Image from Pixabay

Don’t bother about feeling ‘hopeless’

Some of our demonstrations set you some tasks you might expect to be easy but are actually extremely difficult.

The reason for that is NOT to get you all frustrated and make you feel you are ‘hopeless at phonetics’!

The reason is to help you reflect on the interesting contradiction between the common expectation that the task will be easy and the reality that it is difficult – and think about what false beliefs that contradiction reveals.

The good news is that some Rethink Speech demonstrations show that things we might expect to be very difficult are actually quite easy – check out Experiencing Speech for some examples.

The even better news is that adjusting our expectations about what is easy or difficult is part of the process of unlearning that helps us develop a better way of thinking about speech.

If you have studied phonetics before

Some of the demonstrations might start off looking like ‘normal’ introductory phonetics. However, in all cases, we move quickly to questions that are often not addressed in normal phonetics courses until advanced levels (check out Rethink Phonetics for more on this). By all means skim over parts that really are familiar, but do have a look before assuming you have ‘been there, done that’.



Please remember this material is not teaching you phonetics! It aims to demonstrate a lot of things that are not true about speech, and help you unlearn widely accepted false beliefs. It is only in later modules that we go on to suggest better ways of thinking about speech, and to provide additional material specifically for language teaching or forensic applications.

Please exercise extreme caution before applying the insights you gain from this module in practical contexts. If you have questions about their relevance for practical tasks you are engaged in, please get in touch.

Phew what a build-up!

We’ve tried to cover some common experiences that sometimes arise with Rethink Speech – but the main message is: Give it a go and please so keep in touch about whatever issues you may have.

Need some inspiration now? Check out the modules overview.