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Topic 10A – Spelling English language codes. Sound-spelling relationship. Proposals for the teaching of writing code. Applications spelling in written productions.

1-INTRODUCTION

2-HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH CODE

3-METHODS TO TEACH THE ENGLISH ORTHOGRAPHIC CODES

4-ENGLISH VOWELS AND CONSONANTS SOUNDS AND THEIR SPELLING

5-ORTOGRAPHIC APPLICATIONS IN WRITTEN PRODUCTIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR THE TEACHING OF THE WRITTEN CODE

1-INTRODUCTION

One of the greatest characteristics of human being is his ability to communicate complicated messages concerning every aspect of his life. We all achieve this exchange of information mainly by means of either visual or auditory stimuli. In this theme we are concerned with the orthographic realization of language.

From an early age we learn to respond to sounds used by adults , then we imitate the familiar sound patterns , and in doing so we make use of speech .A constant exposure to the spoken language-together with a need to convey communication-leads to the acquisition of spoken language. But, what about written language? What kind of learning process do human beings follow to develop written skills?

2-HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH CODE

The Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, imported English from the continent when they invaded “Great Britain”, after the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.

The language of these three peoples was basically the same, and the know dialects of Old English developed after their setting in the isles.

The Norman Conquest in 1066 caused tremendous linguistic changes from that moment on we will talk about Middle English.

Characteristics of Middle English were:

Reductions of inflections.

Disappearance of the grammatical gender.

Rigidity in sentence word order.

Fight among dialects.

French orthography.

The influence of French and Latin terms modify the structure of the English Language.

About 1250, when the Normans lost Normandy and French language took and important paper, it began to be questioned whether English should be used as a representative national language.

Which dialled should become the standard language? Around 1350 the London dialect was about to become the “winner”.

The political predominance of London as a governing centre facilities the spreading of this dialect thought the country.

From 1400 onwards French is reduced to the aristocracy and as a vehicle of commercial transactions with the continent.

From 1650 to 1850 there is a change in the attitude of English people towards their own language.

3-METHODS TO TEACH THE ENGLISH ORTHOGRAPHIC CODES

-TEACHING THE ALPHABET

If students can use the alphabet in the foreign language , the study of sound –symbols correspondence and of spelling may , at least in part , be carried on in the foreign language.

Futhermore , if the teacher uses a deductive approach in teaching sound-symbol correspondences , the sounds of the alphabet may be used frequently as models.

The alphabet may be learnt chorally in recitation or by song. A common problem , is that students who know the letters in sequence often have difficulty thinking of the name of the letter when it is presented in isolation.

-THE SYMBOL-TO-SOUND APPOACH

The teacher presents sound-symbol correspondences in a step by step manner . The advantage of this presentation is that the students masters the sound-symbol correspondences in a sequential , accumulative manner. The presentation may be made more inductive if the teacher holds up cards and reads certain words aloud and then asks students what letter or letters are used to represent the sounds they hear.

-THE SOUND-TO-SYMBOL APPROACH

The students first practice and master sentences orally .Once they can say them readily , they are allowed to see how these sentences are written. Building on this global approach to reading , the teacher uses known words to present sound-to symbol correspondences.

This approach has the advantage that the students control certain words and sentences orally before learning to read them. But , since basic dialogues and sentences are rarely developed around considerations of sound-symbol presentation , the students may encounter dozens of sound-symbol patterns in learning to read a single line of a dialogue.

The following techniques help the teacher build on the students reading process by focusing on sound-symbol correspondences one by one:

Words with a given sound

The teacher asks the class for known words containing a given sound. He may write these words on the blackboard and then encourage students to find the symbols used to represent this sound.

i.e. List of words with the /dz/ sound:

juice, judge, enjoys, agent, rigid, age, edge, etc….

Board techniques

The teacher may used cards placed on both sides of the board which contain words with similar spelling in order to make students join them , or words with the same spelling but different pronunciation in order to make students recognize them.

These techniques are very useful since they use visual and oral devices together and son retention is higher.

Cards , posters and wallcharts

Cards , posters and wallcharts are good help to make students recognize sound-symbol relations. For example , using cards , the teacher may say words aloud and then write them on the cards and show them to the class.
Poster and wallcharts with the graphic representation of sounds may be hanged on the walls in order to help students remember the most difficult aspects of this relationship.

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION

Some teacher prefer to introduce the phonetic alphabet to help their students use foreign language dictionaries to look up the pronunciation of new words. We shall pay special attention to the phonetic alphabet and its relation with the written realizations of the phonemes below.

4-ENGLISH VOWELS AND CONSONANTS SOUNDS AND THEIR SPELLING

5-ORTOGRAPHIC APPLICATIONS IN WRITTEN PRODUCTIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR THE TEACHING OF THE WRITTEN CODE.

To follow with the topic we are going to analyse some proposals for the teaching of the written code. And also, orthographic applications in written productions.

We shall start this section by saying that the pupils to whom we are teaching the foreign language in the first year are likely to have problems when reading or writing their own mother tongue. Therefore, introducing them a new writing code may be confusing for them.

We must also consider that in real life they write very little, even in their mother tongue, that is why we propose that the students should start by copying words.

Which serves as a starting- point for making this activity enjoyable or boring and monotonous.

We can try to avoid it by giving them a card with drawing and card with words related to these drawings, they only have to combine the words with the drawings, by copying both in their notebook

We can also give them a strip of comics with the chosen words and the students will have to insert the words in the speaking bubbles of each comic. Matching pictures to speech bubbles.

Another activity is called word machines, consisting of obtaining one word by means of two or more transformations of a previously given word. ( pin from den).

We may also ask the students to group the words containing two or more equal letters in different order.

We may give them groups of four or five words in which one of them is not correctly written and they will have to find one and tell why it is incorrect.

Another rather successful game is called hangman, where we can eliminate as many elements as we think necessary according to the difficulty of the words for our student’s level. Similar to this game is the shark with stairs.

We can also use crosswords or word games focused on words about a particular topic. It is useful for warming up and relaxing activities.

Another game is ‘I spy with my little eye’ which has endless possibilities of exploitation. With good level, make sentences with mistakes and students have to correct them.

The well-known game ‘noughts and crosses’ may be adapted to our orthographic needs.

We find also very valuable the use of a dictionary. It is convenient to have a dictionary in the class. Tasks and games in groups or pairs are particularly useful, that is, when the teacher plays the role of a facilitator. Another encouraging task for the students is to make their own dictionary where they can include the vocabulary already studied in class.

In order to make the students aware of how difficult it is the relationship between sounds and letters we can also make colleges where to include drawings referred to a word which they know both the orthography and the pronunciation and then add a short clue referred to a different word which is pronounced the same and, however, is written differently.



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