Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do I need a background in phonetics?

You definitely do not need any background in phonetics. However if you do have a background in phonetics, Rethink Speech will still be interesting and useful to you. Rethink Speech presents information that is well known within phonetic science, but is usually reserved for advanced levels of study – and it does so in a novel way that highlights implications not always fully developed even at advanced levels. Check out Rethink phonetics for more on this. Got questions? Just ask.

Will Rethink Speech help me with my phonetics exams?

Rethink Speech does not teach you phonetics (at least not at first). It teaches you about speech, using findings from phonetic science (more on the distinction in Why Rethink Speech). If you are working towards exams for a specific phonetics course, it is best to stick with what your teacher gives you till you are through your exams. But by all means come back to Rethink Speech later on.

I’m a teacher: can I use the Rethink Speech demonstrations for my own classes?

Rethink Speech is fully copyrighted, but you are very welcome to give your students links to it. Ideally ask them to explore the whole site, since the modules are designed to form a coherent whole. But if you want to link direct to a particular demonstrations and give them your own interpretation, then that is fine too. Just be aware that each member module is only free for ten days (open modules are – well, open!).

If you want to use Rethink Speech extensively, it might be a good idea to get in touch and discuss exactly what you want to do – perhaps we can work something out together.

Is Rethink Speech hard?

Rethink Speech is not at all technical, but learning the truth about speech is conceptually challenging. You’ll find that to be true even if, perhaps especially if, you already know quite a lot about speech.

At Rethink Speech, we believe you are up to a little conceptual challenge. And it is worth it. After all, finding out what’s not true is an important step in finding out what is true.

You’ll love Rethink Speech if you have an enquiring mind, and if you find it more interesting to be wrong (and spend some good thinking to figure out why)  than to be complacently right.

What? You want technicalities?!

Don’t worry. We can do technicality for you. We just need you to complete RTS101: Unlearning first – and that is purely conceptual.

Is Rethink Speech useful?

Rethink Speech will be interesting and useful for anyone who works with speech in any way (and let’s face it, that’s most of us, right?). As the name promises, it will change forever the way you think about speech, and about what is involved in speaking and listening. Check the INTRO for more.

Is this like a course? Do I need to do it all in sequence?

There is possibly some advantage in following the modules from left to right and top to bottom. However they are well cross-referenced so if one module sings to you, feel free to heed its call and do it out of order.

What about within the modules? Do I have to do the topics in order?

Well you don’t have to do the topics in order! There’s nothing to force you. However, remember Rethink Speech involves unlearning ideas you have accepted as facts since childhood.

You can’t unlearn effectively by dipping in and out of information at random!

The demos may seem fun and informal but they are carefully designed as a sequence to help you build a structured foundation of understanding.

So within each module, it is highly recommended that you follow the demonstrations in the order they are presented. Having said that, you are not actually restricted, so if you really feel a need to look ahead, please do.

Where’s the bibliography? If this is science shouldn’t there be plenty of references to published authorities?

Everything in Rethink Speech is based on substantial scientific research reported in the academic literature going back a century or more. The reason we are a website and not a textbook is that we want to help you learn (or actually un-learn!) via guided experience, not just by reference to authority. If you want a bibliography, join one of our advanced courses – or contact us for more information.

What if I don’t have time to finish all the topics in a module?

Again, the member modules are quite painstakingly designed to take you on a learning journey. If you just do the first topics, you miss out on the destination – and might actually end up with some misinterpretations of what the module is all about.

So we’d like you to move on steadily to reach the end of each module (at your own pace of course).

To make it easy for you, we’ve set Rethink Speech up so when you sign up for a member module, you can get a demo in your inbox every morning – that lets you cover a lot of ground in a few weeks, with just an easy 15 minutes a day. (Of course you can opt out if you want to.)

But it is really best to start the member modules at a time you can devote 15 minute a day over ten days to focusing on the demonstrations and their implications.

What if I need help to really understand the topics?

Rethink Speech will soon be setting up paid membership with access to forums, webinars and other ways of discussing the Rethink Speech material in the depth it deserves. In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to drop us a line for individual attention.

Got more questions about how the site works?

Check the other topics in this INFO section, and if you don’t find what you need, feel welcome to CONTACT RETHINK SPEECH (from INFO on the top menu).