Vcb – th cnsnnts f lngg
This post is a bit of a mish-mash of recent thoughts and experiences, so apologies if it doesn’t quite seem to tie together. Hopefully it will be like one of those films where it all comes together at the end…
When I became the phonology tutor on Active Language’s CertTESOL course, I observed my colleagues giving sessions and picked up ideas on how they introduced different points and I still use Dan‘s first activity from the phonology session today. In the first input on phonology, we look at consonant sounds and as a warmer, I write the following on the board and ask the trainees to decipher what it says:
Wlcm t Phnlgy n – th frst f sx sssns n th fscntng tpc f phnlgy!
They generally have little trouble figuring out what it says and I’ve tried similar sentences with my classes, most recently with a group of B1 adolescents, one of whom loves the clothing brand GRMY.
Jss tshrt md m wndr whthr y cld rd ths sntnc wtht ny vwls.
And they could!
In English, whole sentences can clearly be understood without vowels, though these will make the meaning more apparent more quickly if correct (is it on or in? of or if?).
On another note, before Easter my colleague Ceri presented a session on the work she had done with a group of beginners a couple of years ago. At the end of the second term, she did a revision lesson with them, a photo from which you can see below. Interestingly, the post-its were Ceri’s “interpretation” of what they had covered during the course, whereas the list on the left-hand side shows the learners’ “interpretation”. Ceri’s boxes focus more on grammar, but if you look at the list which the learners produced, there is more emphasis on context than grammatical points.
To link these two thoughts together, I think we can see vocabulary as an equivalent to consonants – you can hash a sentence together with vocabulary and generally it will be understood; however, correct grammar (or vowels) make it clearer. And to finish off, here are a couple of pics from my Diploma a few years ago…