Sherwin P. Trazo, Ferdinand T. Abocejo


English, as a second language (L2) learning and teaching, is one of the booming global industries. The Philippines is recognised as a quality provider of English language learning where non-native English speakers student come to study. This paper investigated the front vowel sound recognition of beginner foreign learners based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Front vowel recognition was assessed in terms of its influence on foreign learners’ sound production and recognition. The study employed a survey research design to selected Taiwanese and Japanese respondents, identified their common errors as beginner foreign language learners and determined if their sound production is influenced by their sound recognition. This paper argues that sound recognition leads to good communication skills among beginner foreign language learners and sufficient knowledge in recognising the front vowel sound leads to better comprehensible conversation. Findings of the study revealed that vowel sounds are very difficult to recognise by beginner foreign language learners. Both foreign learner groups experienced hard time recognising front vowel sounds which, fundamentally influenced sound production. Sound recognitions vary between Taiwanese and Japanese learners. Foreign beginner learners undergo difficulties in recognising front vowel sounds thereby affect their word production. Only upon correct sound recognition can foreign learners attain correct word production. We recommend that appropriate teaching methods be employed to ensure correct sound recognition among foreign learners in the Philippine context. Teachers need to engage the learners in fun-filled and interactive instructions to develop the learners’ ability in recognising sounds. Only when a learner recognises and produces the sound correctly that comprehensible communication is achieved.


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International Phonetic Alphabet, vowel sound recognition, foreign language learner, beginner, second language (L2) learning, sound production

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