Friday, June 19, 2009

Teaching Pronunciation by Using Audio-lingual Method

I. Definition
1.1 Pronunciation
Pronunciation (noun): the way in which we pronounce a word.
Pronounce (verb): to make the sound of a word.
Pronunciation is the way how sounds are perceived by the hearer (Richards, Platt, and Weber, 1992, p. 296). Pronunciation refers to the production of sounds that we use to make meaning. It includes attention to the particular sounds of a language (segments), aspects of speech beyond the level of the individual sound, such as intonation, phrasing, stress, timing, rhythm (suprasegmental aspects), how the voice is projected (voice quality) and, in its broadest definition, attention to gestures and expressions that are closely related to the way we speak a language. Each of these aspects of pronunciation is briefly outlined below, and references for further study are suggested. Practice with Pronunciation Using English is a stress-timed language and, as such, good pronunciation depends a lot on the ability to accent the correct words and successfully use intonation to make sure you are understood. Simply put, spoken English stress the principal elements in a sentence - content words - and quickly glides over the less important words - function words. Nouns, principal verbs, adjectives and adverbs are all content words. Pronouns, articles, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions are function words and are pronounced quickly moving towards the more important words.
Why is pronunciation important?
The way we speak immediately conveys something about ourselves to the people around us. Learners with good pronunciation in English are more likely to be understood even if they make errors in other areas, whereas learners whose pronunciation is difficult to understand will not be understood, even if their grammar is perfect! Such learners may avoid speaking in English, and thus experience social isolation, employment difficulties and limited opportunities for further study, which may affect their settlement in Australia. We also often judge people by the way they speak, and so learners with poor pronunciation may be judged as incompetent, uneducated or lacking in knowledge, even though listeners are only reacting to their pronunciation. Yet many adult learners find pronunciation one of the most difficult aspects of English to acquire, and need explicit help from the teacher (Morley 1994; Fraser 2000). Surveys of student needs consistently show that our learners feel the need for pronunciation work in class (e.g. Willing 1989). Thus some sort of pronunciation work in class is essential.

1.2 Audio-lingual Method

The Audio-Lingual Method was developed in the United States during World War II. At that time there was a need for people to learn foreign languages rapidly for military purpose. This method of Language Learning is also called the Aural-Oral Method. This method is said to result in rapid acquisition of speaking and listening skills. The audio-lingual method drills students in the use of grammatical sentence patterns. When this method was developed it was thought that the way to acquire the sentence patterns of the second language was through conditioning or helping learners to respond correctly to stimuli through shaping and reinforcement.
The Audio-lingual Method is based on the following principles:
 Speaking and listening competence preceded reading and writing competence.
 The development of language skills is a matter of habit formulation.
 Students practice particular patterns of language through structured dialogue and drill until response is automatic.
 Structured patterns in language are taught using repetitive drills.
 The emphasis is on having students produce error free utterances.
 Only everyday vocabulary and sentences are taught. Concrete vocabulary is taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures. Abstract vocabulary is taught through association of ideas.
 The printed word must be kept away from the second language learner as long as possible.
 It is not allowed use mother tongue during teaching and learning activity.
1.3 Approach
1.3.1 Theory of language

The structural view of language is the view behind the audio-lingual method. Particular emphasis was laid on mastering the building blocks of language and learning the rules for combining them.
1.3.2 Theory of learning
Behaviorism, including the following principles:
 language learning is habit-formation
 mistakes are bad and should be avoided, as they make bad habits
 language skills are learned more effectively if they are presented orally first, then in written form
 analogy is a better foundation for language learning than analysis
 the meanings of words can be learned only in a linguistic and cultural context

1.4 Design
1.4.1 Objectives

Here are some of the objectives of the audio-lingual method:
 accurate pronunciation and grammar
 ability to respond quickly and accurately in speech situations
 knowledge of sufficient vocabulary to use with grammar patterns.
1.4.2 The syllabus
Audiolingualism uses a structural syllabus
1.4.3 Types of learning techniques and activities
 dialogues
 repetition
 drills
1.5 Procedure
Here is a typical procedure in an audio-lingual course
 Students hear a model dialogue
 Students repeat each line of the dialogue
 Certain key words or phrases may be changed in the dialogue
 Key structures from the dialogue serve as the basis for pattern drills of different kinds
 The students practice substitutions in the pattern drills

II. The Concept of Teaching Pronunciation by Using Audio-lingual Method
Pronunciation is the most important in speaking in order the foreigner or native speaker is able to understand what we say. Many people know many vocabularies, but they do not really know how to pronounce it. Say for example; if we speak by using English with an English native speaker, in which we speak with unclear pronunciation, it will make the English native speaker confused.
In order that we can pronounce words clearly, we need to practice it intensively. Maybe, many students in the school do not know how pronounce the words clearly. They do not know how to learn it. In the classroom, firstly the teacher should be communicative. Therefore, the students can learn how to pronounce the words clearly from their teacher. In teaching English especially pronunciation, the teacher should teach his/her students by using good strategy or method.
The audio-lingual method is one of method that is good for teaching pronunciation. The emphasis of audio-lingual method is on speaking and listening. In speaking, of course the students need to have accurate pronunciation to be able to speak well. The audio-lingual method is very effective to teach pronunciation, because teaching by using audio-lingual method, the students can learn the correct pronunciation from the teacher and memorize the pronunciation which is heard by them. “How can student memorize it?” Here is the answer, the teacher will give a repetition and drill in teaching the students. The types of learning technique of audio-lingual method are repetition and drill. This method is very good for teaching young learners and also good for high school students.

