Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 73

Search results for: pronunciation

73 Stop Consonants in Chinese and Slovak: Contrastive Analysis by Using Praat

Authors: Maria Istvanova

Abstract:

The acquisition of the correct pronunciation in Chinese is closely linked to the initial phase of the study. Based on the contrastive analysis, we determine the differences in the pronunciation of stop consonants in Chinese and Slovak taking into consideration the place and manner of articulation to gain a better understanding of the students' main difficulties in the process of acquiring correct pronunciation of Chinese stop consonants. We employ the software Praat for the analysis of the recorded samples with an emphasis on the pronunciation of the students with a varying command of Chinese. The comparison of the VOT length for the individual consonants in the students' pronunciation and the pronunciation of the native speaker exposes the differences between the correct pronunciation and the deviant pronunciation of the students.

Keywords: Chinese, contrastive analysis, Praat, pronunciation, Slovak.

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72 Anxiety and Self-Perceived L2 Proficiency: A Comparison of Which Can Better Predict L2 Pronunciation Performance

Authors: Jiexuan Lin, Huiyi Chen

Abstract:

The development of L2 pronunciation competence remains understudied in the literature and it is not clear what may influence learners’ development of L2 pronunciation. The present study was an attempt to find out which of the two common factors in L2 acquisition, i.e., foreign language anxiety or self-perceived L2 proficiency, can better predict Chinese EFL learners’ pronunciation performance. 78 first-year English majors, who had received a three-month pronunciation training course, were asked to 1) fill out a questionnaire on foreign language classroom anxiety, 2) self-report their L2 proficiency in general, in speaking and in pronunciation, and 3) complete an oral and a written test on their L2 pronunciation (the score of the oral part indicates participants’ pronunciation proficiency in oral production, and the score of the written part indexes participants’ ability in applying pronunciation knowledge in comprehension.) Results showed that the pronunciation scores were negatively correlated with the anxiety scores, and were positively correlated with the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency. But only the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test, not the oral scores, were positively correlated with the L2 self-perceived general proficiency. Neither the oral nor the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test had a significant correlation with the self-perceived speaking proficiency. Given the fairly strong correlations, the anxiety scores and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in regression models to predict L2 pronunciation performance. The anxiety factor alone accounted for 13.9% of the variance and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency alone explained 12.1% of the variance. But when both anxiety scores and self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in a stepwise regression model, only the anxiety scores had a significant and unique contribution to the L2 pronunciation performance (4.8%). Taken together, the results suggested that the learners’ anxiety level could better predict their L2 pronunciation performance, compared with the self-perceived proficiency levels. The obtained data have the following pedagogical implications. 1) Given the fairly strong correlation between anxiety and L2 pronunciation performance, the instructors who are interested in predicting learners’ L2 pronunciation proficiency may measure their anxiety level, instead of their proficiency, as the predicting variable. 2) The correlation of oral scores (in the pronunciation test) with pronunciation proficiency, rather than with speaking proficiency, indicates that a) learners after receiving some amounts of training are to some extent able to evaluate their own pronunciation ability, implying the feasibility of incorporating self-evaluation and peer comments in course instruction; b) the ‘proficiency’ measure used to predict pronunciation performance should be used with caution. The proficiency of specific skills seemingly highly related to pronunciation (i.e., speaking in this case) may not be taken for granted as an effective predictor for pronunciation performance. 3) The correlation between the written scores with general L2 proficiency is interesting.

Keywords: anxiety, Chinese EFL learners, L2 pronunciation, self-perceived L2 proficiency

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71 Investigating the Pronunciation of '-S' and '-Ed' Suffixes in Yemeni English

Authors: Saif Bareq, Vivek Mirgane

Abstract:

The present paper seeks to explicate the pronunciation of the ‘-s’ and ‘-ed’ suffixes when applied in their relative places in word endings. It attempts to investigate the problems faced by Yemenis in the pronunciation of these suffixes in all occurrences and realizations. It discusses the realization of ‘s’ in the four areas of plural, 3rd person singular and genitive markers, and contraction of ‘has’ and ‘is’ as in he’s, it’s ..,etc. and shows how they are differently represented by three different sounds /s/, /z/ and /z/ based on the phonological structure of the words in which they occur. Similarly, it explains the realization of the ‘-ed’ suffix of the past and past participle marker and how it is realized differently by three sounds governed by the phonological structure of these words. Besides, it tries to shed some light on the English morphophonemic and phonological rules that govern the pronunciation of such troublesome endings. It is hypothesized that the absence of such phenomenon in the mother tongue pronunciation of these suffixes.

