Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Ipa and Correct Pronunciation

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Ipa and Correct Pronunciation

Article excerpt


Language learning is found on two mediums, the spoken and the written. However, researchers have appreciated to inquire into the significance of speaking in second language learning. Good speech is vital because speaking has a great power which producing the desired effect on human beings in expressing their perceptive views. Romero (2006) claimed there are great differences between the pronunciation of native and non-native speakers of a language. In other words, a foreign accent is the constant occurrence of the phonetic differences from the norms of a language which L1 speakers of that language recognize as unfamiliar to their own language sound system. In fact, learners with a foreign accent may be unintelligible in the sense that they are often misunderstood, or they may be intelligible but understanding them requires more effort.

Therefore, pronunciation is a key element in learning a language without which comprehension would be hindered. In other words, having good pronunciation for EFL learners is critical. A major difficulty which almost any ESL/EFL learner faces, is the achievement of acceptable pronunciation that enables them to be understood by the L1 English speakers. In fact, many of these learners master the elements of language such as syntax, morphology, or even semantics to the level of almost native-like competence but often fail to master correct and acceptable pronunciation. Pronunciation has always been perceived as a difficult area by teachers and learners alike. Pronunciation difficulties may be due to various factors, one of which is the lack of correspondence between English spelling of a word and its pronunciation (Asghari, 1992; Sprenger- Charolles & Siegal, 1997). By contrast, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) has some symbols used to characterize the set of distinctive sounds, or 'phonemes', of English.

Another difficulty in pronunciation that many EFL Learners have, is the accurate perception and production of word stress. Errors related to primary word stress are a common problem among EFL learners and have a great impact on students' pronunciation intelligibility and their perception skills (Celce -Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 1996). Because of the importance of pronunciation, the present research is going to find out the possible relationship between IPA, stress, and pronunciation skill of Iranian EFL learners.

In this relation, the research questions have been formulated as follows:

1) Is there any significant relationship between Iranian EFL learners' IPA competence and their pronunciation skill?

2) Is there any significant relationship between Iranian EFL learners' knowledge of word stress in English language pronunciation and their total pronunciation skill?


Pronunciation plays an important role in our personal and social lives because we project our regional, social and ethnic identities through the way we speak and by means of our accent. It is also a major factor in our intelligibility to our listeners. According to Setter and Jenkins (2005), "pronunciation, then, plays a vital role in successful communication both productively and receptively". There have been many differences of opinion over the years about the role of pronunciation in language teaching and about how best to teach it. The grammar translation method and reading-based approaches have viewed pronunciation as irrelevant. In the direct method, pronunciation is very important; however, the methodology is primitive; the teacher is ideally a native or near-native speaker of the target language presenting pronunciation inductively and correcting through modeling. In the audio-lingual approach, pronunciation is likewise very important and there is a great emphasis on the traditional notions of pronunciation, minimal pairs, drills and short conversations (Celce-Murcia &Goodwin, 1991). Situational language teaching, developed in Britain between 1940 and 1960, also reflected the audio-lingual view of the pronunciation class (Richards & Rodgers, 1986). …

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