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Book of the Month - December 2016

Phonology for Listening – Teaching the stream of speech

Richard Cauldwell, Speech in Action;


Learners have problems decoding fast, spontaneous speech. The author of this ground-breaking book uses a framework called the ‘window on speech’ to analyse what happens to words when they are subjected to the speed and stresses of natural speech.

For example, non-prominent words are squeezed and re-shaped in what is described as the ‘stream of speech’. This fascinating account is well-researched, detailed and quite demanding. One section of the book covers accents and identity. Another section presents practical teaching ideas, including how to use digital audio editors like Audacity. An extensive twelve-page glossary explains terms like ‘soundscape’ and ‘acoustic blur’, a continuous stream which is difficult to transcribe in phonetic symbols. This essential, 330-page book will really have an impact on teaching listening in the classroom. Recommended.