Introduction to
Freshman Aural-Oral Training  Fall 2001
Audio-Visual Building 201   Wednesday 8:10am-10:00am
Instructor: Karen Steffen Chung

       This required course meets two hours a week, and only earns you one credit. But it is one that is well worth investing time and effort in.

        The main goals of this course are (1) to teach you how to listen – this will be done mainly by completing cloze exercises, and answering listening comprehension questions on recorded passages; and (2) to fix your pronunciation.

        Listening and pronunciation are probably the two weakest links in English education in Taiwan. Rather than complain about what you didn't get in the past, we encourage you to focus on the here and now – there's still time to fix things. But you must be committed. The things you learn in this class are not assignments to be completed to earn a grade and then forgotten. They will require behavior modification on your part. Anybody knows how hard a habit is to break, and poor pronunciation habits present an especially stubborn case. You will need to tire yourself out for a few weeks or months relearning the way you speak English. It will be well worth it – you'll sound absolutely wonderful every time you speak English for the rest of your life! You can sound like a native – but you have to really want it, bad!

        One very important reason to fix your pronunciation is to show respect for other people. When you speak with a heavy foreign accent, other people have to strain to understand you, and that makes them very tired. When you speak clearly and correctly, you make life easier and happier for everybody you come into contact with.

Course Materials and Activities:

        Text: Gilbert, Judy. 1993. Clear Speech: Pronunciation and Listening Comprehension in North American English. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 132pp. Paper. Available from Tung Hua Bookstore 東華書局; purchase as a group after the first day of class.

       Handouts will be mainly be posted on this site and will not be distributed in class.
        Click here for the Poetry and Prose for Memorization and Reading Aloud handout for Fall 2001.
        Find more poems online yourself.
        Click here for the About Poetry: English Prosody Plus Selected Literary Terms
ehandout. (Refer to this for definitions of terms like iambic, doggerel, and synaesthesia)

         Each student is required to submit a blank 90-minute cassette to copy listening exercises onto. Label the tape and tape case insert with your English and Chinese name, student number, and course title before handing it in.

       Occasional quizzes will be given, usually dictations or ones requiring you to distinguish between correct and incorrect pronunciations.

       Pronunciation journal: You are required to keep a running record of specific sounds and other areas you need to work on in your pronunciation in a small notebook, based on feedback you receive in class. You are expected to have your journal open and ready throughout each class, without being reminded.

       First hour: Each class will begin with individual poem recitation to correct pronunciation. Then a new poem will be presented for recitation the next week. Next, the listening comprehension exercise from the previous week will be marked in class, and a new exercise assigned and handout distributed. If there is time, we will do work in Clear Speech.

       Second hour: We will continue work in Clear Speech, and sometimes do oral presentations, not necessarily in this order. Oral presentations may include such activities as summarizing a short story orally to the class, or performing a dialogue from a TV show.

       Grades for the course will be based on: attendance, class performance and participation, listening assignments, quizzes, progress made, attitude, and a final exam.

       Listening assignment for week of October 3-10: Note five points from either of the following on the Net:
National Public Radio Interview with Deborah Tannen, at; or
Internet TV reading by Deboarah Tannen from her new book, I Only Say This Because I Love You
Deborah Tannen's homepage is at

       Listening assignment for week of October 17-24: Work on wheels with Thomas Holtackers.

       Listening assignment for week of October 24-31: Whoopi Goldberg: Audiobook (on side A of tape after poems and three popular songs)

       Listening assignment for week of October 31-November 7: Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl (on side A of tape after Whoopi Goldberg passage)

       Some resources on Stephen Hawking (relating to the quote assigned for reading aloud November 7-14): Professor Hawking's Web site: and an interesting article from the BBC on the man who may become Stephen Hawking's voice: Listen to Stephen Hawking speak with his voice synthesizer:

       Listening assignment for week of November 7-14: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (on side A of tape, after Anne Frank passage)

       Classic Notes biography of Robert Louis Stevenson:
       The complete poems of Robert Louis Stevenson
are available at:

       Listening assignment for week of November 14-21: Popular song "Insensitive" by Jann Arden (song after "Dust in the Wind").

       Listening assignment for week of November 21-28: Ask Dr. Laura (1) (after 'Difficult Conversations', side A).

       Books and writers: William Butler Yeats:
       The collected poems of William Butler Yeats:

        Listening assignment for week of November 28-December 5: Ask Dr. Laura (2) (to the end of side A).

        Books and writers: Walter de la Mare:

        Listening assignment for week of December 5-December 12: When Harry Met Sally: Cloze exercise (1)

        Listening assignment for week of December 12-December 19: When Harry Met Sally: Cloze exercise (2)

        The Life and Times of Henry D. Thoreau:

        Listening assignment for week of December 19-26:
Behind the Music: Julian Lennon

        Poetry Exhibits: e. e. cummings

        Listening assignment for week of December 26-January 2: W*O*L*D

         Christmas carol lyrics

        Prepare biographical information on George Meredith. You can start with George Meredith (1828-1909) -- A Brief Biography:


Winter break oral assignment: Choose a passage of spoken English to listen to, then imitate, to read aloud in class at the beginning of next semester. Go to Extras to link to speech data banks; or record something from the BBC; or find an audio file on the Internet; or copy an audio or video cassette from the Audio-Visual Library.
Listening assignment for winter break: BBC Interview with Ray Charles


Spring 2002 Poetry for memorization and prose for reading aloud handout
Now available! (It will be distributed in class 2/20)