in touch with real speech
In touch with real speech

 Academic modules

I offer academic modules for MA level courses for applied linguists and teachers in training. Currently, conventional phonology courses focus on the Careful Speech Model – a model of speech which focuses on clarity and intelligibility required for pronunciation – which is inappropriate (rubbish, actually) for teaching listening. My modules include the Careful Speech Model, but also offer an antidote to it, the Spontaneous Speech Model – a model of speech which focuses on the messiness and unruliness of everyday speech.  Below is a sample of the modules available. They are designed so that they can be easily adapted to fit the circumstances of your institution. Email me if you are interested.

This module is appropriate for courses which do not have a pre-existing phonology course on their degree/teacher-training programmes. More here.

This module is appropriate for courses which have a pre-existing ‘traditional’ phonology module which focuses on pronunciation. Phonology for Listening should be delivered after the pre-existing module. More here.

This module/part module is appropriate for the sociolinguistic component of a postgraduate academic course for teachers of English. More here.

This module/part module is appropriate for applied linguists, textbook authors and teacher-trainers who want to investigate the nature of spontaneous speech and compile evidence based on recorded extracts for academic presentations, for training teachers and for teaching languages. More here.

Phonology for teaching pronunciation and listening

This module is appropriate for courses which do not have a pre-existing phonology course on their degree/teacher-training programmes.

Module hours and credits (the timing and credits are estimates, in UK terms, for guidance only – these modules will require your institution’s approval)

  • 16-20 hours of lectures and workshops
  • 20 credits

There will be two strands to this module: pronunciation, and listening. The pronunciation strand will introduce the Careful Speech Model – the model of speech which is found in pronunciation keys and in ELT textbooks rules. This model of speech is pedagogically useful for teaching intelligible, clear speech. It will introduce the tools available for representing and teaching the sound system of English (phonemes, allophones, syllables, word stress) and how this system relates to the spelling of English words. The listening strand will introduce the Spontaneous Speech Model – a model of speech which encompasses the wildness, messiness, and unruliness of normal everyday speech. This strand will also critically evaluate the roles of (a) the citation form, and (b) the rules of connected speech in the teaching of pronunciation and listening. Participants will learn methods of analysing, describing, and teaching the messiness and unruliness of everyday fast speech. These methods will include conceptual tools (The Window on Speech) and technological tools (e.g. Sonocent’s AudioNotetaker, Audacity).
Module outcomes
Participants will be able to:

    • explain the relationship between the sound system of English, and English orthography
    • use a range of phonemic and phonetic symbols to teach pronunciation and listening
    • critically evaluate the role of symbols in representing pronunciation
    • develop and articulate their own professional position on the appropriacy of Native Speaker goals in pronunciation
    • develop and articulate their own professional position on the debate around English as a Lingua Franca, and the lingua franca core
    • critically evaluate the ‘rules of connected speech’ paradigm in ELT materials
    • hear and transcribe spontaneous speech using appropriate tools (e.g. The Window on Speech)
    • critically evaluate current approaches to the teaching of listening
    • identify extreme reductions and extreme fast speeds in recordings which will present decoding problems to learners
    • devise appropriate classroom activities to help learners understand normal fast everyday spontaneous speech using appropriate technology

Methods of summary assessment: One 500 word analysis of a recording. Plus a One 1500 word essay.

Key textbooks:
Collins, B & Mees, I.M. (2013). Practical Phonetics and Phonology. [3rd Edition]. London: Routledge.
ISBN 978-0-415-50649-6

Cauldwell, R.T. (2013). Phonology for Listening: Teaching the Stream of Speech. Birmingham: Speech in Action.
ISBN 978-0-9543447-2-6
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Phonology for listening

This module is appropriate for courses which have a pre-existing ‘traditional’ phonology module which focuses on pronunciation. Phonology for Listening should be delivered after the pre-existing module.

Module description (full/half module) (the timing and credits are estimates, in UK terms, for guidance only – these modules will require your institution’s approval)

  • 16-20/8-10 hours of lectures and workshops
  • 20/10 credits

This module will introduce the Spontaneous Speech Model – a model of speech which encompasses the wildness, messiness, and unruliness of normal everyday speech. This model of speech is essential for the effective teaching of listening (currently listening is not taught well). Components of the model can be found in

    • the evidence of recordings of spontaneous speech (the sound substance),
    • in standard textbooks (e.g. Cruttenden 2014) where the words ‘only in casual speech’ are used to advise against a particular pronunciation
    • and in the experiences of language learners who express their frustration that they cannot catch the words they know

Participants will learn methods of analysing, describing, and teaching the messiness and unruliness of everyday fast speech. These methods will include conceptual tools (The Window on Speech) and technological tools (e.g. Sonocent’s AudioNotetaker, Audacity).

