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In this session I present a course I am proposing (and will pilot in short form this summer in Mongolia) entitled “Linguistic Foundations for L2 Pronunciation Teaching.” This course is designed to provide language-teaching majors with key linguistic foundation in phonetics and phonology to be able to analyze the linguistic source of pronunciation errors accurately and provide students with clear explanations and effective, individualized coaching. For non-native speakers of the language they will be teaching, the course is designed as well to strengthen their own pronunciation. A major component of the course will be hands-on working with L2 speakers, chosen by the student.

Course objectives are as follows:

  • Describe and accurately pronounce sounds from a variety of languages
  • Transcribe sounds and words using the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • Analyze data from a variety of languages to determine basic relationships: phonemic and allophonic relationships, and phonotactic patterns in syllables and words
  • Describe the phonetic and phonological patterns of English, as well as other major languages as may suit the needs of the class
  • Identify likely pronunciation issues between a given L1 and L2, based on differences in phonetic and phonological patterns.
  • Be able to identify the source of pronunciation errors in the speech of actual L2 learners and propose linguistically-based pedagogical responses
  • Employ a variety of linguistically-based strategies to help actual L2 learners master difficult sounds and sound patterns, in hands-on teaching.

The inspiration for this course arose from grateful comments from students in my pronunciation classes, requests from non-native-speaking TESOL majors for help with their own pronunciation, comments from TESOL observers of my classes, and my observations of pronunciation textbooks and seminars designed for language teachers. A course such as this offered to language-teaching programs can raise the profile and perceived value of linguistics on a campus, along with providing key linguistic preparation to students preparing for careers in language teaching.

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