Keywords: Suffixes' Pronunciation, Phonological Structure, Phonological Rules, Morpho-Phonemics, Yemeni English

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70 EFL Learners' Attitudes towards the Proper Pronunciation of English and towards Podcasts as a Facilitator for Proper Pronunciation

Authors: Riam Almaqrn, Abdulrahman Alshabeb

Abstract:

The study aims to examine the attitudes of Saudi students of English towards proper pronunciation and towards podcasts as a facilitator for proper pronunciation. In order to fulfill the purpose of the study, twenty-three students participated in this study. The study used a questionnaire as the main data collection instrument. The questionnaire included two parts, one or proper pronunciation and the other for podcasts. Data analysis showed that the participants, in spite of the low rate of improvement in their pronunciation, had positive attitudes towards proper pronunciation of English. This outcome is compatible with previous studies` results that assert the fact that having a positive attitude towards a particular language and its speakers can improve pronunciation. As for podcasts, students received a total of five podcasts related to their listening and speaking textbook. At the end of the project, students showed high rate of acceptance for podcasts and positive attitudes towards them. The findings proved the usefulness of examining learners` attitudes towards new CALL applications before using them in a practical way. In the light of the findings, pedagogical implications and suggestions were presented for language instructors and academics.

Keywords: CALL, MALL, podcast, learning English

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69 Adaption Model for Building Agile Pronunciation Dictionaries Using Phonemic Distance Measurements

Authors: Akella Amarendra Babu, Rama Devi Yellasiri, Natukula Sainath

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Where human beings can easily learn and adopt pronunciation variations, machines need training before put into use. Also humans keep minimum vocabulary and their pronunciation variations are stored in front-end of their memory for ready reference, while machines keep the entire pronunciation dictionary for ready reference. Supervised methods are used for preparation of pronunciation dictionaries which take large amounts of manual effort, cost, time and are not suitable for real time use. This paper presents an unsupervised adaptation model for building agile and dynamic pronunciation dictionaries online. These methods mimic human approach in learning the new pronunciations in real time. A new algorithm for measuring sound distances called Dynamic Phone Warping is presented and tested. Performance of the system is measured using an adaptation model and the precision metrics is found to be better than 86 percent.

Keywords: pronunciation variations, dynamic programming, machine learning, natural language processing

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68 Phonetics Problems and Solutions for 5th Grade Students of Turkish Language as a Foreign Language in Demirel College in 2015-2016 Academic Year

Authors: Huseyin Demir

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Foreign language learners are able to make mistakes in their pronunciation and writing when they encounter with alphabetical indications that are not available in their own language. The fifth-grade students who learn Turkish language at Demirel College in Georgia constitute the concrete example. ‘F’, ‘y’, ‘ö’, ‘ü’ letters in the Turkish alphabet are the most common mistakes they make. After a careful comparative linguistic study, it was found out that the mistakes caused by the fact that these signs were not available in Georgian. These problems have been tried to be solved through comparative language teaching method by using the pronunciation possibilities in other languages, which are spoken or known by students. First of all, other languages known by students are identified, the similar pronunciation difficulties in Turkish are also found in those languages in order to minimize the pronunciation problem in Turkish, pronunciation possibilities are that are available in those language are utilized. In this context, visual animations are made for pronunciation of English words such as year (yr), earn (örn), fair (fêir) and made student familiar with pronunciation with these words through repetition. With this study, it is observed that student’s motivation has been increased and with these indications, student’s mistakes are minimized.

Keywords: pronunciation, Demirel college, motivations, Turkish as a foreign language

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67 The Effect of Using LDOCE on Iranian EFL Learners’ Pronunciation Accuracy

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Elahe Saedpanah

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Since pronunciation is among those factors that can have strong effects on EFL learners’ successful communication, instructional programs with accurate pronunciation purposes seem to be a necessity in any L2 teaching context. The widespread use of smart mobile phones brings with itself various educational applications, which can assist foreign language learners in learning and speaking another language other than their L1. In line with this supportive innovation, the present study investigated the role of LDOCE (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English), a mobile application, on improving Iranian EFL learners’ pronunciation accuracy. To this aim, 40 EFL learners studying English at the intermediate level participated in the current study. This was an experimental research with two groups of 20 students in an experimental and a control group. The data were collected through the administration of a pronunciation pretest before the instruction and a post-test after the treatment. In addition, the assessment was based on the pupils’ recorded voices while reading the selected words. The results of the independent samples t-test indicated that using LDOCE significantly affected Iranian EFL learners' pronunciation accuracy with those in the experimental group outperforming their control group counterparts.

Keywords: LDOCE, EFL learners, pronunciation accuracy, CALL, MALL

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66 Difficulties in Teaching and Learning English Pronunciation in Sindh Province, Pakistan

Authors: Majno Ajbani

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Difficulties in teaching and learning English pronunciation in Sindh province, Pakistan Abstract Sindhi language is widely spoken in Sindh province, and it is one of the difficult languages of the world. Sindhi language has fifty-two alphabets which have caused a serious issue in learning and teaching of English pronunciation for teachers and students of Colleges and Universities. This study focuses on teachers’ and students’ need for extensive training in the pronunciation that articulates the real pronunciation of actual words. The study is set to contribute in the sociolinguistic studies of English learning communities in this region. Data from 200 English teachers and students was collected by already tested structured questionnaire. The data was analysed using SPSS 20 software. The data analysis clearly demonstrates the higher range of inappropriate pronunciations towards English learning and teaching. The anthropogenic responses indicate 87 percentages teachers and students had an improper pronunciation. This indicates the substantial negative effects on academic and sociolinguistic aspects. It is suggested an improper speaking of English, based on rapid changes in geopolitical and sociocultural surroundings.

