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UNIVERSITÉ ALASSANE OUATTARA DE BOUAKÉ

UFR : Communication, Milieu et Société


Département d’Anglais

MÉMOIRE DE MASTER

MENTION : ANGLAIS

Spécialité: Didactique de l’Anglais

Sujet:

Teaching English Pure Vowels Pronunciation to


Francophone Beginner Learners: A Case Study
of Groupe Scolaire Saint Jacques of Bouaké

Présenté par : Sous la direction de :


M. SORO Siéllé DAHIGO Guézé Habraham Aimé,PhD.
Licencié ès lettres Maître de Conférences

ANNÉE ACADÉMIQUE: 2013/2014


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This work is dedicated to my dear father SORO Dangri and my
beloved mother SILUE Minguè, who have been supporting me
financially, morally and looking forward to the completion of this
work.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First of all, I would like to thank the Head of the English Department Dr
SORO Adama and all the teachers of the English Department for their trainings
and pieces of advice.

Secondly, I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor Prof


DAHIGO Guézé Habraham Aimé for his availability, openess, patience, careful
examination of the work, because without his invaluable contribution, this work
would not be completed.

In addition, a very big thank-you goes to Dr TOH Zorobi Philippe for the
training he gave and continues to give me. I am grateful to him for his openness,
availability, and never-ceasing encouragements.

Then, I would like to thank especially Dr SEKONGO Gossouhon for


introducing me to Linguistics and encouragements since my second year at
University.

I also thank the Director of the school Mr. ANIAMBOSSOU Christian as


well as the six students who participated to the study.

My sincere gratitude goes to my uncle SORO Kakoungolo, my elder


brother SORO Dominhin and my little brother SORO Fangnahan whose supports
and encouragements helped me in immeasurable ways.

I would be grateful to thank my uncle and guardian SILUE Dossinancha


and SILUE Donissongou without whom the completion of this work would be an
illusion.

Last but not least, I want to thank all my friends, especially OUATTARA
Alama, VOYE G. Guy Georges, COULIBALY Yôh Assetou, TUO Wandja
Fatoumata, for their encouragements and helps.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pages

DEDICATION………………………………………………..............................iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS………………………………………………….… iv

INTRODUCTION………………………………..………………………………1

CHAPTER 1: DESCRIPTION OF THE TARGET SITUATION…..………..7

1.1. GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION OF THE STUDY………………….……...8

1.2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT..............................9

1.3. THE TARGET POPULATION……………………….……………..….......12

1.4. THE CURRENT TEACHING METHOD………………..………..…......…13

CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK……..……...………………19

2.1. DEFINITION OF THE KEY TERMS…………….…………..………...…20

2.1.1. Error Analysis…………………..………………...……….…………20

2.1.2. Error………………………..………….………………………….….23

2.1.3. Mistake………………………..……….……………...………….….24

2.2. ORIGINS OR SOURCES OF ERRORS IN LANGUAGE


LEARNING………...…………………………………………………….24

2.2.1. Interlanguage……………………………………...…...……………..24

2.2.2. Languane Transfer or Interference…………………...…………...….25

2.3. THE ROLE OF ERRORS AND THEIR CORRECTION IN


SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING…...………….……….27

2.3.1. The role of error in Second/Foreign Language Learning……..………27

2.3.2. The correction of errors in Second/Foreign Language Learning…......28

2.4. THE AGE FACTOR IN LANGUAGE LEARNING……………………30

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2.5. AN OVERVIEW OF THE PRODUCTION OF ENGLISH AND
FRENCH CARDINAL OR PURE VOWELS……….………………..…31

2.5.1. The articulators or the speech organs and their description……….…...31

2.5.2. Definition and localization of vowels in the mouth…............……....…35

2.5.3. The English cardinal or pure vowels.…….…..…...…..……………..…38

2.5.4. The French cardinal or pure vowels…………….………………….......39

2.5.5. The implication of a good pronunciation of pure vowels in


communication………………….…………………………………....40

2.6. RESEARCH ON THE TEACHING OF PRONUNCIATION: THE CASE OF


THE PURE VOWELS……………………………………………..….....42

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH DESIGN……………………...……………..……51

3.1. THE SAMPLING METHODOLOGY………….………………...………...52

3.2. THE CHOICE OF THE CORPUS………………….………...………….….56

3.3. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE METHOD OF EXPERIMENTION..……...62

3.4. THE REMEDIAL TRAINING……………………………………………...71

CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS……….....80

4.1. DATA ANALYSIS………………………………………...………………..81

4.1.1. Methods of data analysis……..……………………….….……………..81

4.1.2. Presentation of data and Interpretations………..………………………..81

4.2. RECOMMENTIONS…………………….……………………………...…..90

CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………...…..94

BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………...…………….....98

LIST OF ABREVIATIONS………………………………………………..…105

APPENDICES……………………………………………………………........107

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INTRODUCTION

1
Language can be defined as the most important communicative tool of
mankind, and the English language is an important one for today’s international
communication. Thus, Côte d’Ivoire (C.I), as a French-speaking African country,
has introduced this language in its system of education in order to communicate
with the English-speaking African countries with which it interacts for economic,
political and social affairs; hence, the objectives of the English Language
Teaching in (C.I). The nearest Anglophone African countries are Ghana at the
East, Liberia at the West side and Nigeria in the far backward at the North, etc.
However, in this country, there are many local languages in addition to the French
and the English languages. These languages are considered respectively as a
Second Language (SL) and a Foreign Language (FL) in Côte d’Ivoire.

In fact, in Côte d’Ivoire, the phenomenon of multilingualism is a specific


case in that the national languages that exist here are said to be sixty (60) and
these languages are from different regions of the country. Besides, the French
language, which has been imposed to Ivorians during the colonial period, is not
only the official language but also the only language shared by the citizens for the
simple reason that it is the language of instruction. But the English language is
learned in a formal context like school. In addition, it is learned at the seventh
year in the Ivorian system of education. In other words, students start learning
English in the first year of secondary school. Meanwhile, some private schools
start English from third or fourth grade of primary school.

As it can be seen, English is acquired through explicit teaching and


learning. The Ivorian philosophy of English language teaching is Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT). One of the components of this philosophy is
Competency Based Approach (CBA), the approach implemented today. In this
approach, the teaching of pronunciation seems to be neglected in the sense that the
teaching materials as well as the national teaching program do not mention this
aspect. Nowadays, the English Language Teaching (E.L.T) has shifted from
fluency to accuracy. If only the message becomes important, can we assert that

2
pronunciation has no role to play? Isn’t it true that language is first spoken before
being written?

Moreover, the fact that the Ivorian English learners learn French in the
first place and this language contains some sounds that do not exist in English one
can lead learners to create communication breakdown. Research in language
teaching indicates that total immersion of the learner is more favorable in the
process of learning a foreign language. This is not the case in Côte d’Ivoire where
the local languages and French make of the linguistic environment an austere one.

In addition, the most visible sounds creating pronunciation difficulties to


francophone English learners are the vowels; particularly, the case of the pure
vowels which are closely related in terms of their ways of production and
perception. This is justified by the fact that unlike consonants, they are capable of
forming syllables or words in the English language. For example some linguists
have shown that the French speakers who learn the English language as a Second
Language (SL) or a Foreign Language (FL) have some difficulties in making the
distinction between the long and the short feature of the same vowel. This is the
case of the English vowels like [i:] and [ɪ].

Finger (1985) asserts the same thing that “in every English as a Second
Language class I taught French-speaking Students could not distinguish leave
from live”.1 The difference between these vowels is their quantity because in the
first word, the vowel is longer than the second one as represented respectively [i:]
and [I]. By the way, these two words owe their existence to this particular feature
(quantity) which affects communication. An evidence of this confusion can be
found in the following sentences: “Look out for that sheep.” and “Look out for
that ship”, taken from Baker’s (2006:7) Ship or Sheep? An Intermediate
Pronunciation Course. 3 rd ed. In fact, out of their physical context, which is not

1
- Julianne FINGER, “Teaching Pronunication with theVowel Colour Chart”
in Tesel Canada Journal/ Revue Tesel du Canada, vol 2, No 2,
1985, p.1.

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our concern in this study, these two sentences can be difficult to understand. The
problem can be due to the simple fact that in the first sentence, the word which
creates the confusion contains a long vowel (sheep) whereas in the second case, it
is a short one (ship). This can prove true since vowels are semantic clusters in the
sense that their mispronunciation can create communication breakdowns.

Another kind of problem is revealed by psychologists who believe that


learning a language has something to do with the learners’ age. Thus, J Piaget,
quoted by Cameron (2001), in his book entitled Teaching Languages to Young
Learners, who qualifies a “child as an active learner”2. In other words, the child is
seen as continually interacting with the world and solving problems around
him/her presented by the environment. Gashaw also sees things the same way,
when he cites Thompson and Gaddes in his MA Thesis. Gashaw (2007) builds his
arguments around the Critical Period Hypothesis theory (CPH) which states that
“those who are older than puberty are poor learners of pronunciation”.3

The same argument is found with the behaviorists who put the stress on
learning by imitation and repetition. In fact, for them, they are those who are able
to learn easily by repetition and imitation because they want to look like the
teacher who teaches them by producing words like him/her. And one of the
practical ways of learning pronunciation is by imitation accompanied by the
reinforcement of the teacher. With these ideas, it is clear that children are those
learners who are able to learn pronunciation more easily than adults.

With regard to what precedes, one can reasonably put the following
questions: can the integration of the pure vowels in the teaching/learning process
of English as foreign language help the learners produce less communication

2
- Lynne CAMERON, Teaching Languages to Young Learners, Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press, 2001, p. 2.

3
- Angegagren GASHAW, The Status of Pronunciation Teaching in secondary school
ELF Instruction [Attitude, Focus and Approach in Consideration], MA thesis. U of
Addis Ababa, 2007. P.15.

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breakdowns when speaking the language? .In other words, what is the
contribution of the pronunciation teaching in the development of oral
communication skills?

Having as hypothesis that if the beginner learners of English in Côte


d’Ivoire master the pronunciation of pure vowels, they will create less
communication breakdowns when speaking the language; the objective of the
study is of twofold.

First, the study aims at analyzing the Ivorian beginner learners’


pronunciation mistakes and indicating their impacts on the efficiency of
communication.

Second, propose techniques of solving the problems identified without


affecting the approach of teaching imposed by the administration and the
organization of the teaching periods.

The methodology for the present work will be based on techniques of


Error Analysis (EA). In addition to that, experimentations will be undertaken to
appreciate the efficiency of the remedial methods proposed in the
recommendations.

As it can be seen, the study has both a scientific and a pedagogic


importance. Concerning the scientific importance, works have been done on
contrastive analysis by linguists like Christophersen (1956)4 and Faure (1948)5 to
quote only those, but one on beginner learners in the Ivorian context is new. In
addition, the work can be seen as a needs analysis for an oral course in Côte
d’Ivoire. As for the pedagogic importance, the work can be used as a guide for a
course design of oral expression at beginner level.

4
- Paul CHRISTOPHERSEN, An English Phonetics Course, London, Longman Group
Limited, 1956
5
- G. FAURE, Manuel pratique d’anglais parle: édition complète, Paris, Librairie
Hachette, 1948.

5
Given the nature of the work, it is a small-scale study in so far as it is
based on learners of one school in the Bouake region. In addition, the population
is limited to some pupils randomly selected in that school.

This work is organized into four major chapters. Indeed, chapter 1 is about
the Description of the target situation where the physical and environmental
context in which the study has been conducted. Then the second chapter deals
with the Theoretical Framework where the method of analysis is stated.

The third chapter consists of the Research Design; that is the methods and
the techniques used to collect the data. Finally, the fourth chapter deals with the
Data Analysis and the Recommendations.

6
CHAPTER I

DESCRIPTION OF THE TARGET


SITUATION

7
This part of the study deals with the description of the place where the
study has been conducted that is the geographical situation, the description of the
learning environment, the target population and the teaching method.

1.1. GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION OF THE STUDY

The study is conducted in a secondary school in Bouake (Côte d’Ivoire)


during the academic year 2013-2014. Indeed, this school is located in the quarter
called Dar-Es Salam (where many people speak the Malinké language (Diula))
this school is on the left for someone who comes in the sense from Abidjan to
Bouake because it is on the road side. The name of the school is “Groupe Scolaire
Saint Jacques”. As its name entails, there are different sector of training; there is
the technical and the professional training, there is also a part for high school
training and the general teaching which is my concerned. By the way, it starts
from 6è to Terminal. According to the current director6 of the school, people have
been studying in this school since 1979. In fact, the school is a private school in
which there are some students who are oriented there by the State. Thus, the class
that has been chosen for the study contains the students which are oriented there
by the State. The school’s placard, which is in front of it, is represented on the
next page.

6
- The name of the director is in appendix 1

8
Figure I: The placard in front of the school

1.2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Many reasons can account for the choice the school mentioned above.
Thus, the first reason is that there are many students with different ethnic origins
and when they meet, they are bound to speak the French language which they
have learned and share since the primary school in order to communicate.
Although, one may notice that these students do not speak the French language
alike, but this is the language that they speak.

Secondly, the students who learn the English language in Côte d’Ivoire in
general and in particular in Bouake and more specifically in this school do not
speak the English language because they argue that the English vowels are
difficult to grasp in terms of their production, and that one vowel can be
pronounced different ways depending on the linguistic environment. For example,

9
the unit a can be spelt [ei] in word “take” and in the word “bag”, it is spelt [æ].
These kinds of pronunciation differences make learners be reluctant to speak the
language.

The third reason is that all the secondary schools in Côte d’Ivoire be it a
private or a state one, the program of teaching is the same. So, it simply means
that any kind of secondary school can be chosen to conduct the study. Another
reason is that due to the status of the school, many students from different ethnic
origins. For this reason, there are at least sixty (60) students in a classroom.
However, my intention is not to talk about the over crowdedness of the
classrooms.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the phenomenon of multilingualism seems to be


extremely different from the other African countries. By the way, it has been
argued that there exist sixty (60) local languages. This argument is sometimes
debatable for the simple reason that the first missionaries considered the varieties
of one language as a typical one.

However, no matter the number of languages that are said to be found in


Côte d’Ivoire, one should bear in mind that it is a context of multilingualism.
Similarly, on the one hand, there are some people who speak only the French
language which is the official language for, this is the one which is spoken in the
administrations. As observed by Cuq (1991) that although its presence does not go
far back to one hundred years, however, it is the French that has been chosen as
the official language in most of the African countries.7

It is also the second language due to the simple fact that it is the first one
which is learned by Ivoirians in a formal context like the other foreign languages.
This gives rise to Cuq, when he clarifies things by saying that:

7
- Jean-Pierre CUQ, Le français langue seconde: Origines d’une notion et implications
didactiques, Paris, Hachette, 1991, p. 103. « Bien que sa présence n’y remonte guère à
plus de cent ans, c’est pourtant le français qui a été choisi comme langue officielle dans
de nombreux pays africains.»

10
Talking about a second language, it is to refer implicitly to the presence of
one other language at least in the linguistic environment of the learner, and
admit that this langue which is called classically mother tongue occupies the
first place. But, it is equally to recognize the privileged place of the second
language comparatively to the other languages with which the learner is in
8
contact that we called foreign languages. [My translation]

In the same context, he argues that the great international rival of French is
obviously English9. And on the other hand, there are those who speak not only
their mother tongues, but also the French language. In some cases, the individuals
make use of three languages: the father’s tongue, the mother’s one and the French
language. This is what Jerôme (2010) explains that in some case, the individuals
make use three languages: the father tongue, the mother’s one and the French10.
This aspect shows that Côte d’Ivoire is a specific case of multilingualism in which
the French language imposes itself as the language of communication at the
national scale. This can be justified by the fact the French is used in the learning
process from the primary school, then to the secondary and finally at the
University.

