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Phonological Differences between Persian and English: Several potentially problematic Areas of Pronunciation for Iranian

Phonological Differences between Persian and English:

Several potentially problematic Areas of Pronunciation for Iranian EFL Learners

Adrisor: Dr. Gorjian

Written by : M . Bakhtiarvand

M. A In TEFL

Research and science center of Islamic Azad university Of Ahvaz

2005-2006

Acknowledgement

This article has grown out of different classes in foreign language teaching, contexts , that I have taught at Gotvand Junior high- schools. My first debt of gratitude is therefore to my students for their insights, enthusiasm , and support. I am also grateful to faculty colleagues at Research and Science Center of Islamic Azad university of Ahvaz . And my Best to my professor Dr . Gorjian who like an honest father help me in this way. The last not the least, to sommayeh my wife,life time companion , and best friend thanks for believing in me and her enthusiasm.

Morteza

Bakhtiarvand

December 2005

Andimeshk

Abstract:

In light of the fact that L2 pronunciation errors are often caused by the transfer of well-established L1 sound systems, this paper examines some of the characteristic phonological differences between Persian and English. Comparing segmental and suprasegmental aspects of both languages, this study also discusses several problematic areas of pronunciation for Iranian learners of English. Based on such contrastive analysis, some of the implications for L2 pronunciation teaching are drawn.

Introduction

The fact that native speakers of English can recognize foreign accents in ESL/EFL learners' speech such as Spanish accents, Japanese accents, Persian accents, Arabic accents , Chinese accents, etc. Is a clear indication that the sound patterns of structure of their native languages have some influence of the speech or production of their second language. In other words, it is quite reasonable to say that the nature of a foreign accent is the determined to a large extent by a learner's native language ( Avery & Enrich, 1992) . thus , the pronunciation errors made by second language learners are considered not to be just random attempts to produce unfamiliar sounds but rather reflections of the sound inventory, rules of combining sounds, and the stress and intonation patterns of their native languages ( Swan & Smith, 1987) . Such observation of L2 pronunciation errors above, in turn , naturally suggests the critical need for ESL/EFL teachers to become more aware of the impact that learners' L1 backgrounds would bring to the learning of English pronunciation. In order to identify specific areas of pronunciation difficulties caused by L1 phonological transfer , teachers need to cultivate a firm understanding of the differences between English and the native language of the learners. Of course it is practically impossible for teachers working in an ESL situation as in the U.S. to understand all the phonological differences between English and the native languages of all the students , but it is also true that having such knowledge can be quite an advantage especially for teachers working in an EFL situation as in Iran. Although contrastive analysis has often been criticized for its inadequacy to predict the transfer errors that learners will make in actual learning contexts ( Whitman & Jackson, 1972 ), it cannot be easily denied that " such interference those exist and can explain difficulties" ( Brown,1994, P . 200) ,especially in the phono logical aspects of second language learning .In this sense , the significance of contrastive analysis may not necessarily lie in the predictability of transfer errors, but rather in the explanatory potential of learner errors that teachers encounter in their daily practices (Celce- Murcia & Howkins , 1985).

This paper thus, examines some of the characteristics phonological differences between Persian and English by focusing on segmental and suprasegmental aspects of both languages, and through comparison between the two languages , this study also points out several problematic areas of pronunciation for Iranian learners of English. Segmental Aspects of English and Persian .

Contents :

Contents Topic Acknowledgement Abstract Introduction Experiments And data analysis Tests Scores Statistics Tables and Graphs Analysis Results Pedagogical implications Conclusion References

Page

Vowels Comparing the Persian vowel system with that of English reveals some significant differences in the following two areas : 1) The number of vowels and 2) Tense / lax distinctions . In the English vowel system, there are 15 different vowels identified, which include several diphthongs such as /aw /,/ay/, and /oy/. On the other hand , Persian has only 5 vowels in its vowel inventory, a system quite common among many natural languages in the world ( Kenworthy , 1987) . Although the number vowels that can be identified in English and Persian can differ depending on different analysis of linguists or phoneticians , it is obvious that there are considerably more vowels in English than in Persian(see table 1).

Table 1 : vowel charts

 

Persian

   

Front

central

back

high

I:

 

U:

mid

e

   

low

ae

a

 

English

 
 

Front

central

back

high

i

 

u

I

U

mid

e

O

c

e

low

ae

a

Another characteristic that typically differentiates the English vowel system from the Persian vowel system is whether there exists the distinction between lax and tense vowels in either of the two system . The differentiation between tense and lax is made according to how much muscle tension or movement in mouth is involved in producing vowels(Ladefoged ,1982) Thus, vowels produced with extra muscle tension are called tense, and vowels produced without that much tension are called lax vowels. For example, /i/ as in English /it/ " eat" is categorized as a tense vowel as the lips are spread (muscular

tension in the mouth) and the tongue moves toward the root of the mouth. On the other hand, /I/ as in English " it " is considered to be a lax vowel as there is little movement of the tongue or muscular tension of the lips involved in its production, compared to the manner in which the tense vowel /i/ as in " eat " is produced .

As shown in table 1&2 ,the tense/ laxvowels pairs of English five- /, /u/Vs./such as /i/ Vs. /I/, /e/ Vs /

Vowel system of Persian as there is no tense /lax differentiation. It should be noted, however, that although long vowels of Persian are sometimes analysed as having the same quality as English tense vowels, this claim is difficult to support , Because those vowels of Persian are not always contrastive in nature as English tense /lax vowel pairs (Vance, 1987) .

