Oral Communication for Non-Native Speakers of English
Timothy Kochem, Iowa State University
Monica G. Ghosh, Iowa State University
Lily Compton, Iowa State University
Elena Cotos, Iowa State University
Copyright Year: 2020
Publisher: Iowa State University
Conditions of Use
This is a comprehensive book that provides an overview of essential parts of English pronunciation. The topics covered are clearly chosen to reflect the problem areas that most language learners experience, such as consonant vowels, word stress... read more
This is a comprehensive book that provides an overview of essential parts of English pronunciation. The topics covered are clearly chosen to reflect the problem areas that most language learners experience, such as consonant vowels, word stress and intonation. The book provides a thorough explanation of the topics and provides exercises for students with immediate feedback. It also provides useful resources in the form of web links in the Additional Activities and Teacher's Corner sections.
The content is accurate and unbiased. The authors use IPA, which is widely used in English learning.
The content is up-to date and relevant. The content will not go outdated. I found one YouTube video on shadowing too long and somewhat old, from 2013. There are more interesting and shorter videos out there.
The text is clear and has a nice layout. It gets too long and dry at times. It is easy to understand for a teacher, but it may pose challenges for an English language learner because of the inclusion of some linguistic terms. For example, if I were to use this book in class, I would not expect my students to understand the words as such bilabial, labiodental, diphthongs etc. Authors included explanations of these terms with a hover text, but I don't think students need to know these terms. I would think it would be more beneficial for a TESOL student who is learning how to teach a pronunciation course. This book would help make the connection between technical terms and application of them in class.
The book has a consistent layout. Each chapter follows the same structure.
Each chapter is contained in itself. They can all be divided into smaller reading sections. There are no references to the previous or subsequent chapters, which eliminates the need to use the chapters in a specific order.
Chapters have been organized nicely. They don't have to be followed in the same order. Depending on student needs, instructors can choose to mix the order of the chapters or select what is relevant.
There are no navigation problems. Some links do not work.
No grammar errors. Some minor typos can be fixed.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive. There are examples of mistakes Japanese speakers make and a reference to Chinese intonation. It would be more interesting and inclusive if examples from other nations were included.
All in all, I found the book useful, almost like a refresher course in teaching pronunciation for myself as an ESL instructor. It seems to be more suitable for advanced level students who have interest in learning technical aspects of English pronunciation or graduate students in TESOL. It would also be useful for undergraduate ELT students outside of the U.S.
This textbook serves as a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of English pronunciation for ESL learners. It can serve as a basic resource for upper-level English students for improving their pronunciation. If used in a classroom, the... read more
This textbook serves as a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of English pronunciation for ESL learners. It can serve as a basic resource for upper-level English students for improving their pronunciation. If used in a classroom, the textbook would need to be supplemented by delving deeper into the websites referenced or by the instructor adding guided classroom activities. Each unit has links to helpful websites which can serve as practice and potential assessment tools.
A glossary of terms is imbedded within the text, which is useful, as students can immediately reference specific technical vocabulary as they read along or as a review. There is an index which easily links each of the topics and chapters.
At least one of the pronunciation videos is somewhat inaccurate and confusing for showing the difference between two closely related vowel sounds. Otherwise, the content is accurate and unbiased.
Because the text focuses on the basic linguistics of the English language, it will only change slowly over time. Perhaps some focus on local dialects might be a useful addition.
The text is clear, but mostly written in descriptive style and not very engaging. The language and grammar are advanced so would be difficult to navigate by an undergrad or student in a noncredit ESL class. The text could be used for GTAs who still need pronunciation practice and skill.
The units are basically laid out all the same with a description of the skill area, problem areas to watch out for and practice exercises. In addition, each until has a section with some additional activities for extension and teacher aids.
The units are self-contained and focuses the reader on the content of that specific topic. The units are done in such a way that they can be accessed in different order according to class or student needs, as one unit does not necessarily build on the other.
The text takes the reader from the basic segmentals of the English sound system to suprasegmental in a progressive and clear order. The instructor or learner can pick the order in which the skills are practiced, as some may want to work on the suprasegmental first or in-between other skills.
There are a few links that don't work or go to the wrong page. The audio and listening exercises functioned easily without having to download extra technology. This may not be the case of all users, but the e-book worked well. Saying this, it is not a very interesting looking text, as it is mostly descriptions and some imbedded activities. There are no pictures to add visual pleasure, but there are a few charts to help explain the concepts.
No grammatical errors were observed.
This text is more technical in nature and does not contain any real cultural ideas. Any references comparing English to other languages is done in a non-offensive way.
In conclusion, this could be an excellent reference text to the various aspects that make up clear English pronunciation. This would serve as a useful text for an ESL instructor to grasp these main elements and for accessing supplemental online activities.
Although, one of the stated purposes is for student to work through the text at their own pace, this might be a challenge because of the technical nature of the material and limited feedback tools. A student would need to be at an advanced English level and highly motived to use this on their own. Even then, they would benefit from at least some instructor guidance and feedback.
The book is very comprehensive, and covers all the relevant information about English phonetics at an advanced level. If students follow this text, they will understand important details about English pronunciation that most English programs... read more
The book is very comprehensive, and covers all the relevant information about English phonetics at an advanced level. If students follow this text, they will understand important details about English pronunciation that most English programs abroad don't teach.
