Abdulkadir Turgay

Published: 18-11-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/4bsjj9tctb.1
Contributor:
Abdulkadir Turgay

Description

The current study was carried out to probe into both the types and potential causes of problems Turkish learners of English face in the pronunciation of English numbers and words. The population of this descriptive research study was the ELT freshmen in the 2019-2020 academic year. As part of convenience sampling method, a total of 70 freshmen from the two existing ELT classes, including 51 females and 19 males, were included in the study. At the beginning of the spring semester, the students were given a list of 50 numbers (1 through 50) and a set of 50 words used frequently in English. They were then asked to read the number in front of each word and then pronounce the word following that number as part of a pronunciation exercise called “Pronunciation Practice”. They were recorded via a voice recorder as they were articulating the numbers and the words. They were later provided with feedback as to how well they were able to articulate both the numbers and the words both individually and as a class. The statistical analysis of the data collected provided feedback with regard to the students’current level of mastery of English pronunciation and enabled the researcher to unearth and categorize the types of common pronunciation problems facing the students in question. The study’s overall outcome is expected to spark eager and unflagging interest in English-language learners and teachers toward new ways and means to learn and teach English pronunciation much more effectively.

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A group of 70 Turkish learners of English were given a list of 50 numbers and 50 words to serve as a means of articulation. They were asked to read the number in front of each of the 50 words and then pronounce the word following that number. The researcher recorded the students’ voices as they were articulating in order to revisit at a later date to detect and diagnose common pronunciation mistakes they made producing numbers and words in English. In other words, the researcher attempted to identify the specific sounds in English that were posing difficulty for these Turkish learners of English. Later, the researcher listened to the recordings, detecting and categorizing the type of pronunciation mistakes they made as they were articulating those numbers and words. The data collected were later turned into statistical data for detailed analysis. Simultaneously, the researcher applied to the University’s Ethics Committee for approval to carry out his research project which used human participants (see Appendix 2). The researcher processed and made available all the collected data, maintaining professional confidentiality. Upon collecting all the data needed for his study, the researcher resorted to the audio recordings, listening very carefully as many times as needed to nose out as the problematic sounds the English language offered them—the Turkish learners of English. Each number and word articulation by each and every student was phonetically transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols in order to cross-checking the recorded student articulation against the pronunciation given in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/). Then, the deviancies spotted were numbered and keyed in into an excel spreadsheet to obtained statistical data (mostly percentages and frequencies) needed to make some generalizations and arrive at certain conclusions with respect to the level of mastery of English in general and of English pronunciation in particular.