Pronunciation and Phonology in the EFL Classroom - "Oh" Sound

 

Here we have a set of five words, which all share one sound: the ?oh? sound, as in ?go?, ?show?, ?dough?, ?note? and ?boat?. They?re five different spelling patterns to tell our students so they can identify when to make the ?oh? sound. We can have a simple letter ?o?, ?ow?, ?ough?, ?o? with the magic ?e? which turns our vowel into what we knew as long sounds and the ?oa? as in ?boat?. Now, for a non-native learner, perhaps they can handle something like this. They remember that these spelling combinations help to produce the ?oh? sound and they can go about their business looking at the words and memorizing this knowing that these spelling patterns will produce the sound ?oh?. Now that?s okay until we get to a situation where we can also have words like ?to?, ?cow? and also ?rough?. So the students has gone from knowing that these letters put together in these patterns will produce an ?oh? sound and now they?re confused by the fact that the same pattern can produce a different vowel sound here, it can produce a different vowel sound here and a different vowel sound here. Put this all together and we created a situation, which can become very confusing to our non-native learner. However, our international phonemic alphabet takes care of this problem by taking various spelling patterns and simplifying it into this symbol here.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

In this unit we covered modals, phrasal verbs and the passive voice. I was able to see how difficult to would be for ESL learners to study phrasal verbs the most, as well as work out how to figure out sentences in the passive voice and when to use certain modals. The examples presented a good way of demonstrating how to use these to students.As a learner of the English language, it is necessary to familiarize oneself with the different parts of speech in a sentence. The correct structure of a sentence speaks so much about the accuracy of its meaning. If the words are not properly placed or used in a sentence, it would lead to ambiguity, thus, the true meaning of the idea is lost.