The place occupied by the French is so important that one may not succeed
at school without the mastering of this language. For this reason, it is known as
the language of instruction or education11. This especial status of the French
language makes it to be the central mean of communication among the Ivorians in

8- Cuq, Jean-Pierre, Op. cit, Paris, Hachette, 1991, p. 84. « Parler de langue seconde,
c’est implicitement faire référence à la présence d’au moins une autre langue
dans l’environnement linguistique de l’apprenant et admettre que cette langue, qu’on
appelle classiquement langue maternelle, occupe la première place. Mais c’est également
reconnaître à la langue seconde une place privilégiée par rapport à toutes les langues avec
lesquelles l’apprenant pourrait se trouver en contact et qu’on nomme langues
étrangères ».
9
- Idem, p. 45. « le grand rival international du français est évidement l’anglais ».
10
- Kouassi JERÔME, « L’anglais, langue étrangère en Côte d’Ivoire : Quel espace
universitaire pour un apprentissage efficace dans un contexte de
multilinguisme » In Revue LTML, n-5 février :ISSN 19. 2010 , p.4.
<http://www.ltml.ci/files/articles5/KOUASSIJerome.pdf.> visited on15/01/ 2014
« Dans certains cas, les personnes utilisent trois langues: la langue du père, la langue
maternelle et le français » .

11
- Idem, p.4. « la langue d’instruction ».

11
general, but in the school training context particularly. It is also argued that when
beginners share the same mother tongue in the classroom, they are tempted not to
speak the target one and this delays their rate of proficiency. Paradis et al (2009)
in “Working with young children who are learning English as a new language”
state the following argument:

Some children initially use their home language in educational settings


because it is the only language they know. Most young children give up
using their home language quickly, realizing that it is not an effective means
of communication in that context. If a few children in a setting share the
same home language, they may continue to use it amongst themselves12.

So, it is important for learners not to use their home languages or mother
tongues during the learning of a foreign language.

1.3. THE TARGET POPULATION

.The target population is the students who are in the first form known
under the denomination of “6è” in the Ivoirians terms. Thus, the age of the
selected students is included between 11 and 12 years old. Talking about the
importance of age in language-learning, this interval is said to be suitable for it.
Thus, Bongearts et al in their article, “Age and Ultimate Attainment in the
Pronunciation of a Foreign Language” quote Scovel who argued that:

There is a critical period for the acquisition of the pronunciation of a second


language only because “pronunciation is the only aspect of language
performance that has a neuromuscular basis”…. He also predicted that
learners who start learning a second language latter than, say, 12age, will
never be able “to pass themselves off native speakers1013 (448).

12
- Johanne PARADIS et al, “Working with young children who are learning English as a new
language” in Alberta Education Cataloguing in Publication Data, ISBN 978-0-
7785-8146-8. 2009, p. 2. <http://education.alberta.ca/media/1093791/earlylearning.pdf>
visited on 22 /02/ 2013.

13
- Theo BONGEARTS et al, “Age and Ultimate Attainment in the Pronunciation of a
Foreign Language” in SSLA vol. 19, 1997, p.448.

12
There are five classes of “6è” in this school and for scientific conventions
all these classes and their students must not be submitted to the test. As result, I
selected one class according to the principle that each and every class has the
chance to be selected. It is the 6èA which has been chosen to conduct the study.
This class contains sixty (60) students and I need at least six (6) participants for
the collection of data. Consequently, the 6è is considered as the target population
from which the sample is to be taken.

1.4. THE CURRENT TEACHING METHODS

With progress in language field, Teaching in Côte d’Ivoire has shifted to


Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). In fact, Richards (2006) gives a better
understanding of this method claiming that “Communicative Language Teaching
can be understood as a set of principles about the goals of language teaching, how
learners learn a language, the kind of classroom activities that best facilitate
learning and the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom”.14 In addition to
the fact he gives this better insight concerning the method, he also brings into
light the goal of (CLT) by stating that “Communicative language teaching sets as
its goal the teaching of communicative competence”.15 Thus, it is a teaching
method which aims at teaching language for communication.
One of the components of this method is the Competence Based Approach
(CBA), which is now practiced by many teachers. In fact, in Côte d’Ivoire, this
approach is only used in the first cycle of the secondary school (from 6è to 3è).
In his article entitled “L’approche par compétences en Afrique
Francophone: Quelques tendances”, Roegiers (2008) observes three principles
concerning this approach. Thus, for him, (1) the contents of the courses go further

14
-Jack C. RICHARDS, Communicative Language Teaching Today, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 2
15
-Idem, p. 2

13
than the knowledge and the know-how, (2) the learner/student is at center of his
learning and (3) the know-how to act in situation is valued”.16
In the practice of this method, pronunciation tasks seem to be ignored; this
can be noticed in the students copy books. In fact, there are no pronunciation tasks
in the content of the courses. Such attitude towards the teaching of pronunciation
in the classroom can be justified by ideas such as pronunciation does not bring
significant improvement in the English language learning process. Even some
people who are responsible for the English language teaching argue that the
teaching of pronunciation does not make sense because for them, it will lead
nowhere. Besides, they believe that pronunciation does not have anything to do
with communication; therefore, it doesn’t create communication breakdowns.
Correspondingly, it isn’t worth integrating it in the teaching process. All these
realities are at the basis of the choice of some students in order to make a test and
see what can be done to solve this problem by helping them.

Thus, All the teacher should teach in accordance with the same national
teaching program be it a State or a private school. As mentioned above, it is the
same teaching method used in this school which is the Competency Based
Approach.

According to this philosophy, the students who receive such training must
be able to communicate in a given situation. Just the first page of the national
teaching program, one reads the following sentences:

In the field of the living languages (English, German, Spanish), English is


the first foreign language taught from the first year of the secondary school.
Besides, it is compulsory for all the students in Côte d’Ivoire which is not the

16
-Xaviers ROEGIERS, “L’approche par compétences en Afrique Francophone: Quelques
tendances”in IBE Working papers on curriculum Issues, N°7, 2008, p.1-2.
<http://www.ibe.unesco.org/> visited on 15 /05/ 2014.« (1)Les contenus des
enseignements vont plus loin que les savoirs et les savoirs faire, (2) C’est l’élève
qui est l’acteur principal de son apprentissage and (3) le savoir-agir en situation
est valorisé .»

14
case of the other living languages which share the same target public at the
17
third year in the secondary school . [My translation]

In addition, the pedagogical regime is represented in the table below which


comprises the discipline (English), the number of hours per week, the number of
hours per year and finally the annual percentage comparatively to the set of the
disciplines.

Table I. Table of the pedagogical regime (from Competence Based Approach)

Discipline Nombre Nombre % annuel par rapport à


d’heures/semaine d’heures/année l’ensemble des disciplines

96 heures/niveau

Anglais 03 heures 384 heures (4 37,50%

niveaux)

Concerning the national teaching program, it is divided into different


“Compétences de Base” ‘Basic Competencies’. In the first and the second Basic
Competences, their objectives are directly displayed. By the way, in the Basic
Competence 1, one can read “Echanger des informations oralement en anglais en
utilisant un langage simple” (exchanging information orally by using a simple
language). Each Basic Competence is composed of three (3) lessons and the
micro-skills developed in each lesson are: “connaître” (knowing), “prononcer”
(pronouncing) “utiliser” (using), “construire” (constructing), “echanger”
(exchanging) [My translation]. This is for the first Basis Competence. For more
information about the (CBA), (see the appendix 3).

17
- The national teaching programme « Dans le domaine des langues vivantes (Anglais,
Allemand, Espagnol), l’Anglais est la première langue étrangère enseignée à partir de la
première année du Secondaire. En outre l’anglais est obligatoire pour toute la population
scolaire en Côte d’Ivoire à la différence des autres langues vivantes qui se partagent le
même public-cible a partir de la troisième année du secondaire. »

15
Then, in the second Basic Competences, the objective is to get students
communicate orally in English using a simple language. Equally, it contains the
same micro-skills in the first Basic Competences such as knowing the words,
pronouncing the words, using the correct intonation, constructing some sentences
and exchanging of civilities.

However, there are eight Competences of Basis, in the national teaching


program and as it can be noticed, only two of them deal the micro-skill of
pronunciation just in the beginning of the classes.

As far as the teaching material is concerned, it is the one which is called


“Mon cahier d’intégration”18. But in this material there are no texts for the
students to drill for reading exercises. Hence, the teaching of pronunciation with
this book seems to be an illusion. This is perceptible throughout the courses
copied by the students in their copy books. Accordingly, the teacher often resorts
to the Go for English 6è19 text book in order to get the students familiar with
reading skill. The Go for English textbook collection is a teaching material now in
the secondary cycle in Côte d’Ivoire. Yet, at this level and with the Go for English
textbook, the teaching of pronunciation is not done deeply compare to that of
written production. This is the reality described by Guézé (2011) when he
analyzes the Go for English students’ text book of Terminal by means of a
diagram as the technique of data analysis and concludes that:

The diagram shows that tasks related to the written part including reading
comprehension, language in use and writing represent more than 60% of the
whole when tasks on the oral aspect is less than 40%. Indeed, out of 125
tasks in the book, 77 are linked to the written test when the oral tests are 48
including exercises on speaking (24) and on phonology (24 )20.

18
-It is the current teaching material used to teach the beginner learners of this school.
19
- It is the former teaching material used to teach the beginner learners of this school

20
- Dahigo GUÉZÉ, Habraham, A, “The Baccalaureate Exam and Learner Input in Côte
d’Ivoire: An Analysis Based on the Diagramme of Caroll (1980)”. Lettres d’Ivoire
Revue Semestrielle, n° 012. Dec. 2011, p. 98.

16
The same idea is acknowledged by Hişmanoğlu (2006), in his article
“Curent Perspectives on Pronunciation Learning and Teaching” where he
emphasizes on the teaching of pronunciation of foreign language which is
neglected by teachers according to him. This position is displayed in the following
lines below:

Pronunciation teaching is a prominent factor in foreign language teaching.


Since sounds play an important role in communication, foreign language
teachers must attribute proper importance to teaching pronunciation in their
classes. However, this fact is very much neglected by many foreign language
teachers. It is evident that communication is a mutual relationship between
the speaker and the hearer. This means that one must comprehend what he
hears in the target language and must produce the sounds of the language he
21
is trying to learn accurately .

At this level of the study, we can notice that the teaching of the English in
this school faces with many problems which can be arranged orderly. First of all,
the national teaching program does not favor the teaching of pronunciation in
general and that of the vowels in particular. But, this does not mean that the
English vowels have an especial of teaching method. In fact, the teaching of every
language and particularly that of English encompasses the sounds aspect in that
everything which is taught in phonetics begins with the phonemes of the given
language. This is the reason why Maurice, Girard and Hardin () affirm that the
sounds which are taught, are in actual fact the phonemes which distinguish the
phonological system of English from the other phonological systems and notably
from that of the mother tongue of our francophone students22 .

Likewise, the notion of phoneme calls the attention to that of the double
articulation of the human language enounced by Martinet in La linguistique
synchronique. For him, human or natural language is not only articulated but also

21
- Murat HISMANOḠLU, “Curent Perspectives on Pronunciation Learning and Teaching”
in Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, Vol 2, No 1, 2006, p. 102.
22
- Maurice ANTIER, Denis Girard and Gérard Hardin, Pédagogie de l’anglais, Paris: Classiques
Hachette, 1972, p. 14. « les sons que l’on enseigne sont en réalité les phonemes qui
distinguent le système phonologique de l’anglais de tout les autres systems phonologiques
et notamment de celui de la langue maternelle de nos élèves francophones.»

17
it is doubly articulated this is the idea he concludes that it appears that human
language is articulated, but doubly articulated, articulated at two levels; on the one
hand where the everyday spoken terms, the utterances are articulated in the form
of words and on the other one whereby the words articulated in sounds23.

Moreover, the phenomenon of multilingualism is a crucial matter in the


sense that learners most of the time resort to their mother tongues at school
instead of trying to speak the English which is the target language. Another,
problem noticed in the school is that the French is always spoken by the beginner
learners and some intermediate ones. It is the language that everybody can speak
in order to make oneself understood. Therefore, it is very difficult to get students
who speak English currently; even those who are in the highest level called
“Terminal”.

So all these realities give right to the hypothesis according to which if


learners of English in (CI) master the pronunciation of the pure vowels, this will
reduce the rate of their creation of communication breakdowns when speaking the
language.

Given one cannot do such a work without being based on a theoretical


framework or methodological approach, therefore the following chapter is
devoted to this aspect of the work.

23-André MARTINET, La linguistique synchronique, Paris, Presse Universitaires de


France,1963, p.8. « il apparaît donc que le langage humain est articulé, mais doublement
articulé, articulé sur deux plans celui où, pour employer les termes du parler de tous les
jours, les énoncés s’articulent en mots, et celui où les mots s’articulent en sons.»

18
CHAPTER II

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

19
In this chapter, the study aims at showing the theoretical framework it is
based on. That is to say, the theory which will help solve the problem rose in the
study. Thus, as already indicated in the introduction the chapter begins with a
definition to the key terms which are: EA, Error and Mistake. Then the causes of
the errors committed by second language learners are described. And finally, we
make some observations about errors and their correction in SLA/SLL.

2.1. DEFINITION OF THE KEY TERMS

2.1.1. Error Analysis

Different definitions are given to it by the specialists according to how


their understand it. Thus, it can be defined according to James cited by Sarfraz
(2011), who stated that EA is “the study of the linguistic ignorance, the
investigation of what people do not know and how they attempt to cope with their
ignorance”24. Yang (2010) considered that “this ignorance can be manifested in
two ways. First in silence, then in the way they compensate for their ignorance i.e.
substitutive language”.25 Another definition is given to EA by Richards and
Schmidt quoted by Mungungu (2010) when they define error analysis as “the
study and analysis of the errors made by second language learners”26.

Thus, it is essential to notice two concepts in above definitions concerning


EA; those concepts are the ignorance of the L2 learner and the errors committed
by the L2 learner. As mentioned before, there is a case in which there is not aware
of anything about the L2 and in the other one, it consists in studying and
analyzing the errors of the second language learner.

24
- summaira SARFRAZ, “Error Analysis of the Written English Essays of Pakistani
Undergraduate Students: A Case Study”. Asian Transactions on Basic & Applied
Sciences (ATBAS ISSN: 2221-4291) Volume 01 Issue 03, 2011, p. 31.
25
- Wenfen YANG, “A Tentative Analysis of Errors in Language Learning and Use”
Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2010, p. 266.
26
- Saara Sirkka MUNGUNGU. “Error Analysis: Investigating the Written of ESL Namibian
Learners.” MA thesis. University of South Africa, 2010, p. 28.

20
In addition, Sarfraz (2010), quoting Fisiak, considers Error Analysis (EA)
as “the most influential theories of second language acquisition (SLA) which
replaced the Contrastive Analysis(CA) theory, whose major concern was ‘the
comparison of two or more languages or subsystems of languages in order to
determine both the differences and similarities between them” 27.

From this quotation, we can understand that these two theories are closely
related in that some errors are said to be originated from the language or
languages already known by learner. Some researchers rather see EA as focusing
of the learner himself/herself.

It is in this logic that Els et al (1948) conceive in the following dimension:


“Error Analysis focuses on the L2 learner; this approach consists of empirical
research into the nature and causes deviation from the L2 norm”28.

They also suggested some successive steps that can be distinguished


within EA. Indeed, Nickel (1972a) observes the steps as follows on the next page.

