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Phonetic problems faced by students who are learning English

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Gabrielle Christmas

on 12 November 2014

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Transcript of Phonetic problems faced by students who are learning English

Phonetic problems faced by students who are learning English without mixing Spanish as their native language in English Teaching major and how they can be solved; case of Advanced Intensive English I of the Foreign Language Department at the University of El Salvador, semester II, 2014.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE
To identify the main phonetic problems that Advanced Intensive English I students face when learning English as a second language without mixing Spanish as their native language in order to propose solutions.

INTONATION
Wennerstrom (2001) referred to intonation as the melody created by the voice while producing a speech, giving the opportunity to the speaker to choose their pitch according to what he/she wants to express in his/her utterance.
HYPOTHESIS
Pronunciation skills are the main problems in Advanced Intensive English I students while dealing with mother tongue interference.
RESEARCH APPROACH
Quantitative research:
Statistical analysis.
Predictions about possible relationships between variables.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Phonetic, Pronunciation, Intonation, Stress and fluency are several problems while learning English.
JUSTIFICATION
Phonetics problems.
The importance of the research project

Population and Sample
Population:
Students from Advanced Intensive English I courses. (145)
Sample:
Non-Probabilistic Sample (106)

DATA GATHERING PROCESS.
Research Technique:
Qualitative data
Quantitative data
Observation
Interview
Survey technique

Specific Objective
To identify the pronunciation-related problems when learning English with the purpose of improving their pronunciation skills
Specific Objective
To discover the intonation-related difficulties while learning English and compared them with the Spanish pronunciation they are used to in order to propose determined solutions.

Specific Objective
To identify the fluency-related issue of studying English on the students’ part in order to propose improving strategies
GENERAL RESEARCH QUESTION
What are the main phonetic problems that Advanced Intensive English I students face when learning English as a Spanish speaker?
SPECIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the pronunciation-related problems when learning English as a Spanish speaker?
What are the intonation-related difficulties while learning English as a Spanish speaker?

SPECIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the fluency-related issues of studying English as a Spanish speaker?
What are the stress-related complications of studying English as a Spanish speaker?

DELIMITATION OF THE PROBLEM
The research on phonetic problems will be carried out at The University of El Salvador in the Foreign Language Department, with the students from English Teaching major of the Advanced Intensive English I. The research will be done in the period of time of august 1st until November 20th 2014. What the research team seeks with this research is to find out about the inconveniences that students of the Advanced Intensive English I face at the moment of dealing with phonetics in English being a native Spanish speaker.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
Spanish is a romance language from the Indo-European language family that strongly resembles Portuguese and Italian. English is a Germanic language, but many of its word roots come from the Indo-European Latin language and are similar to Spanish word roots.
PRONUNCIATION
According to the Cambridge Dictionary Pronunciation is the way in which a word or letter is said, or said correctly, or the way in which a language is spoken. A word can be spoken in different ways by various individuals or groups, depending on many factors, such as: the duration of the cultural exposure of their childhood, the location of their current residence, speech or voice disorders, their ethnic group, their social class, or their education.
STRESS
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables.
FLUENCY
Language fluency is used informally to denote broadly a high level of language proficiency, most typically foreign language or another learned language, and more narrowly to denote fluid language use, as opposed to slow, halting use. In this narrow sense; fluency is necessary but not sufficient for language proficiency.
HYPOTHESIS
Stress-related complications of studying English as a foreign language shows a lack of motivation in Advanced Intensive English I students study.
HYPOTHESIS
Spanish interferes in the intonation of Advanced Intensive English I students.
TYPE OF STUDY.
Exploratory Research:
Investigate.
Identify.
Predict.

RESEARCH DESIGN
Nonexperimental Research Design:
Interpret
Observe
Describe Aspects.
Improve further Understanding.

RANDOM PROBABILISTIC SAMPLE
Calculating the sample:

Stratified Sample
Instruments
Interview to experts.

Instruments.
Checklists.

Instruments.
Survey.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures

To detect the stress-related complications of studying English with the purpose of identify missing skills or missing attitudes with the aim of encouraging language autonomy.

Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Data Analysis.
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
Checklist Graphics
Checklist Graphics.
The purpose was to identify the main phonetics problems that Advanced Intensive English I students face when learning English as a second language without mixing Spanish as their native language
PRONUCIATION AND INTONATION:

WORDS AND STRESS.


