At our school we offer weekly free pronunciation lessons to all of our students. We get quite a lot of students attending each week and some of them come week on week but for others it’s their first week. This means we need to come up with new ideas all the time, building on the previous week but ensuring that new students can join at any time and not be lost. We also need to design lessons that span all levels from Elementary to Advanced (sometimes Beginners attend but not so often).
My favourite thing to look at in these classes is connected speech for the following reasons:
- All students from Elem to Adv need it.
- Most of them haven’t come across it in their countries so it is usually new, even for Adv.
- We need to raise awareness of features of connected speech over and over if sts are to be able to understand native English speakers.
- They love it!
- The easiest way for you to get to grips with it is to teach it.
In the teacher’s worksheet below, I have included my own boardwork so that you can visualise what I’m talking about.
NB: don’t panic if you don’t know the phonemic chart off by heart. Highlight where linking occurs and model any other connected speech that comes up. You don’t need the phonemic symbols (but they do help).
Level: All levels
Time: 60 – 90 minutes
Topic: advice (almost every level has come across 1 or 2 ways of giving advice).
- advice-pron-worksheet (feel free to edit it or just take the general idea)
- advice-pron-worksheet – PDF version
- advice-pron-worksheet (teacher’s copy)
- advice-pron-worksheet (teacher’s copy) – PDF version
- Display the discussion questions from the worksheet and allow sts to discuss them in small groups. Discuss as a whole class (see possible answers on the teacher’s sheet).
- Tell the students that you will be talking about giving advice today. In groups ask them to brainstorm different forms for giving advice.
- Tell them your problem. I usually use the one below but feel free to improvise.
- Ask the students to write one or two pieces of advice per group using the different forms from part 2.
- Write them up on your board, 1 from each group. Ensure that they have used the advice forms from above. If they have all used “should”, reformulate their ideas as a class so that you have some variety on the board.
- These pieces of advice are what you’re going to analyse for features of connected speech.
- NB – don’t panic! you don’t need to be a pro at connected speech, just follow the steps below.
- Ask students to underline which words they think will be stressed in each sentence. Check as a class.
- Say each sentence out loud as you would normally and ask students what happens to the other (unstressed) words in the sentence. e.g. are they weaker? are some words connected? do some sounds disappear?
- As the same things happen in each sentence, draw your sts attention to the patterns. E.g. “to” is usually pronounced = /tə/ & “and” is usually pronounced /ən/.
- Drill each sentence with the class.
- Ask sts to examine the sentences and try to find common patterns.
- Get sts to fill in the Sentence Pronunciation Guidelines on their worksheets.
- Check together.
Help me, I need some advice!
My girlfriend came home last night and told me she wanted to move to Brazil. She says she is sick of London and needs a change. The problem is that I have friends here, I have a job, my family live close to here.
I would love Brazil, it sounds amazing but now is not the time to move. I’m scared if I say no that it will be the end of our relationship.