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all about phonology

Testing Pronunciation
Testing Listening (by Kitao)
Testing Pronunciation
Testing Listening
Testing Pronunciation (by Augustin Simo)



As Augustin Simo Bodba states, “The evaluation of students’ pronunciation is not given the place it deserves in many EFL and ESL classes in Cameroon and probably elsewhere”.  As a group, we do agree that the purpose of testing pronunciation is not only to evaluate knowledge and award marks, but also, to motivate students to be sensitive to this aspect of English. As future teachers we think that the first step to succeed in pronunciation is the motivation of our students for learning.


We think that the problem of testing pronunciation is related with what a teacher wants, for instance, in our country, most of teachers are selfish, this perception is based on our experiences as students in high school because teachers did not teach us pronunciation, most of them arguing that pronunciation was not important, in addition, whether pronunciation was important or not they were selfish because they did not share their knoledge with us.


Miss Vasquez states, “Schools in Chile do not have the necessary equipment to teach pronunciation, in my case, it is difficult to teach and evaluate pronunciation because of the location of the school, it is too noisy”. As Miss Vasquez said, most of schools in our country are very poor and that is the reason why pronunciation is not tested. She compares private education with public education as two opposite sides because private schools have the advantage that their rooms are very comfortable and have the equipment to teach and test pronunciation, and public schools do not.


In our country schools improve the quality of education but the outcomes are only seen in Private schools because the system is different from the public ones. However, we have almost no empirical evidence on whether public or private systems actually affect school quality. In our research, We figured out that the advanteges and the enviroment affect the result of students´ comprehention. We could see that sudents, who learn pronunciation in a laboratory, have a better pronunciation than students who have not had the opportunity to practice in a laboratory.





There many ways of testing pronunciation. As we said in our video, teachers have several options in order to teach pronunciation. Some of them are Phonetic Transcription, Segments-Matching, Finding an Odd Member, Regrouping, Circling Silent Letters, Stress-Circling, Underlining the Stressed Syllable, etc. “I suggest that to the usual sections on Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Essay, etc., be added a section called Pronunciation, using the hints suggested above.” (Augustin Simo Bobda “Testing Pronunciation” 1993), this is a very important point because not only is English grammar and vocabulary but also is listening and pronunciation.


                   Some teachers do not give pronunciation the place it deserves, this is a terrible mistake, and moreover the fact that listening is closely related to pronunciation, therefore the mistake becomes even much bigger. As David F. Dalton (Some Techniques for Teaching Pronunciation) said, “Given this reality, it would seem logical to place a heavy emphasis on listening (reception) as a way into releasing appropriate pronunciation (production).” He proposed techniques in order to deal with production and reception errors, one of them is:

Exercise: It involves giving and carrying out instructions.

Stage 1: Having identified some problem areas for the class, the teacher makes a list of instructions containing these. Below is such a list.

1.     Draw a sheep on the board. (Spanish speakers often draw a ship).

2.     Write the letter "P" above the sheep. (Arabic speakers often write " B").

3.     Use the "P" as the start of the word "pleasant" and write the word (Japanese speakers often write "present ").

4.     Write "light" next to pleasant. (Japanese speakers often write "right").

5.     Draw a mouse next to the word "light". (Spanish and Japenese speakers often draw a mouth)

6.     Draw a pear next to the mouse. (Arabic speakers often draw a bear)

Other examples can be added.

Stage 2: After presentation and practice of the problem areas, each student is given a piece of paper with an instruction containing such sounds. The papers are given so that a student will hear an instruction containing a sound which they have a problem hearing. The instruction is then whispered in the ear of the receiving student and they carry out what they hear. They sit down and read their instruction to the next student. This continues until all the instructions have been carried out and there is something resembling a picture on the board. No comments should be made as the work is in process.

Stage 3: Feedback

There will be reactions from laughter to dismay as the students see how ther instructions were carried out. The teacher needs to focus the students on what went wrong. Was the problem production or reception? What did Miko say and what did Joel hear? The dilemma pushes the students to correct themselves and hear what they are saying. The discussions are often very animated and again the teacher must arbitrate. The learners also see the real-life consequences of not producing or not hearing appropriate English sounds as well as getting personal and class feedback on their problem areas. As in exercise A, discussion can take place on strategies for pronunciation.


Giving the importance that pronunciation deserves is not only a matter of teachers but also a matter of students. Students need to realize how important pronunciation is.