Contemporary Phonological Theory and Common Pronunciation Issues
Keywords:phonological theory, pronunciation issues, teaching English phonetics, phonological awareness
This paper discusses the role of contemporary phonological theory in teaching English phonetics at university level. In particular, it is shown how, contrary to common popular belief, teaching English phonetics to students of English is not really about teaching them to pronounce English ‘properly’, whatever the idea of ‘proper’ English pronunciation might nowadays imply. As university education of future specialists in the English language requires gaining insights into the nature of pronunciation phenomena, it is argued that phonological theory can throw light on some practical pronunciation issues. This is done with reference to theoretical phonological frameworks, such as Laryngeal Phonology, Aperture Theory, Articulatory Theory and Optimality Theory, in order to show how raising phonological awareness about pronunciation phenomena can develop sensitivity to important pronunciation issues.
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