Research Key

A Survey of Students Pronunciation of Words with Interdental Fricatives

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Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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The purpose of this dissertation is to do a survey of students’ pronunciation of words with interdental fricatives by students at the University of Buea; students were randomly tested from their academic level. The results showed that students could not pronounce or use interdental fricatives appropriately.

Generally speaking, students in the department of English language performed poorly in the test. The poor performance of the test could be linked to the influence of Pidgin English pronunciation. The study concludes that if students could limit the use of pidgin English pronunciation in the English language. It could bring a significant change in the pronunciation of Dental fricatives.



Background of the Study

For most of the learners of English, the foreign accent has always been a difficulty that could not be easily overcome. Numerous research studies have been carried out to study the reasons for this issue as well as the methods to help learners to produce spoken English close to native-like, if not to completely eliminate the foreign accents.

Among the difficulties, learners encounter in acquiring the second language (L2) native-like speaking production, the voiceless interdental fricative (i.e., [0]) has been considered one of the most difficult sounds to acquire by most of the learners of English.

Many studies have identified various substitutions for [9] in the speaking production of learners from different first language (LI) and second language (L2) backgrounds.

For example, Rau, Chang, and Tarone (2009) reported that Thai, Russian, and Fhingarian learners of English tended to substitute [t] for [0] while [0] was usually replaced with [s] by speakers from Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China (Lee & Cho, 2002; Rau et al., 2009).

In order to probe the causes of these problematic performances, one plausible way is to do a survey of the students’ pronunciation of words with interdental fricatives, so that the improvement of one part will facilitate the development of another.

In Cameroon, many native languages exist, making varied pronunciations of various sounds to be realized differently. Pronunciation at some level is seemingly difficult because the native language distorts and forcefully shows itself in pronouncing some consonants.

It is also believed that these wrong pronunciations could emanate from processes such as nativisation, localization, and indigenization responsible for creating new Englishes.

Objectives of the study

This study seeks to:

  • Assess the use of interdental fricatives by 400 level students at the University of Buea.
  • To find out the confusion and difficulties that students encounter when choosing appropriate words and their likely consequences
  • Research questions
  • What factors account for Students wrong pronunciation of dental fricatives?
  • How well do 400 level students of the department of English language master interdental fricatives?
  • What effect does the pronunciation of interdental fricatives have on 400 Level students?
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