Conditions of Use
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.