The Pronunciation of English: A Course Book, Charles Kreidler, Blackwell, 2004

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I’ve speed-read through this pron book by Kreidler. I would say that it makes good follow-up reading to Underhill’s Sound Foundations if you are inspired to dig into phonology even deeper. If you are only looking to get a grasp of phonology for the Cambridge Delta Module 1 exam, however, then Underhill’s title by itself would be enough.

Kreidler goes deeper into the science of phonology than Underhill, and provides lots of extra exercises to help readers understand and explore the concepts in the book. There are a lot of new terms presented beyond Underhill — far more than I’m able to recall at this stage. In fact, sometimes while reading Kreidler, I was wondering if everyone is using differing sets of phonological terms to express similar ideas, as the complexity of the discussion can get rather confusing.

Some of the ‘newer’ information involves offering more explanation around differences in dialect in relation to allophones. Early on, in Chapter 1, Kreidler explains it quite well in this excerpt:

Any speaker of English feels that the six words, geese, goose, glue, glee, greet, grew, all begin with the same sound. They don’t; they begin with the same phoneme which we represent as /g/. A phoneme is an abstract unit which is realized in speech as different segments in different positions. These different segments are the allophones of the phoneme.

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British English IPA Chart for DELTA

Did I sit the Module 1 exam in December? Nope. I got quite a bit of editing and writing work in during September and October, then I decided to be a digital nomad during November. I ended up only managing to read Underhill’s Sound Foundations book during that time, so I was nowhere near ready.

So, the next target date to sit Module 1 will be in June 2019. That means I now have 200 revision cards to study from, and I’ve started with my phonology set. As part of this, I’ve produced a British English IPA chart and added more advanced notes relevant to the Delta exam. While I learned the IPA characters for my Trinity TESOL Cert, I never got to grips with (and have never taught) the concepts of voiced, unvoiced, fricatives, bilabial, etc. In fact, I had until now thought that it was a ‘monothong’, not a ‘monophthong’. Now is the time for me to learn all this (although I’m reckoning I’ve still only scratched the surface of phonology)!

Brit Eng IPA chart

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.