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Pronunciation Problems A Case Study of English Language
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www ccsenet org ells English Language and Literature Studies Vol 4 No 4 2014. such sounds in their mother tongue language i e Sudanese Spoken Arabic The importance of this study comes. from the perspective that all the previous studies addressed the problem among speakers of European languages. such as German, Spanish Italian Portuguese etc and Asian languages e g Chinese and Thai There are also some studies on. pronunciation errors among speakers of Arabic So this study is discussing the same problem but for the speakers. of Sudanese Spoken Arabic as a form of Arabic in Sudan The study also aims at helping the Sudanese students of. English improve their pronunciation using the modern techniques and aids in learning language e g internet audio. aids such as CDs tapes and TV,2 Statement of the Problem. A close observation of students at SUST disclosed that students confuse the pronunciation of some set of words. e g most of the English words that have sounds which do not exist in Sudanese Spoken Arabic e g p in. experience in thank and in this It was also observed that students do not differentiate between some. vowel sounds which have more than one way of pronunciation e g the vowel in mat and mate. The researcher spent many days at SUST observing the pronunciation of English words by the students at SUST. and the result of this observation at the university is twofold first it was. noticed that the students have problems in the pronunciation of some English sounds for instance they confuse the. contrast sounds e g here are some words and how the students pronounce them next to each word service servais. document d cument women wumen obstacle bsteikl performance p f mans so in the first word. they used the long form instead of short form in the second word they used u instead of ju in the word women. they used u instead of i in the word performance they pronounced it with long vowel instead of short one. So we find that they confuse different pronunciations of each vowel as if there is only one pronunciation for. each sound according to their knowledge, Second is that they have some errors with some consonants that do not exist in Sudanese Spoken Arabic e g. p v so they replace them with s z b f, During the listening of the SSEs pronunciation of English words the researcher found that they pronounce some. words with mistakes e g they don t differentiate between s sound and sound so they usually use s instead of. if we ask them to pronounce words like bath math theatre to pronounce them they replace the dental with. the alveolar s so they pronounce them as bas mas seatre They also have some mistakes with other fricatives z. and they replace the dental with the alveolar z so words like the weather then are pronounce with z instead. of They pronounce them as za weazer zen, The third example is their replacement of bilabials b and p with each other So they usually use b instead of p.
and in very few cases p instead of b for instance words like pupil paper apple they pronounce them as bju bl. It is difficult for a second language learner to speak with native like pronunciation Therefore this research. attempts to identify the problematic areas of pronunciation and to identify the exact reasons behind them and to try. to find suitable techniques that help the students to speak English with better pronunciation. 3 Literature Review, Many linguists and researchers on SLA concluded that the English pronunciation problems among speakers of. other languages are the same but it is according to each language background Arabic language is among them so. here we are going to see some of the factors that influence on learning second language L2 in general and English. pronunciation in particular and also try to identify the exact reasons behind such errors and finally try to find the. suitable techniques and strategies that help the students improve their English pronunciation. 3 1 Factors That Influence Learning English in General. Many studies in the field of SLA discussed the factors that hinder achieving native like pronunciation among. foreign languages learners in general and among Sudanese learners in particular O Connor 2003 Yule 2003. Researchers and linguists have pointed some linguistic factors such as the differences of the sound system between. the LI and the L2 the inconsistency of some sounds in English language the mother tongue interference and. the influence of spelling on pronunciation These factors are known as linguistic factors which are the main topic. of this research so all of them will be discussed separately in detail as follows. www ccsenet org ells English Language and Literature Studies Vol 4 No 4 2014. 3 1 1 Mother Tongue Interference, Several works have been conducted on the influence of L2 in learning English language Catford 1977 Moosa. 1972 and Swan Smith 2001 reported that p and b sounds are two different phonemes and each one is. distinguished by a native speaker In Arabic Language the situation is different because there is only the phoneme. b so this is the reason why most Arabic speakers mispronounce words with these sounds p and b of course the. Sudanese students of English face the same problem Students confuse between p and b e g words like park. bark pen ben pull bull supper subber if we ask the students to say these words they. pronounce b instead of p in each pair of the words above and sometimes p is used in the place of b but this. rarely happens The reason for shifting from p to b is the fact that the two sounds are regarded as they are two. allophones of one phoneme, Also in the far past Alkhuli 1983 noted that Arab students of English confuse p with b and that is linked to the. influence of the mother tongue so their tongues get stiff with their LI sounds and they commit such errors until the. mastery of L2 sounds Many other sounds are influenced by the mother tongue of foreign learners Gruttenden. 1994 showed that foreign learners of English language should be careful not to use t or s for and d or z for. z and s are used by SSE whose language background is Sudanese Spoken Arabic e g central and northern. Sudan and d is used for by non Arabic speaking Sudanese background e g students who descend from. southern Sudan, In the near past Brown 2000 found that a second language learner meets some difficulties because his LI affects. his L2 specially in adulthood and this effect is a result of LI transfer so it is a significant source of making errors. for second language learners Ladefoged 2001 Carter Nunan 2001 showed that mother tongue has clear. influence on learning L2 pronunciation Where LI and L2 rules are in conflict errors are expected to be committed. by foreign learners All that can be linked to what is known as the interference between LI and L2 So many. learners use p as b others use s for and z for and b for v. In addition to the past works O Connor 2003 Yule 2003 have studied pronunciation problems and the. influence of LI So many sounds such as p and b s and z and t and v and b are confused e g. pit bit thin sin question action very berry For the SSEs z and s are usually used in the place of. and which result from the interference of Sudanese spoken Arabic and exist in some forms of Arabic e g. Iraqi Saudi Arabian Kuwaiti etc however they do not exist in Sudanese dialect where they are replaced by s. The mispronunciation of the above sounds is the result of the over practice of the first language a process of. fossilization The adults vocal musculature is set to pronounce foreign sounds with an accent Yule O Connor. 2003 reported that the main problem of English pronunciation is to build a new set of sounds corresponding to the. sounds of English and to break down the arrangement of sounds which the habits and the systems of our LI have. strongly built up, And that means we use new ways of hearing and new ways of using our organs of speech So it is too difficult to.