/ , do not exist in the

Consonants

As with the differences in the vowel systems, there are also noticeable differences in consonantal distributions between Persian and English. The table3 , which shows the consonant system of each language, clearly illustrates the fact that there are more consonants in Persian than in English (Avery & Ehrlich , 1992; Kenvorthy , 1987) . In the vertical column of manner of articulation, we can notice that there is no (***) affricate found in Persian . Then,looking at the horizontal column of place of articulation, there is a variety of fricatives and nasal which are much more widely distributed in English than in Persian . /, (***),and (***) do not exist in the Persian consonantal /w/, / System . Table 3: classification of consonants according to place and manner of articulation Persian aud Euglish

English & persian

of articulation Persian aud Euglish English & persian Another difference in the consonantal in the distribution

Another difference in the consonantal in the distribution between Persian and English is that there exist some consonants found in the consonant inventory of Persian but not in that of English , such as the voiceless uvular stop /gh/ and voiced uvular stop

/q/ as in the Persian words "qasr" (casstle) and "gham"( sadness ) respectively ( ladefoged, 1982 ).

Although Persian has a semivowel consonant as shown in the Table 3, the semivowel dose not exactly correspond to the English semivowels /v/, /w/ , but rather it is considered to be an in between sound of English(***) and /w/ . The exact articulation point is not specified for the Persian /w/ sound . Thus, the most characteristic difference between Persian and English consonantal systems lies not in the number of consonants found in each of the two languages but rather in the unique distribution patterns of consonants in both languages.

Syllable types Comparing several words from English and Persian can tell us some of the characteristic differences in the way that each language utilizes syllables for froming a word . some of the examples that illustrate English syllable types are :

…… Word ……. Transcription ………. syllable type

see ……….[siy] …………………c(onsonant) v (owel)

sit ………. [sit] ………………… cvc

……

spit ……

[spit]

………………

ccvc

……

spits …….[spits] ………………. ccvcc

sprint ……[sprint] ……………

…… From these examples, we can say that English allows a wide variety of syllable types including both open and closed syllables: CV (open syllable), CVC CCVC, CCVCC, CCCVCC (closed syllables). On the other hand , the syllable types that allows seem

to be restricted to one open syllables/ and two close syllables. …… word ………meaning ………. Syllable

cccvcc

…… ba ……… with ………

CV

toop ……. Ball ………

CVC

…… satr ……

line …………

CVCC

The fact that Persian words of more than one syllable always follow the CV syllable sequence clearly shows significant characteristics of Persian syllables, which are different from those of English (Reiney & Anderson Hsieh, 1993).

1) Persian does not allow a word to start with a vowel. 2) Persian does not permit both two initial and two final consonants clusters(i.e.,CCVCC syllable).

Thus, in general, English has a wider range of syllable types thanPersian and also it allows the occurance of consonant clusters both at the word initial and final position ( Avery and Ehrlich, 1992).

It should be noted , however, that although English permits initial and final consonant clusters, there are some restrictions on the possible combinations of consonants when realized in consonant clusters. For example, the two nonsense words "blick" and " bnick" both contain initial consonant clusters /bi/ and /bn/ but the only permissible consonant combination is /bi/ , not / bn /;thus native speakers of English would consider "bnick" to be a very odd word

.

5.SYLLABLE STRUCTURE The sounds that result from one chest pluse from a syllable. In its minimal from, a syllable consists of a vowel. In addition to the vowel a syllable may consist of one or more consonants that appear on either or both sides of the vowel. In some languages like Japanese , most often the syllable is composed of one consonant followed by one vowel. These languages are called syllabic languages. In syllabic languages, each syllable is represented by a symbol ( called syllabary) in the writing system. The word TOYOTA from the Japanese language for example includes three syllables:

TO , YO, and TA . Therefore the syllable structure of most Japanese syllables is very simple: Consonant+ vowel (CV ). Most languages are, however, alphabetic in that symbols( called characters or letters ) in their orthography represent sound segments or phonemes rather than syllables. In these languages, the consonants and vowels are arrayed in a linear fashion to represent the syllables , words , sentences, etc . Arabic and Hebrew , however , tend to arrange their consonants in a linear fashion , and superscribe or subscribe their vowels as diacritics or sporadic features above or under their consonants. As such, Arabic and Hebrew can ironically be called betagamic rather than alphabetic languages. Many of the most famous languages of the world, including English, are, however, alphabetic in the sense that they represent both their

vowels and consonants in the form of lettrs in their orthography. In such languages,

words are composed of one or more syllables . A syllable is aphonological unit

composed of one or more phonemes . Every syllable has a nucleus,which is usually a

vowel( but which may be a syllabic liquid or nasal) .

The nucleus may be preceded by one or more phonemes called the syllable onset and

followed by one or more segments called the coda.Englisjh is an alphabetic language

which has a complex syllable structure . the syllable structure of English has been

presented in table 2.4 below .

