Comfortable Intelligibility and pronunciation

Last month I made a pronunciation workshop and lecture tour in Thailand, Vietnam and China. It was organised by Macmillan Education and attended by lively, interesting and informed local teachers. Comfortable Intelligibility and pronunciation was a key topic.

Teachers’ concerns

The teachers talked about the pronunciation challenges they face. These problems include the issue of accents, sentence stress, final consonants and consonant clusters, reduced syllables, impact of monosyllabic L1 word patterns, and connected up speech. The point these teachers were making is that Comfortable Intelligibility and pronunciation go together. This is not just a theoretical view, but an absolute necessity for their students.

Connected Speech and Comfortable Intelligibility

Inspired by this I’m planning a series of blog posts on Connected Speech and Comfortable Intelligibility. In these posts I will look at ways of working on the bits (sounds, clusters, wordstress, unstress, linking, reduction, vocabulary etc) while always improving the whole (comfortable intelligibility in connected up speech). We must ensure that we attend to both Comfortable Intelligibility and pronunciation. The aim of pronunciation is Comfortable Intelligibility not simply ‘correctness’.

Look out for further posts in this series. The pronunciation offers new ways of approaching connected speech. This photo of a giant chart was taken in Beijing in October 2015.

 “The Great Wall of Sound” (Beijing Oct 2015)

“The Great Wall of Sound”