27
- Summaira SARFRAZ, Loc. Cit, in. Asian Transactions on Basic & Applied Sciences
(ATBAS ISSN: 2221-4291) Volume 01 Issue 03, 2011, p, 31
28
- Theo Van ELS et al, Applied Linguistics and the Learning and Teaching of Foreign
Languages. Trans. Orisouw, R. R. Van. London, Edward Arnold, 1984, p. 37.

21
identification of errors

description of errors

explanation of errors

evaluation of errors

prevention/correction of errors

Figure I: The different steps of the Error Analysis theory

These steps are taken from Els et al (1984:47)

The identification of errors is not a clear cut matter; that is to say it is very
difficult to identified error in the verbal or written production of a second
language learners’ productions. This idea is strongly supported by Ellis (1997)
who affirms that “The first step in analyzing learner errors is to identify them.
This is in fact easier said than done”29. As for the second and the third steps,
which are closely related, they consist in describing and explaining the nature and
the origin of errors. Concerning the fourth step, it is related to the degree of
importance that we can attribute to errors in terms of communication
unintelligibility; their analysis purpose being to help learners to learn an L2. Ellis
(1997) agreed with this idea, by declaring that “where the purpose of the error
analysis is to help learners to learn an L2, there is a need to evaluate errors. Some
can be considered more serious than others because they are more likely to

29
- Rod ELLIS, Second Language Acquisition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997. P.15.

22
interfere with the intelligibility of what someone says”30. In the fifth step of this
approach, it is about the correction of the deviations made by the learners which is
our focus in the present study because it is this fact that one encounters most
frequently in teaching.

The term correction, according to Els et al (1948: 261), can be defined as


“feedback on errors”. For this reason, this feedback should receive a great deal of
importance in the trend of teaching. However, the present study is mainly
concerned with the description that is their origins or sources, the role of errors in
the learning process and correction of errors. But before doing that, it is necessary
that some notions, which create confusion most of the time, be clarified. These
notions are: error and mistake.

2.1.2. Error

As Ellis (1997: 17), puts it “Errors reflect gaps in a learner’s knowledge;


they occur because the learner does not know what is correct”. With him, one can
understand that we talk about errors in a learner’s speech when the speaker
himself or herself does not know whether or not there is something wrong in his
or her language. Richards and Schmidt, quoted by Mungungu (2010:28), define an
error as “the use of language in a way in which a fluent or a native regards as a
faulty or incomplete learning”. These linguists perceive error by considering a
fluent or native speaker way of speaking. So for them, there is an error when a
learner cannot make himself understood by a fluent or a native speaker. Another
definition is from Norrish (1987), who defines an error as “a systematic deviation
when a learner has not learnt something and consistently gets it wrong”.31 With
him, things are different in that the learner has no much knowledge of what he is
learning.

30
- Rod ELLIS, Op. cit, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997. p.19.
31
-John NORRISH, Language learning and their errors, London, Macmillan Publisher Ltd,
1987. p.7-8

23
2.1.3. Mistake

Corder quoted by Sarfraz (2011:29), announces that “mistakes to failures


in performance. According to this notion a mistake occurs not because of lack of
competence but because of processing limitations which indicates learner’s
inability in utilizing knowledge of TL”. Here, a mistake is considered as a lack of
the learner’s capacity to make use of his or her unconscious knowledge of the
language. A similar definition to the above one can be noticed with Ellis
(1987:17) who writes that “Mistakes reflect occasional lapses in performance;
they occur because, in a particular instance, the learner is unable to perform what
he or she knows”. Now, one can easily distinguish between the notion of error and
mistake

2.2. ORIGINS OR SOURCES OF ERRORS IN LANGUAGE LEARNING

Talking about the origins of errors, is trying to answer the question of


“where do the errors of a language learner come from?” Thus, there are many
sources about the errors but our attention is called on the following ones which
are: Interlanguage and interference or language transfer.

2.2.1. Interlanguage

According to the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied


Linguistics (4th ed.), interlanguage is “the type of language produced by second-
and foreign-language learners who are in the process of learning a language”
(293). As for Els et al (1948: 69), who refer to Selinker, “interlanguage system is
in a sense intermediate between L1 and L2; L2 development then consists of an
increasing adaptation of L1 rules to L2 rules”. From these definitions it comes out
that there is a kind of language existing between both languages that the L2
learners make use of. “According to Interlanguage theory the intermediate
learning state is a platform where a learner integrates the new knowledge (TL)
systematically with the previous knowledge (MT) and restructure and reorganize

24
the L2” (Sarfraz 2010: 30). Thus, it’s clear that the mother tongue has something
to with learning process of Second Language (SL) or (FL) Foreign Language.

2.2.2. Language Transfer or Interference

For Richards and Richards (2002:294), Language Transfer or Interference


can be understood as “the effect of one language on the learning of another”. By
the same token, they argue that:

Two types of language transfer may occur. Positive transfer is transfer


which makes learning easier, and may occur when both the native language
and the target language have the same form. For example, both French and
English have the word table, which can have the same meaning in both
languages. Negative transfer, also known as interference, is the use of a
native-language pattern or rule which leads to an error or inappropriate
form in the target language32.

Similarly, Myles in her article “Second Language Writing and Research:


The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Tests” cited by Safraz (2010),
in his article, gives three view points from Odlin, Slinker and McLaughlin
respectively on the Language Transfer:

Transfer is defined as the influence resulting from similarities and


differences between the target language and any other language that has
been previously acquired.

Behaviorist accounts claim that transfer is the cause of errors, whereas


from a cognitive perspective, transfer is seen as a resource that the learner
actively draws upon in interlanguage development.

According to McLaughlin, transfer errors can occur because: [L]earners


lack the necessary information in the second language or the attentional
capacity to activate the appropriate second-language routine. But such an
account says little about why certain linguistic forms transfer and others do
33
not .

32
- Jack RICHARDS, C. and Schmidt RICHARDS, Longman Dictionary of Language
Teaching and Applied Linguistics. 3rd ed. London, Pearson Education
Limited, 2002. p. 294.
33
- Summaira SARFRAZ, Loc.cit, Asian Transactions on Basic & Applied Sciences (ATBAS
ISSN: 2221-4291) Volume 01 Issue 03, July 2011: 29-51.
p. 33-34.

25
In language learning, learner language is influenced by several different
processes. These include the following as stated in the third edition of Longman
Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics:

a. borrowing patterns from the mother tongue (language transfer)

b. extending patterns from the target language, e.g. by analogy (over-


generalization)

c .expressing meanings using the words and grammar which are already
known (communicative strategies) since the language which the learner
produces using these processes differs from both the mother tongue and the
target language 34.

As for the concept of Language Transfer, Koda (1997) observes that


“Transfer concepts originated in the Contrastive Analysis hypothesis, (…). The
(CA) hypothesis deeply rooted in behaviorism- contends that the principle barrier
to L2 acquisition stems from interference factors created by L1system. In this
behaviorist view, L1 was regarded as the primary source of confusion”35.

All these arguments account for the fact that the SL learner’s errors come
from many and different sources during the learning process. Thus the main
source is likely to be found in the first language acquired by the L2 learner.

34
-Jack C Richards, and Schmidt Richards. Op.cit, London: Pearson Education Limited p. 322.

35
- Keiko KODA, “Orthographic Knowledge in L2 lexical Processing: A cross- linguistic
perspective”. Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. Ed. Coady James and
Huckin Thomas. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 36.

26
2.3. THE ROLE OF ERRORS AND THEIR CORRECTION IN
SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING

2.3.1. The role of Errors in Second /Foreign Language Learning

Mitchell and Myles (1998) gave the information that “Corder was the first
to focus attention on the importance of studying learner’s errors”36. By the way, in
his article, “The significance of learners' errors”, Corder (1967) emphasized the
importance of studying errors made by second language learners. In fact, he
argues that “The study of error is part of the investigation of the process of
language learning. It provides us with a picture of the linguistic development of a
learner and may give us indications as to the learning process”37.

He adds that, “Remedial exercises could be designed and focus more attention on
the trouble spots. It is the learner who determines what the input is. The teacher
can present a linguistic form, but this is not necessarily the input, but simply what
is available to be learned”.38 With Corder, we can easily understand the important
role errors play in SL/FL learning both for teachers and learners.

Besides, Rivers and Temperley (1978) noticed the same advantages


concerning the study of errors in the sense that they argue that “We can learn
much from the types of errors students actually make”.39 They continued by
stating that “Systematic errors are an important source of information to the
student and teacher alike, because they represent the learners current hypotheses

36
- Rosamond MITCHELL and Florence MYLES. Second Language Learning Theories,
London, Arnold, 1998, p. 30.
37
- Pit Stephen CORDER, “The Significance of Learners’ Errors.” In International Review
of Applied Lingustics,5, N° 4, 1967, p.125.
38
- Idem, p.125
39
- Wilga M RIVERS and Mary S. TEMPERLEY, A Practical Guide to the Teaching
of English as a Second or Foreign Language, New York, Oxford University Press,
1978. p.151.

27
about certain aspects of the language and provide the teacher with the information
necessary to help the student revise these hypotheses”.40

Another researcher, López (2007), who entirely agrees that the errors
committed by SL and FL learners are a great deal of importance in that, it can
bring many changes in the trend of language teaching and learning. This is what
he explains in his article “Error Analysis in a Leaner Corpus. What are the
learners’ strategies?” as follows:

The truth is that the study of errors offers great advantages for improving
language pedagogies; EA results cannot be out of fashion since they
evidence those areas of the language teachers need to focus on, areas such
as grammar, lexis, discourse, etc. In other words, it is by analyzing errors
that important suggestions for language method design can be made, this
involves all the areas of the pedagogical design, from syllabus to
materials.41

All these arguments are for the important of errors that occur during the
learning process of a language by an individual.

2.3.2. The Correction of errors in Second/Foreign Language


Learning

Many opinions have been stated about the correction of errors in second
and Foreign Language Learning. Thus, on the one hand, there are those who
believe that correcting errors is a waste of time because it will not make any
significant change in the evolution of the learner’ knowledge of language. On the
other, errors correction is in fact a very important aspect in the trend of language
learning for the advocators of this idea argue that correction will make the learner
be aware of what should be done and what should not. Here, in the first place, the
work will put the stress on the belief that the correction of errors is useless and
therefore, it should be banned in the teaching and learning process. Thus, in their

40
- Wilga M RIVERS and Mary S. TEMPERLEY, Op.cit, New York: Oxford University Press,
1978. p.152
41
- Castillejos, Willelmira LΌPEZ, “Error Analysis in a Leaner Corpus. What
are the learners’strategies?”2007, p. 667.
<http://www.um.es/lacell/aelinco/contenido/pdf/45.pdf> . visited on
08/12/ 2013.

28
book, Mitchell and Myles (1998) held the position that correction seems to be
ineffective and that learners will continue to make errors and mistakes. This is
what they expressed by saying that “the problem is that correction often seems
ineffective – and not only because L2 learners are lazy. It seems that learners
often can not benefit from correction, but continue to make the same mistakes
however much feedback is offered”42.

The other position is that errors correction should be the focus of any
language teaching in general and in particular that of pronunciation. This sounds
interesting when it is about the beginner learners in the early stage. This gives
right to Rivers and Temperley (1978) to argue that “practice should concentrate
on errors of pronunciation which would hinder comprehension, e.g., [liv] for
[lɪv]”.43

In addition, Els et al (1984), insisted on the pronunciation correction; in


this trend, they made us understood that “FLT which puts special emphasis on
oral productive language skills will naturally pay attention to the correction of
pronunciation”44. For the better insight of this aspect in language teaching, they
state that there are two main types of pronunciation correction. These types are the
articulatory approach and the auditory one. Thus, for them, articulatory approach
is the one “in which it is attempted to teach the learner to pronounce L2 sounds
correctly mainly by explaining to him how the organs of speech are involved in
the production of the sounds in question” (Els et al, 1984:263).

As for the second type, they said that it can be subdivided into three
subtypes. Thus, the first subtype is known as “the global auditory approach which
assumes that the learner will arrive at a correct pronunciation by repeatedly

42
- Rosamond MITCHELL and Florence MYLES, Op.cit, London, Arnold, 1998. p. 16.

43
- Wilga M. RIVERS and Mary S. TEMPERLEY, Op.cit, New York, Oxford University Press,
1978, p.171.

44
-Theo Van ELS, et al. Op. cit, London, Edward Arnold, 1984. p.263.

29
listening to L2 material and by repeating it”45. They also find a second subtype
which is characterized by the use of minimal pairs. But this approach does not
entirely eliminate the risk of learners who cannot discriminate sufficiently
between sounds acquiring incorrect pronunciation. Concerning the third subtype,
they argue that “it attempts to present only the characteristic elements of the
sounds to be acquired to the learner, either by filtering out redundant components
of the speech stream before it reaches the learner’s ear, or by manipulating the
production of the sounds”46. As mentioned above, the correction of errors is very
important in SL/FL learning and teaching.

2.4. THE AGE FACTOR IN LANGUAGE LEARNING

Research works have been produced on the contribution of age in the


learning of languages. For example Diaz quoted by Sylva (2003) in “L’acquisition
d’une langue étrangère et le développement cognitif de l’enfant durant la période
opératoire” who affirms that children aged from 8 to 11 are the most apt to start
learning a foreign language because the base or mother tongue has already taken
place ; the reading and writing acquisition of this language is not over but it is in a
good way.47

The same idea is supported by Scovel cited by Dulay et al (1982) in


Language Two, when they make the distinction between the children and the
adults’ way of learning the sounds system in the following utterance “almost
everyone learns the sound pattern of a language as a child, and yet no one can

45
- Theo Van ELS, et al. Op. cit, London, Edward Arnold, 1984 , p.263.
46
- Idem, p.263.
47
- Haydée SILVA, “L’acquisition d’une langue étrangère et le développement cognitif
de l’enfant durant la période opératoire” Chemins actuels núm.64, 2003, p. 12.
« les enfants de 8 à 11 ans sont les plus aptes à commencer l’apprentissage d’une langue
étrangèré, car la langue de base ... est bien en place; l’acquisition de la lecture et
l’écriture de cette langue n’est pas terminée, mais en bonne voie.»

30
learn the sound pattern of a language perfectly as an adult”.48 The issue of the age
factor in the acquisition or learning of a foreign language is emphasized by
Kareem (nd) in his article “L'enfant et L'apprentissage d'une langue Etrangère”
when he declares that age plays an important role in the process of language
acquisition. There exists a privileged period during which the child adapts
himself/herself rapidly.49 The above arguments are clear enough to know that it is
very essential that children learn a foreign language when they are still younger.
In other words, the younger the learner is the better he learns.

2.5. AN OVERVIEW OF THE PRODUCTION OF THE ENGLISH AND


FRENCH CARDINAL OR PURE VOWELS

2.5.1. The Articulators or the Speech or organs and their


description

Talking about the English and the French cardinal or pure vowels
production, accounts for describing the way and the organs which produce them.
In fact, all the sounds we produce when we speak result from the constriction of
the muscles. The muscles in the chest (lungs) we use for breathing produce the
flow of air that is needed for almost all the speech sounds. In other words, the
articulators which pronounce them should be known and where some of them are
placed in the production of some of the vowels so as to facilitate their acquisition
for beginner learners. Thus, the human speech organs or the articulators are
presented in the figure on the next page.

48
- Dulay et al, Language Two, New York, Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 79.
49
- Tagreed Abed A. KAREEM, “L'enfant et L'apprentissage d'une langue Etrangère”. nd , p.61.
<http://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aid=65013>. Visited on 22 /02/ 2014.
« L'âge joue un rôle important dans le processus d’acquisition. Il existe une période
privilégiée pendant la quelle L'enfant fait preuve d'une grande adaptabilité ».

