Project Materials

Pronunciation of English Words among Learners of English in Secondary Schools

Pronunciation of English Words among Learners of English in Secondary Schools

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Abstract

The study examined pronunciation of English words among learners of English in Secondary Schools in Ikono Local Government Area. To achieve objective of the study, survey designed was adopted. Two research questions were formulated. Population sample was one hundred students of senior secondary schools in Ikono Local Government which was randomly selected.

The instrument use for data collection was ten items Questionnaires on Pronunciation of English Words (QPEW) questions were set on different area affecting students’ pronunciations of English words. Simple percentage computation was used in analyzing the collected data. Consequently, findings observed that the students are unable to pronounce English words correctly due to mother tongue interference which influences their pronunciation of English words in their various classes. The study therefore recommended that, as a panacea to poor English pronunciation, teachers should be encouraged to use different types of audio-visual aids and equipment to teach English phonetics in their classrooms.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page

Declaration

Certification

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Abstract

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

1.2     Statement of the Problem

1.3     Purpose of the Study

1.4     Significance of the Study

1.5     Research Questions

1.6     Limitation of the Study

CHAPTER TWO – THE REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1     The concept of pronunciation of English Words

2.2     Factors Affecting the Learning of Pronunciation of

English Words

2.2.1  Accent

2.2.2  Stress, Intonation and Rhythm

2.2.3  Motivation and Exposure

2.2.4  Attitude

2.2.5  Mother-Tongue Influence

2.3     The Importance of Pronunciation of English Words

2.4     Suggestions for Improving Pronunciation of

 English words

CHAPTER THREE – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 

3.1     Area of the Study

3.2     Research Design

3.3     Population of the Study

3.4     Population Sample

3.5     Research Instrument

3.6     Validation of Instrument

3.7     Administration of the Instrument

3.8     Method of Data Collection

3.9     Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS

4.1     Data Presentation/Analysis

4.2     Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE – SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND

RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1     Summary

5.2     Conclusion

5.3     Recommendations

References

Appendix    

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

Good phonological awareness of a second language is necessary for learners to have if they are to achieve fluent communication in the language. However, many learners of English as a second language (foreign language) face difficulties and struggle with correct pronunciation of English words. Avery and Eurlich (2002) believe that the original language of an individual was a defect effect on their ability to hear and produce the sounds of the English language. Learners fail to produce certain sounds, which do not exist in the mother tongue. For this reason, Nigerian learners have difficulty in producing certain sounds when they are learning English words.

For instance, research has shown that, in Saudi Arabia English learners are taught to produce each word correctly and fluently. However often, learners do not have an awareness of particular consonant “and vowel” sounds because these sounds are found in the Arabic language. Sounds that are familiar in their native Arabic language are heard instead of the actual English words sounds spoken by the teacher. Therefore, these leads to the Arabic learners frequently repeating mispronounced words.

General observation suggests that, it is those who start to learn English after their school years are mostly likely to have serious difficulties in acquiring intelligible pronunciation of English words, with the degree of difficulty increasing markedly with age. This difficulties has nothing to do with intelligence or level of education, or even with knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary, of course there is no simple answer to why pronunciation is so difficulties to learn. Indeed, there is a range of theoretical perspectives on the questions.

What is generally accepted among psychololinguists and phonologist who specialized in this area is that the difficulty of learning to pronounce a foreign language is cognitive rather than physical and that it has something to do with the way raw sound is categorized or conceptualized in using speech.

Many learners of English as a second language have “major difficulties” with English pronunciation even after years of learning the language.

This often results to them facing difficulties in areas such as finding employment. Hinofotis and Baily (1980) asserts that:

Up to a certain proficiency standard, the fact which most severely impairs communication process in second language learners is pronunciation, not vocabulary or grammar(p. 124-125).

This is true despite the fact that research by the likes of Davis (1999); for example, reveals that an area of concern and indeed of the goal for effective pronunciation of English words is not to ask learners to pronounce like native speakers. Instead, intelligible pronunciation should be the real purpose of oral communication.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

One of the problems faced by secondary school learners in Ikono Local Government Area is good pronunciation of English words. It is also known that, mostly the teachers are not aware of the importance of pronunciation.