SYLLABLE STRUCTURE

EXAMPLE

V

l/aI/

CV

key /ki:/

CCV

tree/tri:/

CCCV

spree/spri:/

CVC

seek/si:k/

CCVC

speak/spi:k/

CCCVC

scram/skraem/

CCCVCC

striped/straIpt/

VC

an/aen/

VCC

ant/aent/

VCCC

ants/aents/

CVCC

pant/paent/

CVCCC

pants/paents/

CCCVCCC

splints/splInts/

CCVCC

Stamp/staemp/

Table 2.4 : Syllable structure of English

Table 2.4 has used the symbol C to represent consonants and the symbol V to

represent vowels . Notice that the syllable structure of English includes at least fifteen

different types of syllables.:

In yhis connection , it is interesting to notice that in alphabetic languages , the number

of vowels that appear in a word can be used as an index for determining the number

of syllable that make that word . A close look at the syllable structures presented in

table2.4 above reveals that , in English, consonant clusters can occuer in both syllable

initial and syllable-final positions(i.e.,as onest or coda ). Moreover , consonant

clusters are not limited to two consonants in English. In a word like street three

consonants cluster together at the beginning of the syllable to produce a CCCVC

syllable. Another interesting observation is that vowels can initiate syllables in

English.

The syllable structure of Persian is, however , different . on the one hand , Persian

syllables cannot be initiated with vowels; even words that seem to start with a vowel

include the glottal stop /?/ as the syllable on a onset . on the other hand, syllable-

initial consonants clusters are impossible in Persian. In addition , syllable- final

consonant clusters in Persian normally take no more than two consonants in their

structures . As such ,most Persian syllable belongin one of the three syllable

structures( I.e., CV,CVC,or CVCC) presented in table 2.5 below . take the following

Persian examples:

PERSIAN SYLLABLES

EXAMPLE

CV

CVC

CVCC

ba/ba: / meaning with toop/tu:p/ mening ball satr/saetr/ meaning line abr/?aebr/ meaning cloud

Table 2.5 : Persian syllable structure

The differences between thesyllable strucvture of Persian and English are responsible

for a good portion of Iranian EFL learners' pronunciation problems.

In fact, many Iranian EFL learners tend to insert the vowel / e/ in many monosyllabic

English words to make yhem readily pronounceable. In addition, since Persian

syllables cannot be initiated by vowls, many Iranian EFL learners start pronouncing

vowel initial English syllables with the consonant /?/ . The term Penglish is

sometimes used to refer to Persian pronunsiatian of English words. The result of such

mispronunciation is that many monosyllabic English words are rendered as bi- or tri-

syllabic by some Iranian EFL students. Take the following example:

EXAMPLE

PRONUNSIATION

MISPRONUNSIATION

Out

/aut/

/?aut/

Tree

/tri:/

/teri:/

Dress

/dres/

/deres/

Street

/stri:t/

/?esteri:t/

 

Sky

/skai/

/?eskai/

 

English Phonem es -Consonants

 

Manner

(***)

(**

(**

(**

(**

(*

(*

Stops

voiceless

p

   

T

 

K

 

D

g

Voiced

b

Affricates

Voiceless

       

C

   

voiced

j

Fricatives

Voiceless

 

F

S

S

 

h

voiced

v

z

Z

Lateral

voiced

     

I

     

Nasals

Voiced

 

m

   

n

   

Semivowels

Voiced

 

w

   

r

y

   

Phoneme Key Word

Phoneme

Key word

 

Phoneme

Keyword

b

bat

M

Man

 

t

Tag

d

Dog

N

Nor

v

Vat

F

Fat

P

Pat

w

We

G

Go

R

Rat

y

Yes

H

Hat

Thin

 

z

Zoo

J

Jump

This

(***)

Azureَ

K

Kick

S

see

(***)

Church

L

Lump

(***)

 

shoe

(***)

Sing

English Phonemes - Vowels

Front

Central

Back

 

i

 

u

 

(bi

(***)

(good)

High

+1

Mid

e

 

O

(bet)

(but)

(ball)

Low

(***)

a

 

(pot)

(bat)

(bought)

Unround

Round

Iy =(***)

ay = (***)

 

ow =

Ey =

uw =

Figure 8.10

segments features
segments
features

p b

d

t k

g

m f

n

 

v s

 

z

 

Vocalic

- -

-

- -

-

- -

-

-

- -

- -

- -

 

-

Consonantal

+ +

+

+ +

+

+ +

+

+

+ +

+ +

+ +

 

+

continuant

- -

-

- -

-

- +

-

-

+ +

+ +

+ +

 

+

nasal

- -

-

- -

-

+ -

+

+

- -

- -

- -

 

-

Abrupt

release

+ +

+

+ +

+

+ -

+

+

- -

- -

- -

 

-

lateral

- -

-

- -

-

- -

-

-

- -

- -

- -

 

-

voice

- +

+

- -

+

+ -

+

+

+ -

- +

+ -

 

+

tense

+ -

+ +

-

-

- +

-

-

- +

+ -

- +

 

-

 

aspiration

- -

 

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

-

- -

 

-

 

strident

 

- -

 

-

- -

 

- -

 

- +

- +

 

-

-

+

+ +

 

+

anterior

 

+ +

 

+

+ -

 

- +

 

- +

+ +

 

+

+

+

+

-

-

coronal

 

- -

 

+

+ -

 

- -

 

- -

+ -

 

+

+

+

+

+

+

high

 

- -

 

-

- +

 

+ -

 

+ -

- -

 

-

-

-

 

- + +

 

low

- -

 

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

-

- -

 

-

back

 

- -

 

-

- +

 

+ -

 

+ -

- -

 

-

-

-

- -

 

-

round

 

- -

 

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

-

- -

 

-

                     
Segments features
Segments
features

-

+ +

- -

   

- +

-

+ +

 

+ +

 

+ +

+ +

 

+

+

vocalic

 

+

+ -

+ +

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

consonantal

 

-

+ +

- +

   

+

+ +

+ +

 

+ +

 

+ +

+ +

 

