
    (a) the most salient grapho-phonemic difficulties
    such learners are known to have reading English,
    i.e. mostly spelling pronunciation, (b) some
    commonest phonemic L1-interference problems known
    from the literature and my own teaching
    experience, finally (c) some of the notorious
    developmental L2-interference pronunciation
    errors observed in all learners of English
    regardless of their L1 background (Sobkowiak
    1999214).

7
Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI) 2
8
Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI) 3
A sample of PDI-indexed text from the
micro-corpus of EFL textbooks used in this study
9
Sentimental journey begins...
10
MacCallum Watson 1946
11
MacCallum Watson 1946
12
Smólska Rusiecki 1965
13
Smólska Rusiecki 1965
14
Candlin 1963
15
Candlin 1963
16
Alexander 1973
17
Alexander 1973, teachers book
18
Korepetycje domowe (2004 )
19
Angielski dla samouków (2011)
20
Angielski nie gryzie! (2011)
21
Some PDI phonolexical statistics
22
High sentence PDI global measure
  • Spike has brown spots and long white ears
    (PDI14)
  • I live in a big flat in a small neighbourhood
    (PDI15)
  • I work with many other teachers men and women
    (PDI16)
  • Peter and John are talking to their wives (PDI21)

23
High sentence PDI word-weighted
  • Coventry is in England (2.5)
  • I have a girlfriend (2.5)
  • Peter and John are talking to their wives (2.6)
  • A young gentleman (2.7)
  • These are chairs (2.7)
  • Coventry has many concerts (2.8)
  • Pardon? (3.0)

24
Low sentence PDI word-weighted
  • I like music (0)
  • My name is Max (0.5)
  • It is a big school (0.8)
  • His name is Spike (0.8)
  • Nice to meet you (1.0)
  • We must buy some tomatoes (1.0)
  • The book is open (1.0)
  • This is a window (1.0)
  • I play the piano sometimes (1.0)
  • She is very pretty and clever too (1.0)

25
PDI(Z)3 sentences high word-final devoicing
  • No the lady is not old she is young
  • This is his dog
  • I teach many students girls and boys
  • I work with many other teachers men and women
  • I live in a big flat in a small neighbourhood
  • She works in a bank and she lives with me
  • Spike has brown spots and long white ears

26
PDI(Z)0 sentences no word-final devoicing
  • A young gentleman
  • Yes
  • Pardon?
  • Thank you very much
  • Hello
  • I am a teacher

I teach in a school in Coventry They are all very
intelligent I like music Hi I'm Jane What's your
name Nice to meet you
27
Conclusions
  • The changing methodological trends in FL pedagogy
    over the decades affect EFL textbook
    pronunciation treatment in a variety of ways,
    which means, among others, that...
  • Phonetic achievement of learners may vary
    depending on the treatment of pronunciation in
    the textbook used, especially considering the
    importance of the textbook in a formal FLT
    setting
  • The lexico-grammatical and pedagogical
    limitations on the content of the first
    lessons/units in EFL textbooks leave authors
    little space for phonetic control, but...
  • Such control of the beginning (and subsequent)
    textual material is feasible if attention is paid
    to such variables as pronunciation difficulty and
    L1 transfer
  • The Phonetic Difficulty Index (PDI) can be used
    to measure and control some of these variables
    and give the textbook authors a tool of phonetic
    control over the text

28
Bibliography primary sources
Alexander, Louis George. 1973. First things
first an integrated course for beginners.
Warszawa PWN. Reprint of the first English
edition, 1967, Harlow Longman Birkenmajer,
Maria Elzbieta Manko. 2004. Korepetycje domowe.
Jezyk angielski (nowa edycja). Warszawa
Langenscheidt Polska. Candlin, Edwin Frank. 1963.
Present day English for foreign students.
Warszawa Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Wiedza
Powszechna. Reprint of the first English
edition, 1963, London Hodder and
Stoughton Dostalova, Iva, Sarka Zelenkova
James Branam. 2011. Angielski dla samouków.
Ozarów Mazowiecki Firma Ksiegarska Olesiejuk.
Reprint of the Czech edition, 2003, Praha
Fragment MacCallum Thomas Watson. 1946. Nauka
angielskiego szybko, latwo i przyjemnie.
Celle-Unterlüss Wydawnictwo Antoniego
Markiewicza. Reprint of the English edition,
1937, Nauka angielskiego. English for Poles. An
easy and quick method London Orbis Nowak,
Agata. 2011. Angielski nie gryzie! Warszawa
Wydawnictwo Edgard. Smólska, Janina Jan
Rusiecki. 1965. 1st ed. 1963. English for
everyone. Warszawa Panstwowe Zaklady Wydawnictw
Szkolnych. Back to plan
29
Bibliography secondary sources
Cunningsworth, Alan. 1995. Choosing your
coursebook. Oxford. Heinemann. Inal, Bülent.
2006. "Coursebook selection process and some of
the most important criteria to be taken into
consideration in foreign language teaching".
Journal of Arts and Sciences 5. 19-29. Rivers,
Wilga M. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills.
Chicago University Press Chicago. Sobkowiak,
Wlodzimierz. 1999. Pronunciation in EFL
Machine-Readable Dictionaries. Poznan
Motivex. Sobkowiak, Wlodzimierz. 2004. "Phonetic
Difficulty Index". In W.Sobkowiak
E.Waniek-Klimczak (eds). 2004. Dydaktyka fonetyki
jezyka obcego. Zeszyt Naukowy Instytutu
Neofilologii Panstwowej Wyzszej Szkoly Zawodowej
w Koninie nr 3. Konin Wydawnictwo PWSZ w
Koninie. 102-107.
30
This presentation is available at http//ifa.amu.
edu.pl/swlodek/This is Tom.pps
Thank you!
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