Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "Sounds" of English Around the World!

The English language is found in every corner of the earth. The written language can be read and understood with ease for the most part, but this is not always the case with the spoken form. Though teachers can appreciate this rich diversity, their students (especially the ELLs) often times visibly struggle in trying to make sense of what they have heard.

The link that follows is a site that provides its listeners with English dialects and accents from every part of the planet where English is used. Select a country first and then pick a race/sex/socio-economic class/age, and profession of a native speaker. You will then be presented with both the recorded comments from that speaker along with the transcript (which might be needed with some of the stronger accents). INTERNATIONAL DIALECTS OF ENGLISH ARCHIVE is a site you may wish to save as a favorite/bookmark. Not only will students have a unique opportunity to explore many forms of spoken English, but also read the various speakers’ transcripts which are full of cultural clich├ęs, idioms, cultural sayings, slang, etc.

There are several teaching situations where this site might provide support in instruction. Teachers could easily bring this material into geography classes. Students could weave into their projects clips from this archive (in a power point possibly) along with maps, country data, etc. In English literature classes, teachers could use this site as a start to let the students get the flavor of the sound of the language where a story occurs (ex. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his character Sherlock Holmes---teachers could look for English accents). This is one of many ways to provide that special HOOK to grab student attention. Another item that could be covered here is grammar. Sentence structure analysis is always an option for teachers of ELLs. Last but not least, transcripts plus audio provide reading practice for ELLs. Think of it as English in the real world:)

For more ideas on teaching ELLs (ESL), go to ELL Teacher Pros on Facebook!

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