Keywords: alphabets, pronunciation, sociolinguistic, anthropogenic, imprudent, malapropos

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65 Problems of Learning English Vowels Pronunciation in Nigeria

Authors: Wasila Lawan Gadanya

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This paper examines the problems of learning English vowel pronunciation. The objective is to identify some of the factors that affect the learning of English vowel sounds and their proper realization in words. The theoretical framework adopted is based on both error analysis and contrastive analysis. The data collection instruments used in the study are questionnaire and word list for the respondents (students) and observation of some of their lecturers. All the data collected were analyzed using simple percentage. The findings show that it is not a single factor that affects the learning of English vowel pronunciation rather many factors concurrently do so. Among the factors examined, it has been found that lack of correlation between English orthography and its pronunciation, not mother-tongue (which most people consider as a factor affecting learning of the pronunciation of a second language), has the greatest influence on students’ learning and realization of English vowel sounds since the respondents in this study are from different ethnic groups of Nigeria and thus speak different languages but having the same or almost the same problem when pronouncing the English vowel sounds.

Keywords: English vowels, learning, Nigeria, pronunciation

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64 Still Pictures for Learning Foreign Language Sounds

Authors: Kaoru Tomita

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This study explores how visual information helps us to learn foreign language pronunciation. Visual assistance and its effect for learning foreign language have been discussed widely. For example, simplified illustrations in textbooks are used for telling learners which part of the articulation organs are used for pronouncing sounds. Vowels are put into a chart that depicts a vowel space. Consonants are put into a table that contains two axes of place and manner of articulation. When comparing a still picture and a moving picture for visualizing learners’ pronunciation, it becomes clear that the former works better than the latter. The visualization of vowels was applied to class activities in which native and non-native speakers’ English was compared and the learners’ feedback was collected: the positions of six vowels did not scatter as much as they were expected to do. Specifically, two vowels were not discriminated and were arranged very close in the vowel space. It was surprising for the author to find that learners liked analyzing their own pronunciation by linking formant ones and twos on a sheet of paper with a pencil. Even a simple method works well if it leads learners to think about their pronunciation analytically.

Keywords: feedback, pronunciation, visualization, vowel

Procedia PDF Downloads 182
63 Thai Prosody Problems with First-Year Students

Authors: Jiraporn Adchariyaprasit

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Thai language is difficult in all four language skills, especially reading. The first year students may have different abilities in reading, so a teacher is required to find out a student’s reading level so that the teacher can help and support them till they can develop and resolve each problem themselves. This research is aimed to study the prosody problem among Thai students and will be focused on first year Thai students in the second semester. A total of 58 students were involved in this study. Four obstacles were found: 1) Interpretation from what they read and write; 2) Incorrectness Pronunciation of Prosody; 3) Incorrectness in Rhythm of the Poem; Incorrectness of the Thai Poem Pronunciation.

Keywords: pronunciation, prosody, interpretation, Thai language

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62 Feedback Preference and Practice of English Majors’ in Pronunciation Instruction

Authors: Claerchille Jhulia Robin

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This paper discusses the perspective of ESL learners towards pronunciation instruction. It sought to determine how these learners view the type of feedback their speech teacher gives and its impact on their own classroom practice of providing feedback. This study utilized a quantitative-qualitative approach to the problem. The respondents were Education students majoring in English. A survey questionnaire and interview guide were used for data gathering. The data from the survey was tabulated using frequency count and the data from the interview were then transcribed and analyzed. Results showed that ESL learners favor immediate corrective feedback and they do not find any issue in being corrected in front of their peers. They also practice the same corrective technique in their own classroom.

Keywords: ESL, feedback, learner perspective, pronunciation instruction

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61 Error Analysis of Pronunciation of French by Sinhala Speaking Learners

Authors: Chandeera Gunawardena

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The present research analyzes the pronunciation errors encountered by thirty Sinhala speaking learners of French on the assumption that the pronunciation errors were systematic and they reflect the interference of the native language of the learners. The thirty participants were selected using random sampling method. By the time of the study, the subjects were studying French as a foreign language for their Bachelor of Arts Degree at University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. The participants were from a homogenous linguistics background. All participants speak the same native language (Sinhala) thus they had completed their secondary education in Sinhala medium and during which they had also learnt French as a foreign language. A battery operated audio tape recorder and a 120-minute blank cassettes were used for recording. A list comprised of 60 words representing all French phonemes was used to diagnose pronunciation difficulties. Before the recording process commenced, the subjects were requested to familiarize themselves with the words through reading them several times. The recording was conducted individually in a quiet classroom and each recording approximately took fifteen minutes. Each subject was required to read at a normal speed. After the completion of recording, the recordings were replayed to identify common errors which were immediately transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Results show that Sinhala speaking learners face problems with French nasal vowels and French initial consonants clusters. The learners also exhibit errors which occur because of their second language (English) interference.

