English Pronunciation – comments from a Speechie

Let me just be clear, I’m new to this. When I created a folder to save my blog posts on my computer, I typed ‘Bog’ instead of ‘Blog’. Hopefully it’s not a sign for the future I should pay any attention to!

Nervous? You bet I am.

I thought this would be my ‘pillar’ post (rhymes with ‘killer’, right?). Okay, I’ll stop now. But it’s more of an introduction. Watch out though, I’m a Speech & Language Therapist (aka ‘Pathologist’ for anyone in the ole US of A or Canada), so puns in various forms are highly likely.

Sooo, my key topic and purpose of this whole blog, is to to shed some light from the world of speech and language therapy / pathology – blimey that’s going to be annoying to write all the time, let’s just say ‘SLT’ – on the somewhat profuse topic of English Pronunciation.

Why? Well, our profession has unique training and expertise in introducing / changing pronunciation patterns, most often with children. For a long time now, I’ve wondered why there is no structured programme for adults from within our profession – of course not just any adult (and by the way, I cannot emphasise strongly enough that my courses are not elocution or actual speech therapy) – but adults who speak English as a second language (ESL), who work in English speaking environments and, most importantly, want to work on their pronunciation.

Don’t English Language Teachers (yes, I will shorten this to ELT from now on) already do this, I hear you ask? Well yes, they do, but here I’m going to be direct – they’re not actually trained to.

What, really? Yes really. They’re absolutely the experts in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) – SLTs are not. But they’re not trained to change or introduce new pronunciation patterns. Ask the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (professional body in UK) if you don’t believe me. I certainly did as I thought it would be great to introduce training on English pronunciation for ELTs. Turns out that even as a qualified SLT, I can’t provide any such training. The ELTs would have to complete SLT training.

Which does rather indicate we Speechies have a rather specialist skill set, right? Feel free to check out what training an SLT has to complete to double check this, if you like – and here’s a tip, look for ‘clinical linguistics’ modules (not ‘applied linguistics’).

So this is the whole reason why I’ve spent quite some time putting together some online courses for professional adults who speak English as a second language and want to work on pronunciation. It amounts to a small contribution from a specialist field that I hope people will find helpful.

While you ponder the above information and before I actually plug my website, I plan to cover a range of topics and issues, partly to explain some of the principles behind the activities in my courses, partly in response to reader / client feedback and comments. Hopefully without too many puns!

I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you …

Pssst! You can find my e-courses at www.artikul8.com.

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