III. Application of Teaching Pronunciation by Using Audio-lingual Method
3.1 Lesson Plan

Topic : Speaking
Sub topic : Pronunciation practice
Level : Third years of Senior High School
Time allocation : 60 minutes

Standard of competency
1. The students are able to speak clearly.
Base Competency
1. The students are be able to recognize many familiar and unfamiliar words
2. The students are able to recognize the sounds of word that is spoken
3. The students are be able to identify unfamiliar words
1. Explaining the definition of speaking
2. Listening to the sounds of words and recognize it
3. Analyzing the pronunciation of word
1. The goal of teaching
After the teaching and learning process, the students are able to:
1.1 Explain the definition of speaking and also definition of pronunciation
1.2 Recognize and memorize the pronunciation of words
1.3 Analyze the sounds or pronunciation of words
1.5 Speak with correct pronunciation
2. Teaching method
2.1 Speech (audio-lingual)
2.2 Discussion
2.3 Giving assignment
3. Teaching Activities
1. Greeting the students and concern to the presence of the students
2. Giving the students information about speaking and pronunciation
3. Explaining the types of speaking
4. Asking to the students about their knowledge of speaking and pronunciation

1. Giving the students unfamiliar words
2. Giving the students repetition and drilling to say the words that is given by the teacher
3. Asking the students to find out the unfamiliar words
4. Asking the students to make a short conversation that will be done in pair
5. Inviting some students to perform their dialogue or conversation
6. Asking the students to make a group consists of 5 students
7. Giving each group 5 unfamiliar words, then asking them to pronounce it

1. Giving the students chance to ask question related to the topic discussed
2. Scoring:
Result : Spoken test
3. Concluding the lesson


In this session, we are going to discuss speaking skill in which to have good speaking skill we should have an accuracy pronunciation. Now, I would like to give you information about speaking.
Speaking skill
Speaking is the productive skill in the oral mode. It, like the other skills, is more complicated than it seems at first and involves more than just pronouncing words.

Listening Situations
There are three kinds of speaking situations in which we find ourselves:

• interactive,
• partially interactive, and
• non-interactive.

Interactive speaking situations include face-to-face conversations and telephone calls, in which we are alternately listening and speaking, and in which we have a chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from our conversation partner. Some speaking situations are partially interactive, such as when giving a speech to a live audience, where the convention is that the audience does not interrupt the speech. The speaker nevertheless can see the audience and judge from the expressions on their faces and body language whether or not he or she is being understood.
Some few speaking situations may be totally non-interactive, such as when recording a speech for a radio broadcast.


Here are some of the micro-skills involved in speaking. The speaker has to:

• Pronounce the distinctive sounds of a language clearly enough so that people can distinguish them. This includes making tonal distinctions.
• Use stress and rhythmic patterns, and intonation patterns of the language clearly enough so that people can understand what is said.
• Use the correct forms of words. This may mean, for example, changes in the tense, case, or gender.
• Put words together in correct word order.
• Use vocabulary appropriately.
• Use the register or language variety that is appropriate to the situation and the relationship to the conversation partner.
• Make clear to the listener the main sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, by whatever means the language uses.
• Make the main ideas stand out from supporting ideas or information.
• Make the discourse hang together so that people can follow what you are saying.

Practice your pronunciation by repeating the following words:
1. Success
2. Should
3. Together
4. Recognize
5. Record
6. Encourage


1. Make a short dialogue that will be done in pair!
2. Find out 8 unfamiliar words!
3. Pronounce the following words and sentences:
1. Scared
2. Fisherman
3. Emphasis
4. Environment
5. Suitable
6. She repairs her computer
7. She is governor
8. My father worked until 11 p.m. yesterday
9. They are lying down on the sea shore
10. The terrorists bombed many churches and restaurants

Podcast links of this topic:




At June 21, 2009 at 7:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent blog. You are quite right in emphasizing the importance of pronunciation. Far fewer native English speakers will notice errors of grammar or syntax than will lose patience with incomprehensible pronunciation. After all, many English speakers ignore the rules of grammar themselves, but they know how to pronounce common words.

Here's a tip on English writing style. Because English has such a vast vocabulary, repetition of words is considered bad form. So instead good writers use synonyms. So, rather than say: "Fathers Day honors fathers," you would write "Father's Day honors dads."

Good luck with your studies.

At July 17, 2011 at 9:28 AM , Blogger Nagaraj said...

good article on audio lingual approach and is useful for English language teachers

At February 11, 2012 at 6:52 AM , Blogger Nang Kham lin said...

Thanks for your invaluable article.


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