31
Figure II: The speech organs or articulators (adapted from Roach,
1983:8)

Before continuing, let’s give the role of each of the different articulators in
the production of the speech sounds. Thus, the presentation starts with the nose.

 The nose

It is the projecting organ above the mouth (as indicated on the figure) with
which one smells and breathes. The nose also permits the production of the
sounds in which the air passes through the nasal cavity.

 The lips (upper and lower)

The lips are the articulators which help us know that a given vowel is open
or close. The lips are important in the production of sounds since they determine
the shape of the opening through which the breath has to pass to the outer air. The
positions of the lips are influenced by the jaw. The lips also have a range of

32
movements from the fully closed position to the widely open, and from the
position retracted against the teeth to that protruded to their fullest extent.

 The teeth (upper and lower)

The teeth are very important in the production of sounds. Thus the lower
teeth may be raised with the mandible to approach and make contact with the
upper lip and with the upper teeth but neither of these articulations is known to be
used in any speech sound.

 The Alveolar ridge

It is located between the upper and the hard palate. Its surface is really
much rougher and is cover with ridges.

 The hard palate

The hard palate is often called the roof of the mouth; we can feel its
smooth curved surface with the tongue.

 The tongue

The tongue is a very essential articulator and it can be moved into many
different places and shapes. It is frequent to divide the tongue into two parts, the
front and the back which lie opposite the hard and the soft palates respectively
when the tongue is in the position of rest. The front of the tongue also includes the
blade which is opposed to the teeth ridge, and the tip as shown in the figure above.
The different parts in details are tongue tip, blade, front, back and root. The
forwardness and the backwardness of the tongue account for the front and the
back vowels.

33
 The soft palate (velum)
The velum also called the soft palate allows air to pass through the mouth and the
nose. It is one of the articulators that can be touched by the tongue. During
speech, it is often raised so that air cannot escape through the nose.

 Pharynx

The pharynx is a tube which begins just above the larynx. It is about 7cm
long in women and 8cm in men. It is divided into two parts at its top. One part
being the back of the mouth and the other is the beginning of the way through the
nasal cavity. It can also be considered as the cavity formed between the root of the
tongue and the back wall of the throat where by the air stream enters.

 Larynx

The larynx is made of different parts and as several important functions in


the sounds production. Its main structure is made of two large cartilages, open on
the dorsal side but enclosed and uncovered by tough elastic tissue.

As it can be seen in the figure above, these are the articulators used by
human beings in order to produce all the sounds (be they consonants or vowels)
that are found in natural languages. But, in this study, the focus is on the
production of the vowels sounds which are in fact produced without any
obstruction of the air passage. This is the idea suggested by Ladefoged (1993)
when he presents the importance of the some articulators in the production of
vowels by saying that “in the production of vowels sounds, the articulators do not
come very close together, and the passage of the air stream is relatively
unobstructed. Vowels sounds may be specified in terms of the position of the
highest point of tongue and the position of the lips”50.

50
- Peter LADEFOGED, A Course In Phonetics. 3rd ed. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanich,
Inc, 1993, p.11

34
The same idea is supported by Martinet (1981), in his Éléments de
linguistique générale, where he builds his argumentation by admitting that vowels
are produced with the cavity of the mouth and the lips and the tongue position.
This is what he explains that, it is essentially the volume and the form of the
buccal cavity which give its characteristic timbre to a vowel. This volume and
form depend in practice on the position of the tongue, that of the lips and the
degree of the mouth opening.51

The above arguments show the important role applied by the articulators in
the production of sounds in human language.

2.5.2. Definition and localization of vowels in the mouth

Vowels are linguistic units which concern themselves with the sound
aspect of the language. In each human language, there are vowels; especially the
cardinal vowels in that they play an important role in the description and the
localization of the other vowels in languages as noted by Delbecque (2006) as
follows:

Localizing with precision the vowels in the articulatory space is not an easy
thing. That is why one generally stars by the cardinals vowels. They
constitute the (referent points) which subdivide the resonance space
constituted by the oral and nasal cavities. Hence, they permit to localize any
52
vowel of any language . [My translation]

This can be justified by the following figure on the next page in which the
triangle representing the articulatory space in the mouth of human beings.

51
-André MARTINET, Eléments de linguistique générale, Paris, Armand Colin, 1981, p. 41.
« C’est essentiellement le volume et la forme de la cavité buccale qui donnent son timbre
caractéristique à une voyelle. Ce volume et cette forme dépendent en pratique de la
position de la langue, celle des lèvres et le degré d’ouverture de la bouche.»
52
- Nicole DELBECQUE, La linguistique cognitive : comprendre comment fonctionne le
langage, Paris , Deboeck, 2006, p.149. « Localiser avec précision les voyelles dans
l’espace articulatoire n’est pas toujours aisée. C’est pourquoi l’on part généralement des
voyelles cardinales. Elles constituent des ‘‘points de référence’’ qui subdivisent l’espace
de résonance constitué par les cavités buccales et nasales. Dès lors, elles permettent de
localiser n’importe quelle voyelle de n’importe quelle langue.»

35
Figure III: Localization of vowels through the vowel chart in the oral cavity
(adapted from Mc Cormick et al, nd:21)

Phonetics is considered as the description and transcription of all possible


sounds. As for Ladefoged (1993), “Phonetics is concerned with describing the
speech sounds that occur in the languages of the world”53. Phonetics is also
interested in the production, the perception and the acoustics features of human
languages sounds. In his An English Phonetics Course, Christophersen (1956)
defines the vowels as “voiced sounds in the production of which there is no
obstruction, partial or complete of the air passage”.54 As for Pei (1966), it is “a
sound produced with vibration of the vocal cords by obstructed passage of air

53
- Peter LADEFOGED, Op.cit, New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanich, Inc, 1993, p.11
54
-Paul CHRISTOPHERSEN, Op.cit, London, Longman Group Limited, 1956. p, 25.

36
through the oral cavity and not constricted enough to cause audible friction”55.
Skandera and Burleigh (2005), in A Manual of English Phonetics and Phonology,
state that “vowels usually occupy the centre of a syllable”56. Defined this way, it
becomes clear that vowels are sounds produced with some organs of speech and
are important in human languages. In the domain of vowels, they can be clustered
into three categories; the pure or cardinal vowels, the diphthongs and the
triphtongs. All of these vowels are different in that pure vowels are articulated
without interference of any sound. To quote Christophersen’s (1956) words, “in
their production the tongue remains stationary throughout the time that it takes to
say the vowel. Consequently, the vowel is exactly the same at the as it was at the
beginning; in other words, it remains pure”57. As for the quantity of the English
long and short vowels, he states that “it remains relatively constant while they are
being pronounced, i.e. the speech organs do not usually change their position
during articulation .These vowels are therefore called pure or plain vowels or
monophthongs”58.

As such, pure vowels are characterized by their steady state. Concerning


diphthongs, as the name implies, they are articulated beginning by one vowel to
another. Thus, their specificity is that they have a transient state. As for, the
triphtongs, they formed from the closing diphthongs. Here, the study is concerned
with the pure or cardinal vowels for two reasons: the first one is that pure vowels
are easier to pronounce than the other sounds and they help us to localize the other
vowels in the articulatory space as mentioned before by Delbecque (2006).
Secondly, the learning of a second or foreign language should go from simpler to
more difficult structures.

For the present work, two different languages’ vowels will be at stake; the
English vowels and the French ones.

55
- Mario PEI, Glossary of Linguistic Terminology, New York, Anchor Books edition,
1966, p. 291
56
-Paul SKANDERA and Peter BERLEIGH, A Manual of English Phonetics and
Phonology, Tübingen, Guntr Narr Verlag Tübingen. 2005, p.31
57
- Paul CHRISTOPHERSEN, Op. cit, London, Longman Group Limited p .40
58
- Idem p.38

37
2.5.3. The English cardinal or pure vowels

The English pure vowels are those which are relatively short. Their
production is made without interference of other vowel-sound. According to
Christophersen (1956) “The cardinal vowels are, by definition, not the vowels of
any particular language. They form an absolute standard in relation to which the
vowel sounds of individual languages can be placed and measured”59. This remark
can be justified in the figure below. Thus, the vowel /e/ which is contained in the
word ‘bed, is placed between /i/ and /æ/.

Front Central Back

CLOSE i: u:

I U
HALF-CLOSE e ə:

HALF-OPEN æ Λ ɔ:

OPEN ɑ:

Figure IV: The table of the English pure vowels chart (from Christophersen,
1956:36)

The vowels in the chart are numbered below in order to facilitate their
nomination in rest of the work.

[i:] [I] [e] [æ] [ɑ:] [ɔ] [ɔ:] [U] [u:] [ə:] [] [Λ]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

59
- Paul CHRISTOPHERSEN, Op. cit, London, Longman Group Limited , p .34

38
2.5.4. The French pure or cardinal vowels

As mentioned above, the cardinal vowels provide us with the framework


of reference for describing the categories of vowels in different languages. In the
case of the French vowels things are not as they are in that of English. This
accounts for the fact that they are not the same languages in terms of the sound
system. Delbecque (2006) is aware of this reality when she explains that even if
the vowels of a particular language do not correspond to one of the sixteen
cardinal vowels, we use the symbol of the nearest cardinal vowels to represent
them.60 She goes on by giving the below argumentation thus, although the French
[i] is not identical to the English [i] nor to the German [i], the convention
considers these three categories of vowels as the different realizations of the
cardinal vowel [i], and this is due to their articulatory and acoustic similarities.61

In the French language, there are two sections into which vowels can be
classified, that is the nasal and the oral vowels and this makes them farcry from
that of the English ones. But in the present case, the work is interested in the oral
vowels which represent the cardinal ones as shown in the figure below.

Fermé (close) i y u
mi-fermé (half-close) e ø o

mi-ouvert (half-open) ɛ œ ǝ ɔ

ouvert (open) a ɑ

Figure V: The table of the French cardinal vowels chart (adapted from
Delbecque, 2006: 151)

60
- Nicole DELBECQUE, Op. cit, Paris : Deboeck, 2006, p.150 « Même si les voyelles d’une
langue particulière ne correspondent pas exactement à l’une des seize voyelles
cardinales, on utilisera le symbole de la voyelle cardinale la plus proche pour la
représenter.»
61
- Idem, p. 150 « Ainsi, bien que le [i] français ne soit pas identique au [i] anglais ni au [i]
allemand, la convention considère ces trois catégories de voyelles comme autant de
réalisations différentes de la cardinale [i], et ce en raison de leurs similitudes articulatoires
et acoustiques.»

39
From this vowels chart, it seems that the French and the English language
have almost the same number of oral vowels. However, they do not contain
exactly the same sounds. This means that two different languages cannot have the
similar phonemes in terms of number and pronunciation. This is a favorable echo
for Christophersen (1956:2) in the following words that “even in the case of
English and French, which have the same number of vowel sounds, no single
vowel in either language corresponds exactly with any in the other”. Given that no
two different languages sounds system is the same, it means that the fact of being
able to speak the French language for example does imply the fact that one can
speak the English without leaning its sounds system. For this reason,
Christiophersen insists that:

The learner of a new language must therefore realize that he is dealing with
quite new sounds; he must not be satisfied to continue to use any of the
sounds of his own language unless he is certain in each case that his own
sound is exactly the same as that in the new language, and he must not rest
content until he has completely mastered all the new sounds
(Christophersen, 1956:2).
Thus, in order to facilitate the new language learning process and avoid
frustration at the level of learner a new language, the sound aspect should be a
focus not only for the teacher but also the leaner.

2.5.5. The implication of a good pronunciation of pure vowels in


the communication

Talking about the important of sounds in general and particular the vowels,
it is worth distiguishing between Phonetics and Phonology. Thus, while Phonetics
deals with the production and perception of sounds, Phonology the function of
sounds in the language. According to Baylon and Faure,

Phonology cannot work without taking into account the signified: it studies
the signifier in relation to the signified. It studies the function of sounds in
the language. In the multitude of sounds realized in the speech acts of the

40
same language, phonology makes a choice and retains the essential features
62
of the functioning of the language . [My translation]

This is due to the fact that the phoneme is its key element of study. In fact, the
function of a phoneme is the distinctive one; that to say it allows us to make the
difference between two or more words at the morphological and the syntactical
level. Thus, in their Introduction to Phonetics, Brosnahan and Malmberg (1970),
declare that “in Linguistics, function is usually understood to mean discriminatory
function; that is the role of the various elements of the language in the
distinguishing of one sequence of sounds, such as word or a sequence of words,
from another of different meaning”63. One of the linguistic units value is the fact
of making the difference between words which differ from one another. Similarly,
words which differ in form and in sound are also different in terms of meaning.
For instance, words like sheep and ship are pronounced almost the same way but
they still differ in one unit which is the vowel. This slight difference is due to
quality on the vowel. By the way, the first vowel is longer than the second one
and this is at the basis of their semantic difference in that sheep means ‘a grass-
eating animal’ and as for ship, it is ‘a sea-going vessel of considerable size’.

Moreover, the distinctive feature being the core value of the sounds, so
every language users have to be conscious of this before any reaction concerning
the phonemes’ behavior. Jackobson (1963) is in favor of this idea when he writes
that given that the differentiation of the semantic units is all the functions that a
sound fulfils in the language without which we can do the least, it is natural that
the protagonists of the speech act learn before reacting to the distinctive features.64

62
-Christian BAYLON and Paul FABRE. Initiation à la linguistique : avec des Travaux
Pratiques d’Application et Leurs Corrigés, Paris, Nathan, 1990, p.84 « La phonologie
… ne peut pas ne pas tenir compte du signifié: elle étudie le signifiant en relation avec le
signifié. Elle étudie la fonction des sons dans la langue. Dans la multitude des sons d’une
même langue actualisés dans les actes de la parole, la phonologie opère un tri et ne retient
que les traits essentiels au fonctionnement de la langue ».

63
-L. F.BROSNAHAN and Bertil MALMBERG. Introduction to Phonetics, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 188

64
- Roman JAKOBSON, Essais de linguistique générale, Paris, Minuit, 1963, p. 109 « Comme
la différenciation des unités sémantiques est, de toutes les fonctions qu’est appelé à

41
Similarly, in his La linguistique synchronique, Martinet (1963) believes that the
good pronunciation of words has something to do with their semantic contents. In
other terms, the meaning of words depends somehow on the way the word is
articulated. For this he argues that the articulation of a word in a succession of
phonemes impedes the meaning of this word to influence on its form. One can
conceive each phoneme as particular motor habit which remains identical to itself,
whatever the context of the meaning in which it appears65.

In his article, “The Significance of Pronunciation in English Language Teaching”,


Abbas (2012) supported the importance of the pronunciation in the English
Language Teaching (ELT) by stating that:

(a) pronunciation is often responsible for breakdowns in communication,


and (b) that pronunciation should, therefore, assume a central role in
communicative instruction, from which one might expect (c) that
teacher training and the development of appropriate communicative
pronunciation materials have followed suit (2012:99).

Here, it can be concluded that pronunciation is so important that it should


not be neglected in the trend of the language teaching in general and particularly
the English which is a FL in Côte d’Ivoire.

2.6. RESEARCH ON THE TEACHING OF PRONUNCIATION: THE


CASE OF THE PURE VOWELS

The teaching of the vowels is included in the pronunciation scope. Thus,


the studies, consulted for the work, are mainly based on the pronunciation as a
whole and a particular aspect such as consonants or vowels. There have been

remplir le son dans la langue, celle dont on peut le moins se dispenser, il est naturel que
les protagonistes de l’acte de la parole apprennent avant toute chose à réagir aux traits
distinctifs.»