Teachers pay enough attention to grammar and vocabulary in learning a foreign language and they help learners to become skillful in listening and ready. In the same vein, most of the teachers think that good pronunciation of English words is too difficult and monotonous for the learners. Therefore, teachers should take note on good pronunciation of English words while teaching in a class-room.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research work is to examine the pronunciation of English words among learners of English in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.

1.4     Significance of the Study

The work will be significant to the learners of English in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. The study will also be of immense benefit to all the second language learners in Nigeria as well as the teachers.

1.5     Research Questions

For the success of this research work, the following research questions are formulated:

(i)      What role do secondary school teachers in Ikono Local Government Area play by developing the students’ pronunciation of English words?

(ii)      What are the problems encountered by the learners in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area in the learning of pronunciation of English words?

(iii)     What are the attitudes of the students in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area in the learning of pronunciation of English words?

1.6     Limitation of the Study

The study was limited to secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. This is to enable the researcher to effectively cover the area during the administration of questionnaire.

Finally, poor financial position of the researcher affected the study. The period for the research work was limited and as such the research population was relatively small.

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This section presents the methods employed by the researcher in conducting the research. It was discussed under the following subheadings;

  • Area of the study
  • Research design
  • Population of the study
  • Population Sample
  • Research Instrument
  • Validation of the instrument
  • Administration of instruments
  • Method of Data Collection
  • Method of data analysis

3.5     Research Instrument

The main instrument use for data collection was ten items Questionnaires on Pronunciation of English Words (QPEW) were set on different area affecting pronunciation. The instrument had two sections. The first section involved the personal data of the respondents, while the second section centered on the extent of pronunciation of English words in written English. The questionnaire was administered by the researcher.  It lasted for one hour in each case. In all, (20) multiple choice objectives test were administered. The questionnaire is considered suitable in covering different ways of pronunciation of English words.  Therefore, the answers to the questionnaire adopted in this study would give reliable information of the learner’s knowledge of pronunciation of English words.

3.6     Validation of Instrument

The questions designed by the researcher were reviewed by the project supervisor before it was administered. Permission was obtained from the head of each school. After due clarification, copies of the questionnaire were collected on the same day to control loss. The criteria for inclusion of the items in the questionnaire were simplicity, clarity and appropriateness of words.

3.7     Administration of the Instrument

Before administering the test, the researcher made some pronunciation of English words, using concrete examples in all the schools visited. One hundred (100) copies of multiple objectives test were distributed to equal number of randomly selected respondents respectively on the sample public secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. The completed data were collected from the correspondents immediately after completion.

3.8     Method of Data Collection

The researcher visited each of the schools and administered the questions on the respondents personally. The respondents were given enough time to react to the questionnaire, other information was given to them apart from that of the questionnaire, (100) copies of questionnaire were distributed to students in the five (5) secondary schools in each of the schools during the studies.

 3.9     Method of Data Analysis

The researcher in preparing for the data analysis used simple percentage computation to calculate and confirm the different correct and wrong responses of the respondents.

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter presents the summary, conclusion and recommendations of this study, pronunciation of English words among learners in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.

5.1     Summary 

The purpose of this study was to examine pronunciation of English words among learners of English in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. The population of the study consisted of one hundred students of senior secondary two (SS2) students in Ikono Local Government Area.

The main instrument use for data collection was ten items Questionnaires on Pronunciation of English Words (QPEW) questions were set on different areas affecting students’ pronunciation. One hundred respondents were used as the sample size. The method of data analysis was the simple percentage computation. The study revered that mother tongue interference influences the learner’s pronunciation of English words in their various classes.

Therefore, in an effective solution to curbing the incidence of poor English pronunciation among our students is for the teachers to be given proper training in phonetics and phonology. All teachers in primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions are not exempted. If students listen to correct pronunciation from all their teachers, unconsciously they will internalize these correct sound patterns and pronunciation models and this problem of pronunciation would be reduced to the barest minimum.

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