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Phonetics - for advanced level students of pronunciation


Needs Analysis

There are three stages in needs analysis: your present problems, your future needs, your needs for your course.

Click here for a Needs Analysis / Planning / Studying / Assessment Form that you can print out and fill in.



Make a list of the problems that you have about pronunciation, and the situations where you have these problems. For example:

Example Problem: I'm nervous when I am speaking English. I am worried that I will make a mistake and other people will laugh at me. (Click here for advice.)

Future Needs

Think about what English you will need in future, for example for your job. Here are some examples:

Example Future Need 1: I will need to speak in meetings.

Example Future Need 2: I will need to give presentations.

Example Future Need 3: I want to work for an international company, so my English, including my pronunciation, must be very good.

Needs for Your Course

If you are a student you probably need to study English to help you with your course work; eg. for writing assignments. Some example needs are:

Example Course Need 1: I need to speak in seminars and lessons.

Example Course Need 2: I need to do a presentation on my final year thesis.

(Click here to see the English courses that most full-time HKPU students do.)



You need to decide:

  • what materials and resources you want to use
  • whether you want to work alone or with other people
  • when you want or need to finish studying; eg. in time for an assignment deadline
  • how much improvement is necessary


Materials and Resources

Materials can be books, handouts, videos and computer programs on pronunciation
Resources can be teachers, classmates, computers, learner pathways, etc.

Working Alone or With Other People
Reasons for working with other people on speaking are:
- You can't learn pronunciation alone, you need to talk to someone
- People can suggest improvements
- They can tell you if you make a mistake
- They can encourage you to do better
- You can share your thoughts and feelings

Reasons for working alone are:
- You can't find anyone to speak to
- You don't want to pick up mistakes from other learners


Click here to go back to the list of pronunciation materials on the Internet at the top of this page.


Pronunciation Strategies

- Repetition: You can repeat a word out loud or silently to practice pronunciation. Be careful to listen to a model to make sure that you pronunciation is correct.

- Sound: This means remembering English sounds by using sounds in your own language. For example, the English sound / i: /is very similar to the Chinese (Putonghua) sound of the word that means 'one'.

Click here to go to the pronunciation page.



You can test your pronunciation skills yourself, with classmates, with a CILL tutor or with a teacher.

Testing Yourself
Record yourself speaking some of the common phrases you can find in the CILL pronunciation materials. Then check in the materials to see if you are correct.

Testing with Classmates
Practice your speaking with your classmates; e.g. practice giving part of a presentation. Discuss your pronunciation mistakes with your classmates. If you are not sure if something is right, check in a dictionary. CILL has a dictionary on CD-ROM with recordings of how to pronounce the words. To test yourself, you can video yourself, and then watch the video, looking for mistakes in the things you have learned.

Testing with a CILL Tutor
Give a tape or video of your pronunciation to a CILL tutor. It is very important to tell the tutor what you have been learning so that they can assess that. If you would like suggestions for other things to improve, please ask. CILL tutors do not believe that it is good to correct everything because we know you are not studying everything about pronunciation, that would take a long time. We believe it is better for you to work on one small area of pronunciation at a time.

Testing with a Teacher
Your English teacher will probably give you assignments such as a presentation or a interview, and give you feedback on your pronunciation in these assignments. Read the feedback carefully, and use it to improve next time.


Further Planning

When you have finished your plan you need to test or assess yourself to see if you have fulfilled your need. Can you do what your Needs Analysis and your plan aimed for?
- If you can, then you can plan to learn another point from your Needs Analysis, or you can change it because of some new thing that you want to learn. Don't forget to come back and revise later.
- If you can't, you need to study more, so change your plan. You could, for example, do some of the Alternative Materials or Extra Materials if you are following a learner pathway. If you are bored you can do something else and come back later.

For more details on how you can test yourself, click here. The learner pathways also have details on how you can test yourself. Click here for an example.


Last updated on: Wednesday, September 14, 2016