The content is accurate and in line with modern approaches to L2 phonetic acquisition. They use IPA when talking about vowels and consonants, where it is necessary for disambiguation. They use more accessible transcription for stress and intonation.
By the nature of the content, it is not likely to become irrelevant. Languages change, but not that quickly, and this text focuses on the core pronunciation features of English.
The text is clear to advanced readers, but will be quite challenging for many English language learners. I could see using this text with graduate students but not undergraduate or non-academic students. That said, they do support their technical writing with context, examples, and a wide variety of external resources for exploration and practice.
The framework used is consistent with modern approaches to phonetic acquisition. Most of the contributors are professors or PhD candidates in Applied Linguistics.
The text is very easy to divide into smaller sections which can be used independently in any course. The text is minimal and focuses on the knowledge points to be covered.
Subsequent chapters do not refer much, if at all, to earlier chapters, making it easy to use chapters independently or in a different order.
The text presents topics in an appropriate order which is consistent with most textbooks and syllabi. While there is debate on whether or not pronunciation teaching should start with segmentals or supra-segmental features, this text presents each topic in its own independent module. It starts with segmentals, but an instructor could easily start from the last chapter and go backwards through the text without any issue.
The text is primarily available as a website, with the option to download the book in two formats that I've never heard of or know how to use. The reason for this is their use of HTML5 elements for the interactive quizzes-- a useful feature. I'd like to see a text-only option in PDF or EPUB available as well, though.
The HTML5 elements are made using the tool *H5P* which is open source, hosted on their publishing site, and not likely to change or break for as long as browsers continue to support current standards. I did not notice any issues with these elements, but there is potential for them to malfunction if students use nonstandard browsers to read the text.
The text contains no grammatical errors. It is written in a fairly advanced academic style. There are a few minor typographical errors throughout the text.
The text is not insensitive or offensive. It does mention briefly dialectal differences among North American and British English speakers, but could offer more details. In particular, it fails to mention varieties of English spoken in India and Africa.
Overall, this is a comprehensive text that teaches the critical concepts of English pronunciation. I would most recommend it for English learners with highly advanced reading skills; mainly graduate students. It can also be useful for teachers to review if their experience teaching pronunciation is limited. The interactive elements add interest and engagement with the text, but I would prefer a more traditional text option, perhaps with QR codes to link to the online activities.
Table of Contents
- I. Segmentals
- 1. Segmentals: Overview
- 2. Segmentals: Consonants
- 3. Segmentals: Consonant Clusters
- 4. Segmentals: Vowels
- 5. Segmentals: Additional Activities
- 6. Segmentals: Teacher's Corner
- II. Word Stress
- 7. Word Stress: Overview
- 8. Word Stress: Additional Activities
- 9. Word Stress: Teacher's Corner
- III. Thought Groups
- 10. Thought Groups: Overview
- 11. Thought Groups: Additional Activities
- 12. Thought Groups: Teacher's Corner
- IV. Prominence
- 13. Prominence: Overview
- 14. Prominence: Additional Activities
- 15. Prominence: Teacher's Corner
- V. Intonation
- 16. Intonation: Overview
- 17. Intonation: Additiaaaaaaaonal Activities
- 18. Intonation: Teacher's Corner
About the Book
Welcome to Oral Communication for Non-native Speakers of English!
This digital book is meant to serve an instructional tool for both learners and teachers in the field of pronunciation. Topics covered include vowel and consonant sounds, word stress, thought groups, prominence, and intonation.
The book has been constructed to be either a self-paced instructional tool for learners or a classroom material for speaking or pronunciation courses.
About the Contributors
Timothy Kochem is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics and Technology at Iowa State University. He has worked as an English Writing and Speaking Consultant at the Center for Communication Excellence for over two years. He has also taught a global online course for the Online Professional English Network (OPEN), as well as courses in public speaking, introductory linguistics, and English for Teaching Purposes at Iowa State University. His primary research is in L2 pronunciation pedagogy, language teacher education, and distance education.
Dr. Monica G. Ghosh, formerly Monica Richards, received her MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics at Iowa State University, where she has taught pronunciation, speaking and teaching to international teaching assistants as well as listening/speaking, reading, writing and grammar to students in the Intensive English and Orientation Program. She has also taught a variety of English courses at Xiamen Educational College in Xiamen, China, and has led teacher-training workshops in Sumatra, Indonesia. Her primary research interests lay in pronunciation, second language vocabulary acquisition and CALL. She also enjoys materials development.
Dr. Lily Compton is the Graduate Communication Programs Coordinator at the Iowa State University’s Center for Communication Excellence. She teaches and develops curriculum for courses for the oral communication skills of International Teaching Assistants (ITAs). She also trains and supervises the English Speaking Consultants and mentors instructors of the ITA oral communication courses.
Dr. Elena Cotos is an Associate Professor of ESL/Applied Linguistics in the English Department at Iowa State University. She is also the Director of the Center for Communication Excellence of the Graduate College. Her research interests include English for specific purposes, corpus-based genre analysis, genre-based automated writing evaluation, and language learning and assessment.