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TESOL | Pronunciation Workshop

Pronunciation Workshop 2015


Call 'Em As You 'Ear 'Em Participants

February 28, 2015
MGC, rooms 4-5
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


April 4, 2015
Butler Boardroom, Butler Pavilion
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Space still available for our April 4 workshop date!

Please note that you will receive a confirmation email from the AU TESOL Program Staff once you have been registered for the event. The TESOL Program Office will be closed from March 6 to March 13 for American University's springbreak, so no confirmation emails will be sent during that time.


Workshop Description

What's the first sound in unicorn ? In apple ? [Hint — they aren't vowels!] How many syllables are there in feel or file? Do you think that flour and flower sound alike? How about cot and caught? Writer and rider? Dr. Robin Barr, AU's Linguist-in-Residence, will show you how to detect invisible consonants and missing vowels, and help you become more aware of the way you actually speak, as opposed to what you think you're saying. Brush up on your phonetic transcription and features, and learn how to use phonetics as a tool for sharpening your ears and teaching your students more accurately.

Then hang on tight as Dr. Barr takes you on a journey beyond vowels and consonants — into syllables, rhythm, intonation, stress, linking, and even — the Brain! Learn the suprasegmental tricks with rubber bands, kazoos, and songs that you can use to help your students become more comprehensible, even if they still have trouble distinguishing ship and sheep, or rake and lake. The workshop features entertaining, low-cost activities that you can use right away in your next class.

A light breakfast and coffee will be served beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration also includes lunch, kazoo, rubber band, lollipop, and all the phonemes you can swallow!

Featured Workshop Leader

Dr. Robin Barr,  American University's Linguist in Residence

Dr. Barr holds a BA in linguistics from Yale University and an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from Harvard with concentrations in both Indo-European and psycholinguistics. Her research on morphology involves the relationship between language learning and language change, and she is always happy to hear of new irregular verbs or refinements for wug-tests. Dr. Barr has taught in the AU TESOL program since 1996. She is also an avid amateur oboist.

For more information, please contact us at 202-885-2582 or tesol@american.edu.


To register for April 4 Workshop, please send an email to tesol@american.edu with the following information:

First and Last Name
Email Address
Phone Number
Registration Option

For more information, please contact us:

Registration Rates

If you registered (required) and have not paid in advance, the regular rate applies. Please bring a check or exact change to the door.

Advance Rate (paid by check by Friday, March 20, 2015)
$30 (or $10 special student rate)

Regular Rate (cash/check at the door)
$40 (or $15 special student rate)

Cancellations received after March 30 are non-refundable.

Please make all checks payable to:

American University

Mail all checks to:
AU TESOL Program
Mary Graydon Center 300
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-8169


Workshop Flyer

Download the PowerPoint presentation.

Download a list of useful resources for teaching pronunciation.

Articulatory Features and
Phonetic Alphabet

Two helpful tools for phonetic transcription and pronunciation, courtesy of AU TESOL's Linguist in Residence, Dr. Robin Barr. The articulatory features page and the phonetic alphabet.

The Color Vowel Chart

Copyright 1999, 2005, 2009 K. Taylor & S. Thompson

This chart and resource site was developed by Karen Taylor and Shirley Thompson as a tool for teaching the vowel sounds of American English. For more information, view the chart and contact Karen Taylor.

Categorical Perception Links

Brain Speed Test -- chirps

Categorical Perception Test -- /ba/, /da/, /ga/