The Influence of Educational Background on Malaysian Chinese Learners' Mispronunciation of /l/ and /r/

Soubakeavathi, Rethinasamy and Cecilia Xin Li, Chen and Ruey Shing, Soo (2023) The Influence of Educational Background on Malaysian Chinese Learners' Mispronunciation of /l/ and /r/. World Journal of English Language, 13 (1). pp. 303-311. ISSN 1925-0711

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Maintaining intelligibility among interlocutors while communicating in English remains a challenging task for many second or foreign language learners. This problem is attributable to many reasons, including learners‟ obstacles with pronunciation. The recurring report of Chinese learners having incomprehensible pronunciation of /l/ and /r/ in English words has engendered debate on various factors underlying the problem. Despite the extensive discussion of this issue, previous studies had overlooked educational background as a potential factor which could affect learners‟ pronunciation. Thus, this study investigated mispronunciations of /l/ and /r/ among Malaysian Chinese undergraduates vis-à-vis their educational background, namely Chinese-educated (CE) and non-Chinese educated (NCE). The study objectives were to determine CE and NCE learners‟ frequency of mispronunciation of English words containing /l/ and /r/ according to phoneme, phoneme position, and mispronunciation characteristics. To this end, a quantitative approach was employed to conduct the study. For data collection, two pronunciation word lists covering /l/ and /r/ in initial, medial, and final positions were provided to 20 CE and NCE undergraduates respectively for assessment purposes. The participants‟ pronunciations were recorded, transcribed and transformed into numerical data. The results of the study reveal that Chinese-educated Malaysian undergraduates tend to mispronounce English words containing /l/ in medial and final positions. Furthermore, words containing /l/ in the medial position tend to be substituted; while words with /l/ in the final position tend to be deleted or vocalized by the students. The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the teaching and learning of English pronunciation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: English language learners, Chinese education, educational background, mispronunciation, /l and /r/ phonemes.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Education, Language and Communication
Depositing User: Rethinasamy
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 06:24
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2023 06:24

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