SHORT WORKSHOP IN APPLIED ENGLISH/SPANISH PHONOLOGY & PROBLEM ANALYSIS


INTRODUCTION: For some strange reason, one component of ESL that seems to be missing from many teacher- training ESL programs at the university level is phonology and how to use it. The concept that an instructor would "waste time," with accent reduction seems to be widespread. As a result, many students are being neglected in this area of their training. It is not currently fashionable in many places. However, I have noticed that my ESL students, at all levels:

1. Enjoy this type of training.

2. Are able to discriminate and distinguish words much better than others at their overall level. This has a global effect on their comprehension.

3. Learn to read faster by having some control of the American English sound system in advance of heavy exposure to written English.

4. Are understood better in a bank or mall by persons unaccustomed to dealing with people who speak other languages.

5. Find good jobs quicker than some.

Some persons of a sociolinguistic persuasion feel that accent reduction takes away the identity of some of the non-native speakers of English, and that it is a putdown on who they are. Others think that accents are "cute." Some accents ARE cute. However, when people are job hunting, even in a field in which they are totally qualified, employers and human resource persons tend to think in terms of, "Will clients understand Mr. X on the telephone?" The best of both worlds is to modify one's accent for the real world and to keep it for dating and avoiding obnoxious people.

OBJECTIVES: This workshop is designed to introduce ESL teachers to American English phonology, including basic phonemics and a review of phonetics, including important allophones that cause an extensive array of problems for Spanish speakers, in distinguishing and producing various English sounds. The systems introduced are designed for instructors with some or no background in this subject. Participants will be given a new text "Listen and Speak; Applied Phonology for ESL Teachers of Spanish-Speaking Students" (©2006 Ted Klein.) Exercises in this book are immediately usable in the classroom for Spanish speakers and speakers of many other languages and will be accompanied by an audio compact disc.

This text will include exercises to help your students resolve these problems. Concentration will be on the spoken language and listening skills. Teachers whose students are not Spanish speakers should also profit from the methods involved in looking at the phonological systems of two languages and doing problem analysis. My workshops are not connected with any other institution or agency that I have been affiliated with or worked for. The cost of my workshops will remain in line with payments made by the Texas Education Agency to contract trainers/consultants for similar workshops, including travel and housing when necessary.
Areas Covered:

1. An introduction to phonology, including phonemic and major phonetic features of American English. Both segmental sounds (vowels and consonants) and suprasegmental factors will be covered, including stress, juncture, pitch and general intonation. Certain key acoustic factors will be included.

2. A step-by-step presentation of problems facing Spanish speakers on each of the sounds of American English, what is causing the problems and how to resolve them, for beginning, intermediate and advanced students.

3. Time: The subject matter can be covered in 4-6 hours.

4. Materials: Participants should bring three-ring binder notebooks for notes and handouts.

5. Prerequisites: None.

6. Problems of speakers of other languages will be discussed with any remaining time.

Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.