Nikola
Community Tutor
Teacher Lucy Makes an Announcement
Many of you have probably seen videos made by Lucy who has the English with Lucy channel on YouTube. She recently posted a video where she addresses concerns raised by people who have seen her videos and she apologises for the message that might have been present in those.


I would like to know your opinion on this issue.
Jun 7, 2020 7:24 PM
Comments · 45
I’ve always considered Lucy’s “don’t say X” videos to be of extremely limited value to English learners. But then again, any listening the learner enjoys is valuable. Anyhow, she takes a word with several different pronunciations used by native speakers, and then proceeds to tell us only one of them is correct. Well, besides the fact that more than one pronunciation may well be considered standard, most English learners are already learning the “correct” pronunciation, or if they’re not, then the reality is that the “incorrect” versions are actually a lot more commonly used (or how would students be learning them?). As far as “February”, the first R has traditionally been silent, as anyone who grew up speaking the standard language would know. (Reintroduction of the R sound is a spelling pronunciation by people who don’t seem to fully understand that English spelling is etymological, not phonetic.) But none of that is of interest to most ESL learners; they need to work on pronouncing the individual phonemes (for example, the R should not be guttural), using English stress patterns, rhythm and intonation, etc. Until that’s taken care of, it really makes no difference whatsoever whether they pronounce the first syllable of “either” to rhyme with “see” or to rhyme with “sigh”.

June 9, 2020
Teacher A says you should speak this way and not that way because it is “correct”.
Teacher B says that you should speak this way and not that way because it makes you sound “intelligent”.
Both statements are similar, equally offensive (mildly only), shallow, often false, potentially useful to know.
June 9, 2020
Sajjad:

You’re misinterpreting what people (including myself) are saying. No one has claimed that she was being “ethnocultural” or what have you. And if you had watched the video that you mention, you’d have known that it’s not a personal attack on anyone (which is made explicit in the video). The point is that discrimination happens, often with good intentions. The ELT industry is mired with this kind of culture of linguistic purism and discrimination. I have experienced this personally, and it’s in fact one of the reasons I stopped teaching English.

Lucy herself acknowledged that the professionals in the industry who called her out were not attacking her personally, and she acknowledged her mistakes. You don’t have to do harm intentionally for your words and actions to cause harm.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t just about being “politically correct”. It’s about what learners need to be exposed to. When you learn pronunciation, you don’t just learn how to speak but also what to listen out for. It’s fine to teach a specific accent, but if you limit learners’ exposure to one accent, and even go as far as to say that other accents are wrong, it’ll prevent learners from being able to understand other accents—so doing so does students a disservice. Anyone with good intentions needs to recognize when the effects of their actions do not match their intentions, and adjust their actions accordingly.
June 9, 2020

@ Phil: " <em>I’ve always considered Lucy’s “don’t say X” videos to be of extremely limited value to English learners.</em> " __ That's solely reflective of a culturally subjective view; at best scantily endorsed by her more than 4 million ardent followers and the learned English editors at DailyMail, who'd as an afterthought hitherto not be adjudged as being unintelligent and unprofessional for subscribing to her views, I guess.

___ " <em>Anyhow, she takes a word with several different pronunciations used by </em><em>native speakers</em><em>, and then proceeds to tell us only one of them is correct</em>. " ___ Be that as it may. Nonstandard by her British accent coaching standards. And what do you make of the Midwesterners looking down upon the Southern accents or the Southern drawl. Or the urban groomed yuppies identifying with a posh accent as being a metropolitan imperative, mocking the ' unlettered ' boonies' accent here in the US. The British sovereign, or the Queen's English don't enjoy a set monopoly in linguistic biases rooted in cultural subjectivity.

Touting plumb naive personal preferences as a British imperial transgression isn't vindicative of exhibitionist American drive for cultural dominance.

And would it be gauged aside as so out of touch with reality to suggest that a posh British accent is deemed ' first-rate ' across the US as well, even when it serves as a stark reminder of the sovereign's rule.

Isn't the British accent always vilified by Hollywood movies ? Is that not politically motivated? Haven't we always been rubbing it in their faces?


___ "<em> English spelling is etymological, not phonetic.</em> " ___ And that's the mantra Lucy keeps repeating to her pupils at the expense of repetition.


___ " <em>using English stress patterns, rhythm and intonation</em>. " Now.. Where would that place the African American Vernacular or the Caribbean English speakers?



Attitudes towards social U.S. English accents



June 9, 2020
Miriam:

This is a good video on the issue: <a href="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O4no4dbbJZw" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://youtube.com/watch?v=O4no4dbbJZw</a>;

Also check out the comment by “Pronunciation with Emma” under the video about her experience with discrimination due to her accent.
June 7, 2020
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Nikola
Language Skills
Czech, English, German, Italian, British Sign Language (BSL), Swedish
Learning Language
Italian