Phonology has to do with the how a language sound, where as phonetics as part of phonology focuses on the production, perception and physical nature of how people produce speech sounds.
Directly or indirectly the role of phonetics and phonology should play a profound role in tefl
s need to know how words are pronounced and knowing how words are formed is of great help in teaching english
as a foreign language to students. Students also need to know (as do teacher
s) that the way we speak brings a language to life and gives meaning to speech.
need to know where and how speech sounds are formed in the english
language. The reason for that is that when english
is a foreign tongue to students, their native language very often do not have all the sounds that may be needed to speak english
. For that reason it should be taught. teacher
s can use an easy sketch like the one above even without the tagging to point out which part they need to use to produce a sound. The technique I prefer, is the more practical one where the teacher
shows the students how to produce the sound and they can see or feel it for themselves. Here is a few of the sounds that students often have trouble with:
? th = teeth, tongue, teeth
? f = top teeth against the bottom lip -> If you hold you hand in front of your mouth almost know air can be felt.
? p = lip, lip -> If you hold your hand in front of your mouth you small blast of air.
? b = lip, lip -> If your hold your hand in front of your mouth, no air.
? l and r = Need to point out that the tongue is moving from behind the teeth for an l to the hard palate for the r.
Although very few teacher
s will teach IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to their students it is of great help to the teacher
s themselves. Not only does it help with pronunciation of unfamiliar words if you look it up in the dictionary, but it also helps with the pronunciation of words in standard english
. Because of all the different english
accents I find it best to teach students a ‘neutral' english
as far as possible.
The last thing I want to look at in this discussion is intonation – ‘The colour of language'. Students need to learn that tone is very important in language and that even the way you say one word can mean quite a few things. For example the word ‘Hurray' can be a word of joy and excitement, it can be used as a sarcastic remark, it can be a question and all of this depends on the way you say it. Not only is intonation important for students to understand how to use it, teacher
s have to be conscious on how they use intonation because students read a message in it even if they don't understand.
In this article I touched only a few points regarding the importance of phonetics and phonology to teacher
s and students and how they are used in the classroom. It all boils down to clear speech and communication.
? Phonetics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonetics
? Phonology - the study of speech sounds http://www.teachit.co.uk/armoore/lang/phonology.htm
? Phonology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonology