Academic journal article Asian Social Science

L1 Transfer in the Production of Fricatives and Stops by Pattani-Malay Learners of English in Thailand

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

L1 Transfer in the Production of Fricatives and Stops by Pattani-Malay Learners of English in Thailand

Article excerpt


This study investigated the English fricative and stop pronunciation errors produced by Pattani-Malay learners of English. The participants, speaking L1 Malay, were recruited from fifth and sixth graders at Thamwittaya Mulniti School, Yala province, Thailand. The major research instruments used to examine the errors were the word list reading task and the sentence reading task. The findings of this research demonstrate that Pattani-Malay learners of English seemed to have difficulty in producing errors in some specific English fricative sounds in particular positions. The medial voiced labiodental fricative /v/ and the medial voiced interdental fricative /ð/ were apparently the most problematic. The errors in pronouncing the voiced labiodental fricative /v/ and the voiced interdental fricative /ð/ in the initial and final positions were ranked second, followed by the final voiced palato-alveolar fricative /(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)/ errors and the final voiceless interdental fricative /θ/ errors respectively. The results revealed that the learner's problems in pronouncing English fricatives and stops are mainly attributed to first language transfer.

Keywords: error analysis, fricatives, L1 transfer, Pattani-Malay, stops

1. Introduction

Bohn and Flege (1992) mentioned that the similarities of some sounds in different languages will not help language learners to produce the sounds similar to their first language correctly, and most researchers agree that there are a lot of difficulties in pronunciation of the languages which are different from their mother tongue (Bohn & Flege, 1992; Trofimovich, Gatbonton, & Segalowitz, 2007). Many studies focusing on the error analysis of pronunciation have shown that the most errors produced by the L1 speakers of Malay and Indonesian, which are really close to Pattani-Malay, are fricatives and stops. For instance, Aman (2011) confirmed that the realization pattern for the word initial voicing contrast in Malay plosives is short-lag for voiceless plosives and vs. voicing-lead for voiced plosives. English, however, has a long-lag vs. short-lag distinction. Moreover, Mathewfs (2005) study also reported on similar results. That is, the errors were made by Indonesians in the environment and features that are not found in their first language. In particular, when voiced final stops /b/, /d/, and, /g/ were realized erroneously, they were mostly devoiced. Furthermore, voiceless final stops /p/, /t/, and /k/ were mostly unreleased, which is the case in the phonology of the first three languages mentioned. However, the final /z/ elision predominated, /./ was substituted by the alveolar sibilant /z/, and /./ was mostly replaced by the alveolar /s/. In addition, Azizi, Jamil and Omar (2013) proved that L1 does have certain influence on the pronunciation of the English language among L1 Malay speakers. The subjects in the study tended to substitute other sounds existing in their L1 for the target fricative and stop sounds of English consonants. Therefore, this present study mainly focuses on these two problematic sounds.

The present-study findings are hoped to give the English language teachers a hand in teaching their studentsf English fricative and stop pronunciation. The error analysis used in the study shows the errors the students actually make. Accordingly, it will provide a valuable understanding for the teachers in order for them to be aware of the way the students speaking L1 Pattani-Malay really learn the sound system and the difficulties they are going to encounter in English fricative and stop pronunciation. With the findings, teachers can learn how to prepare their lesson plans and the procedures needed to achieve their studentsf English pronunciation mastery. Moreover, it is also expected that the students who are learning English as a foreign language will reap some benefits from this study as well, since they will be able to notice the different fricative and stop sounds in target English that do not exist in the L1 Pattani-Malay, and they can practice and finally correctly produce those unfamiliar sounds. …

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