Dec 112010

I posted a riddle last Thursday and Jessica and Darren cracked it right away! Ha! You guys are so sharp!

Yeah, the book I was talking about was The Phonology of English as an International Language: New Models, New Norms, New Goals (Oxford Applied Linguistics)

The author was Jennifer Jenkins.

The unattainable standards we were striving for were a NS accent, and often received pronunciation or general American.

The things Jenny identified as really important for speakers of English as a Lingua Franca were:

  • the consonants (except voiced and voiceless TH)
  • consonant clusters (especially word initial)
  • vowel length (especially when the vowel is followed by a voiceless consonant, which shortens it)
  • sentence stress (also known as tonic or nuclear stress)

There’s a terrific interview with Jenny over at Darren Elliott’s superb ‘the lives of teachers’ blog. And very excitingly Jenny has agreed to be a panelist in a forthcoming BESIG panel discussion on ELF. Wehey! (More details on that later.)

Many thanks to Robin Walker for helping me get the pronunciation stuff right above. (Hoping to bring you more from Robin later!)

I’ve never really understood why Jenny’s work has attracted the controversy it has. Did I miss the point? It seems so benign and practical to me. Anyway, I’m interested in BELF (business English as a lingua franca) and I plan to be writing more about about that. So please stay tuned.

 Posted by at 10:30 am

  5 Responses to “A riddle – my answers”

  1. The idea that English doesn’t belong to native speakers is very threatening to some people and incomprehensible to others.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karenne Sylvester, English Made Fun. English Made Fun said: A riddle – my answers | Learning to speak 'merican: I've never really understood why Jenny's work has attracted … […]

  3. I’n reading Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca by Robin Walker at the moment, and the experience just confirms what I always thought. Jennifer Jenkins just rubs people up the wrong way. Didn’t she say something in a later book about all research having to be political or something? Well, the Walker book is simply calmly written and well-balanced, and all the better for it. You also can’t ignore its main ideas just because there are so many possible quibbles with the details, as you quite easily can with Jenkins

  4. […] A post about Jennifer Jenkin’s first book on ELF, and another […]

  5. Coming in some months later here, but just thought I’d mention this blog link to an interview with Jenny Jenkins.

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