+

+

Continuant

 

-

- -

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

nasal

 

-

- -

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

Abrupt release

 

-

+ -

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

Lateral

 

-

+ +

+ +

   

+

+ +

+ +

 

+ +

 

+ +

+ +

 

+

+

voice

 

+

- +

- -

   

- +

-

 

- +

 

- -

 

+ -

- +

 

-

+

Tense

 

-

- -

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

Aspiration

 

+

- -

+ -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

Strident

 

-

+ +

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

Anterior

 

+

+ -

+ +

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- -

 

- -

- -

 

-

-

coronal

 

+

- -

+ -

   

+

+ +

+ -

 

- -

 

+ +

- -

 

-

-

High

 

-

- +

- -

   

-

- -

 

- -

 

- +

 

- -

- -

 

-

+

Low

 

-

- -

- -

   

-

+ -

 

- -

 

- -

 

+ +

+ +

 

+

+

Back

 

-

- -

- -

   

-

+ -

 

- -

 

- -

 

+ +

- +

 

+

-

round

 

relevant features in the following order :( 1) voicing (voiced, voice lees), (2) position of articulation (labial, dental, alveolar, palatal, velar) . (3) Degree of obstruction to the air stream (stop, fricative) or action of the velum (nasal). Thus, [p] is described as a voiceless labial stop, while [z] is a voiced alveolar fricative and [n] is a voiced velar nasal. Vowels are described by citing (1) tenseness [tense, nontense (also referred to as lax)], (2) the tongue height (high, mid, low), and (3) the tongue position (front, central, back),(4) rounding ( rounded , unrounded ) , and (5) the fact that the sound is a vowel. Therefore, [i] is a tense high front unrounded vowel, whereas [ ] is a lax (nontence) Mid central unrounded vowel. Other features can be added to these description when additional detail is required.

Test of the vowels sound/n/,/u/and/u:/

Exercises

1. Listen to this student. Do the underlined words have an

Or/U: / / / Sound? Write them in the corre part of the table. I
Or/U: / / /
Sound? Write them in the corre
part of the table.
I studied English at a school in London last summer. I was there for
two months: May and June. England is famous for bad food and
weather, but I thought the food was good. The pub lunches were very
nice. But it's true about the weather. Too mush rain
for me!

//

/u: /

Studied

school

Follow up: listen again and repeat sentence by sentence.

2. Complete these sentences with words from the box. The vowel sound is given.

Listen, check and repeat.

Brother wood

Month

moon

juice

won

cup

June

would

full

Son

good

Example

Two things you can

After……/u:/is July. / 1. The ……/

. // Is my ……….

In 2002. // The world………

4. Fruit ………./u:/ is ……./u/ for you.

/u/ on a foot is a shoe and a

…/u: /

/ 2. My mother's other ……./

// 3. Brazil ……

5.

There is a ………/u/ …………/u: /once a month.

6.

You pronounce ………. /u/ exactly the same as …

/u/.

3.

Circle the word with the different vowel sound. You can use a dictionary if you are

not sure.

 

Example

foot

look

blood

push

1.

soon

book

boot

room

2.

rude

luck

run

but

3.

shoes

does

true

blue

4.

pull

full

put

rule

5.

group

could

would

should

6.done

move

love

son

7.

south

young

couple

won

4.

Listen and circle the word you hear. If you find any of these difficult, go to section

D4 sound (***) for further practice.

1.Cut or cat?

There 's a cut /cat on the arm of the sofa.

2. come or calm ?

3. gun of gone ?

4. shoes or shows?

5.pool or pull?

6. luck or look?

7. shirt or shut ?

you should try to come / calm down .

He's taken his dog and gun/gone. I've never seen her shoes /shows on TV. It said ' pool ' / ' pull' on the door .

It's just her luck/look !

The hairdresser's shirt /shut.

Test of vowel sounds /3:(r)/and / / (r)/

Exercise

1. write these numbers out in full. Which of the two vowel

or / : / sounds do they contain? Write / : /

/ : / Example 3 rd …….third….

 

1 1.

.

4

2.

30……

3.4 th …….

4.

1 st …….

5.

14………

2.

Find 14 words in the puzzle ( every letter is used once) and write them in the

correct part of the table . the words are written

).

) or vertically ( horizontally

: / Words with/

Words with / : /

Bird

3. Listen to these sentences. Is the accent from Britain or America? Write B or A

EXAMPLE

The girl's first birthday.

…A…

1 Its hard work, of course. …

2 Are you sure?

….

3

Law and order .

4

I walk to work.

5

I saw the bird fall. ….

 

6

He was born on Thursday the thirty-first.

……

 

b

b

t

c

o

u

r

s

e

i

a

u

h

w

s

w

a

r

r

i

r

e

o

o

h

g

m

d

i

n

the

a

r

r

e

i

o

s

a

w

r

d

t

r

r

r

I

a

w

d

a

i

i

i

e

7

she taught German.

……

8

I learned to surf in Brazil.

……

9

'Caught' and 'court' sound the same in my accent.

4.

Listen and circle the word you hear. If you find any of these difficult, go to Section

D4 sound pairs for further practice.

1. It isn't four/far.

2. Worst or west?

3. Walk or woke?

4. Shut or shirt?

5. Port or pot?

6. Bird or beard?

7. Her or hair?

8. Worked or walked?

Four or far?

It's on the worst /west cost.

I walk/ woke the dog.

The butcher's shut/shirt.

There's coffee in the port /pot.

He has a black bird /beard.