Keywords: error analysis, pronunciation difficulties, pronunciation errors, Sinhala speaking learners of French

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60 British English vs. American English: A Comparative Study

Authors: Halima Benazzouz

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It is often believed that British English and American English are the foremost varieties of the English Language serving as reference norms for other varieties;that is the reason why they have obviously been compared and contrasted.Meanwhile,the terms “British English” and “American English” are used differently by different people to refer to: 1) Two national varieties each subsuming regional and other sub-varieties standard and non-standard. 2) Two national standard varieties in which each one is only part of the range of English within its own state, but the most prestigious part. 3) Two international varieties, that is each is more than a national variety of the English Language. 4) Two international standard varieties that may or may not each subsume other standard varieties.Furthermore,each variety serves as a reference norm for users of the language elsewhere. Moreover, without a clear identification, as primarily belonging to one variety or the other, British English(Br.Eng) and American English (Am.Eng) are understood as national or international varieties. British English and American English are both “variants” and “varieties” of the English Language, more similar than different.In brief, the following may justify general categories of difference between Standard American English (S.Am.E) and Standard British English (S.Br.e) each having their own sociolectic value: A difference in pronunciation exists between the two foremost varieties, although it is the same spelling, by contrast, a divergence in spelling may be recognized, eventhough the same pronunciation. In such case, the same term is different but there is a similarity in spelling and pronunciation. Otherwise, grammar, syntax, and punctuation are distinctively used to distinguish the two varieties of the English Language. Beyond these differences, spelling is noted as one of the chief sources of variation.

Keywords: Greek, Latin, French pronunciation expert, varieties of English language

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59 Comparative Study of Affricate Initial Consonants in Chinese and Slovak

Authors: Maria Istvanova

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The purpose of the comparative study of the affricate consonants in Chinese and Slovak is to increase the awareness of the main distinguishing features between these two languages taking into consideration this particular group of consonants. This study determines the main difficulties of the Slovak learners in the process of acquiring correct pronunciation of affricate initial consonants in Chinese based on the understanding of the distinguishing features of Chinese and Slovak affricates in combination with the experimental measuring of VOT values. The software tool Praat is used for the analysis of the recorded language samples. The language samples contain recordings of a Chinese native speaker and Slovak students of Chinese with different language proficiency levels. Based on the results of the analysis in Praat, the study identifies erroneous pronunciation and provide clarification of its cause.

Keywords: Chinese, comparative study, initial consonants, pronunciation, Slovak

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58 Francophone University Students' Attitudes Towards English Accents in Cameroon

Authors: Eric Agrie Ambele

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The norms and models for learning pronunciation in relation to the teaching and learning of English pronunciation are key issues nowadays in English Language Teaching in ESL contexts. This paper discusses these issues based on a study on the attitudes of some Francophone university students in Cameroon towards three English accents spoken in Cameroon: Cameroon Francophone English (CamFE), Cameroon English (CamE), and Hyperlectal Cameroon English (near standard British English). With the desire to know more about the treatment that these English accents receive among these students, an aspect that had hitherto received little attention in the literature, a language attitude questionnaire, and the matched-guise technique was used to investigate this phenomenon. Two methods of data analysis were employed: (1) the percentage count procedure, and (2) the semantic differential scale. The findings reveal that the participants’ attitudes towards the selected accents vary in degree. Though Hyperlectal CamE emerged first, CamE second and CamFE third, no accent, on average, received a negative evaluation. It can be deduced from this findings that, first, CamE is gaining more and more recognition and can stand as an autonomous accent; second, that the participants all rated Hyperlectal CamE higher than CamE implies that they would be less motivated in a context where CamE is the learning model. By implication, in the teaching of English pronunciation to francophone learners learning English in Cameroon, Hyperlectal Cameroon English should be the model.

Keywords: teaching pronunciation, English accents, Francophone learners, attitudes

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57 Features of Normative and Pathological Realizations of Sibilant Sounds for Computer-Aided Pronunciation Evaluation in Children

Authors: Zuzanna Miodonska, Michal Krecichwost, Pawel Badura

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Sigmatism (lisping) is a speech disorder in which sibilant consonants are mispronounced. The diagnosis of this phenomenon is usually based on the auditory assessment. However, the progress in speech analysis techniques creates a possibility of developing computer-aided sigmatism diagnosis tools. The aim of the study is to statistically verify whether specific acoustic features of sibilant sounds may be related to pronunciation correctness. Such knowledge can be of great importance while implementing classifiers and designing novel tools for automatic sibilants pronunciation evaluation. The study covers analysis of various speech signal measures, including features proposed in the literature for the description of normative sibilants realization. Amplitudes and frequencies of three fricative formants (FF) are extracted based on local spectral maxima of the friction noise. Skewness, kurtosis, four normalized spectral moments (SM) and 13 mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC) with their 1st and 2nd derivatives (13 Delta and 13 Delta-Delta MFCC) are included in the analysis as well. The resulting feature vector contains 51 measures. The experiments are performed on the speech corpus containing words with selected sibilant sounds (/ʃ, ʒ/) pronounced by 60 preschool children with proper pronunciation or with natural pathologies. In total, 224 /ʃ/ segments and 191 /ʒ/ segments are employed in the study. The Mann-Whitney U test is employed for the analysis of stigmatism and normative pronunciation. Statistically, significant differences are obtained in most of the proposed features in children divided into these two groups at p < 0.05. All spectral moments and fricative formants appear to be distinctive between pathology and proper pronunciation. These metrics describe the friction noise characteristic for sibilants, which makes them particularly promising for the use in sibilants evaluation tools. Correspondences found between phoneme feature values and an expert evaluation of the pronunciation correctness encourage to involve speech analysis tools in diagnosis and therapy of sigmatism. Proposed feature extraction methods could be used in a computer-assisted stigmatism diagnosis or therapy systems.

