Online course in Languages & Cultures

English Pronunciation in a Global World

In this course you will improve your English pronunciation skills and learn about speaking English in today's globalised world.

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $54 Find out more

Develop your ability to understand and speak English.

A huge range of people need to be able to speak English in today’s globalised world. This means that you’ll need to understand, and be understandable to, other non-native speakers. But diversity in spoken English should also be appreciated.

In this course you’ll find out which pronunciation features are important for mutual understanding. In exercises and video’s, you will practise English sounds and stresses, and learn about other learners’ accents.

By the end of the course you will have improved your English pronunciation so you will feel confident in speaking English in different contexts.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsHello, everyone. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Hello, I'm Laura Rupp. Welcome to the course English Pronunciation in a Global World here at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. English has become the major language for international communication. It is estimated that the ratio between native and non-native speakers is currently 1 to 4, and that no less than 80% of communication happens between non-native speakers. This situation has led to much diversity in English. In fact, some would even go as far to suggest that it's no longer appropriate to speak of English in the singular but rather of English in the plural, so Englishes. Hi my name's Jasmin Palmer, I'm from Yorkshire in England. My name is Benjamin Ado Baafi.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsI was born in the Netherlands but raised in Ghana. I'm Yingying, I'm from China. Hi, my name's Alex Ventimilla. I was born in Mexico. But I grew up in Nevada in the United States. Hi, I'm Marieke de Rooij, and I come from the Netherlands. Hello my name is Brenda Marini, I'm from Pisa in Italy. Hi, I'm Amrita. I'm originally from India. My name is Vinod Subramaniam. I'm originally from India, but have spent about 11 years in the U.S., many years in Germany, a couple of years in England, and the last 14 years in the Netherlands. And these are only A FEW examples.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 secondsA world where English is used as a lingua franca calls for a set of new and complex pronunciation skills. We have to decide what accent we want or may need to speak with, suited for different occasions. It is important to understand each other's accents, but that doesn't mean we should all adopt the standard accent. We should embrace variation. And we need to speak English and at the same time stay true to our native identity and culture. In this course, we will help you develop pronunciation skills that are both useful in international communication and appropriate for you at a professional and personal level.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 secondsIn the first week of the course, we will discuss what is important in English pronunciation in a global world. And you will formulate tailor-made goals for your own English pronunciation. In the next three weeks, we will address particular features of English pronunciation. How does it work when we pronounce certain sounds? What is the difference between saying "Tyoos-day" and "Toos-day"? By doing exercises, you apply what you've learned to your own English accent according to the goals that you've set for yourself in the first week. We'll also explain how pronunciation features may vary between different English accents, which will enable you to understand the differences between your English accent and that of other speakers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsLast but not least, we'll reflect on the nature of different English accents. We'll introduce you to other students in the course so that together, we can celebrate diversity. I'm your host and I look forward to guiding you through the course. We very much hope that you will enjoy it!

What topics will you cover?

  • The concepts of intelligibility, credibility, and identity in English pronunciation
  • Personal goals for English pronunciation
  • English vowels
  • English consonants
  • Suprasegmental features in English (stress, intonation, etc.)
  • English accents
  • English pronunciation assessment

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe features of English pronunciation that are important for mutual understanding.
  • Explain the differences between your own English pronunciation and that of speakers with other mother tongues.
  • Apply what you have learned about English pronunciation to your English accent.
  • Reflect on the nature of different English accents.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone who needs to speak English, in their studies, for work or in their personal lives.

Who will you learn with?

Laura Rupp

Laura Rupp

I am a Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My research is in grammatical variation and change. I teach courses in Global English and English pronunciation.

Amrita Das

Amrita Das

I am a diversity facilitator and mentor. My research is in transnational poetry and cultural mobility. Currently, I am involved in a pedagogical workshop called: "The Mixed Classroom in Practice".

Who developed the course?

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s English department at Amsterdam offers first-class education and cutting-edge research in variation and change in the English language and English literature.

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Available until 31 October 2019. T&Cs apply.