Pronouncing English

A Stress-Based Approach with CD-ROM

Richard V. Teschner and M. Stanley Whitley

"Teschner and Whitley have produced a fascinating book that will be an invaluable resource to all interested in the study and teaching of English pronunciation."
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Pronouncing English is a textbook for teaching English phonetics and phonology, offering an original "stress-based" approach while incorporating all the standard course topics. Drawing on current linguistic theory, it uniquely analyzes prosody first, and then discusses its effects on pronunciation—emphasizing suprasegmental features such as meter, stress, and intonation, then the vowels and consonants themselves.

Distinguished by being the first work of its kind to be based on an exhaustive statistical analysis of all the lexical entries of an entire dictionary, Pronouncing English is complemented by a list of symbols and a glossary. Richard Teschner and M. Stanley Whitley present an improved description of English pronunciation and conclude each chapter with suggestions on how to do a better job of teaching it. An appendix with a brief introduction to acoustic phonetics—the basis for the perception vs. the production of sounds—is also included. Revolutionary in its field, Pronouncing English declares that virtually all aspects of English pronunciation—from the vowel system to the articulation of syllables, words, and sentences—are determined by the presence or absence of stress.

The accompanying CD-ROM carries audio recordings of many of the volume's exercises, more than 100 text and sound files, and data files on which the statistical observations were based.

Table of Contents


1. The Metric Foot
1.1 The notion of stress: Present stress and absent/null stress
1.2 Metricalism
1.3 The five major metric feet: Spondees, trochees, iambs, dactyls, and anapests
1.4 Weak stress, null stress, and vowels
1.5 The English drive toward monosyllabicity
1.6 Teaching topics of chapter 1 to students of ESOL
Wrap-Up exercises

2. Strong Stresses and Weak: How to Know Where They Go
2.1 Strong stress moves leftward, but only so far
2.2 Three main factors in strong-stress position
2.3 Strong-stress retention on the same base vowel
2.4 Word families with shifting stress
2.5 The effect of suffixation on strong-stress position
2.6 The shiftless, stress-free life of the prefix
2.7 Applying strong-stress rules to bisyllabic words
2.8 Applying strong-stress rules to trisyllabic words
2.9 Strong-stressing words of four, five, and more syllables
2.10 Weak stress: Placing the strong, locating the weak
2.11 Weak stress on bisyllabic words
2.12 Weak-stressing trisyllabic words
2.13 Weak-stressing "four-plus" words
2.14 Vowel reduction: The price we pay for shifting stress
2.15 Teaching the topics of chapter 2 to students of ESOL

3. Intonation—The Melodic Line
3.1 "Peak" stress for contrast and emphasis
3.2 Some analogies with music
3.3 Stressing compound words and phrases
3.4 Peak stresses and info units
3.5 Melodic lines long and short, falling and rising, and so on
3.6 Melodic lines and compound melodies
3.7 Approaches to intonation
3.8 Teaching the topics of chapter 3 to students of ESOL
Wrap-Up Exercises

4. From Orthography to Pronunciation
4.1 Even English spelling can be reduced to rules
4.2 Consonants: The (somewhat) easy part
4.3 Vowels: Which are easy and which are tough to spell
4.4 Vowel reduction redux
4.5 Teaching the topics of chapter 4 to students of ESOL
Wrap-Up Exercises

5. Vowels
5.1 Vowels, broadly and narrowly
5.2 How to make vowels: Tongue and lip position
5.3 Other vowels, other languages
5.4 Stressed vowels
5.5 Unstressed vowels: the schwa zone
5.6 Shifting vowels make the dialect
5.7 Rules and regularities
5.8 Other analyses of English vowels
5.9 Teaching pronunciation: Vowels and consonants
Wrap-Up Exercises

6. Consonants
6.1 Consonants and syllable position
6.2 Types of consonants
6.3 English consonant phonemes
6.4 Consonants that behave like vowels
6.5 Stops
6.6 All those sibilants
6.7 Slits up front
6.8 /h/: A sound that can get lost
6.9 Glides /j/ and /w/
6.10 Syllable reprise: How to build an English word
6.11 Teaching pronunciation: Error analysis
Wrap-Up Exercises

7. Sounds and Forms That Change and Merge
7.1 English phonemes in (con)text
7.2 When words change their pronunciation
7.3 Changes due to work linkage
7.4 Changes due to stress
7.5 Changes due to grammar: Morphemes and allomorphs
7.6 Phonology in grammar
7.7 The phoneme exchange
7.8 English spelling revised
7.9 Teaching pronunciation: Sounds in context
Wrap-Up Exercises

8. Appendix
8.1 Acoustic phonetics
8.2 The International Phonetic Alphabet
8.3 PEASBA's CD: Recordings and Corpus





"Teschner and Whitley have produced a fascinating book that will be an invaluable resource to all interested in the study and teaching of English pronunciation."—Grant Goodall, professor and director of the linguistics language program at the University of California, San Diego

"Teschner and Whitley succeed in their goals of providing a methodical, thorough, and engaging treatment of stress in English pronunciation and writing, as well as providing an essential pedagogical guide for teachers of English. Material in the appendix and the accompanying CD-ROM provide useful background and support for teachers and beginning students. Clearly written and superbly exemplified, this is an outstanding textbook for undergraduates and graduate students in English, linguistics and language pedagogy."—Kamil Ud Deen, assistant professor of linguistics, University of Hawai`i at Manoa

"Pronouncing English provides a comprehensive introduction to English phonetics that is innovatively structured, theoretically sound, and exceedingly practical. Teschner and Whitley have written a lively and informative text that will be rewarding and entertaining for students—and their instructors—in any field concerned with the English language."—Garland D. Bills, professor emeritus of linguistics and of Spanish & Portuguese, University of New Mexico


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Richard V. Teschner is a professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Texas, El Paso.

M. Stanley Whitley is professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the Department of Romance Languages at Wake Forest University.

296 pp., 7 x 10
6 halftones, 79 figures
Apr 2004

296 pp., 7 x 10
6 halftones, 79 figures
ISBN: 978-1-58901-002-4
Apr 2004

296 pp.
6 halftones, 79 figures
ISBN: 978-1-58901-821-1
Apr 2004

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