Last year when I taught Sound and Language (Intro to Phonetics) for undergraduates, I decided not to put very much emphasis on the “articulatory phonetics” part–in other words, I didn’t really spend much time having them pronounce “strange” sounds like clicks or uvular trills or ejectives. I know that production is integral to many phoneticians’ classes, but I have never really understood how to grade students on oral production quizzes or exams. It seems to me that being able to produce [||] is not as important as learning that it’s an alveolar lateral click and being able to explain the vocal tract configuration necessary to produce this sound. If they’re unable to accurately produce the click, do they get a failing grade?
Having said that, though, I’ve decided that I actually do think that it’s important for students to try to learn how to produce new sounds. (Not to mention that some students told me afterwards that they were disappointed that I hadn’t done more of that.) But I have two questions about this.
(1) Does anyone have any tips/tricks for teaching students how to produce non-English/Germanic/Romance sounds?
(2) What methods have you used to grade students on oral production skill (if you grade them at all)?
Please post your answer here, or feel free to email me at lisa[dot]davidson[at]nyu[dot]edu. If I get a lot of email responses, I can post a LinguistList-style summary later.