This book has been compiled to accompany lecture courses on English phonetics and language laboratory classes in English pronunciation at university level. It is equally suitable for use as a self-instructional programme. With "cognitive learning" as its didactic concept, the Drillbook intends to teach English pronunciation by means of practical exercises as well as insights into underlying phonological structures and rules. It takes as its basis the predominant speech patterns of educated speakers of Southern English, commonly referred to as Received Pronunciation.
The programme presented in PART I focuses on pronunciation problems especially critical for German speakers, as suggested by a contrastive analysis of the phonological systems of the two languages and common teaching experience. The programme's comprehensiveness in dealing with problem areas of English pronunciation should, however, guarantee equal benefit to native speakers of other languages.
In general, the sequence of phonemes has been determined by considerations of related difficulties and pedagogical effectiveness, rather than by strict adherence to their phonetic classification. Reflecting students' frequent initial difficulties with English connected speech, the practice of Weak Forms in Chapter 1 precedes the treatment of individual phonemes. Each following chapter begins with articulation drills on its particular phoneme(s) and major allophones. For pedagogical purposes as well as reasons of space, phoneme variants aurally less noticeable and/or less problematic to produce have been omitted (e.g. unreleased final plosives, partially devoiced /r, l, w, j/, dental /n/ etc.), while some problems have deliberately been simplified. Further sections of each chapter deal with intensive practice of minimal or contrasting pairs, frequently mispronounced words or phoneme sequences. The Drill Sentences concluding the chapters have been put together so as to illustrate the occurrence of the phonemes and problem words in a natural colloquial context, with the occasional inclusion of short poems, nursery rhymes, tonguetwisters, dialogues and prose passages.
All the material in PART I has been recorded on two cassettes (160 minutes) for use in the language laboratory. One or more chapters can form the basis of a single laboratory session, depending on their length and level of difficulty, as well as the time available.
Concise phonetic background information, especially on the nature and distribution of specific allophones, can be found in the right hand margin. The abbreviations and formulae used have been adopted from current works on phonology and are explained onpage 12.
A phonetic transcription of all exercises is provided on the facing pages. It follows EPD (14th ed., 1977) notation and reproduces the pronunciation of the speakers on tape, who conform to EPD standards. Possible RP variants are not listed in this section. Stress marks (primary and secondary) are used in all polysyllabic words, whereas sentences are marked with a simplified stress system (main stresses only).
Lack of space and time available in one semester demand that special chapters on intonation be omitted from this book. Adequate coverage of intonation problems is, however, indispensable and should be the subject of a separate course, perhaps using such an excellent approach as that in O'Connor and Arnold 1973.
PART II presents a number of model texts for phonetic transcription practice. As in the previous part orthographical text and phonetic script appear on facing pages. Variant pronunciations are cited in the footnotes, unless indicated within the word itself by parentheses. The texts have been transcribed in a natural RP style, allowing for occasional, though not necessarily consistent use of assimilations of the /kŋ gәu, dıdзu/-type. Weak forms and linking /r/ have been used whenever possible in order to underline typical patterns of connected English speech.
The puzzles contained in PART II combine easy exercises in phonetic transcription with such notoriously knotty problems as /s/ or /z/ and /θ/ or /ð/, or the pronunciation of proper and place names. Solutions are found on pages 142 ff. It is to be hoped that pleasure as well as profit will be derived from this lighter side of English phonetics.