Is that her /hair?

We worked/walked all day.

Test of consonant sounds /0/and/0/:

Exercise

1.

Find a way from start to finish . You may pass a square only

You can move

horizontally / / if the word in it has the sound

 

( ) or vertically ( ) Only.

 
 

START

north

northern

either

weather

breathe

those

 

south

bath

bathe

thought

breath

youth

suthern

tird

teir

trough

tough

thumb

tailand

coth

pth

ffth

wth

worth

mnth

cothes

tese

bother

tat

teeh

throw

ting

athor

oher

tey

wealth

FINISH

2. Complete this rhyme using words from the box. Then listen and check.

Earth

heather

neither

mothers

brothers

together

birth

either

Arthur had a …brother… And he didn't want …another… And of the brother's , …… . Wanted sisters ……… The last thing on this …

.

They wanted was a ……. So Arthur's mother ……… Got them both ………… .And told them all good… Should learn to share their …

Follow up : listen to the poem again . Pause the recording after each line and repeat it.

3. Think of a computer which people speak in to and it writes what they say. This

computer wrote the sentences down wrongly. Correct the underlined mistakes.

EXAMPLE It's free

three….

1. A bat is more relaxing than a shower. ……

2. The train went true the tunnel. …

4.You need a sick coat in winter …….

5. I don't know ; I haven't fought about it .

6. it's a matter of life and deaf . …

…….

4.listen and circle the word you hear . if you find any of these difficult, go to section D4 sound pairs for further practice .

1. youth or use ?

there's no youth / use talking about that .

2. thought or taught ?

I don’t know what she thought /taught.

3. free or three ?

4. closed or clothed ?

5. Breeding or breathing?

6. these are our visa ?

Free/ three refills with each packet?

They weren't fully closed /clothed.

They've stopped breeding /breathing.

These are / visa problems we can deal with later.

Test of the consonant souds /m/, /and/

Exercises

1. read this conversation . it contains 19 examples of the sound

(/ does it m) . How many examples of the sound /n/ and /

Contain? Write your answers. Then listen and check.

I met a man near the monument this morning. He was a singer and sang
I met a man near the monument this morning. He
was a singer and sang a song for me. I'll always
remember that magic moment. Like something out
of a dream!
What , is that the moment, the monument or the man you meant?
What , is that the moment, the
monument or the man you meant?

2. Find away from start to finish. You may pass a square only / .if the word in it

has the sound /

You can move horizontally (

) only.) or vertically (

START

sing

think

thick

strong

wrong

rung

sign

uncle

unless

drug

strange

comb

thanks

angry

signal

drank

Eglish

finger

anxious

angel

single

monkey

money

young

language

tongue

skiing

skin

came

ink

lounge

danger

band

dream

swim

wing

FINISH

Listen and check.

Worn

warm

thing

thin

Sid:

Hey, Joe, your coat is very worn.

Joe: No, it isn't ……

Sid: No, not ……! I said ……., with an N!

…. Sid: yes, the cloth is ……

Joe: oh ,

.I always feels cold in this coat.

.with an N!

Joe: What do you mean " the cloth is …

Sid: No,…

4. Listen and circle the word you hear. If you find any of these difficult, go to section

D4 sound pairs for further practice.

" ?

with

an N at the end , not …. With a G at the end!

1. Robin or robbing?

My friend likes Robin Banks / robbing banks.

2. Ran or rang? Tom ran /rang yesterday.

3. Swing are swim? She had a swing/ swim in the garden.

4. Warned or warmed?

5. Singing or sinking?

The son warned / sun warmed me.

The people were singing / Sinking fast.

Test of the sounds /h/,/w/and/j/:

Exercise

1. Add on of these sounds to the start of these words to make other words: /h/, /j/, /w/.

Think of sounds and spelling!

Example

air …hair, where……………

1.

Earth…………

6. eyes…………

. 11. I'll…………

2.

ear……………

7. all…………

12. eat ……….

3.

Or…………….

8. aid …………

13. ache ………

4 . in …………

9.ill……………

14. eye………

5.

eight ………

10. art

……….

15. Old

……….

2.

In these groups of words, three of the words begin with the same consonant sound.

You can use a dictionary.

Example

hour

half

home

high

1.

union

used

under

university

2.

water

whale

whole

window

3.

when

who

where

which

4.

year

euro

uniform

untie

5.

how

honest

healthy

happy

6.

one

write

world

waste

3.

each sentence contains four or five examples of one of these sounds : /h/ , /w/, /j/.

write the phonemic letter under the sounds in the sentences .

Example

A fusion of Cuban and European music . / j/

j

j

j

j

1.

Your uniform used to be yellow. / j/

2.

Haley's horse hurried ahead / h/

3.

This is a quiz with twenty quick questions. /w/

4.

We went to work at quarter to twelve./w/

5.

New York University student's union . /j/

6.

The hen hide behind the hen house. / H/

 

4.

Listen and circle the word you hear. If you find any of these difficult, go to section

D4 sound pairs for further practice.

1. Art or heart?

This is the art /heart of the country.

2. Hearing or earring?

3. West or vest?

4. Aware or of air?

5. Use or juice?

6. Heat or sheet?

She's lost her hearing / earring.

The west / vest is very warm.

They weren't made aware / of air.

What's the use / juice?

I can't sleep in this heat / sheet

Suprasegmental

Aspects

of

English

and

persian

Suprasegmental asoects of aspects of the English sound system such as rhythm,stress, and intonation are often distinguished from the segmental aspects such as consonants and vowels Discussed earlier. These suprasegmental aspects of English are also considered to be different from those of Persian in many respects.

