Back-chaining is a useful technique in teaching oral language skills, specially with polysyllabic words. Suppose that you're teaching someone to pronounce the name ‘Mussorgsky’. First, you ask him to say the last syllable: "-sky;" then to repeat it with "-sorg-" attached before: "-sorg-sky;" and all that remains is the first syllable: "Mus-sorg-sky."

This technique is easier than the front-chaining, starting with the first syllable, which requires that the student put the new element first where it's more difficult to forget. Back-chaining keeps the phonological structure of English better than front-chaining (normally there is no difference in stress between a word spoken in isolation and one spoken at the end of a sentence) [Compare "psychological" in isolation, "it's psychological" and "psychological profile", where only in the last does the main stress shift to another syllable.] and it's arguably better to start with the final syllable (main stress in bold):

"Chaining sequences for the English word 'aroma':":(1) "Front-chaining:" [ə] - [ə.ɹəʊ] - [ə.ɹəʊ.mə] :(2) "Back-chaining:" [mə] - [ɹəʊ.mə] - [ə.ɹəʊ.mə]

Syllables tend to follow a stressed-unstressed pattern in English, example: "happy" (though there are many exceptions). The order "-ma," "-roma" and "aroma" respects this. Starting with "a-" and "aro-" entails reversing this pattern, which complicates learning. Teachers could choose to present a chain as pairs of syllables too, beginning with "-roma," then "aroma:" this introduces the strong-weak stress pattern from the outset.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • New York City Subway chaining — Chaining numbers can be seen on the pillars in the middle of West Fourth Street – Washington Square. New York City Subway chaining is a method to precisely specify locations along the New York City Subway lines. It measures distances from a fixed …   Wikipedia

  • Language education — Language Teaching redirects here. For the journal, see Language Teaching (journal). Linguistics …   Wikipedia

  • Direct method (education) — The direct method of teaching foreign languages, sometimes called the natural method, refrains from using the learners native language and uses only the target language. It was established in Germany and France around 1900. Characteristic… …   Wikipedia

  • Pronunciation — refers to: * the way a word or a language is usually spoken * the manner in which someone utters a wordA word can be spoken in different ways by various individuals or groups, depending on many factors, such as: #the area in which they grew up… …   Wikipedia

  • Communicative language teaching — Main article: Methods of teaching foreign languages Communicative language teaching (CLT) is an approach to the teaching of second and foreign languages that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of learning a language.… …   Wikipedia

  • Community language learning — (CLL) is an approach in which students work together to develop what aspects of a language they would like to learn. The teacher acts as a counsellor and a paraphraser, while the learner acts as a collaborator, although sometimes this role can be …   Wikipedia

  • Michel Thomas Method — The Michel Thomas Method is an original method developed by Michel Thomas for teaching languages. Thomas stated that his students would be conversationally proficient after a few days study.[1] Thomas has been hired by notable people such as… …   Wikipedia

  • Dogme language teaching — is considered to be both a methodology and a movement.[1] Dogme is a communicative approach to language teaching that encourages teaching without published textbooks and focuses instead on conversational communication among learners and teacher.… …   Wikipedia

  • Language teaching methods — Main article: Language education Language education may take place as a general school subject or in a specialized language school. There are many methods of teaching languages. Some have fallen into relative obscurity and others are widely used; …   Wikipedia

  • Mother tongue mirroring — is a technique for teaching languages. It is the adaptation of the time honoured practice of literal translation, or word for word translation for pedagogical purposes. The aim is to make foreign constructions salient and transparent to learners… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.