Pronunciation Instruction for Brazilians: Bringing Theory and Practice Together [With 2]

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9781443803465: Pronunciation Instruction for Brazilians: Bringing Theory and Practice Together [With 2]
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Departing from an emergentist approach to Second Language Acquisition, 'Pronunciation Instruction: Bringing Theory and Practice Together' presents a discussion of the sources of difficulties which are likely to be faced by Brazilian learners during the process of acquiring English phonetics and phonology, by presenting empirical data garnered from Brazilian studies of this issue and by proposing communicative activities aimed at helping speakers of Brazilian Portuguese to overcome their pronunciation difficulties in English. This book is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1, Cognition and Second Language Acquisition, briefly introduces the reader into the world of cognition, focusing on issues such as L1-L2 transfer, the link between language perception and production, as well as the effects of explicit instruction. This chapter is of special interest for teachers who are interested in Second Language Acquisition or graduate students in the field of Applied Linguistics. Chapter 2 deals with transfer processes used by speakers of Brazilian Portuguese when undertaking the acquisition of North-American English L2 phonology. These transfer processes will be described and discussed, along with presentation of empirical data providing evidence of the need for explicit instruction. This will set the scene for the proposal laid out in the Chapter 3, which presents instructional activities designed to help students overcome the difficulties reported in the empirical findings. These practical classroom activities are organized in nine separate units - from Intro to Unit 8 - which can be worked from beginning to end or just by choosing some exercises in the range that is presented within each unit. The practical part can be used by Brazilian learners of English in the classroom or for self-study, as the book includes an answer key and CD. The target readers of 'Pronunciation Instruction: Bringing Theory and Practice Together' are teachers and Brazilian students of English, living in Brazil or abroad, in any level of proficiency, who intend to work on their pronunciation, as well as undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of TSLA/TESL/TEFL and Applied Linguistics.

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About the Author:

Marcia Zimmer is a full-time professor and researcher in the field of Psycholinguistics, and a member of the research group DinaFon (Dynamic Phonics), in Brazil. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics, and spent one year (2002-2003) as a visiting graduate student in the Department of Cognitive Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, working with connectionist models of second language acquisition. She has worked as an EFL instructor for 16 years in Brazil and has advised graduate students on second language acquisition and cognition - related issues, with special emphasis on memory systems and L2 speech production. Rosane Silveira was a Brazilian visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and is the president of the Association of English Teachers in Santa Catararina - Brazil. She worked as a lecturer at the Federal University of Santa Catarina from 2004 to 2007, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of English as a second language, Portuguese as a second language, and methodological issues in second language acquisition research. Her main research interests are the acquisition of English phonology by Brazilian learners and the development of pronunciation teaching materials. Ubirata Kickhofel Alves is a full-time professor at the Graduate Program of Applied Linguistics at Universidade Catolica de Pelotas (UCPel) in Brazil. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, and has worked as an EFL instructor for more than 10 years in Brazil. He has advised graduate students on the fields of phonological theory, L2 phonological acquisition and L2 teaching.

Review:

"This captivating book is a precious resource for teachers and students interested in pronunciation matters. Specially designed for English teachers who have Brazilian Portuguese (BP) learners as their pupils, the book is extremely helpful to fill a common gap regarding phonological/phonetic instruction. It is very common to find English teachers who recognize the importance of pronunciation instruction, but do not feel confident enough to teach it in their classes or are not aware of many mispronunciation problems that may hinder communication in a foreign language. In the first chapter, the book is successful in providing teachers with the most relevant theories concerning cognition and second language acquisition, speech perception/production, and it also stresses the importance of explicit instruction to help learners improve their English pronunciation. In Chapter 2, the authors report the results of many empirical studies that reveal the main pronunciation difficulties faced by BP learners. This chapter calls the readers' attention not only to well known pronunciation difficulties, such as the proper articulation of the th sounds or the pronunciation of -ed endings, but also to aspects which are not so commonly tackled in English classes to Brazilians, such as the pronunciation of the dark /l/ or the nasals in word-final position. After setting the theoretical background, the exercises and tips suggested in Chapter 3 help the teacher/instructor raise the learners' awareness about sound articulation and/or perception, thus working on the differences between the native language sounds and the American English sounds which do not exist in Portuguese or which are slightly different from Portuguese. Activities are creative and simple, all possible to be applied in many teaching contexts at any school, i.e., no fancy technology is required. This is definitely a well designed and appealing step-by-step guide for teachers who would like to improve their understanding about the pronunciation difficulties faced by their students (and by themselves!). The sets of exercises carefully prepared to overcome each difficulty are ready to be used, thus saving teachers' time to prepare efficient tasks. Importantly, besides focusing on the perception/pronunciation of specific segments or structures, there are many creative contextualized exercises which help the learners practice the pronunciation of the learned information in a more natural way. Enjoy the book and help your pupils improve their American English pronunciation as early as possible!" -Andreia S. Rauber (University of Minho, Portugal)

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