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Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Presentation

External Factors of Native-Like Pronunciation Difficulties

            One of general and important goal in the L2 learning is to speak the target language accurately and fluently like native speakers. It becomes more important when like-native pronunciation is one of important criterion in some speaking assessment. Besides that, our pronunciation also reflects our quality of language ability. Poor and unintelligible pronunciation will make unpleasant and misunderstanding for both speakers and listeners. Hence many learners, teachers, and researchers emphasize the importance of pronunciation.  In other hand, they also admit that pronunciation is one of complicated features in the L2 teaching and learning. Some L2 learners have lots of problems with pronunciation because of wide range of affecting factors.
            In this is a summary the writer would like to discuss an article which is written by Qian Mei Zhang. She explained about several effecting factors of native like pronunciation that can be categorized into two domain factors, i.e. internal and external factors. The discussion here would be limited only in the external factors that can be explained as follow:

1.      Native Language
Learners’ first language is significant factors to account for accents and influences the pronunciation of the target language. It frequently interferes and causes the error in aspiration, stress, and intonation in the target language. The article’s author took Chinese as the example. She said Chinese is a tone language while English is highly stressed language. Furthermore, every language in the world has different varieties and different accents so that the learners speak the target language in a different way. Many researchers found that the more differences the sound systems of the L1 have, the more difficulties the learners will face in learning the pronunciation of the L2.

2.      Exposure
Exposure means the length of time that the learners live in a target language environment. It does not refer to the place of the learners stay but to the use of time for listening and speaking English in their daily life. The more they spend time in practicing English, the better their English pronunciation will be. As Krashen stated that learners acquire a L2 primary from input, which learners receive a large amount of comprehensible input before speaking. For the example, children of immigrant who start their second language learning process in the target language speaking environment will have ore advantages then the children who try to learn the target language in their motherlands.
3.      Educational Factors
Education system is an implicit but significant factor for L2 learning. If the country implements positive educational politics or creates a good learning environment for language learning, it will be good for learners’ language learning. Good educational conditions can provide more opportunities for the learners to contact the target language or the target language community.
Some of those factors are unchangeable and changeable. The native language interference, for example, is difficult to be minimized.  However, exposure and educational factors are changeable. We can extend our time for listening and speaking English in many ways, such as listening music, watching English movie, practicing with friends or native English speakers we found. In addition, English teachers and school also could provide opportunity for the learners to practice the L2 through listening and speaking or providing space and conditions for that purpose. Last but not least, the teacher as the model also should have good pronunciation because the students’ pronunciation mostly depends on their teacher’s pronunciation.

Source of the article:
Qian-Mei Zhang, February 27, 2009, Affecting Factors of Native-Like Pronunciation: A Literature Review, Retrieved July 29, 2012,  <>

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