One of the talks I attended at IATEFL was Pronunciation for Listeners – Making sense of connected speech, by Mark Hancock. I already knew Mark from his blog and his published materials, so I made it a point to attend his talk. It was certainly worth it!
The best part was to know that I wouldn’t have to copy anything or take pictures of the slides. I already knew that Mark is all about sharing his materials and his talks and was certain that, later on, I would find everything online.
Sure enough, in his ELT page with Annie McDonald, Mark has posted the handout and the recording of his talk. Thus, rather than reading my summary of his presentation, you can experience it first hand.
Mark’s talk was useful in demonstrating to the audience that pronunciation is also a listening skill and that it isn’t always easy for students to know where one word ends and the next begins when they listen. Thus, we need to train our students to listen, and to do so, we need to develop in them an awareness of the supra-segmental features that come to play in natural speech, such as elision, assimilation, and the like. To this end, Mark suggests a series of what he calls micro-listening activities that are really fun.
Among my favorite ones presented at IATEFL was the –ed = t maze. Students have to work their way through the maze by going from one –ed = t combination to the next. The interesting thing about it is that he presents the verb and an object that starts with a vowel so that they can practice the elision that is so common in verb + object combinations such as “booked a room”.
Check out the recording of his talk and his handout. He also has an article and an interview on this topic. Make sure you also explore his website full of rich resources for effective pronunciation teaching.