M. NACİ KAYAOĞLU* and Nuray ÇAYLAK
*Asst. Prof. Dr., Department of English Language and Literature, Trabzon, Karadeniz Technical University
MA, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Trabzon, Karadeniz Technical University
Problem Statement: Although the debate on adopting native-like pronunciation or a universal pronunciation is a change that can save nonnatives from embarrassment appears to have recently lost its merit, the challenge of teaching accurate and proper pronunciation is still a concern for teachers that needs to be remedied.
Purpose of Study: The main purpose of this study was to test the Audio Articulation Method as a remedy for pronunciation errors on adult EFL learners’ acquisition of inter-dental fricatives / Ө / and /ð/ at a university vocational school. It also sought to explore the students’ consideration of phonetic issues in language acquisition.
Methods: This quasi-experimental research was conducted at a vocational school of a Turkish university. A total of 36 students participated in the study. A pre-test / post-test design was employed so as to observe the effects of the method used in the experiment. In addition to a semistructured interview and classroom observation, a delayed post-test was conducted four weeks after the pre-test. SPSS 13.0 for Windows 2007 was used to analyze the data for a 0.05 significance level.
Findings and Results: The results of this study show a statistically significant difference in the students` pre-test and post-test scores. Similar significant results were also observed in the pre-test and delayed test scores, indicating a positive effect from the Audio Articulation Method. Yet, interestingly, nearly all students were observed to return to the same pronunciation habits of inter-dental fricatives /Ө/ and /ð/ in routine classroom instruction after exposure to the Audio Articulation Method.
Conclusions: Learners were receptive to the acquisition of inter-dental fricatives /Ө/ and /ð/, as the scores were positively correlated with the use of the Audio Articulation Method during the experiment. Nevertheless, the classroom observation data showed that students were not able to maintain their newly acquired phonetic behavior during routine English classes, which would indicate the need of long-term exposure to the newly acquired sounds/pronunciation.
Recommendations: This method is for the most part used for segmental level pronunciation errors, and as such it addresses a very limited part of the pronunciation issues and does not include stress, rhythm, intonation, connected speech, or prominence. Therefore, this method should more likely be considered as a complementary tool in addition to that of a pronunciation lesson.
Keywords: Audio-Articulation Method (AAM), inter-dental fricatives, pronunciation, pronunciation error.