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Speech Assessment for UIDE EFL Students: The IPA Case
—General-American English IPA Transcription to Assess Universidad Internacional del Ecuador EFL Students

DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2016.62005, PP. 43-59

Keywords: Linguistics, Languages, Phonetics, Phonology, Language Teaching, Language Learning, EFL, Language Assessment, Pronunciation, IPA, Phonology Assessment

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Abstract:

This Teaching English as the target second language involves several considerations which have to do with both the source language of speakers and the kind of training these students go through. In this particular case study, I have considered native speakers of Spanish who study English as a second language and identified, through two vowel sounds forming a minimal pair, that phonemes of General American English which are more likely to be mispronounced, is not only due to the fact that the English vowel system is more complex than that of Spanish, but also, and most important for this particular case study, that training is not consistent in contrastive exercising as it is in distribution exercising. In fact the English system has 20 vowel phonemes in Received Pronunciation, from 14 to 16 vowel phonemes in General American English and even 20 to 21 vowel phonemes in Australian English, while Spanish has only 5 vowel phonemes. The findings of this research account for the conclusion that exercising reinforcement need to be addressed and focused not only on the phonemes of the English vowel system which native speakers of Spanish have more trouble with, but also and more relevant in this research, that new and creative distribution exercising must be included in textbooks to help students master the English vowel sounds in order to avoid accent due to Spanish interference through quality English teaching.

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