Keywords: computer-aided pronunciation evaluation, sigmatism diagnosis, speech signal analysis, statistical verification

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56 Understanding Relationships between Listening to Music and Pronunciation Learning: An Investigation Based upon Japanese EFL Learners' Self-Evaluation

Authors: Hirokatsu Kawashima

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In an attempt to elucidate relationships between listening to music and pronunciation learning, a classroom-based investigation was conducted with Japanese EFL learners (n=45). The subjects were instructed to listen to English songs they liked on YouTube, especially paying attention to phonologically similar vowel and consonant minimal pair words (e.g., live and leave). This kind of activity, which included taking notes, was regularly carried out in the classroom, and the same kind of task was given to the subjects as homework in order to reinforce the in-class activity. The duration of these activities was eight weeks, after which the program was evaluated on a 9-point scale (1: the lowest and 9: the highest) by learners’ self-evaluation. The main questions for this evaluation included 1) how good the learners had been at pronouncing vowel and consonant minimal pair words originally, 2) how often they had listened to songs good for pronouncing vowel and consonant minimal pair words, 3) how frequently they had moved their mouths to vowel and consonant minimal pair words of English songs, and 4) how much they thought the program would support and enhance their pronunciation learning of phonologically similar vowel and consonant minimal pair words. It has been found, for example, A) that the evaluation of this program is by no means low (Mean: 6.51 and SD: 1.23), suggesting that listening to music may support and enhance pronunciation learning, and B) that listening to consonant minimal pair words in English songs and moving the mouth to them are more related to the program’s evaluation (r =.69, p=.00 and r =.55, p=.00, respectively) than listening to vowel minimal pair words in English songs and moving the mouth to them (r =.45, p=.00 and r =.39, p=.01, respectively).

Keywords: minimal pair, music, pronunciation, song

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55 Comparative Study of Urdu and Hindko Language

Authors: Tahseen Bibi

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Language is a source of communicating the ideas, emotions and feelings to others. Languages are different from one another on the basis of symbols and articulation. Regional languages play a role of unification in any country. National language of any country gives strength to its masses as it evaporates the mutual indifferences. There are various regional languages in Pakistan like Sindhi, Pushto, Hindko and Balochi. Hindko language dates back to the ancient times and the Hindko speakers can also easily understand and speak Urdu language. Urdu language is an amalgam of various languages. These languages are interconnected. Thus we can draw an analogy between the two languages under discussion on the basis of the pronunciation. The research will show that there are so many words in both the languages which have the similar pronunciation. It will further tell that the roots of Urdu language lie in Hindko. The reason behind this resemblance is that Urdu has got extracted from Hindko and other languages. Hindko language has played a prominent role in the development of Urdu language. Thus the role of Hindko language in the emergence and development of Urdu cannot be denied. This article will use the qualitative and comparative study as methodology. The research will highlight that there is close resemblance in both the languages on the basis of pronunciation, signifying that Urdu language has been extracted from Hindkon language.

Keywords: Hindko, Urdu, regional languages, vocabulary

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54 A Genre-Based Approach to the Teaching of Pronunciation

Authors: Marden Silva, Danielle Guerra

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Some studies have indicated that pronunciation teaching hasn’t been paid enough attention by teachers regarding EFL contexts. In particular, segmental and suprasegmental features through genre-based approach may be an opportunity on how to integrate pronunciation into a more meaningful learning practice. Therefore, the aim of this project was to carry out a survey on some aspects related to English pronunciation that Brazilian students consider more difficult to learn, thus enabling the discussion of strategies that can facilitate the development of oral skills in English classes by integrating the teaching of phonetic-phonological aspects into the genre-based approach. Notions of intelligibility, fluency and accuracy were proposed by some authors as an ideal didactic sequence. According to their proposals, basic learners should be exposed to activities focused on the notion of intelligibility as well as intermediate students to the notion of fluency, and finally more advanced ones to accuracy practices. In order to test this hypothesis, data collection was conducted during three high school English classes at Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (CEFET-MG), in Brazil, through questionnaires and didactic activities, which were recorded and transcribed for further analysis. The genre debate was chosen to facilitate the oral expression of the participants in a freer way, making them answering questions and giving their opinion about a previously selected topic. The findings indicated that basic students demonstrated more difficulty with aspects of English pronunciation than the others. Many of the intelligibility aspects analyzed had to be listened more than once for a better understanding. For intermediate students, the speeches recorded were considerably easier to understand, but nevertheless they found it more difficult to pronounce the words fluently, often interrupting their speech to think about what they were going to say and how they would talk. Lastly, more advanced learners seemed to express their ideas more fluently, but still subtle errors related to accuracy were perceptible in speech, thereby confirming the proposed hypothesis. It was also seen that using genre-based approach to promote oral communication in English classes might be a relevant method, considering the socio-communicative function inherent in the suggested approach.

