Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Using Reading Aloud on Improving Iranian Efl Learners' Pronunciation of Word Stress

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Using Reading Aloud on Improving Iranian Efl Learners' Pronunciation of Word Stress

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the improvement of Iranian EFL students' English pronunciation of firststressed two syllable words by reading-aloud after listening to a native speaker model. To achieve this purpose 60 EFL subjects were selected from among 120 EFL learners based on their performance on placement test of OPT and they were randomly assigned into two groups of control and experimental, 30 participants in each. An identical pretest and post test of pronunciation was run at the beginning and end of the study to show the possible pronunciation differences of the groups. The experimental group received treatment that was reading the recorded texts aloud after listening to the native models for ten sessions with one week time interval whereas the control group received placebo in which they just listened to the recorded texts but they did not read it aloud after the model. The data were analyzed with the use of basic statistics: mean, standard deviation, independent and paired ttest. The findings of the research showed that reading aloud will help students to improve their pronunciation specially the pronunciation of firststressed two syllable words.

Key terms :Pronunciation Ability, Read Aloud, Word Stress

1. Introduction

Pronunciation is the most significant area that EFL/ESL learners need to become proficient in it. As Penny Ur (2001), Jack C. Richard & Renandya (2002) stated, pronunciation is the sound of the language, or phonology; stress and rhythm; and intonation and contains the role of single sounds, segmental and supra segmental sounds. Hahn (2004, p. 201) accepts that there is little empirical study for claims that instructing supra-segmentais is helpful and that "knowing how the various prosodic features actually affect the way native speakers process normative speech would considerably build up the grounds for contemporary pronunciation pedagogy."

Reading aloud is mentioned in the academic literature by some of the researchers as an assessment technique by which reading is tested (Fordham, Holland &Millican, 1995; Alder son, 2000a), while others attach importance to it in a different way. Panova (1989) says that reading a text aloud is important for maintaining and perfecting the pronouncing skills of the learners. Panova's view supports that of Klychnikova (1972), according to whom by means of oral reading it is possible to master the sound system of a foreign language and it strengthens the phonetic ability to recode signals at the letter level, as well as at the level of word, sentence and text.

This study tried to answer the following question:

Does using reading aloud have any significant effect on improving Iranian EFL learners' pronunciation of firststressed two syllable words?

2. Literature Review

Pronunciation teaching in the ESL or EFL program of study has changed along with the historical structure of language learning theories and methodologies. Before advancement of the direct method in the late nineteenth century, not much attention was paid to pronunciation in the language classrooms.

Supporters of the direct method declared that a major attention on listening skill without forcing the learners to speak permits them to improve grammar inductively and to internalize the target sound system before speaking, nearly the same as the way children acquire their first language (Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 19%, as cited in Aufderhaar, 2004).

The time-consuming nature of this method was criticized, so grammar translation approach reappeared again in which pronunciation received very little attention (Celce-Murcia et al., 1996, as cited in Aufderhaar, 2004).

Based on Skinner's (1957) theory of behaviorism in audio-lingual method the oral skills are gained by stimulus-response behaviors which was environmentally directed and insisted through careful oral drilling (Brown, 1997). In audio-lingual method unlike the grammar-translation method, pronunciation was considered to be the most important concern (Celce-Murcia et al. …

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