An Oral English Course for Schools and Colleges


ISBN 978-489803-4


This book treats in a very simple way the elementary issues in the phonology of English. It presents the sounds of English with guides on how to articulate them in order to communicate meaningfully and with international acceptability. The non-segmental phenomena of English: stress, rhythm and intonation are also discussed with the intention of helping the
reader to become aware of them and allow them to influence and therefore improve his/her spoken English.

It is hoped that the material in this book will meet the needs of students preparing for the Senior School Certificate Examination in Oral English as well as serve as an invaluable guide to the English Language teacher. The exercises and model tests included are prepared with this aim in mind. College students and undergraduates will also find the book useful. The general reader who wants to improve on his spoken English will also find the book a great help.

I. M. U. and B. B. E.


A child born into a community acquires the language of that community effortlessly; he grows up and speaks his language the way other members of his community speak it. Also, we speak very many times each day to our parents, friends, elders, teachers, students and classmates. Instances which call for speech daily in our lives are truly numerous, it would be a waste of time to try to list all of them. The situations indicated above can be said to provide support for the concept of
the primacy of speech. According to this concept, every natural language is first spoken, and later written, if necessary. The concept of the primacy of speech is so fundamental that we generally tend to take it for granted just as we tend to take for granted the air we breathe. When a child is of school age, he almost always begins to learn a second or a foreign language (as the case may be). It is al that time that he starts to have problems; the sounds of the language he has already
acquired, the quality of the person who teaches him, the nature of the learning environment (among other factors)
tend to influence his learning of the language. Then we begin to worry about how the second or foreign language is spoken, This concern about how a language is spoken has given rise to the writing of numerous books on pronunciation of English which is, technically speaking, a second language in Nigeria. Speakers of English in Nigeria have the problems
of producing the sounds and using such other issues like intonation, accentuation and rhythm in a manner that satisfies national and, as far as possible, international acceptability and intelligibility. This book has provided study materials and exerciscs for students’ practice on all these areas and for these purposes. The first chapter provides instructions on one aspect of the sounds – the consonants. The second chapter focuses attention on the vowels of English while the third chapter places emphasis on the nature of syllables and syllable structure in English. The fourth chapter isolates stress
and rhythm and discusses various issues relating to it. The last chapter pays attention to intonation patterning in the language.

The authors adopt a down-to-earth approach in their discussion of issues in the chapters, beginning, in cach case, from a general to specific discussion. Worthy of special mention are the discussions on the organization of the sounds of English and the changes in sound patterns occasioned by specific inflectional suffixes. The treatment of issues of contrastive emphasis and of the attitudinal functions of intonation also deserve special commendation. Probably of greatest value is the fact that the authors have provided examples which are both relevant and original.

This book is useful for students at the senior secondary school level, polytechnics, carly years in the university and the general reader interested in achieving acceptable and intelligible .standards of English pronunciation.

It is a useful contribution to knowledge and so I strongly recommend its circulation.

Prof. David Eka
Department of English
University of Uyo, Uyo.



CHAPTER ONE: English Consonants
1.1 Classification
1.2 Detailed Articulatory Glassificarian
1.2.1 Stops
1.2.2 Fricatives
1.2.3 Affricates
1.2.4 Nasals
1.2.5 The Laterals
1.2.6 The Gliding Consonants
1.2.7 Contrasting Sounds

2.1 The Pure Vowels
2.2. The Diphthongs
2.3 Descriptive Criteria
2.4 Sounds and Letters in Enlish
2.5 Problem Arcas for Nigerians

3.1 Syllabic Consonants
3.2 Syllabic Structure
3.3 Consonant Clusters
3.4 Inflectional Endings
3.5 Useful Guides

4.1 Word Stress
4.2 Sentence Stress
4.3 Contrastive Stress
4.4 Stress and Rhythm

CHAPTER FIVE: Intonation
5.1 The Falling Tune
5.2 The Rising Tune
5.3 Mixed Tunes
5.4 Tags
5.5 Additional Remarks

Appendix I: Model Questions
Appendix I: Answers to Exercises os
Appendix II: Model Questions on Test of Orals
Further References


Professor (Mrs.) Inyang M. Udofot is a professor of English Phonetics, Semantics and the Phonology of English. As of when this book was written, She was the Head, Department of English, University of Uyo. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education (English) of the University of Benin, a Masters and Doctorate Degrees in | General Phonetics and the Phonology of English of the University of yo. She is a member and currently the national president of the Nigeria English Studies Association. She is also
a member of the Linguistics Association of Nigeira (LAN) and the West African Linguistics Society (WALS). She is the author
of English Semantics, An Introduction to the Morphology of English, Poetry of the Senior Secondary School. A Critical
Review of Seven West African Poems and co-author.of Aspects of Spoken Language. Professor Inyang Udofot has also
published many articles in learned journals and contributed chapters to four books she has many years of teaching experience at all levels of Educational Institutions.

Mrs. Bassey B. Essiett received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Nigeria, Nuskka, Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Jos and a Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of Uyo. She is an
educationist, author and speaker. Her other books include “Okuku River and other stories”; “Enwang and His Father and other stories”. Mrs. Eshiett, as of when this book was written, was the Director of Women Affairs in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Uyo.

Prof. (Mrs) Inyang Udofot

Prof. (Mrs) Inyang Udofot is a Professor of English Phonetics and Semantics in the Department of English, University of Uyo She is also the author of An Introduction to the Morphology of English, the Co-author of Aspects of Spoken Language, An Oral English Course jor Schools and Colleges and A Comprehensive English Course for Schools and Colleges. She has authored several articles in both national and international journals.
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