Which language model should we teach?

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In this The TEFL Show podcast we look at the various pronunciation models that teachers offer to students, with a particular focus on our experiences in Asia and some thoughts on linguistic imperialism and English as Lingua Franca.

We hope you enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this podcast, you can find the previous ones here.

The podcast music theme is under Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 International License and was downloaded from this website.

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10 thoughts on “Which language model should we teach?

  1. I have a coursebook which uses non-natives who speak English really well but they have maintained their own accents e.g. Italian, French, Russian. They don’t seem to be actors – they sound genuine to me. My learners laugh every time they hear them speak 😦 I’ve managed to get them to laugh a little less when I pointed out how they sound with their Argentine accents… but I think the point is that this shows a lot: they only find native accents acceptable.

    I think there is a bigger issue with recordings for coursebooks, which is that they are so scripted and unauthentic that half of them don’t prepare anyone for real-life listening. They also tend to speaker slower and enunciate more than what people do in real life. If my learners get used to how I speak naturally, which I do in the classroom, then they are going to find these coursebook recordings terribly easy.

    1. I’ve got a couple NNS accents in the book I’m using. I think they’re starting to be implemented slowly.
      But as your anecdote shows, some students might be reluctant to accept NNS accents as models, or even non-standard NS ones. Should we as teachers, though, try to educate our students and discuss ELF, World Englishes, etc.?
      Yes, I suppose that’s an important point too. I think there are certainly arguments for audios being done for particular levels even if this makes them less natural. Mind you, Speak Out Elementary has great videos, many of which are definitely not scripted or adjusted to the students’ level.

  2. This podcast is on my to-do list! (Long journey tomorrow). International English-medium radio is often good for accented speech. If my students in Japan ‘have problems’ with Indian accents I always recommend a search for Indian radio stations in English. There’s usually something around.

        1. Nice one. Some great practical ideas. It might be worth clarifying why it is important to get exposure to different accents. Perhaps for some people, especially students, it’s not immediately obvious. It would make an interesting contribution to TEFL Equity Advocates blog if you’re interested.

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