Rhythm : Stress Timed / Syllable Timed According to Ladefoged (1982) , the term " stress- timed / syllable timed " is used to characterized the pronunciation of languages that display a particular type of rhythm in stress Timed languages, there is a tendency that sressed syllables recur at regular intervals, regardless of the number of unstressed syllables that intervene in a sentence . In other words, the amount of time it takes to say a sentence in stressed- timed language depends on the number of syllables That receives stress, either minor or major ,not on the total number of syllablrs ( Avery & Ehrilch, 1992). In syllable-timed languages on the other hand, the syllables are said to occuer at regular intervals of time , and the amount of time it takes to say a sentence dependes on the number of syllables in the sentence, not on the number of stressed syllables as in stressed- time languages. According to Catford (1977) , English in categorized as a stress timed language and syllable timed language . For example , it would take approximately the same amount of time to say the following two English sentences, even though the number of syllables in each sentence differs . …….Birds … /eat……/worms.

… The birds / will have eaten / the worms.

…….1……… ……

2

………3

That is ," the intervals between stressed syllables in speech are either equal or at least more nearly equal than the intervals between the nucleus of each successive syllable and next " (Matthews, 1997, p. 355). Although vance (1987) has raised some doubts as to whether stressed syllables in English are indeed isochronal , Ladefoged (1982)

notes that such a general tendency of stress-timed languages might be applicable to English as well. In Persian , however , each of the equivalent sentences of English examples above would take different amount of time to complete each of the sentences:

(**********)

……(**********)

(16 syllables) (********) As is apparent from these examples, the amount of time to say a sentence in Persian differs , depending on how many syllables the sentence contains' not how many stressed syllables it contains as in the English examples. Stressed: pitch Accent language/ Stressed Accent Language Although both English and Persian are similar in having word Stressed, they differ in terms of how word stressed is realized In creating characteristic stress patterns of each language. In English, sressed syllables are marked primarily by making vowels longer and louder, while in Persian syllable stressed in vowels simply saying vowels at a higher pitch. Such difference in stress realization between Persian and English is often referred to as the distinction between pitch accent and stress accent languages ( Gimson,1989). The notion of stressed accent seems quite relevant to the existence of reduced or unstressed vowel called "shwa" in English , for it is considered a natural phenomenon that if significantly strong stress is placed on a particular single vowel or syllable in a word, other vowels or syllables in the same word become less significant and their reduction process is facilitated. In addition , it can be said that this way of making stress greatly contributes to creating a stress- timed rhythmic pattern of English(Dalton& Seidlhofer, 1994) . In contrast to English stress patterns , Persian use of pitch in making stress can explain in the syllable timed rhythmic patterns of Persian, in that using slightly higher pitch to mark stress does not make a particular vowel or syllable in a word prominent in quality, compared to other vowels or syllables uttered at a slightly lower pitch. Thus, the amount of time to say a sentence in Persian is not restricted to the number of stressed vowels or syllables as in English.

Intonation

Introduction patterns of English and Persian have some characteristics in common such as final rising intonation pattern as used in yes- no question or final rising falling as used in statements, commands , and wh- questions , but the difference between the two languages is the degree of pitch changes utilized in creating rising or falling intonation contours ( Wong, 1987) . For example Persian is often said to use less pitch variation than English. In other words, Persian and English have different pitch functions in uttering a sentence. English pitch changes occur in conjunction with the major sentence stress which is usually placed on a stressed syllable in the final content word , to convey the meaning of sentences, while Persian mainly uses pitch changes to mark stress on the word level, whitch results in producing a so-called "monotonous" intonation contours typical of Peresian speech patterns (Avery & Ehrlich, 1992). Specific Problem Areas for Iranian learners of English Pronunciation Problems:

Segmentals Segmental differences between Persian and English sound system reveal several potentially problematic areas that Iranian learners of English encounter in their production of English consonants and vowels.

Vowels As is pointed out in the earlier sections on the English and Persian vowel system, there are apparently more vowels present in English than in Persian . The fact that the Persian vowel inventory is characterized as a typical five-vowel system ,suggests that Japanese students would have difficulty producing English vowels that do not exist in the Persian vowel system ( Vance, 1987). In English, there are five front vowels, /i/ /I// / /a/ / / //ae/ and five back vowels /u/ /U/ /While in Persian there are only three vowels /i:/ /e/ /***/made in the front and one vowel /u:/ In the back and one vowel in /do not // center. In addition , the English central vowels / Exist in the five vowel system of Persian . thus, it is quite probable that vowel distinctions made by the change of tongue positioning between the five front vowels and the five back vowels of English may pose problems for Iranian learners of English, who are accustomed to making only three distinctions on tongue positioning in the front and back of the mouth. Furtheremore , the tense /lax distinctions made in English, which contribute to creating the wider variety of vowels of English, seem to be one of the most problematic areas in pronunciation for Iranian students. For example, Iranian learners often produce the tense/lax vowel pairs of English almost identically as if they were the same vowels; for example, words such as " sleep", "taste" and " stewed" may be pronounced in the same way as such words as "slip" , "test" and "stood" are pronounced respectively. thus, it is quite conceivable that such failure to distinguish between tense and lax vowel pairs of English can cause misunderstandings or miscommunications between Iranian students and native English speakers. Furthermore, the Persian lack of a mid / /and a low front vowel/ ***/ as present in central vowel/ English and the different tongue positioning of the vowel /a/ between the two languages(i.e.,/a/ is a low back vowel in English,while it is a low central vowel in Persian ) can bring about a great confusion to Iranian students in producing such words as " hut ", " hat" , and "hot" , or " putt" , " pat", and " pot" . that is , Iranian students might end up producing these three vowel sounds in such a similar or interchangeable manner that a native English speaker cannot tell which words they are trying to say .

