Book recommendation - Pronunciation

One of my favourite self-study books in the Self-Access Centre is Work on your Accent, by Helen Ashton and Sarah Shepherd. It comes with a DVD and consists of 52 units, which are organised into three main sections:

  • the individual sounds of English, which allows you to focus on the specific sounds that are difficult for you;
  • connected speech, which is absolutely essential if you want to improve your fluency and listening skill;
  • and various other aspects such as rhythm, intonation, word and sentence stress, all of which will help you sound more natural.

Most units open with detailed instructions on how to form the sound, along with a video that demonstrates things like tongue position, vocal vibration, airflow, etc. Another thing I like about the book is that it links pronunciation and spelling; each unit has a table with examples of how these sounds are spelt. For example, /eɪ/ can be found in name, play, great, wait, eight, and they. The practice mainly involves listening to and repeating the sounds in words and sentences, but the unit finishes with a useful section called ‘Am I doing something wrong?’. These tips are designed for all students who speak English as a second/foreign language, but some are aimed at specific learner groups, based on how their native language might affect their pronunciation. Other great features include 16 pages of practice exercises, mostly differentiating between similar sounds e.g. /f/ and /v/ and practising the various sounds of specific letters. So, pop in C10 and borrow the book to start working on your pronunciation outside the classroom.

Anastasios Asimakopoulos, English Language Tutor

You will find Work on your Accent in the Self Access Centre.

Book recommendation - Vocabulary

You will find Academic Vocabulary in Use in the Self Access Centre.

Academic Vocabulary in Use by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell is a self study book in the Cambridge University Press “In Use” series.  Many students may have come across the most famous, Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar  in Use. The book follows the same format. Twin explanation / exercise pages for each unit with suggested answers in a key  at the back.  It consists of 50 units, covering the following :
  1. Working with academic vocabulary (key words)
  2. Word combinations (collocations)
  3. At academic institutions
  4. Ways of talking about … (topics)
  5. Opinions and ideas
  6. Functions (describing, comparing and contrasting etc.)
  7. Reading and vocabulary passages
  8. Reference section
A new second edition in colour was published last year.  Highly recommended.
Tim Ball, Academic English Preparation Course Tutor

Self Access Centre