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Re: (teach) IPA

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  • Hali
    I used IPA in China with university students when we came up with pronunciation problems. It was the quickest and easiest way to solve them for all -
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 31, 2008
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      I used IPA in China with university students when we came up with
      pronunciation problems. It was the quickest and easiest way to solve them
      for all - combined, of course with pronunciation activities to practice the
      sound. But the use of IPA meant that explanation of the sound or several
      attempts to listen and get it right was much easier for some, if not all of
      the students. I have always used it as a tool to help understand individual
      sounds, when and only when those individual sounds presented a problem. I
      have always found it useful.
      I have never employed it as the only tool in the toolbox, but as a very
      useful tool for specific pronunciation problems. It is clear, universal and
      does not require a specific regional accent to to get right. It eliminates
      all the confusion with English spelling and the ievitable problems of
      differing sounds from differing regional accents. It is easily explained
      that MY accent will use one symbol, but my friend from central Britain might
      use another, and that there are a range of understandable variations - but
      this is true no matter what system you use, or how you go about teaching
      pronunciation. We select the easiest or most common one and stay with that.
      They can learn that we all have accents, and that it is intelligibility to
      the greatest range of listeners that is the goal, not a "correct" (hence one
      specific regional) accent.

      I do not understand all this resistance and dislike of it. I find it useful.
      It is limited, as are all the tools we use to teach, but it has a function,
      a useful one - if not overused and if used with sensitivity to specific
      learning styles. But this is true of all the tools we use.

      It is useful as a general language learning and teaching tool. For all
      languages, though for others, it might require more knowledge of the
      extended IPA for other sounds. It does require learning, but it is not all
      that difficult to learn, especially when confined to a set number of sounds
      such as those used in the English language.

      Halima
    • Nelson Bank
      ... Variations of the IPA are useful. 48 characters is too many for students to work with. About 40 is the maximum that should be used. With 36-or-so
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 31, 2008
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        > I don't think the IPA alphabet is that useful.

        Variations of the IPA are useful. 48 characters is too many for students to work with. About 40 is the maximum that should be used. With 36-or-so characters students can use the IPA-based alphabet constructively. It's great for minimal-pair exercises, and text dictations, among other uses.
        Nelson Bank
      • Nelson Bank
        ... It s part of the concept of scaffolding , particularly useful in China where there is a similar phonemic alphabet for Chinese. Nelson Bank
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 31, 2008
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          > They use it in all primary and middle schools in China.

          It's part of the concept of "scaffolding", particularly useful in China where there is a similar phonemic alphabet for Chinese.
          Nelson Bank
        • Nelson Bank
          ... You re a native speaker. You ve developed the intuitive knack for the spelling part of English grammar. A small percentage of your students will have
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 31, 2008
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            >On the other hand, I never learned phonetics and I have learned 200,000 words
            >or so without any trouble. Why is it so difficult for others to learn English
            >words and pronunciations?



            You're a native speaker. You've developed the
            intuitive knack for the spelling part of English
            grammar. A small percentage of your students will
            have that knack, but the majority won't.
            Nelson Bank
          • Roger Borseth
            Now how in the world could it be used for text dictation? In China they use it all the time and none of the teachers or students know the names of the IPA
            Message 5 of 26 , Apr 1, 2008
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              Now how in the world could it be used for text dictation? In China
              they use it all the time and none of the teachers or students know the
              names of the IPA symbols.

              Dictation is givin by voice and if the students write the IPA symboles
              how is it possible for them to know the spelling of English words or
              recognize then when reading published text. I know some of my students
              can read and pronounce words in the IPA but cannot read them in their
              text books. Unless your aim is to teach them to speak only and not to
              read and speak English

              I really do not find it useful but only confusing to the student.

              Peace and Unity

              Roger



              --- In TEFLChina@yahoogroups.com, Nelson Bank <natlunla@...> wrote:
              >
              > > I don't think the IPA alphabet is that useful.
              >
              > Variations of the IPA are useful. 48 characters is too many for
              students to work with. About 40 is the maximum that should be used.
              With 36-or-so characters students can use the IPA-based alphabet
              constructively. It's great for minimal-pair exercises, and text
              dictations, among other uses.
              > Nelson Bank
              >
            • Roger Borseth
              ... 200,000 words ... learn English ... They would all have the knack if they had been taught phonics the alphabetic code instead of the IPA. Peace and Unity
              Message 6 of 26 , Apr 1, 2008
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                --- In TEFLChina@yahoogroups.com, Nelson Bank <natlunla@...> wrote:
                >
                > >On the other hand, I never learned phonetics and I have learned
                200,000 words
                > >or so without any trouble. Why is it so difficult for others to
                learn English
                > >words and pronunciations?
                >
                >
                >
                > You're a native speaker. You've developed the
                > intuitive knack for the spelling part of English
                > grammar. A small percentage of your students will
                > have that knack, but the majority won't.
                > Nelson Bank
                >
                They would all have the "knack" if they had been taught phonics the
                alphabetic code instead of the IPA.

                Peace and Unity

                Roger
              • Russ Taylor
                yes Halima, thanks for a good summary of why it should be used and how it s not the only tool to teach pron but a useful one nevertheless. Russ Taylor Hali
                Message 7 of 26 , Apr 1, 2008
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                  yes Halima, thanks for a good summary of why it should be used and how it's not the only tool to teach pron but a useful one nevertheless.

