17-19 May 2017 - CRISCO - Université Caen Normandie

EPIP5 - 5th International Conference on English Pronunciation: Issues & Practices


The 5th International Conference on English Pronunciation: Issues & Practices will take place in Caen (17th, 18th & 19th May 2017), following previous meetings in Prague Czech Republic (2015) Murcia, Spain (2013), Grahamstown, South Africa (2011) and Chambéry, France (2009).


The conference brings together researchers and teachers of English, phonetics, phonology and EFL/ESL interested in the issues relevant to English pronunciation, both native and non-native.


Invited speakers (in alphabetical order)

- Alice Henderson, Université Savoie Mont Blanc - Accented speech and English-medium instruction: What can teachers and students do?

More and more European students are experiencing foreign-accented speech in an academic context. Part of this is due to the Bologna process in 1999, which has led universities across Europe to promote the internationalization of their student body, often by increasing their provision of English-medium instruction (EMI).Formal, lecture-based instruction is subject to the didactic contract, whereby the instructor is not only supposed to be competent, but students/listeners are also supposed to perceive them as competent. 

This begs the question of how European students perceive teachers’ field expertise if their speech has non-native English features. The lecturer’s competence may be questioned if students do not favourably perceive the speaker’s foreign-accented speech. Just as importantly, the main goal of a lecture (to share information) cannot be met if students experience cognitive processing difficulties, become frustrated and stop listening. 

Therefore, the spread of EMI raises the pedagogical and didactic issue of how to train not just lecturers but also students. With lecturers, should we focus on accent modification or accent addition? With students, what kind of language work should they do as a useful complement to lectures, in addition to intercultural awareness raising? Is it possible to improve students’ cognitive processing ease as well as lecturers’ intelligibility? These questions need answering, regardless of where an EMI class is situated on the continuum between content-focussed or language-focussed instruction. This is precisely where English teachers interested in pronunciation can play a crucial role.

I will argue that a shift is needed toward a more holistic, interactional paradigm, taking into account the capabilities and responsibilities of both lecturers and students. EMI programmes should be paired with training where lecturers improve their intelligibility and students improve their cognitive processing of foreign-accented speech. Hopefully, both groups will also come away from such training with a positive attitude to variety - surely no small feat in the current context.


- Olle Kjellin -  A short vowel that is long?

In this keynote I want to reveal a small-ish but crucial detail that can make a huge difference in the "foreign accentedness" of the speech of  learners of English, a detail that they absolutely should be made aware of.
It is a detail that strides the realms of both segmental pronunciation (vowels and consonants) and suprasegmental phenomena (stress, rhythm and intonation), and therefore is of utmost importance - though hitherto rather overlooked or even unknown by many.

At the same time I want to show how anyone can learn to make and read simple spectrograms to support and enhance (or revise) their auditory impressions without having to become phoneticians and without the need for phonetic lingo. Thus they will be able to reveal what has to be done to make a difference, provided, of course, that the learner does strive for a listener-friendly pronunciation. And that the teacher wants to give the learner a chance -- and who doesn't?

(In the workshop later in this conference, I will show how best to give our learners that chance to attain identical or nearly identical pronunciation to that of their teacher, even within minutes of practice.)


- Jane Setter, University of Reading - Aspects of speech Prosody in English language teaching

Intonation is one of the earliest acquired aspects of human speech, and is now thought to be acquired pre-birth in a child's first language (L1).  L1-specific patterns of speech rhythm emerge shortly before a child is school-age.  The teaching of suprasegmentals, including vowel weakening, is perceived by many as difficult, if not impossible.

This presentation looks at aspects of English speech prosody such as stress, rhythm, weakening and intonation, how they could be taught to learners of English as a second or foreign language, and whether they should be.  We will also consider patterns in different speaker varieties.

 Where intonation is concerned, I draw on two studies of learners of English I have been involved in: teaching tonicity and tone to Vietnamese learners, and evaluating the ability to use form and function in Arabic and Chinese learners.




NEW!  We are also very lucky to have a Teacher Training Session!!

Putting Prosody first – working on body, voice and speech for learners of English


A teacher training session – Dan Frost, Université Grenoble Alpes

 The biggest problem I’ve noticed for most of my learners in the twenty years I’ve been teaching in France is understanding spontaneous English speech. This is why I have spent so much energy teaching and researching pronunciation and training teachers in what to focus on and how to go about it. This is not because I want students to sound like native speakers, but to help them understand spontaneous spoken English better, because comprehension is an active process.

Although pronunciation in language teaching has been given more consideration recently (this conference, the creation of Journal of Second Language Pronunciation in 2015, etc.), it is often neglected, especially in teacher training (Henderson et al. 2016). Pronunciation is given little prominence by the CEFRL (although the new version looks promising…), and many teachers prioritise fluency rather than accuracy. Prosody (stress, rhythm and intonation) is the first thing we learn and the last thing we lose in our mother tongue. When it comes to intelligibility and comprehension, research shows that prosody is essential (Hahn, 2000; Munro & Derwing, 2011; Piske, 2012) and my research on the perception of stress by French and English speakers shows some important differences (Frost 2011). I therefore believe that prosody should also be at the heart of L2 learning and teaching.

To do this effectively, I believe that teachers and learners should work on the body, the voice and speech in context. To do this, we need a set of activities and tools for teaching and a tool to help measure prosodic features which can help students and teachers learn and assess the essential features to ensure comprehensible speech and effective comprehension.

In this training session, I will firstly outline the problems for French learners of English then share a set of descriptors based on prosody which have been designed and calibrated for French speakers. After some practice using the descriptors to assess students’ speaking, I will share a selection of teaching activities to work on these problems quickly and effectively.


 Frost, D. 2011. Stress and cues to relative prominence in English and French: A perceptual study. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41(01). Pp. 67-84.

 Hahn, L. 2000. Primary Stress and Intelligibility: Research to Motivate the teaching of Suprasegmentals. TESOL Quarterly, 38(2). Pp. 201-223.

  Henderson, A, D. Frost, E. Tergujeff, A. Kautzsch, D. Murphy, A. Kirkova-Naskova, E. Waniek-Klimczak, D. Levey, U. Cunningham & L. Curnick. 2016. “The English Pronunciation Teaching in Europe Survey: Factors inside and outside the Classroom”. Dans José Mompean & Jonas Fouz-Gonzales (eds.) Investigating English Pronunciation, pp. 260-291.

 Munro, M. et. Derwing, M. 2011. The foundations of accent and intelligibility in pronunciation research. Language Teaching 44(3). Pp. 316-327

 Piske, T. 2012. Factors Affecting the Perception and Production of L2 Prosody: Research Results and Their Implications for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Pragmatics, Prosody and English Language Teaching, édité par Jesús Romero-Trillo, Springer. Pp. 41-59.










  • Abstract submission deadline20th January, 2017 
  • Notification of acceptance/rejection: 13th Feburary 2017*
  • Registration opens: 1st November 2016
  • Registration deadline for authors: 1st April 2017
  • EPIP5 conference: 17th-19th May 2017
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