65
- André MARTINET, Op.cit, Paris : Presse Universitaires de France, 1963, p.14
« L’articulation d’un mot en une succession de phonèmes empêche le sens de ce mot en
d’exercer une influence quelconque sur sa forme. On peut concevoir chaque
phonème comme une habitude motrice particulière qui reste toujours identique à
elle-même, quel que soit le sens du contexte dans lequel il apparaît.»

42
many works concerning the teaching and the acquisition/learning of the English
vowels.

Indeed, Firas (2012) conducted research related to the Acoustic Analysis


of English Pure Vowels66. In this study, the aim is to examining the acoustic
properties of English pure vowels produced by native and non-native speakers in
clear and conversational speech (henceforth CLR and CNV speech respectively).
This study concentrates on the most important aspects of acoustic phonetic
research, acoustic analysis, vowel intelligibility, sex-related differences, as well as
comparing clear to conversational speech.

To achieve his goal, he chooses the Acoustic Phonetics as the theoretical


background because his principal interest is with the physics of speech sounds as
related to the language system, then the major purpose is to demonstrate the links
between the physical input and its sensations to the ear which constitute the
stimulus, and also how these sensations are further organized parallel with the
language system. The study involves an experimentation composed of talkers, and
speech material and stimuli. The experiment lasted approximately two months and
a half. It consisted of two groups of talkers who served as participants in this
experiment. The first group consisted of 20 Iraqi adult non-native speakers of
English (10 females and 10 males). The second group consisted of only two adult
native speakers of BBC English (1 female and 1 male) whose speech analysis
results are considered a norm to compare to. As far as the speech materials and
stimuli are concerned, two types of materials were used in this experiment:
Material A and Material B.

Material A was prepared for the CNV speech recording session. It


consisted of the twelve BBC English pure vowels carried by 12 target words
embedded in a dialogue.

66
- Ali F. Firas. “Acoustic Analysis of English Pure Vowels in Clear and Conversational
Speech: An Experimental Study at the University of Basra.” MA thesis. U. of Barsa,
2012.

43
Material B was prepared for the CLR speech recording session. It
consisted of a printed list which comprised the twelve target words; the carriers of
the twelve BBC English pure vowels. Some distracter vowels were also included
to make the talkers feel more comfortable and unaware of the vowels to be
analyzed.

Talking about the procedure, two recording sessions were conducted on


both groups of talkers, i.e. the native and non-native speakers. For all individual
talkers, the CNV speech recording session was conducted prior to the CLR speech
recording session.

In the first recording session, the researchers invited two native speakers of
BBC English (1 female and 1 male) to come and talk with them individually for
about 10 to 15 minutes each, as they are BSc. holders from University College,
London. Time was distributed equally among all the participants of the
experiment. Each one of the talkers first listened to an original recording of a
dialogue spoken by native speakers, then they were requested to speak in a typical
conversational manner, as if talking to their family members or friends. The
instruction set given to the talkers in CNV speech was as follows: "It is important
that your speech be as much like your normal conversational style as possible".

Then, after listening to the recordings, the researchers asked the same
talkers back for another recording session. Talkers were asked to read a list of
target words selected from the conversation, and they were requested to speak
clearly and carefully and to do whatever they felt necessary in order to be better
understood. The instruction set given to the talkers in CLR speech was as follows:
"It is important that your speech be as clear and careful as possible."

The findings of this study have demonstrated that pure vowels have longer
durations in CLR speech than in CNV speech.

44
Besides, Finger (1985) is interested in the teaching of the vowels by using
the vowel colour chart67. In fact, he uses this chart as a teaching aid in order to
help students with the pronunciation of Canadian English vowels. Thus, he
explained that the Vowel Colour Chart is a poster of 14 coloured circles that he
put on the classroom wall. He also hands out notebook-size black and white charts
with the names and numbers of the colours, and the symbols in the International
or Dictionary Phonetic Alphabet for the vowel phonemes. He also evokes the idea
that the eye is synthetic and the ear is analytic which is from Burstein.The eye, for
example, perceives the colour and the ear, for example, distinguishes in an
orchestral chord the individual instruments and notes. By the way, the Vowel
Colour Chart has been used successfully in Toronto with immigrants with a wide
range of first languages, as well as in Vancouver with visa students from many
countries. Although it has been used with adults, it would be quite appropriate to
use with children. It has been used in classes in pronunciation, in reading, in
writing, and in classes in basic to advanced communication skills.

Moreover, Vergun (2006) investigated the acquisition of the English


vowels, entitled “A Longitudinal Study of the Acquisition of American English
Vowels”68. This investigation is a two-year longitudinal case study of a Spanish-
speaking learner of English. His naturalistic classroom speech was collected, and
over 1,100 words were acoustically analyzed to answer three related research
questions as follows:

First, is the learner limited to his L1 categories in the initial stage of L2


learning?

Next, how does the learner’s ultimate pronunciation of one new vowel and
two similar vowels compare to the L2 target?

67
- Julianne FINGER, Loc.cit, vol 2, No 2, Mar. 1985
.
68
-Andrea, VERGUN, A Longitudinal Study of the Acquisition of American English Vowels.
MA thesis. U of Portland State, 2006.

45
Finally, does the data support the Speech Learning Model concerning new
and similar vowels?

To achieve her objective, she based herself on Flege’s Speech Learning


Model, which hypothesizes that learners acquire L2 vowels differently,
depending on whether they are new to the learner or similar to existing vowels
in the L1 system. In the end, the answer of the first question is affirmative.
Then, concerning the second question, the results show that he has not attained
target pronunciation of one of the similar vowels, and the results are
inconclusive for the other. The new vowel is pronounced similarly to the
target. Finally, the answer of the third question is that the subject has not
created a category for the new vowel, and it cannot be determined if he is
pronouncing the similar vowels without modification.

In addition to this work, Clerton (2012) did research on the production of


the front vowels. In fact, he was interested in the production models of
English front vowels as produced by Brazilian learners. The title of the article
is “Production of English Front Vowels by Brazilian EFL Teachers in Western
Rio Grande do Norte”69.

By the way, the study’s aim was to provide the description of the
relationship between their mother language and English as a foreign language
as spoken by their teachers who deal with oral skills in the classroom. So, both
acoustic and duration aspects of the front vowel system of English as a foreign
language and our variant of Brazilian Portuguese are described having the
establishment of this relationship in mind.

69
- Clerton Luiz Felix Barboza, Clerton, Luiz, F.B. “Production of English Front Vowels by
Brazilian EFL Teachers in Western Rio Grande do Norte”. New Sounds:
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second
Language Speech. 2007: Web. 13 Apr. 2014.
<http//:www.uece.br/posla/dmdocuments/clertonluizfelixbarboza.pdf.>

46
Thus, the data collection procedure consisted of four experiments: two for
L1 and two for L2 recordings. In particular, the first data collection procedure
in both languages involved the reading of words in carrier sentences. The
following procedure was a role-play activity in which informers were required
to give instructions on how to get to specific places with the aid of a small
map.

Finally, he came to the results of duration which show that all but one L2
vowels were significantly different from L1 ones when compared. This was
expected owing to the well known value of duration in characterizing English
front vowels, and the absence of this characteristic in the Brazilian Portuguese
vowel system. As for the L1-1/L1-2 experiments’ results, all L1 vowels were
significantly different from one another. And the L2-1/L2-2 experiments
revealed very similar results to the ones presented above.

Another work in the same perspective is done by Denize (2007). In this


study, he investigated the effect of perceptual training on the perception of
three English vowel contrasts70 (/i-I/, /E-O/, and /U-u/) by Brazilian EFL
students. He also investigated whether Brazilian learners would benefit or not
from training involving synthesized speech stimuli with cue enhancement – a
specific kind of training in which learners would be exposed to artificial
stimuli with an emphasis in the crucial portions of the signal. He also checked
whether the knowledge acquired by means of synthesized stimuli was
transferred to natural listening settings, that is, if training with synthesized
stimuli led to improvement in listening to natural speech.

70
- Denize Nobre-Oliveira, “Effects of Perceptual Training on the Learning of English
Vowels in Non-native Settings”. New Sounds: Proceedings of the Fifth
International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech.
2007: Web. 9 Mar. 2014.
<http://www.ibrarian.net/navon/paper/Effects_of_Perceptual_Training_other_Learning_o
f.pdf?paperid >
.

47
As the method of research which is composed of the participants, the
materials and procedures, thirty-six undergraduate students of English at the
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) in Brazil participated in this
study: 7 in the control group of Brazilian Portuguese native speakers, with no
specific phonetic training, and 29 in the experimental group, which received
perceptual training. The experimental group consisted of third- and fourth-
semester students of the undergraduate English program and fifth-semester
students of the undergraduate Executive Secretary program. There were also
two control groups: one consisting of native speakers of American English
and one with native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese.

The participants in both of the control groups were graduate or


undergraduate students with no specific knowledge about phonetics. As for
the materials and procedures, a perception test was at stake and it consisted of
a forced-choice labeling task in which the participants had to identify the
American English vowels within 108 CVC words produced by 8 natives
American English speakers (4 males and 4 females). Before the perception test
started, the participants received instructions in English on the procedure they
should follow: They would hear a word and, on the answer sheet, they should
circle the word that contained the same vowel sound as in the word they had
just heard.

The perception tests (pre- and post-) were administered in the Language
Lab at UFSC. To perform the identification task appropriately, the participants
used Sony headsets (H5-95). For the training, two different sets of stimuli
were used, depending on the group the learners were in. The stimuli used in
the natural-stimuli-based training were recorded by 7 native speakers of
American English 2 (3 males and 4 females).

The results, with the comparison of both tests’ (pre and post) results,
revealed that there was a significant difference in the performance of the
participants in the experimental group. And this difference indicated that they

48
performed much better after training. The results of the SynS group also
suggested that training with enhanced stimuli is more effective than training
with natural stimuli, since the rate of improvement in both skills (perception
and production) was higher for the SynS group. Much of the effectiveness of
the synthesized training in helping learners to identify L2 sounds is that subtle
and crucial cues of the signal are enhanced, drawing learners’ attention to
them (and the less important features attenuated). Thus, the results of the
present study suggest that enhanced stimuli help learners to develop selective
attention to the crucial phonetic cues of certain sounds in a given L2.

The work done by Al Saqqaf and Maruthi (2012) is a little bit closed to the
present study in that it is concerned with the teaching of the English vowels to
Arab students. Thus, in their article entitled “Teaching English Vowels to
Arab Students: A Search for a Model and Pedagogical Implications”, their aim
was to examine the teachability of an English vowel system taught to foreign
students (Arab students) because they have noticed that the most noticeable
feature in the English pronunciation of an Arab student is the poor mastery of
English vowels. Since, they mentioned that English vowels constitute the most
serious phonological problems that Arab students face. Arabic dialects have a
more limited number of vowel phonemes. Some of these have a number of
allophones that have equivalents in English, but because of their restricted
phonetic environment, Arab learners of English fail to equate them to their
English counterparts.

By the way, to solve the problem, they have taken eight subjects from
various countries in the Middle East and they were asked to read out the words
in the word list and their speech was recorded on a very good quality Sony
cassette recorder. Before reading, the subjects were given some time to go
through the word list for better quality recording.

49
They were based on Contrastive Analysis as the theoretical framework
simply because some vowels of Arabic and the three accents of English are
contrasted in order to arrive at the differences and similarities.

The pedagogical implication was that when the students have some
difficulties in distinguishing two vowels, then they placed an English and
Arabic vowel as minimal pairs in order to make them discriminate between
these vowels. So, whenever the teacher faces some difficulty in teaching
English vowels, reference can be made to the Arabic example to approximate
the pronunciation.

Thanks to the use of Contrastive Analysis, they concluded that this study
will draw attention of teachers on the role of mother tongue in teaching the
sounds of English to Arab students

With regard to all the different works presented above, it can be noticed
that their participants are most of the time adults who learn the English
vowels. Another feature is that, they use some instruments in order to measure
the frequencies of the vowels produced by the participants. Thus, in the
present study, the focus is on the francophone beginner learners of the English
language. By the same token, the data will be analyzed by describing the
process whereby the participants go from worse to better. Another difference
is that in above works none of them has used Error Analysis as the theoretical
framework. Even if many works have been done in this domain in other
continents, but in Francophone Africa, this kind of work has never been
undertaken in countries like Côte d’Ivoire. All these reasons can be considered
as the relevance of the present research.

50
CHAPTER III

RESEARCH DESIGN

51
This chapter is concerned with the plan of data collection. Thus, it
encompasses the sampling methodology, the choice of the corpus and the
techniques of data collection. The collection of data for this study is an
experimentation organized in two sessions with the vowel charts containing an
arrow representing conventionally the different positions of the tongue. And this
is done with each participant and for each vowel. This accounts for the length of
this part. Thus, this chapter seems to be the longest one.

3.1. THE SAMPLING METHODOLOGY

In the frame to know that if the integration of pure vowels in the teaching
and learning process of English as a foreign language can help the learners
produce less communication breakdowns when speaking the language, some
students known as the participants have been selected according to some
characteristics to conduct the research.

Thus, there are many types or techniques to select a sample from a population
in conducting a research paper. The sample can be a probabilistic sample or non-
probabilistic one. The present study makes use of the former one, more precisely,
the simple randomization sampling method in order to select the sample. In fact,
as its name implies, with this technique, every member of the population has a
known and equal chance to be selected. To quote Singh’s (2006) words in the
following lines:

Randomization is a method of sampling in which each individual of the


population has the equal chance or probability of selection of the individuals
for constituting a sample. The choice of one individual is in no way tied with
other. The individuals of a sample are independently drawn from the
population. All members of the population have essentially the same
probability of being selected.71

71
-Kumar Yogesh SINGH, Fundamental of Research Methodology and Statistics, New
Delhi, New Age International Publishers, 2006, p. 84

52
In the same logic, the participants were selected in a classroom of form 1 also
called 6è in the Ivoirian terms. So, they were chosen according to their sitting
places in the classroom where there are different rows. By the way, the researcher
counts them and chooses the tenth student of each group of ten students to ensure
that everybody has the chance to be chosen. In the same logic, the participants are
chosen regarding certain scientific conventions.

Given that the whole target population must not be selected, therefore
another technique is used for this purpose. Among all the methods that can be
used to measure the size of the population, the study adopts what Singh (2006)
calls Optimum Allocation Stratified Sampling. In fact, for his conception of this
method, which he displays below as:

Optimum allocation stratified sampling is representative as well as


comprehensive than other stratified samples. It refers to selecting units from
each stratum that should be in proportion to the corresponding stratum of
the population. Thus, the sample obtained is known as optimum allocation
stratified sample72.

In this kind of this technique, the total number of the population is 60


which is divided by ten. In other words, it proceeds by considering ten percent of
the whole population. This is represented in the table below.

Optimum allocation stratified Sampling


population Sample
60 6

This research work is in the scope of qualitative study because the sample
is made of fewer participants. As suggests by Dawson (2002), “Qualitative
research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences …. As it is attitudes,
behaviours and experiences which are important, fewer people take part in the
research”73.

72
- Kumar Yogesh SINGH, Op.cit, New Delhi, New Age International Publishers, 2006, p.88
73
- Catherine DAWSON, Practical Research Methods: A User-Friendly Guide to
Mastering Research Techniques and Projects, Oxford: How to books, 2002. p.14-15

53
As far as the participants are concerned, they are endowed with some
characteristics in order to achieve the study requirements, thought they are chosen
randomly. To clarify things, the characteristics of the participants are placed in a
table in which the participants assigned numbers. The following figure describes
the participants.