                  Russ Taylor


                  Hali <halima.brewer@...> wrote: I used IPA in China with university students when we came up with
                  pronunciation problems. It was the quickest and easiest way to solve them
                  for all - combined, of course with pronunciation activities to practice the
                  sound. But the use of IPA meant that explanation of the sound or several
                  attempts to listen and get it right was much easier for some, if not all of
                  the students. I have always used it as a tool to help understand individual
                  sounds, when and only when those individual sounds presented a problem. I
                  have always found it useful.
                  I have never employed it as the only tool in the toolbox, but as a very
                  useful tool for specific pronunciation problems. It is clear, universal and
                  does not require a specific regional accent to to get right. It eliminates
                  all the confusion with English spelling and the ievitable problems of
                  differing sounds from differing regional accents. It is easily explained
                  that MY accent will use one symbol, but my friend from central Britain might
                  use another, and that there are a range of understandable variations - but
                  this is true no matter what system you use, or how you go about teaching
                  pronunciation. We select the easiest or most common one and stay with that.
                  They can learn that we all have accents, and that it is intelligibility to
                  the greatest range of listeners that is the goal, not a "correct" (hence one
                  specific regional) accent.

                  I do not understand all this resistance and dislike of it. I find it useful.
                  It is limited, as are all the tools we use to teach, but it has a function,
                  a useful one - if not overused and if used with sensitivity to specific
                  learning styles. But this is true of all the tools we use.

                  It is useful as a general language learning and teaching tool. For all
                  languages, though for others, it might require more knowledge of the
                  extended IPA for other sounds. It does require learning, but it is not all
                  that difficult to learn, especially when confined to a set number of sounds
                  such as those used in the English language.

                  Halima





                  Russ


                  ---------------------------------
                  Sent from Yahoo! Mail.
                  A Smarter Inbox.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Nelson Bank
                  ... First of all, I use a simplified 36-character phonemic alphabet, the majority normal alphabet characters. Students seem to be less daunted with 40 or less
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 2, 2008
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                    >used for text dictation?

                    First of all, I use a simplified 36-character phonemic
                    alphabet, the majority normal alphabet characters.
                    Students seem to be less daunted with 40 or less
                    characters.
                    If I dictate "bad boys eat snake", students will take
                    down /baed boiz it sneik/. There will be a little
                    liaison over the diphthongs (/oi/ and /ei/). Anytime
                    they use these symbols, they will always have the same
                    sound. That's the nice part. If you give them a
                    written word in phonemics, they can pronounce it.
                    Try it with /i/ and /i/ in words. (ee and ih)
                    Nelson Bank
                  • Nelson Bank
                    ... Phonics works. Nelson Bank
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 2, 2008
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                      >phonics

                      Phonics works.
                      Nelson Bank
                    • nate jarvis
                      Now how in the world could it be used for text dictation? In China they use it all the time and none of the teachers or students know the names of the IPA
                      Message 10 of 26 , Apr 2, 2008
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                        Now how in the world could it be used for text dictation? In China
                        they use it all the time and none of the teachers or students know the
                        names of the IPA symbols.

                        Dictation is givin by voice and if the students write the IPA symboles
                        how is it possible for them to know the spelling of English words or
                        recognize then when reading published text.
                        </Roger>


                        Roger, I don't know why you feel it IPA and ABC are mutually exclusive
                        systems. I don't think anyone here is advocating using IPA and _only_ IPA.
                        As an example, if the students are using IPA in a spelling test, the
                        teacher can say the word to be spelled, and the student can write both the
                        IPA (something he should be able to intuit) and the spelling (something he
                        might be able to intuit, but also might not be able to, as in "rhythm").
                        Personally, I wouldn't use IPA in that way, but I'd like to make a (perhaps
                        facile) analogy to the Mandarin classes some of us take:

                        There are foreigners resident in China who take Mandarin classes and tell
                        their teachers at the beginning "I don't want to spend any time learning
                        Chinese characters; I only want to use pinyin." Obviously, they never learn
                        to read Chinese. Having witnessed foreigners in China who speak Mandarin
                        well, but can't read a lick of it, I don't attribute that to the "confusing"
                        nature of pinyin, but rather to a misuse of it (in this case, overuse).

                        Using IPA on regular spelling tests sounds like a waste of time to me,
                        because IPA _by definition_, is written the way it sounds; there's not
                        spelling to memorize. What you're actually testing is:

                        1) the teacher's accent; in the case of CETs, their accuracy
                        2) the students' listening
                        3) the students' knowledge of IPA

                        Maybe using an activity of this sort while teaching or reviewing IPA would
                        be appropriate, but by and large I don't this is what those of us advocating
                        IPA are talking about. We're talking about students reading IPA so they can
                        pronounce an unfamiliar word accurately, or teachers writing IPA as feedback
                        to error, when students mispronounce it in the course of "sounding it out"
                        (they make an attempt to sound the word out, and if their pronunciation is
                        too far off, we can use IPA to correct it, which is part of how we teach
                        them to sound words out for themselves). We're not talking about students
                        using IPA instead of traditional English orthography to write, be it in
                        dictation exercises (in which listening, not pronunciation, is the skill
                        being developed or assessed), in compositions, or really in anything else.
                        The only instance I can think of when I'd want a student to write in IPA,
                        outside of specific lessons about IPA, is if he's helping someone else
                        pronounce a word (the classmate sitting next to him, me if I butcher his
                        name, etc.)

                        I can understand, Roger, that you don't like the specific application of IPA
                        you've cited; neither do I. But why keep citing that one misapplication of
                        IPA as an argument that _any_ classroom application of IPA is bad? And why
                        not respond to some of the specific examples of (what we consider to be)
                        _good_ uses of IPA, either with explanations of why you feel they're wrong,
                        or what you would do to achieve the same effect without using IPA.

                        Nate.


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