EFL STUDENTS’ RECOGNITION OF FRICATIVE SOUNDS AT A UNIVERSITY IN THE SOUTH OF VIETNAM

Tạ Thị Hương Lan, Nguyễn Duy Khang

Abstract


This research aims at investigating learners’ capacity to aurally and visually recognize and properly pronounce the fricative sounds. A descriptive study was conducted with 156 participants. Since research about pronunciation which has incidentally been assumed and framed to be extremely outdated in the research context, various tests and research tool for both qualitative and quantitative data were utilized for better triangulation of the evidence. The two listening tests focused on the learners’ ability of sound recognition for fricative sounds. Then, interviews were utilized to collect both teachers and learners’ strategies for learning pronunciation. Regarding the two tests, a minimal pair is designed for each question using a native speaker’s voice. In each pair of words in test #1, learners choose one that they can distinguish. Similarly, in test #2 one word of each pair would be pronounced incorrectly (e.g. most of pairs) and learners listen and determine the right or wrong sound(s). Afterwards, four teachers and eleven learners were interviewed about this matter. Finally, this study reveals several surprising findings. Learners cannot identify and recognize these sounds /f/-/v/, /f/-/θ/, /s/-/z/, /s/-/ʒ/, /s/-/ʃ/, /ʃ/-/θ/, /z/-/ʒ/, and /ʒ/-/ʃ/. The reasons for such dominated problems in identifying these fricative sounds include their mis-matched cognitive knowledge about different sounds and their psychology in uttering the sounds. From this study, several implications are drawn out to raise a proper awareness to learners’ practice of pronunciation with recommended methods so that teachers can help learners develop their abilities in distinguishing the sounds to pronounce accurately and improve their communicative efficiency.

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Keywords


fricative sounds, student’s performance, sound recognition, capacity

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejfl.v5i2.3407

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