Keywords: EFL, genre-based approach, oral skills, pronunciation

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53 Production of Oral Vowels by Chinese Learners of Portuguese: Problems and Didactic Implications

Authors: Adelina Castelo

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The increasing number of learners of Portuguese as Foreign Language in China justifies the need to define the phonetic profile of these learners and to design didactic materials that are adjusted to their specific problems in pronunciation. Different aspects of this topic have been studied, but the production of oral vowels still needs to be investigated. This study aims: (i) to identify the problems the Chinese learners of Portuguese experience in the pronunciation of oral vowels; (ii) to discuss the didactic implications drawn from those problems. The participants were eight native speakers of Mandarin Chinese that had been learning Portuguese in College for almost a year. They named pictured objects and their oral productions were recorded and phonetically transcribed. The selection of the objects to name took into account some linguistic variables (e.g. stress pattern, syllable structure, presence of the Portuguese oral vowels in different word positions according to stress location). The results are analysed in two ways: the impact of linguistic variables on the success rate in the vowels' production; the replacement strategies used in the non-target productions. Both analyses show that the Chinese learners of Portuguese (i) have significantly more difficulties with the mid vowels as well as the high central vowel and (ii) do not master the vowel height feature. These findings contribute to define the phonetic profile of these learners in terms of oral vowel production. Besides, they have important didactic implications for the pronunciation teaching to these specific learners. Those implications are discussed and exemplified.

Keywords: Chinese learners, learners’ phonetic profile, linguistic variables, Portuguese as foreign language, production data, pronunciation teaching, oral vowels

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52 English Learning Speech Assistant Speak Application in Artificial Intelligence

Authors: Albatool Al Abdulwahid, Bayan Shakally, Mariam Mohamed, Wed Almokri

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Artificial intelligence has infiltrated every part of our life and every field we can think of. With technical developments, artificial intelligence applications are becoming more prevalent. We chose ELSA speak because it is a magnificent example of Artificial intelligent applications, ELSA speak is a smartphone application that is free to download on both IOS and Android smartphones. ELSA speak utilizes artificial intelligence to help non-native English speakers pronounce words and phrases similar to a native speaker, as well as enhance their English skills. It employs speech-recognition technology that aids the application to excel the pronunciation of its users. This remarkable feature distinguishes ELSA from other voice recognition algorithms and increase the efficiency of the application. This study focused on evaluating ELSA speak application, by testing the degree of effectiveness based on survey questions. The results of the questionnaire were variable. The generality of the participants strongly agreed that ELSA has helped them enhance their pronunciation skills. However, a few participants were unconfident about the application’s ability to assist them in their learning journey.

Keywords: ELSA speak application, artificial intelligence, speech-recognition technology, language learning, english pronunciation

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51 Concordance of Maghrebian Place Names in Hungarian School Atlases

Authors: Malak Alasli

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Hungarians come to use geographic names that are foreign to their environment and language in diverse settings, hence the aim of trying to adapt them to their own linguistic context. The Maghreb region (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) uses both Arabic and French in presenting the place names. Consequently, the lexicographical treatment of the toponym will, therefore, consist of both the presentation of the toponymic term and the pronunciation of the entries. The motivation behind this approach is the need for a better identification of the place in question by avoiding ambiguities, and for more respect to the heritage by conforming to the right use of toponyms both in written as well as in oral practice. The goal is to provide Hungarians with a set of data by attempting a system of transliteration from French/Arabic to Hungarian, where the place names of the Maghreb are transliterated for more efficient usage. To examine the importance of toponyms’ pronunciation, the latter were collected from several 20th and 21st Hungarian school atlases. Most people meet, for the first time, foreign place names in school, hence the choice of solely extracting place names from school atlases as sample data. Interviews targeted university students, where they were asked to pronounce the place names collected. Results revealed the intricacy behind the pronunciation. Two main conclusions emerged; Hungarian students encountered challenges reading the toponyms, and Arabic speakers could not identify the names either, which causes a cut in communication. Ergo, the importance of elaborating on the pronunciation of toponyms. Concordance is where you find variants of a name. Therefore, a chart was put forward including all the name variants obtained from various references with their Arabic transcription indicating any changes that may have occurred, and the origin of the denomination (Roman, Berber, etc.). A case will also be added for comments and observations. This work embraces a dual purpose. It will provide information to Hungarians on the official names of foreign places in case of occurring changes; for instance, 'El-goléa, Algeria' (used in a latest edition of a school atlas) has now the official name of 'El Ménia'. It will also serve as a reference for knowing the correct and precise forms of place names’ pronunciation.