Module outcomes
Successful participants will be able to:

    • critically evaluate the ‘rules of connected speech’ paradigm in ELT materials
    • hear and transcribe spontaneous speech using appropriate tools (e.g. The Window on Speech)
    • critically evaluate current approaches to the teaching of listening.
      identify extreme reductions and extreme fast speeds in recordings which will present decoding problems to learners.
    • devise appropriate classroom activities to help learners understand normal fast everyday spontaneous speech using appropriate technology

Key textbooks:

Cauldwell, R.T. (2013). Phonology for Listening: Teaching the Stream of Speech. Birmingham: Speech in Action.ISBN 978-0-9543447-2-6

Field, J. (2008). Listening in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Accent and identity in language teaching

This module/part module is appropriate for the sociolinguistic component of a postgraduate academic course for teachers of English

Module description (full/half module) (the timing and credits are estimates, in UK terms, for guidance only – these modules will require your institution’s approval)

  • 16-20/8-10 hours of lectures and workshops
  • 20/10 credits

Most teaching of English in the world is done by teachers whose first language is not English. Whereas many of these teachers are confident in their abilities to speak English, a substantial number of teachers feel a sense of insecurity about their their accent of English. The same applies to teachers of English from L1 backgrounds whose native accent is not one of the established models (British English, General American). These feelings about their accents can affect, profoundly, their professional identity. This module will look at issues around accents and identity in society as a whole, and in language teaching. We will examine issues around ‘nativeness’ and ‘non-nativeness’, the English as a Lingua Franca movement, what an accent is, what it signifies, how it affects people’s sense of self-worth and identity. We will examine textbook materials and recordings and evaluate their ability to present a variety of accents in both their pronunciation and listening activities.

Module outcomes

Participants will critically evaluate

    • notions of ‘best accent’ and ‘correct pronunciation’
    • the power of social and professional prejudice about accents
    • the relationship between accentedness, comprehensibility, and intelligibility

Participants will be able to formulate and defend

    • a reasoned position about the English as a Lingua Franca movement
    • a reasoned evaluation of their own accent
    • a reasoned position about the value of different accents

Key textbooks:
Derwing, T.M. & Munro, M.J. (2015) Pronunciation Fundamentals: Evidence-based perspectives for L2 teaching and research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Jenkins, J. (2000). The phonology of English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walker, R. (2010). Teaching the pronunciation of English as a lingua franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Analysing everyday spontaneous speech

This module/part module is appropriate for applied linguists, textbook authors and teacher-trainers who want to investigate the nature of spontaneous speech and compile evidence based on recorded extracts for academic presentations, for training teachers and for teaching languages. It would be an appropriate addition to a Research Methods course.

Module description (half module) (the timing and credits are estimates, in UK terms, for guidance only – these modules will require your institution’s approval)
8-10 hours of lectures and workshops
10 credits

Many assertions are made about how people speak. Much of the time these assertions are based on imagined readings of pre-existing words (e.g. ‘Yes-no questions have rising intonation’) or on the basis of one or two remembered examples (My mum used to say ‘pertickler’ rather than ‘particular’). Additionally, the written word – including transcriptions of everyday speech – dominates academic research into speech. This module will demonstrate the value of investigating, and mining, recordings of everyday speech so the sound substance of everyday speech can be used as a basis for applied linguistic research, in teacher training, and in authoring textbooks.

Module outcomes

Participants will be able to

    • train their ears to hear accurately the nature of the sound substance of language
    • use a range of software to capture, store, and search for evidence in recordings
    • exploit to the full the recordings chosen for use in textbooks
    • devise teacher-training activities using recorded extracts
    • devise classroom and textbook activities using soundfiles

Key textbooks:
Cauldwell, R.T. (2013). Phonology for Listening: Teaching the Stream of Speech. Birmingham: Speech in Action.ISBN 978-0-9543447-2-6

Field, J. (2008). Listening in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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