Sunday, December 1, 2013


Upcoming Pronunciation Presentation

I am really excited (and honored) about presenting in WizIQs current MOOC on pronunciation and listening. My presentation will be on using humor (mainly jokes) in the classroom to help students with pronunciation issues such as minimal pairs and connected speech.

The power of connected speech is everywhere, and it can be pretty tricky for English Language Learners! 

For example: Luis d'Antin van Rooten wrote: "Un petit d'un petit S'étonne aux Halles. Un petit d'un petit Ah! degrés te fallent. Indolent qui ne sort cesse Indolent qui ne se mène. Qu'importe un petit d'un petit Tout Gai de Reguennes."
To those that understand French, this is just a bunch of nonsense French words. However, once it is spoken through the powers of connected speech most English speakers will clearly hear, "Humpty Dumpty" in a strong French accent.

You can see examples of how what we here is different than what we read all over pop culture Avant Garde A Clue is another example.

Pronunciation and listening are really closely linked! Students must be able to hear and understand reduced forms and other connected speech examples.
I "Mustach" you a question

Ice Cream or  I scream
Mustache or Must Ask
Red eye or  Red dye
Alaska or I'll ask her
Saturday or Saturday
A night train or A night rain
An ocean or A notion

and so many more! Should they be able to hear the difference? Should they be able to differentiate this when spoken?

This can be tricky, frustrating, and exhausting... but can it also be fun?

Well, show up on Wednesday to support my little presentation and I hope you'll find at least one way to help your learners.

In short, on Wednesdays I plan to talk about:
  • Why humor is great in the classroom.
  • Types of humor that we, as teachers, can use
  • Other reasons jokes are effective in class
  • Types of jokes that work well for pronunciation
  • How I use jokes in my classroom
This presentation will probably not change your life. However, it will probably help you consider another way to make your classroom a friendlier environment.

I would really appreciate anyone who has the time to log in and show up on Wednesday. It is free :)
  • Noon in Mexico You can enjoy this during your lunch!
  • 7pm in London which is a perfect time for you to enjoy this before or after your dinner.
  • 8pm in Madrid this gives you plenty of time to enjoy and then grab diiner
If you aren't already part of this great MOOC I'd suggest you check it out! In essence it helps teachers with different ways to teach pronunciation and listening. It is free, and all the recordings are there, so you can check out the ones you missed. Most importantly, it is with a really great group of people.


  1. Dear Carissa, thank you for invitation. I consider you have a very interesting and urgent topic for discussion.Humor is really very important for creation of a supportive learning environment. I am sorry that I haven't visited your presentation.

    1. Thank you for commenting Svetlana. There's still time. My presentation is on Wednesday :)

  2. You will be pleased to hear we have written an update on this idea, but using familiar popular songs. It's called 'Avant Garde a Clue' and you can get the Kindle version here:
    I hope you enjoy it!

    1. Great! Thanks for sharing :) I'll add a link to this in the blog

  3. Dear Carissa Peck. I get your point. Loud and quileyear. That is how many Indians would pronounce 'clear'. There are idiosyncrasies in the pronunciation of English depending on which part of my large and diverse country you come from. For example a person from Bengal finds it difficult to pronounce 'v'. They us the 'b' sound. Early in my advertising career, one of clients, Pfizer,had a Bengali advertising manager. In one of his briefings he wanted my agency to prepare an ad for one of his company's products. Baginal cream. I could not understand what on earth he wanted. Then, when I went back to my office,I consulted a Bengali executive. She laughed and told me that what the client meant Vaginal cream. The client, I thought, had a bee in his bonnet.

    1. There are surely differences in accents :) As many people have pointed out when we teach pronunciation we also teach listening. It is a way for students to adjust to different variations of words. Jokes are one way to help everyone with English's blended speech!

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your funny stories!

  4. I like your words that sound similar, although of course, some of these only work with an American accent. I'm British, and Alaska and I'll ask her don't sound alike at all.

  5. Great comments, although of course, some of them only work with an American accent. eg. Alaska and I'll ask her, don't sound the same at all with a British accent.


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