Consonants As I painted out earlier , the Persian consonantal inventory dose not contain such a wide variety of consonants as its English counterpart , although allophonic realizations of some Persian consonants can cover some of the consonants present in English but not in the Percian consonantal system( Riney & Anderson Hiseh , 1993;Ladefoged ,1982) . such voiceless / /voiced pairs of fricatives and affricates in English as / ***// And /v/ /w/ usually do not occur as distinct phonemes in Persian, but when /v/and /w/ appear before the vowels /I/ and /u/ , they are pronounced /v/and /w/ allophonically. It should be noted , however, that because these allophonic realizations are constrained by the environments in which they occur, the specific settings for such Persian allophonic realizations might not always be appropriate for English Phonemic realizations(Kenworthy, 1987). For example, Persian students may pronouns such pair of words as " they " and" thin" or " wear" and" was" like(***) and (***) or "veer" and "vak" respectively. Thus, these problems are considered to be a clear illustration that Iranian students might be transferring the sound patterns of Persian in to English and producing allophonic consonants that are appropriate in Persian but not in English . Another problem that comes from the lack of particular consonants in a Persian but which exist in English is the pronunciation of labiovelar approximant /w/. while Persian has a similar counterpart of /v/ sound , it is a labiodental as in English . because of the particular lack of /w/ sound, Iranin learners often substitute the voiced labiodental fricatives/ v/ for/w/ . this strategy of substitution might cause some miscommunication between Iranian students and native speakers of English; for instance, such words as " was" and wea" might be wrongly perceived as "vase" and ""veer" .

As a similar example of substituting a particular consonant with other similar consonants available, Iranian students often / / employ such substitution strategy in producing the English And (***) sounds . Although Persian has not a interdental // fricative sound similar to both English

And (***), the Interdental/fricative doesnot exactly correspond to either of the English interdentalfricative and they are often pronounced as a kind of in- between

sound of the English / t/ and /d/ and /s/ and /z/. Thus, Iranian students often substitute

/t /

/at another. Because of this For (***) at one time and /s/ for / / , words such as "they" Interchangeable use of both(***) and/ And " thin" may sound like "day" and "sin" to English native Speakers . still another problem of pronunciation that needs to be addressed for Iranian students is that they often has difficulty producing English words with consonant clusters and closed syllables. Such difficulty is caused by the fact that

Persian doesnot allow a word to end with three consonants nor permit two initial consonants clusters (e.g. , CCVCC types of syllables as found in English words ) ( Avery and Ehrlich 1992) . Thus, aword with initial consonant clusters and a closed syllable such as " street" may be pronounced as "estrees" or /estri:t/ , by inserting a vowel before consonants, so that the word can conform to the Persian syllable pattern (CVC). Furthermore , this vowel insertion strategy usedby Iranian students seem to be

a natural reaction to the difficulties pronouncing consonant clusters, but at the same time quite difficult to amend by themselves, because usually students are not aware consciously of the fact that they are inserting a vowel before consonants in pronouncing consonant clusters. Although they might recognized the problem when pointed out by others at the time, there is no telling whether the problem will be corrected in the future.

Stress,Rhythm, and Intonation

Since Persian is a syllable timed language , Persian learners of English may have difficulty producing English words and sentences in the way that corresponds to the

characteristic rhythm of English. The reason behind this difficulty seems to be two

fold : 1) there is no reduced or short vowel equivalent to English shwa

syllable-timed language like Persian , each syllable is assigned an equal amount of weight , regardless of whether the syllable is stressed or unstressed . As aresult, Iranian speakers' pronunciation of English words and sentences may sound strange to the native speakers' ears , and this particular type of rhythm can adversely affect the comprehen sibility of their English to the native speakers. In addition , the difference

2) In a

in the way of stress markings between Persian and English, also contributes to the difficulty fore Iranian Students in both producing and receiving the characteristic stressed patterns and the overall rhythm of English. Finally, the issue of difficulty that Iranian students might face in realizing the characteristic intonation patterns of English should also be addressed . although both Persian and English utilize the basic intonation patterns such as rising intonation for yes- no questions or final rising- falling for statements in conveying the meaning of sentences and also the intend of the speaker , the difference between the two rests not in the way of creating intonation patterns but rather in the degree of pitch change or pitch ranges employed differently in creating appropriate intonation contours in each language ( Avery & Ehrlich ,1992). AS a result , Iranian students would often fail to display the wider pitch range utilized in creating English Intonation patterns, relying heavily on their use of the narrower pitch range of Persian intonation patterns (Maccarthy ,1978) For example, even if a Iranian student intends to say a sentence as a statement, a native English speaker might misinterpret the statement as a question or assume that the speaker has not finish speaking yet. This example of misinterpretation as to the intent of the speakers utterances clearly illustrates one of the most common problems that Iranian learners of English may encounter in communication. When a speaker fails to lower the pitch level far enough at the end of a sentence, the utterance might be perceived as a continuation of the speech, in spite of the speaker's initial intention to finish the line. Furthermore, it should be noted that since pitch changes can convey not only the meaning of sentences but also the speaker's attitude toward a topic of conversation, narrower use of pitch ranges by Iranian students in their speech might be( mis) interpreted as a sign of boredom or lack of interest by the native English speakers (Avery & Ehrilch ,1992).

