Whanganui's own "grammar vigilante" is offering a new course through Community Education Whanganui.

Margi Keys' latest course is called Fun With Phonology. Students will look at the sounds of the English language - consonants, diphthongs, and long and short vowels.

Ms Keys said every language has its own set of phonemes (sounds) and each phoneme is represented by a symbol. She said phonology was fascinating for anyone interested in spoken language.

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She was introduced to phonology which studying sociolinguists at Victoria University.

"We had to learn the chart of phonemic symbols and do transcription exercises. These symbols are like another language."

Since becoming an ESOL teacher in 2002, Margi has become more aware of the importance of phonology in her work.

"Theory underpins the practice of teaching."

These days Margi enjoys teaching volunteer tutors at English Language Partners about phonemes, particularly the unstressed vowel called the schwa.

"The schwa is my favourite phoneme - and it's the most common vowel sound in English.

"It's a dear little phoneme, yet most Kiwis have never heard of it."

Fun with Phonology starts on Wednesday, October 11, at 6.30pm. To book, contact Community Education Whanganui on 06 345 4717.