The Effect of English Vowel-Recognition Training on Beginner and Advanced Iranian ESL Learners

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Shiraz University, Iran

Abstract

This study was an attempt to investigate the effect of vowel-recognition training on beginner and advanced Iranian ESL learners. A total of 36 adult Iranian ESL learners (18 advanced and 18 beginners) who were students of various majors at Memorial University (MUN) were recruited for the study. Advanced participants had the experience of living in Canada for at least three years while beginners had lived in Canada less than six months. The study commenced with a pre-test to verify the participants’ awareness of English vowel sounds. Predictably, advanced participants were superior to beginners in terms of English vowel awareness. After the pre-test administration, participants of both groups underwent a five-week vowel-recognition training course (focusing on all English vowel sounds). At the end of the vowel-recognition training program, the 80-item multiple choice test which had been once used as the pre-test was conducted again. The findings revealed that both beginner and advanced participants’ performances were improved on the second administration of vowel-identification test due to the intensive vowel-recognition training program. It is also revealed that formal instruction of English vowels had raised beginners’ English phonetic knowledge to that of advanced learners. Moreover, it is shown that phonology of participants’ first language (i.e., Farsi) did have an influence on the acquisition of second language phonological features.

Keywords