ASSESSMENT OF PRONUNCIATION DIFFICULTIES OF ENGLISH SOUNDS BY SCHOLARS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BAUCHI STATE

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ASSESSMENT OF PRONUNCIATION DIFFICULTIES OF ENGLISH SOUNDS BY SCHOLARS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BAUCHI STATE

ABSTRACT

This study is an assessment of the pronunciation problems of English sounds faced by students of junior secondary schools (JSS) in Bauchi State. In a bid to do that, a survey research was conducted in two educational zones of Bauchi

State comprising five schools: four for each zone with a total number of (255)students’. Students’ production of English sounds was assessed through sound production test (SPT). Also six research questions were raised and answered to determine the pronunciation problems of students. The results of the findings show that mother tongue interferes in the students’ pronunciation of English sounds. This concurs with Oluwole (2008), also discovered was the misplacement of stress patterns by the JSS students leading to changing of word category. Among the recommendations made was that the curriculum designers should include enough pronunciation activities such as drills, oral English, minimal pairs etc.           

TABLE OF CONTENT

Title page    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –      -i

Declaration –         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          -ii

Certification          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –           iii

Dedication  –          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iv Acknowledgement          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        -v Abstract – –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vi

Table of content    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –        vii

List of figures        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        -x List of tables          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        xi

List of appendix    –        –        –        –        –        –         –        –            –      xii

Abbreviation  –      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –       –          xiv

Operational definition of terms–      –         –             –          –            –           –xv

CHAPTER ONE:  INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the study –           –        –        –        –        –        –          -1

1.2    Statement of the problem –         –        –        –        –        –        –          -4

1.3   The aims of the study    –             –        –        –        –        –        –          -6

1.4   Research questions            –        –        –        –        –        –        –          -6

1.5   Significance of the study –           –        –        –        –        –        –        7

1.6   Scope and limitation of the study          –        –        –        –        –          -8

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1   Introduction –          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          -9

2.2       Definition of Pronunciation     –        –        –        –        –        –          -9

2.3       Pronunciation and Spellings    –        –        –        –        –        –          -9

2.4        English Pronunciation –          –        –        –        –        –          –        10

2.5        Importance of Pronunciation –          –        –        –        –          –        13

2.6        Why Pronunciation Problem –          –        –        –        –          –        15

2.7         Non Native Pronunciation of English        –        –        –          –        19

2.8         Phonetic Realization    –        –        –        –        –        –          –        20

2.9      Definition of Phonetics and Phonology        –        –        –          –        22

2.10  The sounds of English Language          –        –        –        –          –        24

2.11  The Sound System of English –            –        –        –        –          –        25

2.12  The English Vowels Sounds  –             –        –        –        –          –        27

2.13  The English Consonant Sounds            –        –        –        –          –        32

2.14 Mother tongue interference and Nigerian English Usage  –           –       38

2.15 Intonation      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –       42

2.16 Streets           –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –       43

2.17 The Challenges of Spoken Oral English Teaching and Learning

as a Second Language in Nigeria        –        –        –        –        –       45

2.18 Strategies for the Teaching of Oral English in Junior Secondary Schools         –         54

2.19 Phonological Problems Faced by L2 Learners           –        –        –      60

2.20 Interference –           –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –      62

2.21 The plosive or stops          –        –        –        –        –        –        –      64

2.22 The Fricative Sounds         –        –        –        –        –        –        –      65

2.23 Factors affecting the English pronunciation of students       –        –      69

2.24 Theoretical Framework  –            –        –        –        –        –        –      75

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

3.1  Introduction             –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –      -79

3.2  Research Design –              –        –        –        –        –        –        –      -79

3.3  Population  –             –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –     – 79

3.4  Sampling Procedure           –        –        –        –        –        –        –      -80

3.5  Research Instrumentation             –        –        –        –        –          –       -82

3.6  Validity of the study           –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -83

3.7  Pilot study –              –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -83

3.8 Reliability of the Instrument          –        –        –        –        –          –       -83

3.9 Procedure for Data collection        –        –        –        –        –          –       -84

3.10  Method of Data Analysis          –        –        –        –        –        –      -85 CHAPTER FOUR: RESULT AND DISCUSSION 

