Pronunciation in EFL Instruction

Pronunciation is a difficult but essential part of language learning and this month we are publishing Pronunciation in EFL Instruction by Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska which examines the issues and controversies of English pronunciation teaching. Here, Jolanta describes how the book came about and why pronunciation is an important aspect of teaching English.

Pronunciation in EFL InstructionWhen some years ago I was asked to devise a syllabus for a course in English pronunciation for Polish students at a teacher training college, looking for helpful guidelines, I consulted several well-known books on phonetic instruction. My first observation was that they were full of advice for what to do and what to avoid doing, usually either without any or only very little empirical evidence to support various proposals. Moreover, it was striking that the majority of the sources I consulted dealt with pronunciation instruction to immigrants in English-speaking countries and were therefore of limited use in those educational contexts, such as Poland, where English is a foreign language and where pronunciation teaching and learning takes place in very different circumstances. Consequently, as I could not find the sufficient help I needed, a certain degree of disappointment with the available textbooks was inevitable.

Several years later, filled with intensive research into various aspects of English pronunciation teaching and learning carried out by me and my colleagues, the present book came into being. It attempts to address the most vital issues regarding contemporary pronunciation instruction aimed specifically at EFL learners and based on relevant empirical studies. These two concerns have determined the structure of the book with the division of each chapter into Part A, with a general discussion of key problems, and Part B, which provide selected research-based evidence for the claims advanced in Part B. In other words, Pronunciation in EFL Instruction approaches English phonodidactics both from the global and general, as well as local and more specific perspectives. Moreover, as it has grown out of the author’s experience as a theoretical linguist (a phonologist), experimenter (mainly in phonetics and acquisition of EFL pronunciation) and English language teacher (predominantly of Polish college and university students of English), the book tries to combine up-to-date phonodidactic theory, empirical research and teaching practice, all, in my view, being essential ingredients of a publication that can be useful to a competent EFL instructor.

In order to provide English pronunciation teachers with the necessary know-how, two major questions should be answered, namely, what to teach and how to do it effectively. The first of them involves two key issues: a complex and controversial problem of the choice of an appropriate pronunciation model for EFL learners, recently made particularly acute by the concept of ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), and determining a set of phonetic priorities for foreign students (Chapters 1 and 2). Just as important is the selection of effective and attractive instructional procedures and proper teaching materials to be employed in the course of phonetic training (Chapter 3). The book offers many novel theoretical and practical solutions to all these problems, such as, for instance, the idea of NELF (Native English as a Lingua Franca), a new approach to pronunciation priorities and proposes a holistic multimodal phonetic training which, catering for various learning styles, combines articulatory, auditory, cognitive and multisensory activities.

If you would like more information about this title please see our website.

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