Fluency.
Students’ Strategies.
By observing some courses of the Advanced Intensive English I we have gotten the following results:
Note:
For the sake of economy, these abbreviations will be used in the tables and graphs to represent each frequency:
N= never
S= sometimes
U= usually
A= Always


Checklist Graphics.
Expert Opinion
Note:
For the sake of economy, these abbreviations will be used in the tables and graphs to represent each frequency:
N= never
S= sometimes
U= usually
A= Always
Note:
For the sake of economy, these abbreviations will be used in the tables and graphs to represent each frequency:
N= never
S= sometimes
U= usually
A= Always
1.In your opinion, is your students’ English pronunciation being affected by their mother tongue?
I strongly believe it is. The most important that we have to think about is, the contact that they have of English and the contact that they have with their mother tongue. Unfortunately in the first years, they of the carrier, the students still have Spanish classes besides that the lack of English activities outside the classroom in a sense, sense to me, and combine both pronunciations. Pronunciation, some Spanish portrayals and of course the ones that we try to accomplish here in the classroom.

2.In your opinion, is the English intonation of your students being influenced by the Spanish language?
Absolutely! Intonation It’s intrinsically affecting more than anything else the accent of the students, even though, accent is one thing separated from pronunciation still become the great, a great part in the role of talking or speaking in a second language. I guess that intonation of the students is still being affected by the Spanish language due to the fact that we do not have probably too many or a very strong influence from their classes when learning how to intonate or how to you know elaborate some sentences depending on different situations and sometimes in different syllables in a regular sentence. Those strong influences, these lack of strong influences is inside the classroom and besides that the strong influence they have outside the classroom from their mother tongue, play definitely in a variety of intonation with the students that we have.

3.Do you think that Spanish alters your students’ fluency?
In some of the cases it does. The problem is that some of the students try to combine their thoughts from Spanish and they try to translate everything into English and of course you cannot do that all the time because there are certain things that you have to change the grammar or word formation and some of the structures are not built the same way at the aims that it’s important that they have grown with the bad habit we can say of translating everything from the hedge directly into their pitch and some of them still keep that bad habit and that affect a lot in their fluency.

4.From your point of view, is the stress of words being affected by the fact that students’ mother tongue has a different origin?
Absolutely, absolutely! I believe that culturally we are affected of course in the sense of intonation, pronunciation and of course stress. By cultural factors we may not be as… you know, expressive as a native English speaker can be and thing also affect in the stress of words, in the stress of expressions probably or the way we express ideas. I believe that we have a very, very strong influence from Spanish and that is affecting all those elements, stress, pronunciation, intonation, culturally and obviously in some other terms such as fluency and vocabulary and, and probably word formation and some others.
Conclusions
The first conclusion is that Advanced English I students have frequently pronunciation related problems. As a matter of a fact the most of the students consider that they have problems while pronouncing English vowels and that their mother tongue interferes their English language. This issue represents a big problem to the students since they have to reach language identity and improve language skills.
Conclusion
The next conclusion is that Advanced English I students tend to be influenced by their mother tongue when speaking English. In fact, students themselves and teachers notice the mother tongue and accent is strongly influencing the English intonation on students. However this is an issue that can be solved by practicing more and getting used to the English intonation.
Conclusion
Conclusion
Finally the last factor affecting Advanced English I student is the stress related problem. If well students consider word stress affect the meaning of language, they do not consider this has a lot to do with their mother tongue. In fact 78% of the students consider word stress is related just a little to their mother tongue. And according to expert the mother tongue may or may not interfere on students’ performance in English.
Another conclusion is that fluency–related problems are very present on Advanced English I students performance. The most of students consider that being fluent is important when learning a second language. And, as revealed in our study the main factor of fluency-related problems is the lack of practice. The resolution should get in touch deep inside the language to improve fluency and good performance.
Recommendations
Recomendations
Students need to become self-sufficient and find the strategy which works better on their learning process. They can practice English with classmates outdoors, or they can create conversation clubs. This way student can practice English and improve their language kills, as pronunciation, intonation and fluency.Students must get in touch directly with native English to avoid or reduce the mother tongue interference. This can be done with the help of technological sources. As watching videos and movies and listening to the music. It help student to find where the word stress is located and to discover the intonation in words and phrases.
Recomendations
Teachers must encourage student’s participation with active and interesting activities. While getting used to the language, students tend to forget the fear they had at the moment of their English performance. When they finally fell comfortable with the second language is easier for them to use the target language.
Recomendations
It is a must to have lessons related to pronunciation and genuine language that includes phonetic transcription, aiming students at using IPA and to know the pronunciation of every word with the help of a dictionary. These students can know from the beginning where they can look for when they are at home and they do not know how to pronounce a word, especially when they have to prepare an oral exposition to present in front of the class.
Thanks !!
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