4.1     Introduction          –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -86

4.2      Data presentation, analysis and Interpretation        –        –          –       -86

4.3     Summary of Findings      –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -97

4.4      Discussion of findings    –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -98

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

5.1     Introduction          –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –     -101

5.2      Summary of the Study  –          –        –        –        –        –          –     -101

5.3     Conclusion  –         –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –     -102

5.4     Contribution to Knowledge       –        –        –        –        –          –     -103

5.5     Recommendations –         –        –        –        –        –        –          –     -103

5.6      Suggestion for Further Studies –         –        –        –        –          –     -105

References –         –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –     -106

 

Appendixes  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –     -114

LIST OF FIGURES 

Figure 1 Vowel chart——————————————————————— 30 

Figure 2.2 Skills involved in spoken English—————————————- 51 

Figure 2.3 Skills involved in Teaching oral English——————————- 53 

 

 

LIST OF TABLES

 

Table 2.1 (12) Pure Vowels or Monophthonge       –        –        –          –       -28

Table 2.2 (8) Diphthonge or Double sounds –         –        –        –          –      – 29

Table 2.3 Pronunciation of Vowel Sounds –           –        –        –          –       -31

Table 2.4 Consonants chart       –        –        –        –        –        –          –      – 35

Table 2.5 Consonants sound-    –        –        –        –        –        –        –     – 36

Table 2.6 Contradiction of the English orthographic and phonological

systems        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –       -68

Table 2.7Aspect Borrowed or Observed in the Review     –        –        –      -77

Table 3.1 Distribution of sample schools and students across the two

Educational zone of Bauchi state         –        –        –        –          –      – 81

Table 3.2: The table Determining Sample size by cuvry – –        –          –       -82

Table 4.1 Correct and incorrect pronunciation of some sounds

Among Jss students in Bauchi state – –         –        –        –          –       -86

Table 4.2 Extent of pronunciation of consonant sounds among Jss

students in Bauchi state – –        –        –        –        –        –          –        88

Table 4.3 Extent of pronunciation of vowels sounds among                           Jss

students in Bauchi state – –        –        –        –        –        –       -90

Table 4.4 students mode of pronouncing segmental sounds in

urban rural schools in Bauchi state – –          –        –        –          –       -92

Table 4.5 Effect of pronunciation on the change the sound of words  –      -94

Table 4.6 Effect of pronunciation on words street- –         –        –          –       -96

 

LIST OF APPENDIX

                                                                                                     

Appendix 1: Pronunciation of              /I:/     –        –        –        –        –    -114

Appendix 2: Pronunciation of             //      –        –        –        –      –     – 120

Appendix 3: Pronunciation of             /ɒ /     –        –        –        –          –     -122

Appendix 4: Pronunciation of               /ᴐ: / –          –        –        –          –     -124

Appendix 5: Pronunciation of              /ʌ /     –        –        –        –          –     -127

Appendix 6: Pronunciation of             /ə/      –        –        –        –          –      129

Appendix 7: Pronunciation of             /p/      –        –        –        –          –      131

Appendix 8: Pronunciation of              /ᴐ/     –        –        –        –          –      133

Appendix 9: Pronunciation of              /dᴐ / –         –        –        –          –      135

Appendix 10: Pronunciation of            /f /     –        –        –        –          –     -138

Appendix 11: Pronunciation of           /Ө/     –        –        –        –        –    -140

Appendix 12: Pronunciation of             /ᴐ/     –        –        –        –          –     -142

Appendix 13: Pronunciation of           /s/      –        –        –        –          –      144

Appendix 14: Pronunciation of             /ᴐ/     –        –        –        –          –     -146

Appendix 15: Passage     –        –        –        –        –        –        –          –      148

Appendix 16: The stress words –         –        –        –        –        –          –      155

Appendix 17: Manual Guide     –        –        –        –        –        –          –      156

 

LIST OF ABBREVATIONS

JSS Junior Secondary School
SUBEB State University Basic Education Board
SSCE Senior School Certificate Examination
NECO National Examination Council
NCCE National Commission for Colleges of Education
WAEC

 

West African Examination Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

  • Articulation: The act of speech production, organs that are involved in pronunciation  
  • Bilingual: A person that speak two languages.
  • Glide: A sound that moves from one sound to another. Example diphthong, triphthongs and semi-vowels.
  • L1: One‘s first language or mother tongue
  • L2: One‘s second language.
  • Monothongs: Single vowels that have not been mixed with another sound. They are also referred as pure vowels.
  • Occlusion: (The duration of) the closure made during the production of sounds.
  • Orthography: The way in which words are spelled.
  • Received Pronunciation: (RP): The name given to the regionally neutral accent in British English.
  • Supra-segmental or non-segmental phonology: The analysis of     features that extend over more than one segment.
  • Voice: A sound is said to be voiced when there is a vibration of the vocal chords during articulation.
  • Segmental Sounds: Are discrete sounds with individual phonetics and phonological characteristics.
  • Sounds: Are the smallest piece of language which can be separately organized and distinguished by human beings.
  • Phoneme: Is a basic units of sound in a language

       15Oral English: The ways in which the English language is transmitted through a conventional system of sounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

This study is based on the area of phonology which deals with sounds and pronunciation. It is concerned with English pronunciation produced by some students of Junior Secondary Schools in Bauchi State.