Conclusion

As we have seen in the preceding section ,many of the potential pronunciation َ difficulties for Iranian / EFL learners are found to be a clear reflection of the L1 phonological transfer. Through detailed examination of Persian and English sound systems, some of the specific problem areas have been identified, especially in reference to some of the characteristic phonological differences between the two languages. Pronunciation difficulties for Iranian learners of English may arise; 1) When they encounter sounds in English that are not part of / /, (***) , /w/, … the sound inventory of Persian such as ; / 2) when the rules of combining sounds into words in Persian are different from those in English (i.e.; different syllable types) . 3)When the characteristic patterns of stress and intonation in English , which determine the overall rhythm or melody of the language, are different from those in Persian (I.e., pitch accent vs. stress accent and syllable- timed vs., stress-timed). It should be noted, however, that identifying specific pronunciation difficulties for Iranian learners of English do not necessarily lead to the dramatic improvement of their pronunciation, but rather that such knowledge can only constitute a prerequisite for teachers in creating actual teaching activities . In other words , whether the pronunciation teaching can become effective or not largely depends on how teachers can utilize such knowledge in designing the teaching materials or activities that help students become aware of the difference between English and Persian sound systems and improve their pronunciation by themselves (Kelly , 2000 ; celce-Murcia, Brinton & Goodwin , 1996).

Although it is almost a cliché that the better the Pronunciation, the more effective the communication becomes, it is equally true that even if L2 learners could attain perfect pronunciation of sepsrate sound items , that does not guarantee smooth communication with native speakers nor effective presentation of the idas that they intend to convey. Communicative aspects of language learning, which involves many other competence requirements such as grammatical , strategic, sociolinguistic , or discourse knowledge , should not be neglected for the sake of native like accuracy of pronunciation (Morley , 1987;Celect-Murcia,1987).

With this regard , the tasks for ESL/EFL teachers inteaching pronunciation should not be limited to eradicating all traces of a forein accent from the students' speech. But rather, instead of expecting" precise accuracy" through tedious pronunciation drills or repetition, more emphasis should be placed on raising communicative value of the students ' pronunciation so that what they produce would be more comprehensible to others.

References

Birjandi/P& Salmani nodoushan / M.A.(2005) . Ax Introduction to phonetics .Tehran: Zabankadeh publications .

Hancock/M.(2003). English pronunciation in use . Cambridge : Cambridge university press.

Falk/s.j.(1973). Linguistics and Language (second ed.)Michigan : Michigan state university.

Fromkin /V and Rudman / R . ( 1988) . An Introduction to language . ( 4 th ed .) . Holt , Rinhart and Winston , Inc .

Ladefoged/ p. (1987) . A course in phonetics . New york: Harcout Brace.

Cele Murcia / M. (1987). Teaching pronunciation as communication. In J. morely (ED.)/Current perspectives on pronunciation (pp. 1-12) .Washington /DC: TESOL

Ohata /k . ( 2005) Phonotogical Difference between Japanese and English .[Article]. Pensylvanya:

Indiana University of Pensylvania . Brown/H.D.(1994). Principles of language learning and teaching ( 3 rd ed.0. Englewood cliffs /NJ: Prentice Hall. O'connor /J.D.(1954).A curse of English pronunciation .London : The British Broadcasting Corporation in London.

Lyons/J. (1981). Language and Linguistics . Cambridge : Cambridge Univerity Press.

Roach/ P . (2000). English Phonetics and Phonology A practical course (3 rd ed.). Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Table "1" Score of Students with remedia course {Experimental group}

Pre-test

Post-Test

VOL

Name -Family

Score

score

1

Roshanak Siahpoosh

12.75

18

2

Fatemeh Shah Abadi

18

20

3

Nahid Bossak

11.25

17

4

Maryam Behdarvand

14.5

18

5

Zeinab Jamshdi

9.5

14.25

6

Ashraf Behdarvand

19.75

20

7

Khadijeh Molla -Ahmadi

12

15.5

8

Somayeh Monjezy

18.5

20

9

Mahnaz Babaee

13

16

10

Maesoomeh

Javdaneh

14.5

16.25

11

Elham

Eghbali

17.25

20

12

Mahtab

Shadmehr

8.75

13.5

13

Forogh Baba - Hosseini

13.25

15.5

14

Ahzam

Mokhtar-zadeh

16.25

18

15

Elaheh

Hasanvand

11.5

15

Table "2" Scores of Students with out Remedial course {coutrol group}

 

pre-Test

Post-Test

VOL

Name-Family

Score

score

1

Mina Gomari

9.5

10

2

Leila Ahmadi

7.75

6.5

3

Maryam Amiri

10.5

11

4

Mona

Sardar- zadeh

16.5

13.25

5

Foroozan Mokhtari

12.25

10

6

Shabnam

Mokhtari

4.5

-5-

7

Roya Hafezee

7.25

-8-

8

Sahar

Emam- gholi zadeh

18.25

16

9

Asma Gorjian

9.5

7.75

10

Fatemeh Bossak

5

-8-

11

Nahid

Bakhtiari

10

13

12

Zahra zalaki

8.5

-7-

13

Zeinab Lorestani

5

8

14

Sommayeh

Adineh

8.25

10.5

15

Sakineh

Mohammadi

10.25

11