Keywords: concordance, onomastics, settlement names, school atlases

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50 Acoustic Characteristics of Ḫijaiyaḫ Letters Pronunciation by Indonesian Native Speaker

Authors: Romi Hardiyansyah, Raden Sugeng Joko Sarwono, Agus Samsi

Abstract:

Indonesian people have a mother language but not Arabic. Meanwhile, they must be able to pronounce the Arabic because Islam is the biggest religion in Indonesia. Arabic is composed by ḫijaiyaḫ letters which has its own pronunciation. Sound production process in humans can be divided into three physiological processes, namely: the formation of airflow from the lungs, the change in airflow from the lungs into the sound, and articulation (the modulation/sound setting into a specific sound). Ḫijaiyaḫ letters has its own articulation, some of which seem strange for most people in Indonesia. Those letters come out from the middle and upper throat so that the letters has its own acoustic characteristics. Acoustic characteristics of voice can be observed by source-filter approach that has parameters: pitch, formant, and formant bandwidth. Pitch is the basic tone in every human being. Formant is the resonance frequency of the human voice. Formant bandwidth is the time-width of a formant. After recording the sound from 21 subjects, data is processed by software Praat version 5.3.39. The analysis showed that each pronunciation, syakal (vowel changer), and the place of discharge letters has the same timbre which are determined by third and fourth formant.

Keywords: ḫijaiyaḫ, articulation, pitch, formant, formant bandwidth, timbre

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49 The Second Column of Origen’s Hexapla and the Transcription of BGDKPT Consonants: A Confrontation with Transliterated Hebrew Names in Greek Documents

Authors: Isabella Maurizio

Abstract:

This research analyses the pronunciation of Hebrew consonants 'bgdkpt' in II- III C. E. in Palestine, through the confrontation of two kinds of data: the fragments of transliteration of Old Testament in the Greek alphabet, from the second column of Origen’s synopsis, called Hexapla, and Hebrew names transliterated in Greek documents, especially epigraphs. Origen is a very important author, not only for his bgdkpt theological and exegetic works: the Hexapla, synoptic six columns for a critical edition of Septuaginta, has a relevant role in attempting to reconstruct the pronunciation of Hebrew language before Masoretic punctuation. For this reason, at the beginning, it is important to analyze the column in order to study phonetic and linguistic phenomena. Among the most problematic data, there is the evidence from bgdkpt consonants, always represented as Greek aspirated graphemes. This transcription raised the question if their pronunciation was the only spirant, and consequently, the double one, that is, the stop/spirant contrast, was introduced by Masoretes. However, the phonetic and linguistic examination of the column alone is not enough to establish a real pronunciation of language: this paper is significant because a confrontation between the second column’s transliteration and Hebrew names found in Greek documents epigraphic ones mainly, is achieved. Palestine in II - III was a bilingual country: Greek and Aramaic language lived together, the first one like the official language, the second one as the principal mean of communication between people. For this reason, Hebrew names are often found in Greek documents of the same geographical area: a deep examination of bgdkpt’s transliteration can help to understand better which the real pronunciation of these consonants was, or at least it allows to evidence a phonetic tendency. As a consequence, the research considers the contemporary documents to Origen and the previous ones: the first ones testify a specific stadium of pronunciation, the second ones reflect phonemes’ evolution. Alexandrian documents are also examined: Origen was from there, and the influence of Greek language, spoken in his native country, must be considered. The epigraphs have another implication: they are totally free from morphological criteria, probably used by Origen in his column, because of their popular origin. Thus, a confrontation between the hexaplaric transliteration and Hebrew names is absolutely required, in Hexapla’s studies: first of all, it can be the second clue of a pronunciation already noted in the column; then because, for documents’ specific nature, it has more probabilities to be real, reflecting a daily use of language. The examination of data shows a general tendency to employ the aspirated graphemes for bgdkpt consonants’ transliteration. This probably means that they were closer to Greek aspirated consonants rather than to the plosive ones. The exceptions are linked to a particular status of the name, i.e. its history and origin. In this way, this paper gives its contribution to onomastic studies, too: indeed, the research may contribute to verify the diffusion and the treatment of Jewish names in Hellenized world and in the koinè language.

Keywords: bgdkpt consonants, Greek epigraphs, Jewish names, origen's Hexapla

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48 Experimental Research and Analyses of Yoruba Native Speakers’ Chinese Phonetic Errors

Authors: Obasa Joshua Ifeoluwa

Abstract:

Phonetics is the foundation and most important part of language learning. This article, through an acoustic experiment as well as using Praat software, uses Yoruba students’ Chinese consonants, vowels, and tones pronunciation to carry out a visual comparison with that of native Chinese speakers. This article is aimed at Yoruba native speakers learning Chinese phonetics; therefore, Yoruba students are selected. The students surveyed are required to be at an elementary level and have learned Chinese for less than six months. The students selected are all undergraduates majoring in Chinese Studies at the University of Lagos. These students have already learned Chinese Pinyin and are all familiar with the pinyin used in the provided questionnaire. The Chinese students selected are those that have passed the level two Mandarin proficiency examination, which serves as an assurance that their pronunciation is standard. It is discovered in this work that in terms of Mandarin’s consonants pronunciation, Yoruba students cannot distinguish between the voiced and voiceless as well as the aspirated and non-aspirated phonetics features. For instance, while pronouncing [ph] it is clearly shown in the spectrogram that the Voice Onset Time (VOT) of a Chinese speaker is higher than that of a Yoruba native speaker, which means that the Yoruba speaker is pronouncing the unaspirated counterpart [p]. Another difficulty is to pronounce some affricates like [tʂ]、[tʂʰ]、[ʂ]、[ʐ]、 [tɕ]、[tɕʰ]、[ɕ]. This is because these sounds are not in the phonetic system of the Yoruba language. In terms of vowels, some students find it difficult to pronounce some allophonic high vowels such as [ɿ] and [ʅ], therefore pronouncing them as their phoneme [i]; another pronunciation error is pronouncing [y] as [u], also as shown in the spectrogram, a student pronounced [y] as [iu]. In terms of tone, it is most difficult for students to differentiate between the second (rising) and third (falling and rising) tones because these tones’ emphasis is on the rising pitch. This work concludes that the major error made by Yoruba students while pronouncing Chinese sounds is caused by the interference of their first language (LI) and sometimes by their lingua franca.

