There is a commonly held assumption that to learn a language, one
must begin with grammar. But if decades of local experience are
any guide, it is time we looked for alternatives to merely memorizing
grammatical rules and vocabulary.
Focusing on speech sounds as a starting point of
mastering a foreign language has another advantage. Like Cantonese,
English has its own rhythmic pattern, or what we perceive as "native"
accents. Properly incorporated in the learning process, such "melodic"
quality can make learning English a fun and satisfying experience.
International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is
a system of widely recognized symbols representing speech sounds.
We believe knowledge of IPA is prime for English learners
because it helps lay the all-important foundation for
communicative ability in English. Through initial "imitation"
and later "conscious production", learners gradually gain confidence
in speaking, which in turn further motivates them to continue to learn.
Seemingly minor sound variations can lead to significant
differences in meanings, for which what basically is to blame might just
be your lip shapes or tongue positions. If you are in a position where
confusions between "port" and "pot",
"of" and "off", and "pet"
and "pat" are no longer acceptable, IPA is a right
place to start. As you gain mastery of the two main categories of human
speech sounds, vowels and consonants, your pronunciation and overall accent
enhance learners' confidence in speaking
by improving their pronunciation;
enable learners to become
independent self-learners of English through the use of dictionary.
enable learners to rapidly expand their
strengthen learners' sensitivity to sound
variations, in order to enhance their "Listening Comprehension"
train learners to learn through imitation
and the techniques involved;
introduce the phonological differences
between Cantonese and English;
familiarize learners with the similarities
and differences between British and American English;
effectively enhance the learner's speaking
"What is IPA?" and "Common
local pronunciation mistakes"?
Mastering speech sounds:
Vowels and Consonants.
The importance of lip shapes and tongue
What is a "Syllable"?
What is "Stress"? and "The
importance of stress pattern"?
How knowledge of IPA is applied in dictionary
use to turn your dictionary into a useful pronunciation guide?
"Practice makes perfect" with
your existing vocabulary;
Listening to phonetic variations in
actual speech production;
Pronunciation variations characteristics
of British and American English.
Based on English phonology, this course covers the entire repertoire of
English phonemes - the smallest meaningful sounds used in English;
or literally the "building blocks" for communicative competence
in English. As Peter Roach, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics
and Phonetics of University of Leeds, remarks, "Because of the notoriously
confusing nature of English spelling, it is particulary important to learn
to think of English pronunciation in terms of phonemes rather than letters
of the alphabet."
With the aim of ridding participants' pronunciation
of ingrained errors and improving their overall diction, this course is
suitable for learners of all levels.