Answering a felt need

Urban D’souza

let-us-hear-them-speak The book Let Us Hear Them Speak is a good attempt in dealing with the techniques of teaching how to listen and speak in English. The techniques stated along with practical examples are especially useful to non-native speakers of the language.

The introduction by the author gives a vivid glimpse of the objectives and purposes of the book as an attempt to collate research findings pertaining to the English spoken by the people of various regions of India.

The first chapter talks about the study of spoken English dealing with phonetics, phonemes, sounds, syllables, and stress. It also highlights the various regional variants of India with concrete examples.

The second chapter briefly explains the teaching of spoken English with theories related to speaking.

The study of listening skills has been highlighted in chapter three and the fourth throws light on teaching of listening skills. Chapter five is full of interesting sample tasks for the reader to perform and learn. The last chapter invites the reader to test his/her listening and speaking skills.

This book is the result of a real felt need especially for teachers to understand and deal with various difficulties and challenges in teaching of listening and speaking skills in English in a non-English environment such as India. The book provides learners with task-oriented activities which ensure that the learners are ‘exposed to a wide variety of listening text genres to text types’.

This book is a handy tool for teachers of English as it balances theory (though at times it does become a bit boring) and practice. The accompanying CD includes examples and opportunities for practicing listening and speaking English. The book is relevant as it gives a clear message for teaching of spoken English in India today with the focus shifting from “what is convenient for teachers to teach?” to “what is effective for learners to learn?”

The reviewer has been an educationalist for over 21 years. He has written short stories and articles, and translated English novels into Konkani and Kannada. He can be reached at urban_5152@yahoo.com.