of course /v/ / / [ ]
d. already /l/ / / [ ]
Assimilation refers to change of place of articulation of final consonants of a words under the influence of initial consonants of following word. For instance, in the sentences below, the place of articulation of some sentences changed.
A) Because you have a plenty of time’. In the first word ‘because’, the last sound which is [z]whose place of articulation is alveolar changes to [z ] which is palato- alveolar under the influence of the first sound of next word ‘you’ which starts with [J].
B) The green color’. The last sound of the word ‘green’ which is [n] whose place of articulation is alveolar again, changes to the velar [ ] under the influence of the velar [k].
Brown (ibid: 66-77) provides a list of examples about assimilation from which some examples have been selected:
Full form Assimilated form
a. amount by / / [ ]
b. armoured car / / [ ]
c. Mexican games / / [ ]
Gemination occurs when a word ends with plosive and the next word begins with the same plosive. In English, plosives or stops are [p, t, k, b, d, g]. The first three are produced without voice (called voiceless), and the last three are produced with voice (called voiced). Moreover, they are called plosives or stops because in their production the air is completely blocked at the level of the mouth and then suddenly released in a small explosion. For example, in the sentence ‘John looks slightly tired’, in rapid speech, native speakers would pronounce ‘John look slightly tired’.
2.8.7. Stress and Rhythm
Where stress falls on the same syllable (Arabic on the first syllable, French on the last syllable, etc.), unlike the other languages, English has a rather moving stress. Generally speaking in sentence stress in English, content words are stressed whereas function or grammatical words are unstressed. Content words on the one hand are usually nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. They are called content words because they are said to carry meaning. However, if the content word consists of more than one syllable, only one syllable is stressed. Function or grammatical words on the other hand are usually prepositions, conjunctions, and articles. They are called so because they are solely used to link. Both word stress (which syllable is made prominent) and sentence stress (which word is made prominent) convey crucial information. G. Brown puts it as follows:
“From the point of view of the comprehension of spoken language the ability to identify stressed syllables and make intelligent guesses about the content of the message from this information is absolutely essential.” (1977: 52)
According to Levert (1985: 5) word stress is important because native English speakers tend to store vocabulary items according to their stress patterns. Therefore, a stress error is particularly damaging to communication. Only a little imagination is needed to realize that the following stress shifts could cause trouble: foreign/for rain, elementary/a lemon tree, history/his story. As far as rhythm is concerned, it is related to stressed and unstressed syllables. Standard English is said to be one of those languages that tends toward a stress-timed rhythm. This means that whatever the number of unstressed syllables between stressed ones, time will be the same. Unfortunately again, it is hard for L2 listeners to anticipate in that way unless they are shown all these aspects.
Brown (1990:89) defines intonation as:
“The variation in the direction of the pitch of the voice of the speaker.”
Students should be trained to distinguish between the tone of a statement and the tone of a question. For example, in the sentence ‘John returned home late last night’ is used with a falling tone; whereas, ‘Did John return home late last night?’ is used with a rising tone. More than that, there are other examples where sentence stress plays a primary role in comprehension. For example, ‘Who came home late last night?’ It is obvious that the word ‘who’ is the most important one here and, therefore, it must be stressed. As a possible reply to this question, we can have ‘John came home late last night’. Again, here too, it is obvious that the word ‘John’ is the most important word. With considering the important role of intonation as a central part in communication of meaning, it is usually given less attention. This neglect may be due to the inherent complexity of intonation. Nevertheless, simple or complex, as intonation is important for comprehension, it deserves to be given more importance and to be taught more adequately. Students may be helped in their comprehension if they are trained to distinguish between the rising tone, the falling tone, etc.
2.9. History of pronunciation in English Language Teaching (ELT)
Pronunciation is a set of habits of producing sounds, which is acquired by repeating it over and over again and by being corrected when it is pronounced wrongly (Gilakjani & Ahmadi, 2011). Learning to pronounce a second language means building up new pronunciation habits and overcoming the bias of the first language (Cook, 1996). Pronunciation refers to the production of sounds that we use to make meaning. It includes attention to the particular sounds of a language (segments), aspects of speech beyond the level of the individual sound, such as intonation, phrasing, stress, timing, rhythm (suprasegmental aspects), how the voice is projected (voice quality) and, in its broadest definition, attention to gestures and expressions that are closely related to the way we speak a language. A broad definition of pronunciation includes both suprasegmental and segmental features. Although these different aspects of pronunciation are treated in isolation here, it is important to remember that they all work in combination when we speak, and are therefore usually best learned as an integral part of spoken language.
Pronunciation is the foundation of speaking. English, both written and spoken, has been accepted as the dominant means of communication for most of the world but some misunderstandings have been caused by inappropriate pronunciation (Yong, 2004). Poor pronunciation can condemn learners to less social, academic and work advancement than they deserved (Fraser, 2000). Good pronunciation may make the communication easier and more relaxed and thus more successful (Dan, 2006). Almost all learners rate pronunciation as a priority and an area in which they need more guidance (Willing, 1993; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1997). Although the study of foreign accents has always been a fascination for some researchers, the teaching of pronunciation and oral skills in general in foreign and second language classrooms has often been low on the list of priorities (Peterson, 2000). Kriedler (1989) states that correct and clear pronunciation are considerably important in language learning. Without them, learners may not be understood and may be poorly perceived by other English speakers. They need to have confidence in their ability to speak. Good pronunciation takes time to build up, as there are many factors involved. Learners need to hear alot of English before they can develop a feel for the sounds of English. The learners become more confident and motivated in learning the language because of the teaching ai
ds and materials such as tape recordings of native speakers, pictures of mouth and articulations used in the class along with the provision positive reinforcement (Phinit-Akson, 2002; Wu, 2002).
The role of pronunciation has varied widely in different schools of teaching from low priority in the GTM to being the main focus in the audio-lingual method (Castillo 1990). During the late 1960s and 1970s questions were raised about the role of pronunciation in EFL/ESL and particularly about whether the focus of the programs and instructional methods were effective or not (Otlowski 1998). Many studies of this period concluded that little relationship exists between teaching pronunciation in the classroom and attained proficiency in pronunciation (Purcell & Suter 1980) which led to less time being given to pronunciation practice in the classroom. However, it was not heard of or spoken about in the very early period of ELT. In Grammar Translation method, pronunciation had no place in classes as it is known that the purpose of language teaching and learning was far away from pronouncing the language (Celce-Murcia, 1996).
In this method teaching pronunciation was irrelevant and grammar and text comprehension was taught through the medium of learner’s native language, and oral communication in the target language was not a primary instructional objective. Reform movement changed the ideas and principles in the language classrooms which showed pronunciation the stairs to climb with the foundation of International Phonetic Association (IPA). This alphabet resulted from the establishment of phonetics as a science dedicated to describing and analyzing the sound systems of languages. A phonetic alphabet made it possible to accurately represent the sounds of any language because, for the first time, there was a consistent one-to-one relationship between a written symbol and the sound it represented.
It was with the use of Direct Method in the late