What Pronunciation Professionals Talk About

May 10th, 2016 | By | Category: Interest Groups, TOP
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image of author Marsha Chan

Marsha Chan


—I belong to many electronic discussion lists, including the CATESOL Teaching of Pronunciation Interest Group (TOP-IG). If you are not already a member of TOP, I invite you to join us by accessing our Google Group at this link:

As I shared with TOP, I participate in another digital discussion group that also deals with pronunciation and related skills, and there are many interesting discussion threads with contributions from practitioners from around the world on aspects of language learning that touch on or, indeed, focus on, learning the pronunciation of English (and occasionally other languages).

Donna M. Brinton and I set out to analyze the hundreds of messages from August 2014 to August 2015 to determine the topics that elicited the greatest degree of interest, interaction, and in-depth discussion. We call these the Pronunciation Hot Topics. We presented our research at the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference in Santa Barbara, California, in September 2014. The four topics that resulted in the most discussion during that one-year period are as follows:

  1. Perfect versus relative pitch;
  2. Pronunciation as a motor skill;
  3. The role of pronunciation in speaking-test ratings; and
  4. Syllabification for pronunciation.

As our space here is limited, I’ll refer those of you interested in the details of our research to “What’s Hot, What’s Not? Insights from Pronunciation Practitioners,” available here: http://bit.ly/whats-hot-2015.

Marsha Chan is cofounder and co-coordinator of TOP, the Pronunciation Doctor on YouTube, Sunburst Media President, and Mission College faculty emeritus.


Brinton, D., & Chan, M. (2015). What’s hot, what’s not: Insights from pronunciation practitioners. In J. Levis, R. Mohamed, M. Qian, & Z. Zhou (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, Santa Barbara, CA (pp. 154-165). Ames: Iowa State University.


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