UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


SCEP for Learners


Do you know English quite well but feel a bit lost on the flow of conversation? Is it often difficult to catch what native speakers say? Do you worry about not being understood when you speak? If this sounds familiar, you are certainly not alone. This happens even to advanced learners and professional users of English as a foreign language. This is probably because you may not have had much pronunciation training when studying English.

If so, then SCEP is for you. We will give you a good grounding in English Phonetics which helps you understand what is going on in English speech. This knowledge helps you follow natural conversation and catch those words you could not catch before. We also give you plenty of advice on how to work on your spoken English on your own, and how to improve your listening skills.

The course has a descriptive and a practical component. In the lectures you learn about the sounds of English, as well as English intonation, especially how the melody of speech helps us communicate, and how wrong intonational tunes may lead to misunderstanding, or even offend the person you are talking to.

There are plenty of opportunity to work on what you have learnt in small-group classes, practising the sounds you may find difficult, using mirror work and other techniques. If your goal is to speak English more authentically, your tutors will help you to correct your pronunciation. In the afternoons we have ear-training classes, which give you a chance to develop listening skills crucial for understanding natural speech.

If you are interested in learning more about English, you can come to the afternoon lectures, where you can hear about how English is spoken in various parts of the world, how you can record and analyse speech, and pronunciation problems for speakers of other languages such as Spanish and Japanese. At SCEP our reference point is the contemporary British accent known variously as Standard Southern British, General British or BBC English, but you have plenty of opportunities to learn about other accents of English.

SCEP is a very sociable course! You learn not only in the classroom, but also have many opportunities to talk to the course staff and other students during parties, afternoon walks and weekend trips.