change such habits whicha learner has obtained since his childhood or at least it needs very long years to be. changed and after also very long time and regular practice and all that is linked to a certain age of the learner So. the points mentioned above altogether share the concept that the learners confuse such sounds and replace each of. them with other sounds that are said to be the nearest ones to them O Connor 2003. 3 1 2 Sound System Differences between LI and L2, As it has been mentioned by many linguists and researchers there is a conflict between the sound systems of LI. and L2 Moosa 1972 noted that the Arab learners of English form habits of their mother tongue Arabic so they. strongly build the phonological features of Arabic this makes them encounter many difficulties in distinguishing. sound systems between a native language and the second language For the SSA we discuss the problem from two. perspectives the first one is that there is a difference between the sound system in Sudanese Spoken Arabic and the. sound system in other forms of Arabic language and the second one is that there is also a difference between the. sound system in Sudanese Spoken Arabic and the sounds system inEnglish language. Another study on the effect of sound system on learning pronunciation was done by Alkhuli 1983 who showed. that the main problem in teaching and learning English pronunciation result from the differences in the sound. system of English and the native language so a speaker of Sudanese Spoken Arabic is not accustomed to. pronounce for instance sound and sound because they do not found in his native language This means that. the organs of speech of the learner are not trained to produce such sound systems because they are unfamiliar to. him that is why he uses the nearest sounds such as s and z About the same area of the study Cruttenden 1994. www ccsenet org ells English Language and Literature Studies Vol 4 No 4 2014. noted that in the field of SLA learners with different linguistic backgrounds would of course face different. difficulties in order to produce English sounds because of the differences between the two languages e g English. and Arabic These differences between the sound systems are regarded as a barrier against competence in the. pronunciation of English because the new sounds still remain strange for their organs of speech specially if they. start learning English after the age of adulthood but this problem is expected to be solved after a long time of. regular practice and hard work, Most of the Sudanese Students of English face such problem because in Arabic the vowel system is very simple. and the learner can read an Arabic word easily without any confusion but in English he may pronounce i for e. for example sit set Also about sound system differences between LI and L2 In English the r is distinctly. pronounced only before a vowel e g the r after a vowel is not pronounced In Arabic however the r sound is. distinctly pronounced in all positions before or after a vowel So the Sudanese students of English pronounce r in. any position of an English word for instance in words like red room and river. In Arabic each letter represents only one sound so it s easy to read any word from a written text Also there is no. sound which is not pronounced silent as it happens a lot in English When there is a difference in the sound. system in the LI and L2 showed that errors are expected to be committed because the learners transfer their mother. tongue sound system into the target language Nunan 2001. The SSEs as speakers of Arabic tend to replace v by f or b because this sound does not exist in their native. language sound system So their speech organs are not trained to produce such sound They pronounce very as. berry or ferry and van as fan The learners difficulties hi a L2 could be predicted based on systematic differences of. the two languages and those learners from different first language backgrounds would experience different. difficulties when attempting to learn a L2 It was also reported that it is essential to understand which sounds in a. language are phonemes because they express the differences in meaning and the learner should be able to. pronounce them otherwise he commits errors, In English language there are twenty four consonants and twenty vowels that mean there are forty four phonemes. in English language the learner should be able to produce them while he is learning English Learners of different. language backgrounds will of course face some difficulties to pronounce them because of their language. background O Connor 2003, In Arabic language the whole number of the sounds is less than the one in English language so the total sounds of. Arabic language are twenty eight letters each of them represents only one sound So there are only twenty eight. sounds in Arabic language As we know a sound is made by definite movement of the organs of speech so to. produce any sound that means to perform the exact organs movement of the sound If the learner s language sound. system has not any of the forty four English sounds he will face a difficulty to produce it e g p v sounds. which do not exist in Sudanese Spoken Arabic sound system so Sudanese students pronounce them incorrectly. and the reason for that is the differences between the sound system in the LI and L2. 3 1 3 Inconsistency of English Vowels, One of the important problems faced by the students of English in general and the Sudanese students of English in.
particular is that each English vowel sound has more than just one pronunci. All around the world there are a lot of people with strong desire to learn and speak English with correct pronunciation In Sudan there is a large number of intere sted groups in the subject am ong them are the students of English language at Sudan University of Science and Technology However there are many barriers that hinder

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