PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS OF TURKISH EFL LEARNERS IN NORTHERN CYPRUS

Halil Ercan

Abstract


This study investigated the pronunciation problems of Turkish EFL learners in state schools in Girne, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Thirty high-school students participated in the study. The researcher collected data through a pronunciation test and school visitations. The purpose of the pronunciation test was to elicit pronunciation problems of Turkish EFL learners. The performance of thirty participants was video-recorded. In order to increase the validity of the results, two native raters listened to the recordings and rated the problematic sounds as correct or incorrect. After data collection, Microsoft Excel was used to calculate the coded and analyzed data, and SPSS (Version 20) was used to find the percentages and the frequencies of the data. The findings indicate that Turkish EFL learners have serious problems in pronouncing certain English consonants (i.e., /θ/, /ð/, /w/, /v/, /ŋ/) and some English vowels and diphthongs (i.e., /ı/, /ʊ/, /ᴐ:/, /ƏƱ/, /aƱ/). Mother tongue interference seems to be the main cause of these errors since Turkish lacks most of these sounds. Moreover, lack of sufficient exposure to target language and inadequacy in training can also be potential causes of these errors as most of the participants have never heard or practiced the correct pronunciation of these sounds. Therefore, they tend to produce incorrect sounds, instead. Similarly, English spelling may have played an important role in students’ mispronunciation. The results of the study are thought to be useful for teachers who teach English to Turkish EFL learners in Northern Cyprus.


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