Monday, May 14, 2007

International Phonetic Alphabet

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet used by people all over the world. Each of the symbols in the IPA has one pronunciation (so unlike the English alphabet!). Because each of the symbols has one sound, people from all over the world can use this phonetic alphabet.

Before I started teaching ESL to adults, I’d never even heard of the IPA! Over the years, probably half of my students have known the IPA. While I haven’t yet memorized the entire alphabet, I have found it very helpful in teaching ESL pronunciation to know a few of the symbols.

However, if you don’t know the IPA and your students don’t know it, I really don’t think it’s necessary or the best use of time to teach it to your students.


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