In this study, it is possible to assert that the sample is representative for the
present study because of the proportion of the target population. Similarly, if we
consider the phenomenon of the multilingualism in the country, it is nearly the
same. Therefore, the sample can be said to be representative.

However, we must know that it is the beginning of a research field which


must be essential everywhere in the country for it presents the same phenomenon
of multilingualism in the country.

Table II: Table of the different characteristics of the participants

Number Birth dates Level of Language(s) Language Gender


assigned to education spoken at of
participants home education
1 05/10/2003 6è Diula/French French girl
2 11/06/2000 6è Diula French boy
3 12/12/2002 6è Diula/French French boy
4 16/11/2002 6è Yoruba French girl
5 20/11/2002 6è Senufo French boy
6 01/08/2002 6è Diula French boy

From the table above, we notice that some features are common to the
participants namely the birth dates, the level of education (6è) and the language of
education which is French and known as their (L2). Therefore, the study will take
into account all the features which are common to the whole sample; these
characteristics are the level of education (6è) and the language of education
(French). Concerning the other characteristics such as birth dates, it can be noticed
that all the participants are born between (2002 and 2003). So, considering this
interval, it can be said that age, which is an important factor in Second/Foreign

54
Language Learning, is in line with the idea of some researchers. For them there is
a critical period for children to learn foreign languages. This is presented as
follows by Alpark (2013) in “L’enseignement/apprentissage d’une langue
étrangère Aux jeunes enfants” when he observes that some researchers, there is
critical period because the brain of the baby is available for languages learning
within a determined period which could be situated before puberty.74 As for the
language(s) spoken at home, we can see that the participants have some of them in
common; mainly (French and Diula).

Another fact, which must be noticed, is the presence of the French


language for each participant in the table, but this is not done by random. The
justification is that it is the language which the participants can use to
communicate among them. Therefore, the choice of the French is relevant in that
all the participants have learned it in the primary school and have it as their L2. In
other terms, it fulfills the question of the uniformity of the participants.

We also have two female among the participants. The study will not insist
on the notion of gender because it is not relevant to its objective. Even if the belief
is that the languages that they speak at home may influence the results, they will
not be taken into account during the experimentations. Another characteristic of
the participants is that they are in the first year of the learning process. According
to them, none of their parents is a teacher of the English language.

Moreover there is one characteristic of a learner which is the attitudinal


factor. In fact, during the experimentation, two participants were not relaxed the
others were thought they were told that it is not a question of selecting the best
one of them according to the marks as they use to do in the classroom. These
participants are n°4 and n°6. But the one who owns the number 4, has changed in

74
-Melek ALPAR, “L’enseignement/apprentissage d’une langue étrangère Aux Jeunes
Enfants” Turkish Studies - International Periodical For The Languages, Literature and
History of Turkish or Turkic, Volume 8/9, Summer 2013, p. 599 « Pour certains
chercheurs comme de Penfield, Roberts et Lenneberg il existe une « période critique » car
pour eux le cerveau d’un bébé est disponible aux apprentissages des langues entre une
période déterminée qui se situerait peu avant la puberté.»

55
second experimentation, this is not the case for the one number 6. This factor is
well stated by Krashen (1981) who quoted H. D. Brown in his Second Language
Acquisition and Second Language Learning, arguing that “presumably, the person
with self-esteem is able to react out beyond himself more freely, to be less
inhibited, and because of his ego strength, to make the necessary mistakes
involved in language learning with less threat to his ego”75.

So one can easily comprehend that the more a learner is relaxed the better
he/she learns. For the names of the participants, (see appendix 1.)

3.2. THE CHOICE OF THE CORPUS

The corpus can be selected in many ways. For example, use the texts of
actual course of English in the school or from published phonetic books. But that
would not help achieve the purpose of the present study because of the
multilingual environment of the learners and the objectives of the study.
Therefore, the study’s corpus justification is based on some contrastive analysis
works. The contrastive analysis’ works can be noticed in two ways: at the African
languages’ level and that of the French one with English. Thus, before dealing
with these contrastive analysis’ works, let’s consider the vowels which are said to
be troublesome for both the francophone and African learners of English.

The present study deals with the English pure vowels which are twelve76 in
number according to many phoneticians among whom we can quote
Christophersen (1956) who puts them in a table with their corresponding numbers.
Thus, he is interested in the contrasts between the English sounds and the African
language ones. In fact, he is concerned with the probable difficulties that Africans
who learn the English language usually face with in the learning process at the
sounds level in general and in particular that of the vowels. So, this linguist’s
75
-Stephen, D. KRASHEN, Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning,
Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1981, p.23
76
- Paul Chritophersen, Op.cit, London, Longman Group Limited, 1956, p.38
.

56
vision of the problem is relevant because it is in alignment with the present study.
By the way, he indicates four vowels creating some difficulties to African English
learners, according to him. Those vowels are the following: [i:], [I], [u:] and [U].
If we refer to the position of these vowels in the vowel charts, we notice that they
are closely related as shown in the chart below.

Front central back

Close i: u:

Half-close I U

Figure VI: The English vowel chart presenting the four ones selected (adapted
from Christophersen, 1956)

Before continuing with the study, let’s give some number to these vowels
conventionally. Thus, [i:] is n°1, [I] is n°2, [u:] is n°8 and [U] is n°9. I insist that
these numbers correspond to those of the vowel chart containing all the vowels.
So, the investigator doesn’t change them because the documents to which he
refers, contains them in this order. As it can be seen from the chart, these vowels
are very similar, but in terms of their description, they present some different
features. Actually, vowels can be described in three variables. As it can be well
understood here with Skandera and Burleigh (2005) when they state that

“tongue and lip movements result in varying shapes of the mouth, which can be
described in terms of (1) closeness/openness, (2) forwardness/backwardness, and
(3) the shape of the lips. These are the three criteria for the description of vowel
phonemes”.77

Similarly, he goes further by clustering the pure vowels into two different
categories in terms of their length; that is their quantity. Precisely, he is talking

77
-Paul SKANDERA and Peter BERLEIGH, Op.cit, Tübingen, Guntr Narr Verlag Tübingen.
2005, p.32.

57
about the long and short vowels. And they declare that “the symbols for long
vowels are followed by a length mark made of two vertical dots. This length
mark, (…) reminds us that some vowels are usually relatively long”78. As for the
short vowels, they argue that in the production of these phonemes, “the part of the
tongue between the front and the centre is raised to just above mid-close position,
and the lips are slightly spread”79. In addition, they also evoke the intensity of
articulation; that is to say the laxness and the tenseness of the vowels. For them,
lax vowels “are articulated with relatively weak breath force and tense vowels,
which are produced with more energy”80.

Described in this way, we can summarize that [i:] is a front close


unrounded, long and tense vowel. So is the following vowel [u:] except the
backwardness and the lips roundedness features. Likewise, the [I] phoneme is a
front half-close unrounded, short and lax vowel. The same rule is applied to [U]
with the difference at the level of backwardness and roundedness. One of the
important features among these vowels is the vowel duration or length which is a
key point of the present study.

Thus, the paper first will start with works on contrastive analysis between
the African languages and English. In this logic, Christophersen (1956) notes the
importance of the length in the production of vowel n°1 which may not be easy
for African to pronounce. Thus, he asserts that “the length is the most important
point to remember about this vowel. The quality is not very different from the
equivalent African sound which could very well be substituted, but unless the
vowel is pronounced long, it will not sound right in English” (1956:41). For him
this particular feature gives difficulty to Africans English learners.

Concerning the second vowel he also observes some reasons which may
prevent Africans from attaining an acceptable pronunciation of this vowel. These

78
- Paul SKANDERA and Peter BERLEIGH Op. cit, Tübingen, Guntr Narr Verlag Tübingen.
2005, p.35.
79
-Idem, p.36.
80
-Ibidem, p.37-38.

58
are his arguments about this particular vowel as follows: “Africans are not very
prone to the mistake of pronouncing No 2 as a long vowel, but unless they are
very careful they will give exactly the same quality as No1, although short”
(1956:42). By the same token, he gives two reasons which explain this reality
about the African learners of English. This is how he states these reasons:

The reason for this is partly that Africans are misled by the spelling. No.2
is generally spelt i in English and this letter in the orthography of many
African languages stands for a close sound with quality of No.1. Another
reason is that some Africans, even if they realized that Nos 1and 2 must be
kept apart, imagine that they have no vowel in their own language that will
help them to achieve the right English pronunciation81.

Here, it is clear that the real difficulty of Africans with these vowels is the
duration. Now, the attention is called on the second pair of the selected vowels,
which are No.8 [U] and No.9 [u:]. With this pair, Africans also encounter some
hindrances in trying to produce these phonemes distinctively. According to
Christophersen (1956), “the danger that the Africans have to guard against here is
that of making this vowel identical or nearly identical with No.9 [u:], the vowel
that we use in soon and too”82. As for the vowel No.9 is concerned, he believes
that Africans do not face with a great deal of difficulty in pronouncing it. Thus, he
explains that “Beyond remembering to make it long, Africans seldom have
difficulty with this vowel. Most African languages have a close back vowel which
is near enough to the English sound to be substituted for it. But unless the vowel
is made long, it will not sound right in English” (54).

In this pair, it seems that, Africans generally tend to substitute the No.8 to
No.9 and this can create communication breakdowns.

Then, the contrastive analysis works which claim that the French language
speakers have the tendency to make the confusion between some English sounds
mainly the vowels which are closely related in terms of their position in the chart
and also in terms of their production. One of these evidences can be found with

81
- Paul CHRISTOPHERSEN, Op. cit, London: Longman Group Limited, 1956, p. 42.
82
-Idem, p.52.

59
Faure (1948) who observes that most of the French people make the error by the
fact that they don’t make sufficiently the difference which separates the [I] n° 2
from the [i:] n° 1 which is easier for them, and forget about that it is more opened
and intermediary between n°1 and n°383. He also notices the similar aspect in the
second pair which he explains that the French have the tendency of making
confusion about this vowel which is that of moon, whereas it is more brief and
opened than this vowel’84. Some other researchers like Rivers and Temperley
(1978) show the probable contrast that can be noticed with the French [i] which
has two equivalent vowels in the English, as it is represented below

Eng. /iy/ (2)

(1) Fr. /i/

Eng. /I/ (3)

Figure VII: The English different representations of the sound [i] in the
French (from Rivers and Temperley 1978:164)

They argue that “Distinguishing two English sounds which do not exist in
the students’ native language from a sound to which the students tend to
assimilate them. The French student learns to discriminate the English /iy/ of
‘seat’ from the English /I/ of ‘sit’, and to recognize that both of these differ from
the French site” (164). Here, it is clear that French-speaking students learning the
English language have to make much effort in order to be proficient in this

83
- G. FAURE, Op.cit, Paris, Librairie Hachette, 1948, p.17.« La plupart des Français
commettent l’erreur de ne pas marquer suffisamment la différence qui sépare le
[I] n° 2 du [i:] n° 1 plus facile pour eux et d’oublier que c’est en fait un son plus
ouvert et intermédiaire entre le n° 1 et le n° 3 » .

84
-Idem, p.23 . « Les Français ont tendance à le confondre avec ce dernier son qui est celui de
moon, alors qu’il est plus bref et surtout plus ouvert que lui »

60
language. All these arguments that also account for the target situation in this
study, justify the choice of the corpus. (see appendix 2)

Indeed, the different tasks that are in the experimentation are organized
taking into account four books. In fact, I have been inspired by these books to
create this artificial language for the experimentation. Thus, the first task which
consists in pronouncing the words in isolation, the most part of those words are
from French’s Teaching English as an International Language85. As a matter of
fact, the contained in task one (see appendix 2), are from this book. This is
justified by the fact that not only it is experimental, but also, at this level of the
English language learning process, the participants may not be able to produce
natural speech. So, the researcher creates this artificial language for the study.
And the second one which requires the participants to discriminate between the
sentences which differ only in one vocalic sound through minimal pair exercises.
These sentences are the production of Ann Baker in his Ship or Sheep?86

Each of these tasks has its own objective. Likewise, task one consists in
producing the words separately and this is to make that the participants can
produce the word correctly. In addition the beginners are familiar with these
words. As suggested by Ann Baker’s (1982) Tree or Three? In the introduction of
which the he gives the objective of the book by mentioning that “this is a
pronunciation course for beginners and intermediate students in English as
Foreign Language. Structures and (…) vocabulary are those familiar to most
students at this level”87. In the second task in which are the participants are
required to make distinction between two sentences. The aim of this exercise is to
enable the students to be able discriminate between two sentences and words once
they are produced orally. The objective of this part is to practice the minimal pair
exercises with the beginner learners in order to see if it can help them distinguish

85
-Some of the words in the first task of the experimentation are from this book.
86
- The sentences as well as words have been taken in this book for the second task of the
experimentation (minimal pair exercise)
87
- Ann Baker, Tree or Three? An Elementary Pronunciation Course, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 1982, p.1

61
two similar vocalic sounds. This point of view is strongly supported by Valette
(1967) when she writes that “every student must learn to distinguish among the
phonemes of the target language and to differentiate the distinctive phonetic
features of the target language and his own language. Unless the student can
discriminate the sounds accurately, he can only hope to produce them in a
haphazard fashion”88.

3.3. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE METHOD OF EXPERIMENTATION

In the history of science, two major currents have dominated the world and
these currents are the rationalism which is based on the idea that all knowledge is
a matter of analytical reasoning and the second which will be our focus in the
present study, is known under the denomination of Empiricism. Thus this
approach of the knowledge is based on the verification of the hypotheses or ideas
by the use of experimentation. This is well perceptible with Gavard-Perret et al
(2012) when they explained that the second current qualified as empiricism
founds the validity of the scientific conclusions on the verification of a
hypothesis, (…) by means of sensible experiment, most of the time, by means of
experimentation89.

The type of experimentation for this work is proficiency test in that its goal
is to measure how much does participant master a certain element or language
skill in the course of instruction. This causes Valette (1967) to argue that “the
proficiency test defines student’s level of achievement in reference to a specific
type of employment or instruction. The examiner wishes to ascertain not how
much the student knows (…) but whether he has mastered specific skills and
content deemed pre-requisites for a particular job or course of study” (1967:5).

88
- Valette, Rebecca M. Modern Language Testing: A Handbook, New York, Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1967, p.87
89
- Gavard-Perret, Marie-Laure et al. Méthodologie de la recherche en science de gestion,
Paris, Pearson France, 2012, p.15 « Le second courant, (…) qualifié d’empirisme,
fonde la validité des conclusions scientifiques sur la vérification d’une hypothèse (…) au
moyen de l’expérience sensible et le plus souvent de l’expérimentation »

62
This experimentation is a test which aims at evaluating the level of the
learners not in the sense of who is the best, but how well they can produce these
sounds. Thus, it is organized into two sections known as the Pre-test and the Post-
test.

For the present study, the pre-test is a diagnostic test which intends to know
the real value or level of the participants’ performance before the beginning of the
training. Thus, Heaton (1975) sees things the same way when he gives the
objective of this kind of test as “a diagnostic test is primarily designed to assess
the student’s knowledge and skills in particular areas before a course of study is
begun”90. From this, it is clear that a diagnostic test is everything we do before
starting any activity in the trend of teaching and learning.

More precisely, it is a criterion-referenced test as defined by Cohen et al


(2007), in their Research Methods in Education, they define the criterion-
referenced test as it is the one which “provides the researcher with information
about exactly what a student has learned, what he or she can do”91. They also add
that “for a criterion-referenced test, this is less of a problem: the intention here is
to indicate whether students have achieved a set of given criteria, regardless of
how many others might or might not have achieved them, hence variability or
range is less important here”92.

