Students and teachers of English as a second language often find ESL pronunciation phonology charts helpful. Aside from the all-important semantic and syntactic aspects of language learning, it can be argued that the most crucial task for second language learners is to grasp proper English pronunciation. If students have mastered all the rules of English grammar yet still speak with a heavy dialect influenced by their native language, much of their grammar proficiency will be overlooked in daily conversation.
It is common knowledge that not all languages spoken on Earth use the same sound systems. This can cause ESL students a great deal of difficulty when they are learning to phonetically navigate their new language. If English includes a sound that was not spoken in their native language, it can be very challenging for the students to learn how to produce the sound physically. Since the sound will remain foreign to them for some time, remembering how to create the sound while in the flow of typical conversations poses an even greater challenge.
ELS pronunciation phonology charts work to give students a tool to keep on hand while they practice their mastery of English phonetics. The charts will phonetically transcribe familiar English words so the students are sure to know exactly how the words should sound. The phonetic transcriptions will give the student exact pronunciation tips to assist them in forming correct English words when they speak.
Some of the resources may be more intuitive than others to you, so explore all the options and select those that you think will work the best for your needs.
The following websites provide ESL pronunciation phonology charts that are both downloadable and available for viewing online:
- Dave's ESL Café – Dave's ESL Café is an excellent resource for everything ESL, including ESL pronunciation phonology charts. This site links to two pages of resources on accent reduction, accent training, dialect specialists, contrasting phonemes between languages, and more.
- Linguistics 101 – This somewhat technical site from the University of Pennsylvania explains phonological representation very well. It explains the major vowel sounds as well as the consonant sounds in a clear, easy to understand manner.
- Antimoon – Antimoon is an excellent and concise site that provides a table containing all the sounds of the English language. The table also allows users to play the sounds in .mp3 format over their computer speakers. Some sounds have a British example as well if that sound is drastically different in British English. The site also allows users to print out the chart to take with them.
- IBM – Even though they are known more for making computers than for teaching English pronunciation, IBM has an excellent site on American English pronunciation on their corporate servers. Their chart is extensive, clearly explained, and should prove to be very helpful for ESL students and teachers.
- Phil's EFL Support Site – The Phonology section of this website contains links to many articles, worksheets, and resources that deal with English phonology.
- 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English - This handy list from YourDictionary.com provides the words that native English speakers find the most difficult to pronounce.