There was great concern by the state government, English language teachers, some parents including examination bodies on the pronunciation problems by students of junior secondary school. Researches by scholars such as Jibril (1982), Banjo (1992), Jowitt (2005) and Abubakar (2008) have shown that there are a lot of linguistic changes in terms of pronunciation in Nigeria as a result of social factors especially contact with students from various linguistics background. Such as Hausa speakers substituting/p/for/f/ as in pat for fat. Jibril (1982), in particular, noted that contact is a factor that influences changes in pronunciation. Jibril also noted that change in the composition of teachers who teach student. According to him, teachers with receive pronunciation [RP] -like accent are fast disappearing.

From the foregoing, linguist generally believe that spoken language is superior to its written version. Wardhaugh (1974), observes that language is essentially speech. Consequently, in the linguistics literature there appear such statement as ―language is speech not writing‖, the spoken language is ―primary and the written language is ―secondary‖.

 

The spoken language is more basic and important skill than other language skills. Speech according to Lyons (1981) is made up of continuous burst of sounds. Sounds are the smallest stream of language which can be separately organized and distinguished by human beings therefore knowledge of

English sounds is important. For From kin and Rodman (1983) ―part of one‘s knowledge of a language is knowledge of the sound system -the phonology of that language‖. (From kin and Rodman 1986). In English language for instance,

/s/ may be a different sound from the representation of the letters s

Thus: Cars a consonant is realized as //

Quest realized as /S/

Pleasure realized as //

The idea of this topic came about as a result of the personal experience of the researcher with a group of student with an existing problem of correct pronunciation of some English Sounds in our junior secondary schools, which affect their performances.  Many students including those that study the English language as a discipline always consider it a difficult task to correctly articulate the forty-four speech sounds in the Received Pronunciation (RP) version of the English language. Many students in junior secondary schools both in rural and urban areas are mispronouncing some sounds example fiful instead of people.

 

 

Clark and Yallop (2007) stated that:

……in any language some differences in pronunciation are crucially distinctive. It is these distinctions or contrasts that are recognized by speakers of the language as ―making different words‖ acknowledged by linguists as

systematically functional. (22)

Haycraft (1971) concluded that there are some people who, though knowledgeable in their disciplines, are highly limited in spoken English. Chukwuma and Otaburagu (1997). Owing to this fact, over the years,

expressions are misinterpreted and decisions rendered ineffective as a result of the different varieties of the pronunciation given to different English sounds.   Consequently, students learning English language mis-conceive some sounds (phonemes) in other languages which were not in their own mother tongue. They hear a new sound in a new language and they wrongly substitute it with similar sound in their first language. When learners come in contact with a new sound, they will pronounce it as it is perceived to them substituting it with the most similar sound existing in their first language.

This substitution of phonetics from mother tongue to second language creates a lot of problems to the learners of English as a second language. According to:

Sani MAZ(2000) Hausa speakers of English for example easily pronounce

/feifa/ instead of /paper/. A pen can be pronounced as a ―fen this is because the /p/ sound is not existing in their mother tongue as well as the Hausa phonetics but available in English phonetics, according to the international phonetics Association (IPA) 1988.  Job (1992) is of the view that: an early study of the speech organs, the speech mechanism, the various sounds and their ways of articulations in English, can help students a lot in improving their pronunciation problems in the English sounds. As result of the contact between mother tongue and the target language (English language) an inter-language known as Nigerian English emerged. Uzoezie (1992), explained that: It is an accepted fact that when two or more language Come in contact there is usually mutual influence at all Levels of languages, lexical, phonology and syntactic (pp12)

1.2     Statement of the Problem

This research assessed the English segmental pronunciation problems of students in junior secondary schools in Bauchi state.

