Coming to IATEFL 2014?


…If so, we hope to see you there!

We’ll be presenting on Thursday 3rd April on Practical pronunciation ideas for teaching in an ELF context.  Here’s the full abstract for our talk:

Do your students use English to communicate with speakers of different languages?  Are you looking for practical ideas to develop pronunciation and listening skills in an ELF context (English as a lingua franca)?  Teachers will come away from this talk with suggestions for adapting coursebook activities and using authentic materials in a way that acknowledges the needs of ELF speakers.

  • Venue: Harrogate International Conference Centre
  • Room: Queen’s 5
  • Time: 15:05-15:35

The full conference programme is available here.

For ease of reference (please note that we’re not endorsing/promoting anyone in particular!), we’ve also gone through the conference programme and collected the details of various other talks which look like they might be relevant to our interests, i.e. pronunciation, listening and English as a Lingua Franca.  We’ll share the shortlist here in case it can be of use to anyone else:

  • British Council Signature Event: “English Medium Instruction: Cure or Curse?” with Jennifer Jenkins, Naz Rassool, Y.L. Teresa Ting and Eddie Williams on the panel (Weds 2 April, 12:00-13:05 in the Auditorium)
  • “Recording students to raise awareness of pronunciation strengths and weaknesses” by Lesley Curnick representing the University of Lausanne (Weds 2 April, 12:35-13:05 in Queen’s 9)
  • “Really teaching listening and pronunciation (not just ‘play’ and ‘pray’!)” by Paul Seligson representing Richmond Publishing (Weds 2 April, 15:50-16:35 in the Auditorium)
  • “Better together: native and non-native speakers on pre-service training courses” by Dita Phillips representing British Study Centres Oxford (Weds 2 April, 15:50-16:35 in Room R)
  • “Pronunciation and listening require different models of speech” by Richard Cauldwell representing Speech In Action (Thurs 3 April, 10:25-10:55 in Queen’s 5)
  • “Pronunciation and e-portfolios: developing self-regulatory skills and self-esteem” by Marina Noelia Cantarutti (International House Brita Haycraft Better Spoken English Scholarship winner) (Thurs 3 April, 11:30-12:00 in Queen’s 5)
  • “English as a lingua franca: how can we teach it?” by Rudy Camerer (Thurs 3 April, 15:05-15:35 in Harewood 2) [Note that this clashes with Katy & Laura’s talk!]
  • “The accommodating teacher: are you intelligible to your students?” by Chris Ożóg representing IH Dubai (Thurs 3 April, 15:05-15:35 in Queen’s 7) [Note that this clashes with Katy & Laura’s talk!]
  • “Stress AND reduction: both are essential for English pronunciation” by Piers Messum representing Pronunciation Science Ltd (Thurs 3 April, 17:10-17:40 in Queen’s 5)
  • “Can global issues provide authenticity and context in English teaching?” by Ken Wilson (Fri 4 April, 10:25-10:55 in the Auditorium)
  • “The importance of a near-native pronunciation” by Frans Hermans representing Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands (Fri 4 April, 12:05-12:35 in Hall Qd)
  • “Investigating the spelling & pronunciation link” by Sally Ali representing UAE University (Fri 4 April, 11:30-12:00 in Queen’s 3)
  • “Idioms in the classroom and in ELF” by Luke Prodromou representing ELI Publishing (Fri 4 April, 14:35-15:20 in Hall Qb)
  • “Using participatory action research to empower teachers to teach pronunciation” by Arizio Sweeting representing the University of the Sunshine Coast (Fri 4 April, 15:35-16:05 in Queen’s 1)
  • “New pronunciation exercises that really help students handle fluent speech” by Susanne Mary Elisabeth Sullivan representing the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (Fri 4 April, 17:25-18:10 in Harewood 2)
  • “Using blended learning techniques to improve pronunciation and fluency” by Sophie Farag representing the American University in Cairo (Sat 5 April, 10:25-10:55 in Hall Qb)
  • “Helping high-level learners understand native speaker conversations” by Alex Cann representing ELC Edinburgh (Sat 5 April, 12:15-13:00 in Charter)

Harrogate Online 2014


2 thoughts on “Coming to IATEFL 2014?

  1. Hi Katy, sorry I missed your presentation at IATEFL but it was interesting interacting in the PronSIG open forum.
    Obviously, ‘intelligibility’ is key, since it makes communication possible at a rather basic level. But I need to add two further points.
    One, ‘strain’ on the listener. Most proficiency exams that assess pronunciation, including IELTS, factor this in and prescribe penalties for deviations from an ‘International’ norm. The norm begs a question since it is often vaguely defined but, nevertheless, endorses the connect between ‘communication’ (of meaning) and ‘accuracy’ (of pronunciation).
    Two, moving further up the scale we have ‘acceptability’. Regional/national deviations in pronunciation might be completely ‘intelligible’ and yet not quite ‘acceptable’. This is particularly true in the Indian sub-continent (possibly elsewhere too), where a neutral standard (free from regional accent) is more ‘acceptable’ for higher paid jobs. Of course, this could be because of ‘social’ implications which, indeed, are as much a reality as the need to be politically correct! Prof RK Bansal did a landmark study on this aspect for India and published his findings in a monograph several decades ago. I think the study is still valid.
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Hari,
      It was lovely to meet you in Harrogate and we were really interested in your points during the open forum. Thanks for taking the time to elaborate on them here. We totally agree with you about the exams issue being such a murky area, because like you said, giving marks for pronunciation based on ‘accuracy’ begs the question of according to who / compared to what. For example, here are some fairly standard tips on pronunciation from a popular IELTS website:

      “The main point here is that your pronunciation is easy to understand and whether your are able to make your meaning clear. Features of good pronunciation include:

      basic word pronunciation
      linked speech sounds
      correct sentence stress
      correct use of intonation (rising and falling)
      You should note that there is no need to have a “British” or “American” accent.”

      But there are so many problems with this – being ‘easy to understand’ surely depends on the listener’s familiarity with the speaker’s accent, and so what does this mean when the listener is an examiner? How does ‘linking speech sounds’ mean you are ‘easy to understand’? And while there is no need to have a British or American accent, what happens if a candidate does have a British or American accent – how will this impact on the examiner’s impression of their being ‘easy to understand’?

      You’ve certainly given us some great food for thought with your comments Hari! Thanks very much.

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