Keywords: Chinese, Yoruba, error analysis, experimental phonetics, consonant, vowel, tone

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47 Factors Affecting English Language Acquisition and Learning for Primary Schools in Nigeria

Authors: Chibuzor Dalmeida

Abstract:

This paper shall discuss the factors affecting English Language Acquisition and Learning for Primary School in Nigeria. Learning English language is a difficult task mostly those at the primary school level. Pupils find it more difficult on vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure, idioms, pronunciation etc. Researchers have discovered the reasons behind these discrepancies and have formulated theories that could be of utmost assistance to English language teachers and students. This paper further looked at the following factors that include Learner Characteristics and Personal Traits, Situational and Environmental Factors, Prior Language Development and Competence and Age and Brain Development. It further recommended that pupils must learn new vocabulary, rules for grammar and sentence structure, idioms, pronunciation. Pupils whose families and communities set high standards for language acquisition learn more quickly than those who do not. Exposure to high-quality programs also essential. Pupils do best when they are allowed to speak their native language.

Keywords: acquisition, affecting, factors, learning

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46 Error Analysis of the Pronunciation of English Consonants and Arabic Consonants by Egyptian Learners

Authors: Marwa A. Nasser

Abstract:

This is an empirical study that provides an investigation of the most significant errors of Egyptian learners in producing English consonants and Arabic consonants, and advice on how these can be remedied. The study adopts a descriptive approach and the analysis is based on audio recordings of two groups of people. The first group includes six volunteers of Egyptian learners belonging to the English Department at Faculty of Women who learn English as a foreign language. The other group includes six Egyptian learners who are studying Tajweed (how to recite Quran correctly). The audio recordings were examined, and sounds were analyzed in an attempt to highlight the most common error done by the learners while reading English or reading (or reciting) Quran. Results show that the two groups of learners have problems with certain phonemic contrasts. Both groups share common errors although both languages are different and not related (e.g. pre-aspiration of fortis stops, incorrect articulation of consonants and velarization of certain sounds).

Keywords: consonant articulations, Egyptian learners of English, Egyptian learners of Quran, empirical study, error analysis, pronunciation problems

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45 A Study of Native Speaker Teachers’ Competency and Achievement of Thai Students

Authors: Pimpisa Rattanadilok Na Phuket

Abstract:

This research study aims to examine: 1) teaching competency of the native English-speaking teacher (NEST) 2) the English language learning achievement of Thai students, and 3) students’ perceptions toward their NEST. The population considered in this research was a group of 39 undergraduate students of the academic year 2013. The tools consisted of a questionnaire employed to measure the level of competency of NEST, pre-test and post-test used to examine the students’ achievement on English pronunciation, and an interview used to discover how participants perceived their NEST. The data was statistically analysed as percentage, mean, standard deviation and One-sample-t-test. In addition, the data collected by interviews was qualitatively analyzed. The research study found that the level of teaching competency of native speaker teachers of English was mostly low, the English pronunciation achievement of students had increased significantly at the level of 0.5, and the students’ perception toward NEST is combined. The students perceived their NEST as an English expertise, but they felt that NEST had not recognized students' linguistic difficulty and cultural differences.

Keywords: competency, native English-speaking teacher (NET), English teaching, learning achievement

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44 Chinese Vocabulary Acquisition and Mobile Assisted Language Learning

Authors: Yuqing Sun

Abstract:

Chinese has been regarded as one of the most difficult languages in learning due to its complex spelling structure, difficult pronunciation, as well as its varying forms. Since vocabulary acquisition is the basic process to acquire a language, to express yourself, to compose a sentence, and to conduct a communication, so learning the vocabulary is of great importance. However, the vocabulary contains pronunciation, spelling, recognition and application which may seem as a huge work. This may pose a question for the language teachers (language teachers in China who teach Chinese to the foreign students): How to teach them in an effective way? Traditionally, teachers have no choice but teach it all by themselves, then with the development of technology, they can use computer as a tool to help them (Computer Assisted Language Learning or CALL). Now, they move into the Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) method to guide their teaching, upon which the appraisal is convincing. It diversifies the learning material and the way of output, which can activate learners’ curiosity and accelerate their understanding. This paper will focus on actual case studies occurring in the universities in China of teaching the foreign students to learn Chinese, and the analysis of the utilization of WeChat channel as an example of MALL model to explore the active role of MALL to enhance the effectiveness of Chinese vocabulary acquisition.

Keywords: Chinese, vocabulary acquisition, MALL, case

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