During the experimentation, the researcher used a computer and a headset


with a microphone. And with the help of a software93 which is used to record the
sounds produced by the participants. The recording of the sounds were important
in the sense that we can have a better perception of those sounds for the analysis
of data, after the experimentation. Thus, the participants were asked to wear a

90
- J. B. HEATON, Writing English Language Tests, Harlow, Longman Group Limited,
1975, p. xi
91
- Louis COHEN, Lawrence MANION and Keith MORRISON, Research Methods in Education
6th ed. New York, Routledge, 2007, p.415
92
- Idem, p. 415
93
Adobe Audition, version 1,5. Built 4124.1.Adobe, 2004.

63
headset with the microphone. The experimentation has been done twice and
recorded.

For the presentation of the participants’ performance, the study will adopt
a descriptive approach because one of the objectives is to know the starting point
of the participants to the present state of their performance. And the correction or
the remedial teaching will be made according to their level of evolution. For this
reason, Rivers and Temperley (1978:172) state the important of this procedure in
these terms as “at first emphasis is laid on distinctions which are likely to cause
problems of comprehension”. Consequently, the work needs the presentation of
the vowel chart since it will help to describe the vowels, which is one of the mean
whereby we can know whether or not a vowel is well produced. Here, there will
be a vowel chart for each and every vowel.

In a similar way, the presentation of the participants’ performance starts


with the first participant which is a girl. But before this, let’s show the initial
position of the vowels in the chart as shown above (see page 53). There is also an
arrow (as used by Roach 1991) which is used to indicate the different directions
and positions of the tongue for each vowel selected for the study since the only
way to know whether or not a vowel is well produced is by the position of the
tongue. Before continuing, I would like to make the precision that all these vowel
charts are adapted from Paul Christophersen (1956).

In the corpus, there are two different tasks organizing from simple to
complex as stated above. In the first task, there are four columns of words
containing respectively the four target vowels: [i:], [I], [u:] and [U].

64
Participant n°1

(1) (3)
i:
u:

(2) (4)

U
I

This is the way the charts represent the performances of the different
participants. When we refer to the different vowel charts, one can notice that with
the first vowel chart which is numbered (1), the arrow indicates that she produces
the vowel [i:] by lengthening slightly the tongue. In the second vowel chart known
as number (2), the tongue is well positioned as it is a short vowel represented as
[I]. Similarly, if we consider the position of the arrow in the third (3) chart, it
comes out that in the production of vowel [u:] the tongue is closer to [U]; that is
the vowel chart number (4) than the former one. In the production of the words

65
which contain the first vowel [i:], she tends assimilate this vowel with [I]. It is the
words from task one which are represented in the following chart in which the
arrow indicates the position of the vowels.

Participant n°2

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

With the second participant, the arrow shows that in both the vowel charts
(1) and (2) representing the following vowels respectively these vowels [i:] and [I]
are produced at the same part of the tongue. So, there no distinction between these
two particular vowels as indicated by the different arrows in the charts.
Concerning the other pair, that is chart number (3) and (4) the tongue position
indicated by the arrows reveal that in the chart (3) the vowel is shortened in its

66
production therefore, it resembles the vowel [U] in the vowel chart number (4)
which is shorter than the other one [u:]. This particular thing is confusing in terms
of communication.

Participant n°3

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

Taking into account what is indicated by the arrow, in the vowel chart (1)
representing the vowel [i:] is produced similarly to the vowel chart (2) [I]. That is
to say, the participant does not try to lengthen the vowel in chart (1) during its
production. Likewise, in the vowel charts (3) and (4): [U] and [u:] respectively are
close from one to another in terms of their position of the arrows in the different
charts.

67
Participant n°4

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

A careful observation of the arrows in the chart (1) and (2) gives the
impression that these two sounds are realized at the same place of the tongue.
Thus, the arrow indicates that vowel [i:] is as short as [I]. The same remark is
made at the level of vowel charts (3) and (4); [U] and [u:]. In fact, the arrow’s
position indicates that these phonemes are produced at the same place of the
tongue.

68
Participant n°5

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

In these vowels’ chart, the position indicated by the arrow especially in


chart (1) and (2), the different arrows show that the vowels are distinctively
realized. Indeed, if we look at the arrow’s position in the charts representing the
vowels [i:] and [I], we can see that these vowels are not produced at the same
place of the tongue as indicated by the different arrow’s position. Thus, the vowel
in chart number (1) is longer than that (2) as represented in the English vowels’
chart. The similar performance is noted in the second pair of sounds. By the way,

69
the vowels in charts (4) [U] and (3) [u:] do not have the same duration in their
production.

Participant n°6

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

On closer inspection of the arrow’s position in the charts containing


respectively the vowels in charts (1) ;[i:] and (2); [I] are produced alike that is at
the same place of the tongue. In fact, the participant does not make any distinction
in pronouncing them. This also falls true with the second pair of vowel charts (4)
and (3) that is the two back vowels which are [u:] and [U] are produced with the
same length in terms of their production. To conclude the first experimentation,
let’s show the results. Indeed, for the vowel charts (1) [i:] and (2) [I] there are two

70
(2) participants (p1and p5) who succeed in distinguishing them. And as for the
second pair almost the participants bring off the vowel in the chart (4) because
they do not do it well except p3 and p5.

3.4. THE REMEDIAL TRAINING

This kind of training consists in helping the learner to move from a point A
to B by correcting the present state of the learners’ performance. Thus, in this
work, it will not be a course of phonetic as they are done at University because
some phonetic symbols may appear strange for the beginner learners therefore
they will feel uneasy with them. This is one of the reasons why this study is
concerned with sounds which appear to be the same with some of those known by
the learners before.

After the first session of experimentation which is known as the diagnostic


test, the researcher organized the course which objective is to correct the
participants’ pronunciation by changing the directions of the arrows during the
diagnostic test. Thus, the course was organized in two tasks done in three stages.
By the way, the first stage consisted in describing the target vowels so that to
show the feature which make them different from one to another in the
pronunciation. Due to the fact that there are four vowels ([i:], [I], [u:] and [U])
which can be clustered into two categories according to their quantity or duration:
there are short and long vowels. The long vowels are characterized by the colons
placed next to them. As a matter of fact, in the production of the long vowels, the
articulatory muscular are more tensed than with the case of the short ones where
the articulators are relaxed.

The common feature shared by these sounds, is the position of the tongue.
In other words, all these vowels are high vowels as noticed by Katamba (1989) in
the following terms, “vowels produced with the highest point of the hump in the

71
tongue close to the roof are said to be high”94. Once the vowels are described in
this way, the participants can pay much attention to their production.

The second stage consisted in writing the same words (those of the
experimentation) on the board in order to produce them accurately. In actual fact,
the researcher writes the words of the first task, in which words are written in
isolation with the target vowels, and pronounced them three times. And then, the
participants were asked to repeat the sounds after him. In this kind of learning,
repetition and imitation are very important as suggests by Christophersen (1956)
who writes that “the secret of all language-learning is imitation. The learner
should strive to imitate the native speakers of the language (…). Indeed, the
mother tongue itself is learnt by imitation”95. Here, we can notice that imitation is
significant in terms learning any language.

In the third stage, the participants pronounced the words in choir three
times and each of them pronounced the words more than twice in order to better
understand his/her oral production. And then follows the step of correction
through a remedial training.

In the trend to correct, the investigator makes use of a method known as


the remedial training. As a matter of fact, this procedure is used in this context,
because it is not in a natural or real class in which there are many students, it is
only for experimentation. Thus, Rivers and Temperley (1978) describe the when
and the how the remedial training is practiced. By the same token, they state that
remedial production exercises “are usually constructed on a contrastive basis,
highlighting problems of interference from sounds in the students’ native
language which are close to the English sounds being practiced and from other
English sounds to be produced”96.

94
- Francis KATAMBA, An Introduction to Phonology, London: Longman Group UK
Limited, 1989, p.9
95
- Paul, CHRISTOPHERSEN, Op. cit, London, Longman, Group Limited, 1956. p. 5
96
- Rivers, Wilga M. and Mary S. Temperley. Op.cit, New York, Oxford University Press,
1978, p172

72
Concerning the way of practicing it, they answer that “remedial production
exercises are frequently preceded by articulatory instructions for the correct
production of the sound, with warnings about native-language habits which
interfere with correct articulation” (Rivers and Temperley 1978:172). So, all
these arguments convince the researcher to use this method. In the end, the
participants were given the papers on which the exercises of the experimentation
are written with the instructions so that there is an improvement in their
production during the second experimentation.

Now, we move to the second experimentation which was organized one


week later because if it takes too much, the participants will forget about the
correct pronunciation which they receive during the first test of the
experimentation.

Participant n°1

73
(1) (2)

i: u:

(3) (4)

U
I

As in the first experimentation, the arrows also show the tongue place
where the vowels are realized. Thus, in the charts number (1) and (2) representing
vowels the vowels [i:] and [I], the arrows are not placed at the same place as they
were in the first experimentation. Equally, the second pair of the vowel charts (4)
and (3) that is [U] and [u:], the arrows’ directions are different from that of the
experimentation one. If we look at the arrow, it is easy to discriminate between
the different vowels. Therefore, we can assume that there is a great improvement
with this particular participant.

74
Participant n°2

(1) (3)

i: u:

(4)
(2)

U
I

Along with the observation of the arrow, in the charts, it can be noticed
that there is a little change at the level of the arrows’ positions; especially in the
case of vowel charts (1) and (2) [i:] and [I], where the arrows go nearer the vowel
but, they are not so close. In addition, in vowel chart number (4) [U] and (3) [u:],
there is a little change as far as the arrows’ positions are concerned. Indeed, the
arrow goes a little bit towards the vowel [u:] comparatively to the first
experimentation.

75
Participant n°3

(1) (3)

i: u:

(4)
(2)

U
I

When we consider the arrows’ evolution in the different charts, we can say
that there is a change in its position relatively to the vowel it indicates. By the
way, the first pair shows significant modification of the position of the arrow.
Thus, the vowels contained in the following charts (1) and (2) are well indicated
by the different arrows. Similarly, in the second case, the specific modification is
noticed with the vowel chart (3); [u:]. In chart number (4), the arrow is does not
show straightly the vowel. So, one can conclude that the participant fails to
produce this vowel.

76
Participant n°4

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

What we can notice with this participant is that the arrow’s position does
not change in the first pair; that is the position of the arrow in the vowel chart (1)
[i:] and (2) [I]. As for the vowel charts (4) and (3) that is [U] and [u:] respectively,
the notable change is observed at the level of the vowel [u:] which she shortened
in the first experimentation.

77
Participant n°5

(1) (3)

i: u:

(4)
(2)

U
I

The directions shown by the arrows in the different charts reveal that there
is visible modification at the level of position of the vowels as produced by the
participants. Indeed, in chart (1) he succeeds in lengthening this vowel and he also
shortens the vowel in the chart (2); hence the distinction of the vowels [i:] and [I]
in the pair by lengthening and shortening respectively these vowels. The same
thing is observed in charts (3) and (4) where the vowel [u:] is lengthened as
shown by the arrow in this chart. By the way, the vowel [U] is shortened during
its production. So, it can be said that there is improvement in his performance.

78
Participant n°6

(1) (3)

i: u:

(2) (4)

U
I

With regard to the positions of the arrows in the vowel charts, it comes out
that they are not well placed in order to indicate the features of the vowels. In
actual, fact, the vowel charts numbered with (1) containing the vowel [i:] and (2)
with the vowel [I], are not produced so that one can make clear distinction
between them. Referring to the second pair, there is a slight change taking into
account the position of the arrows in the different vowel productions. Especially,
the vowel chart number (4) he succeeds in placing the tongue during the
production of this vowel. This is not the case in vowel chart (3) where the tongue
should be lengthened.

To sum up briefly, it can be said that there is an improvement in the sense


that four (4) participants (n°1,2,3,5) for [i:] and [I], and (n°1,3,4,5) for [u:] and
[U] succeed in producing the first pair of the vowels, [i:] and [I], distinctively so

79
is the second pair. And concerning the second pair that is [u:] and [U], there are
three (3) successful participants. After the second, these are the results of the
experimentations.

After the collection of data, isn’t it important to analyze them in order to


make them significant for everybody and make recommendations?

80
CHAPTER IV

DATA ANALYSIS AND


RECOMMENDATIONS

81
In this chapter, the task consists in analyzing the data in order to make
them understood by the different readers. In fact, it is the section where data are
tabulated materially so that to determine their meanings. It is also the place where
the hypothesis may be verified or rejected.

4.1. DATA ANALYSIS

This part of the work starts with a presentation of the data. They followed
the analysis and finally the new on remediation. Another precision is worth
mentioning about the analysis of the data, is that these sounds will not be analyzed
taking in consideration their acoustic features which is always done by means of
spectrogram.

4.1.1. Methods of data analysis

In order to organize and facilitate the analysis of the data collected through
the different experimentations, the researcher tallied before tabulating the
performances under each participant using simple descriptive statistics such as
frequencies, percentages and the standard deviation.

4.1.2. Presentation of data and Interpretations

The presentation of data for the present study is done in accordance with
the types of exercises suggested for the experimentations which were organized in
terms of two tests: the pre-test and the post-test. As a matter of fact, there are two
different tasks with their objective which also differ from one to another.
However, the presentation of the data concerns two tasks thus the first task consist
in producing the words in isolation which contain the target vowels and the
second one aims at discriminating two words which differ only in one unit; that is
minimal pairs exercises. The choice of these two exercises is motivated by the fact
that they help in distinguishing between two sounds.

82
The data are presented around two main points. First, the participants
pronounce in isolation of the words containing the target vowels. And second, the
discrimination of two sounds which can create communication breakdowns
(minimal pair exercise).

To display the data, the researcher made use of tables to show first the
number of words produced by each of the participants from of each vowel and
then the frequency of his/her total performance represented in percentages. He
also uses some graphs to illustrate the frequencies in the tables because as noticed
by Hatch and Anne (1991) as follows “it has been said that a picture is worth a
thousand words. Sometimes the picture is used to represent numbers as well as
words (...) . Bar graphs are often used to show frequencies”97. Thus, in this study,
the graphs present the total performance of each participant while the tables are
concerned with the number of words produced by the participants.

In fact, each of the vowels has four (4) words which mean that if a
participant succeeds in producing correctly all of these words from a vowel,
he/she is considered as to be a good one; thus he/she is graded with the number
(4). By the way, if it is three, he/she is graded with (3), this is also the case with
the number (2) and (1). And if the figure is (0), therefore we can say the
participant does badly at this level.

97
- Evelyn HACTH and Anne LARAZATON, The Research Manual: Design and Statistics
for Applied Linguistics, Massachusetts, Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1991,
p.147

83
Table III: Participants’ performance of words pronunciation in isolation in
Test 1.

participa The vowels and words selected for each


nts [i:] [I] [u:] [U]
Me, we, Big, six, A school, A foot, a Freq. Perc
three, to in, a city two, blue, a book, a (%)
meet moon classroom,
Isolation pronunciation

Luke
P1 0 4 4 0 8 15
P2 0 4 4 0 8 15
P3 1 3 4 0 8 15
P4 1 4 4 0 9 18
P5 4 3 4 0 11 22
P6 0 4 4 0 8 15
Total 52 100

In column 1, the participants’ names have been deliberately omitted for


privacy purpose. As for the columns (2, 3, 4, 5), they contain not only the vowels
with their words but also the number of words correctly produced by each
participant. Then column 6 and 7 show respectively the frequency (freq.) of the
performance of each participant and its percentages (perc.)

