Publication Details

Murphy, J. M. & Baker, A. A. (2015). History of ESL pronunciation teaching. In M. Reed & J. M. Levis (Eds.), The Handbook of English Pronunciation (pp. 36-65). United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.


This chapter tells the story of over 150 years in the teaching of English as a second language (ESL) pronunciation. An analysis of historical resources may reveal a reliable history of pronunciation teaching. A consistent theme within the historical record is that prior to the second half of the nineteenth century pronunciation received little attention in L2 classrooms. Beginning in the 1850s and continuing for the next 30 years, early innovators such as Berlitz, Gouin, Marcel, and Predergast were rejecting and transitioning away from classical approaches. A change that resulted in pronunciation teaching's considerably more consequential second wave was the formation in Paris during the period 1886-1889 of the International Phonetic Association. The 1950s-1970s coincide with a slow rise of attention to innovations in how to teach pronunciation. If we may speculate on the future of ESL pronunciation teaching, there is every reason to feel optimistic.



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