In this research we assessed student‘s role in the pronunciation of English sound. There are same consonant and vowel phonemes of English Language which have no counterparts, example Hausa, Yoruba Fulfulde and Igbo. As a result of this absence, we find various speakers articulating the phonemes differently from the RP ―Received Pronunciation English‖ (2012).   Many researchers discovered that oral English, particularly aspect of pronunciation is totally neglected, due to lack of qualified teachers. Indeed,  Chairman state universal basic education board(SUBEB) in His opening speech at the 2014 training of teachers on core subjects, stated thatpronunciation problems by students are rampant and lamentable scenario among teachers and students in our JSS III level in Bauchi State.

In the Nigerian academic circle, there has been outcry from the school

West African Examination council [WAEC] , Senior School Certificate Examination [SSCE] , National Examination Council [NECO] and Others that there were massive Examination failures especially in English Papers across the country  and oral English section suffers the most. This may be attributed to the difficulty of pronunciation of some English segmental sounds. Example, the student‘s first language is coming in contact with English as a second language. Therefore if students want to communicate in English language they tend to transfer certain peculiarities of their mother tongue into English.

The curriculum content of English Language for Nigeria‘s secondary schools introduced in the 1980s gave a fresh emphasis to developing sounds in the spoken English. Teachers found it difficult to teach, partly because they were not sure that their speech reflected the pronunciation norms of (RP) which they were supposed to teach. Pupils and teachers therefore tends to ignore the oral English sections of the course books. Deprived of consistently reliable guidance from teachers, pupils unconsciously relied on (mother tongue) MT models, as indeed many of their teachers did; and assuming that there was a perfect correspondence between sound and spelling, they used orthography as their guide to pronunciation. Moreover, this could be due to other reasons such as: the teacher factor, phonology facilities, mother tongue interference or lack of practice.

 

1.3     The aim of the study

The aim of the study is to assess the English pronunciation problems by some students in junior secondary schools in Bauchi state who cannot get access to the correct and standard form of pronunciation.

Objectives of the Study

The work specifically intend to:

  1. Assess the extent of the pronunciation problems faced by junior secondary school students learning English sounds in urban and rural Junior secondary schools in Bauchi State.
  2. Assess vowels production problems faced by students of junior secondary schools(iii) in urban and rural areas of Bauchi state.
  3. Assess consonants production problems faced by students of junior secondary schools in urban and rural areas of Bauchi state.
  4. To identify the effect of pronunciation on word stress.

1.4     Research Questions

In view of the above set objectives, the study raises the following

research questions:

  1. Is there pronunciation problem of English sounds among the junior secondary schools [JSS3] students in rural and urban areas in Bauchi

state?

  1. To what extent does student pronunciation determine the realization of consonant sounds?
  2. How does student pronunciation determine the realization of vowel sounds?
  3. Do students in urban and rural schools differ in their mode of pronouncing English sounds in Bauchi State?
  4. What is the effect of pronunciation on word stress?

1.5     Significance of the Study

This study which focuses on the English pronunciation problems in junior secondary schools in rural and urban schools in Bauchi state, is expected to give some input on how to help English teachers, teaching pronunciation in Junior Secondary Schools with the ways and methods of handling pronunciation problems. The research would no doubt, be of academic interest to students who see language in its dynamic form. More importantly it looks at the gap in the area of teaching the consonants and vowels sounds in junior secondary school. The study also has the potential of raising the consciousness of teachers and those who are interested in the area of phonemes in particular and English language in general by providing possible suggestions for improvement.      This study will explore the weakness of students and learners of English in pronunciation and suggest some possible ways by which they could be handled. It could offer learners with a number of ways that could help them to improve their spoken English. The findings of this study could be useful to students of English in junior secondary schools in Bauchi state. These students of junior secondary schools may have the aspiration to become conscious of the deficiencies in their articulating abilities. The researcher tried to assessed their pronunciation deficiencies and suggest possible pedagogical methods to correct them. Through the research findings, curriculum planners could competently adopt the scope of phonetics and phonology as taught in different Junior

Secondary Schools in Bauchi state.

1.6     Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study is aimed at assessing the pronunciation problems of some English sounds faced by students in junior secondary schools. The research will cover the two educational zones in Bauchi state, five Junior Secondary School from each zone which comprises of rural and urban areas. The choice of Bauchi State is based on the fact that it is regarded as a Hausa speaking state.  This research covered only some sounds of English. The areas of concentration in the analysis therefore, are assessment of selected English phonemes.

ASSESSMENT OF PRONUNCIATION DIFFICULTIES OF ENGLISH SOUNDS BY SCHOLARS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BAUCHI STATE

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