Examining Pronunciation

In the ‘stories’ section of this website, you can listen to a man talking about many of the different cinemas, or picture houses, that existed in Glasgow in the first half of the 1900’s. Although he doesn’t say the word ‘film’ in that particular passage, he does at other times, as you might expect. When he says this word, it has two syllables and sounds something like ‘fill ‘em or fillum’. For very many people in Glasgow, this is the normal way of pronouncing this word. For other people in Glasgow, however, they pronounce the word ‘film’ as a single syllable.

The task is to find out how 10 (or more) different people pronounce this word (‘film’), make a note of their pronunciation on a ‘data coding sheet’ when they say the word and then prepare a short report to describe your study.

This activity is intended for older students: students who can read and write, and who can count and calculate percentages, and who can devise a short ‘questionnaire’ along with their teacher and classmates and then administer it in order to collect and note responses. It may be possible, however, to adapt it for younger students, with the purpose of simply getting them to notice differences in pronunciation of the type targeted here. The end of the downloadable document has some suggestions.

Click on the download button below to download the full activity sheet.

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Below are the example sound files for this activity.

For more information and suggestions for further reading go to the resources background section.