Sound Foundations, Adrian Underhill, Macmillan

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Image source: Pixabay

Hmm, my last post was at the end of August. What does that mean? Yes, I got sidelined by editing work, so I haven’t really looked at any Delta material for the past couple of months. Therefore, I’m not sure if I’m going to be sufficiently ready to enroll in December’s module 1 exam. I’ve found one center that doesn’t require registration until four weeks before the exam, so I’ve got a week or so to decide if it will be this year or next, but at the moment, I’m sensing I’m not going to be ready in time unless I felt I could devote the whole of November solely to intensive Delta study. I’ve still got grammar to look at as well as 200 flash cards of notes, and that feels like a lot…

Meanwhile, I’ve moved onto the area of phonetics and phonology. This is the area in which I have least knowledge in the whole TEFL domain. If someone asked me to distinguish between affricatives and fricatives, I wouldn’t have a clue. I could perhaps scrape through all other areas in the module 1 test, but questions on phonetics are presently going to catch me out.

If there one book that can help me out, it is Adrian Underhill’s Sound Foundations, published by Macmillan. After watching a recording of one of his teacher training sessions on YouTube a few years back, it was about the first time I had watched a TEFL presenter and thought wow, this guy’s a real game changer. I loved the way that he lead the audience through a whole session by just making gestures around his mouth without pronouncing the sounds himself. Genial work, especially as I’ve never really bothered to address pronunciation in any of my classes. Ever.

I’m not going to provide summary notes of the book here, as I feel that it’s a book best worked through in its entirety. The whole text is useful. There are lots of practice activities in the book, and it would be over-plagiarising by trying to type them in here. You only need this book if you want to understand the mechanics of phonology and sounds in English, although there are various class books you can find with pronunciation activities in them.

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