According to the data presented above, all the participants have almost the
same difficulties pronouncing some vowels. In fact, the vowels which cause the
serious problem, is the short back close and rounded vowel represented as [U].
Thus, in the performance of this vowel, in the first test, all the participants scored
zero (0) which means that they were unable to pronounce it correctly. The
mispronunciation of this vowel can be accounted for by the fact that the
participants tend to lengthen the vowel which is in fact short in quantity. This is
why all of the participants produced the different words under the long vowel.

Another remark is that, in the performance of the long front close vowel
[i:], only one of the participants succeeded in producing all the four words
properly. The justification of this fact is that the participants are not aware of the
fact that there are two variances of the vowel [i:] in English as it is the case in

84
French. For the short close front vowel, the results are acceptable in so far as four
out of the six participants selected, succeeded in producing all the four (4) words.
With this vowel, the p3 and p5 produced the word “city” by introducing the
diphthong [ai] in the first syllable. Finally, the long close back vowel, each and
every participant produced all the four words. This is so because they lengthen the
vowel when pronouncing it. In the figure below, P= participant, P1= participant 1
and so are the other participants.

participant's performance
25

20

15

10

0
P1 P2 P3 p4 p5 p6

Figure VIII: The graphical representation of the table III

Taking into account the graph, the bars indicate the level of performance
of each participant. In actual fact, the first three participants and the p 6 scored the
same percentage (15%). All these participants speak not only their mother tongues
which is Diula for the most part namely p1, p 2, p3 and p6’s mother tongue is
Senufo but due to the fact that he interacts more with his friends who are Diula
speakers, therefore his pronunciation is close to that of the Diula speakers.
Concerning the participants (p4 and p5), they scored respectively (18% and 22%).
The p4 speaks Yoruba as her mother tongue and as she has some Diula speaker
friends, she also speaks that language. The case of the p6 is specific in the sense
that he speaks Diula and French at home. An additional information is that he has
someone who teaches him the English language.

85
Table VI: Participants’ performance of words pronunciation in isolation in
Test 2

Participants The vowels and words selected for each


[i:] [I] [u:] [U]
Isolation pronunciation

me, we, big, six, a school, a foot, a book, Freq Perc. (%)
three, in, a two, blue, a a classroom, .
to meet city moon Luke
P1 1 4 4 0 9 16
P2 1 4 2 2 9 16
P3 3 4 3 1 11 19
P4 1 4 2 2 9 16
P5 4 4 4 0 12 21
P6 1 3 3 0 7 12
Total 57 100

Here, there is no need to describe the table because it is the same


disposition like the first one. The difference can be noticed at the level of the
participants’ performances since some of them have improved if we refer to the
percentages which represent their performances. Thus, the participants (p1 and
p2) scored (16%) against (15%) in the pre-test. Similarly, the p3 obtained (19%)
against (15%). Contrary to the first above participants, p5 and p6 presented
respectively the following percentages (21% and 12%) against (22% and 15%)
and this is due to the simple fact that the other participants have improved and this
gives 57 against 52 as frequencies.

participant's performance
25
20
15
10
5
0
p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6

Figure IX: The graphical representation of the table IV

86
If we consider the graph above, it comes out that there is much
improvement in so far as the following participants: p1, p2, p3, p4 have come
closer to p5 who obtained the highest frequency in both the first and the second
test. The surprising case is that of p6 whose percentage is the lowest. And this
amazing case can find its justification in the fact the participant was not relaxed
during the experimentation though they were ensured that it was not a case of
ranking them. That is to say the intention of this test was far from knowing who is
the best or worse of the group.

Table V: The discrimination of vowels using minimal pairs in Test 1

Participant The vowels discrimination


s through the words
[i:] and [I] [u:] and [U]
Minimal pair exercise

Sheep & Ship Could, Cooed Freq. Perc.


Leak & lick look, Luke (%)
P1 0 2 2 0 4 17
P2 0 2 1 0 3 13
P3 1 1 1 0 3 13
P4 0 1 2 1 4 17
P5 1 1 2 1 5 23
P6 0 1 2 1 4 17
Total 23 100

In this table, the first column contains the six (6) participants and from
column 2 to 5, these columns present the numbers of words produced correctly
under each vowel by each participant. Then, follow the columns of frequencies
and percentages which represent the performances of the different participants.
Thus, the researcher is concerned with the performances of the participants
concerning the discrimination of the four vowels which are able to create
communication breakdowns because of their closeness in terms of their
production and perception. As in the first two tables, the number (0) stands for the
inability of the participant to produce correctly, (1) means that out of two words
by vowel, the participant has been able to pronounce one (1) word. So is the
number (2).

87
Taking into account the data in the table, it reveals that p1 obtained (2)
words under the vowel [I] out of four (4) in the first pair of vowels. As for the
second pair, she succeeded in pronouncing only one (2) word in the column of the
vowel [u:]. All these scores result in (4), in the column of frequency. Concerning
p2, he scored (2) under the vowel [I] in the first pair and in the second pair, he
scored (1) under the long back tensed vowel [u:]. As result, he obtained (3). With
p3, things are rather different in the sense that he scored (1) in the first pair under
each vowel. The similar case is noticed in the second pair, but he obtained also (1)
for vowel [u:] and (0) in the second vowels’ words [u]; which results in (3).

The fourth participant scored (0) for the vowel [i:], (1) under the vowel [I],
(2) under the vowel [u:] and (1) for the vowel [U] which gives her the frequency
of (4). Concerning p5, he scored as total of the frequency (5) which is distributed
as follows: (1) for vowel [i:] and [I], (2) under the vowel [u:] and (1) for vowel
[U]. The last but not least participant (p6) scored (0) for the vowel [i:], (1) for
vowel [ɪ], (2) under vowel [u:] and finally (1) for vowel [U]. Consequently he
obtained (4) as the frequency.

participant's performance

p6
p5
p4
p3
p2
p1

0 5 10 15 20 25

Figure X: The graphical representation of the table VI

If we refer to the graph, the different bars clearly show the performance of
the participants. By the way, there are three participants (p1, p4, p6) who obtained
(17%). This can be justified by the fact that these participants believed that there
is no distinction between these sounds production and perception. The similar

88
case is found with the participants (p2, p3) with the percentage of (13%) which is
the lowest of the percentages. These participants thought that the first one did not
pronounce it very well. So they produced them differently. The exceptional case is
seen with the fifth participant who scored (23%) thought they were not taught
these sounds this way.

Table VII: The discrimination of vowels using minimal pairs in Test 2

Participa The vowels discrimination


nts through the words
[i:] and [I] [u:] and [U]
Minimal pair exercise

Sheep & Ship Could, Cooed Freq. Perc.


Leak & lick look, Luke (%)
P1 2 2 2 1 7 20
P2 0 2 2 1 5 15
P3 0 2 2 1 5 15
P4 0 2 1 2 5 15
P5 1 2 2 2 7 20
P6 0 2 2 1 5 15
Total 34 100

After the remedial training, many participants’ scores as well as the


percentages have changed from bad to good and then from good to better. Thus,
the participants (p1 and p5) attained the same and the highest frequency (7), and
the percentage which is (20%). But the difference is that while p1 fails to perform
both words under vowel [U], p5 does it well and fails in vowel [i:].This can be
explained by the simple fact that the first participant paid more attention to the
remedial training. By the same occasion, she tried to pronounce the words like the
p5. The common results (5) observed at the level of the remainder of the
participants can be supported by the fact that they understood that there is a
difference in the quantity or the length between the vowels of each pair. In this
logic, they obtained the percentage of (15%). However, they did not score the
same number of words in the different vowels. In fact, for the vowel [i:],
participants (p2, p3, and p6) scored (0). As for vowel [I], they scored the same
number of words (2). Concerning the second pair of vowels, p2, p3 and p6 gained

89
(2) under the vowel [u:] and only p1 obtained (1). The similar results are visible in
the second vowel [U].thus, while p2, p3 and p6 scored (1), p4 obtained (2).

participant's performances
p6
p5
p4
p3
p2
p1

0 5 10 15 20 25

Figure XI: The graphical representation of the table VI

Besides, the researcher made use of the Standard Deviation to describe the
participants’ performances and in the same way to show the difference between
their performances of the two tests. This statistics method can be used to check
the difference between the participants as well as the difference between the pre-
test and the post-test in order to see if there is an improvement.

Table VII: The calculation of the participants’ performances by using the


Standard Deviation (SD) in task 1

participants Scores of the Pre- Scores of the Post-


test test
P1 8 9
P2 8 9
P3 8 11
P4 9 9
P5 11 12
P6 8 7
SD 1.21 1.76

In the present table, the SD of the pre-test shows (1.21) while that of the
post-test displays (1.76). But, the better the performance is, the larger become the

90
results. Because while p1, p2, p3 improve with an addition of one (1) for the first
two participants, p6 who obtained (8) in the pre-test loses one (1) to gain (7).
Therefore, one can notice that participant (p6) becomes poor. This ill-performance
of p6 is due to the fact that he was not relaxed during the experimentation.

Table VIII: The calculation of the participants’ performances by using


Standard Deviation in task 2

participants Scores of the Pre- Scores of the Post-


test test
P1 4 7
P2 3 5
P3 3 5
P4 4 5
P5 5 7
P6 4 5
SD 0.75 1.03

Here, there is significance improvement in the sense that the pre and post-
tests’ SD show respectively (0.75) and (1.03). All the participants change from
bad to good and then from good to better. Thus, the scores of the pre-test are very
different from those of post-test in so far as they increase from one participant to
another.

4.2. RECOMMENDATIONS

With regard to the above findings, it becomes a necessity to integrate the


teaching of pronunciation as a central part of the of the English language teaching.
Consequently, the Ministry of the National Education must think about this idea.
First of all, it should select some didactic materials which take into
consideration the pronunciation. This way of seeing things is noted by Stead (nd)
in his article entitled
“How best can pronunciation best be integrated into existing curricula?” in which
he recommended that: (1)

91
“The inclusion of around 20 minutes of pronunciation work everyday or every oth
er day into CET curricula. (2) Teaching materials should be used to teach a
variety of features of pronunciation”98.

Concerning the importance of the teaching of pronunciation inserted at the


initial state of language teaching/learning process, this idea has already been
suggested by Fraser (2001) who insists on the importance of pronunciation in
beginners’ classes. This is what she explains in the following words:

It is particularly important to include effective pronunciation tuition in


beginners’ language lessons, as this gets them off to a very good start in
their general language acquisition, and minimizes the risk of ‘fossilisation’,
or stabilisation of pronunciation habits, that make ESL speakers difficult for
native speakers to understand. It is well known that a learner with fairly
good pronunciation, even if only at the word level, can be quite
comprehensible to English speakers even with a fairly high level of
grammatical errors, while someone with excellent grammar can be
incomprehensible if key words are pronounced incorrectly…Giving learners
a good basis in pronunciation as a normal part of their tuition in speaking
and listening therefore opens up many more opportunities to them for
conversation outside the classroom, which is the key to ongoing learning of
all aspects of language, including grammar and pronunciation.99

Secondly, the national teaching program would follow the content of the
student’s textbook. For in the content of the present one, out of eight (8)
Competences of Basis (CB), only two of them are concerned with the
pronunciation as micro-skill. Thus, in order to put this in practice, teachers should
provide the learners with the minimal pair exercises as noted with Baker (2006).

98
-Keren STEAD, “How best can pronunciation best be integrated into
existing curricula?”. nd, p.16-17.
<http://sydney.edu.au/cet/docs/research/How%20best%20can%20pronunci
ation%20best%20be%20integrated%20into%20existing%20curricula.pdf> visited on
20/02/ 2014
99
- Helen FRASER, Teaching Pronunciation: A handbook for teachers and Trainers: Three
Frameworks for an Integrated Approach, London, Department of Education Training
and Youth Affairs (DETYA), 2001, p. 50-51.

92
Finally, this model of teaching the sounds is appropriate in the sense that
it helps people discriminating between sounds or words which are, at first sight,
similar but in closer inspection, it turns to be different. This phenomenon happens
most of the time, when the sounds or the words differ only in one feature or unit.
In doing so, the Francophone beginner learners can pronounce these sounds
accurately and further attain communicative intelligibility. Given that the
philosophy of the Ivorians English language teaching being the C L T, therefore
this objective can be reached. Thus, learners can communicate, both orally and in
the written form, in the target language with the Anglophone countries’ citizens.
By the way, the emphasis should be put on the spoken form, simply because each
language is spoken before being written. This point goes along with Martinet’s
(1963) position when he declares that those considerations must not in any case
make people forget about the fact that language is spoken before being written
and that some millions of human beings can speak without being able to write.100
As result, the Francophone beginner learners should be taught the pronunciation
of the English vowel sounds. Equally, it is important to make this difference
between those vowels in the sense that their confusion can create communication
breakdowns. This can be noticed with Zoghbor (2011) who states that the vowel
quantity (long-short contrast) influences on the communicative intelligibility.
Roach is in favor of the difference in quantity of the vowel in connection with the
learning of the English pronunciation. The following lines illustrate his view
point:

For this reason, all the long vowels have symbols which are different from
those of the short vowels; you can perhaps see that the long and the short
vowel symbols would still all be different from each other even if we omitted
the length mark, so it is important to remember that the length mark is used

100- André MARTINET, Op.cit, Paris : Presse Universitaires de France, 1963, p. 41. « ces
considération ne doivent, en tout cas, pas faire perdre de vue la langue est parlée
avant d’être écrite et que des millions d’êtres humains savent parler sans savoir
écrire ».

93
not because it is essential but because it helps learners to remember the
101
length difference.

In a nutshell, the integration of the English vowels pronunciation in the


earlier stage of this language teaching can make the Francophone beginner
learners to pronounce them accurately. Thus, to do so, the researcher proposes
that this mode of teaching be based on the minimal pair exercises because they
enable learners to discriminate between two words which are similar in
pronunciation but which differ only in one unit as well as in meaning.

101
-Peter ROACH, English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course. 2nd.ed.
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 19.

94
CONCLUSION

95
The present study aimed at showing the contribution of the teaching of the
English vowels pronunciation to francophone beginner learners. As a matter of
fact, it consisted in showing the difference at the level of the quantity of two
vowels which are closely related in terms of their production and perception in
order to know its importance in the trend of human communication. One of the
characteristics which are said to create communication breakdowns is the
difference between the lengths of the vowels.

Thus, to achieve the objectives of the study, the theoretical framework is


based on techniques of Error Analysis with experimentations.

In the same trend, the study has been conducted in a private secondary
school of Bouake (Côte d’Ivoire) named Groupe Scolaire Saint Jacques, where the
sample has been selected from the students (the population) of 6è considered as
the beginner level in the learning process of the English language in formal
context. This sample is composed of six (6) students from one class (6èA) in
which all the students are oriented by the State to ensure that they follow the same
teaching program with those of the State schools.

In this school, there are students with different linguistic backgrounds;


there are those who speak their mother tongues and the other ones who do not.
But with regard to the geographical situation of the school in the city, it appears
that the most influential language in this area is the Malinke language currently
called Diula. This fact can be due to many factors which were not in fact relevant
to the present study. Given that parents usually want their offspring to stay not far
from their living places therefore, most of the students of this school use the Diula
as their everyday means of communication.

By the way, the fact that the Diula is common to almost of the participants,
is noted in the sample which has been selected randomly. Next to the language,
there are also the other local languages to which we add the French one known as
the official language as well as the language of instruction. All these realities

96
describe the multilingualist context not only in the school but also in Côte
d’Ivoire.

As far as the method of data analysis for this study, it consisted of a


descriptive approach mainly based on frequency, percentages and the Standard
Deviation. This technique of analysis is linked to the nature of the data which are
in fact qualitative ones. For the presentation of the data, the researcher made use
of tables to tabulate the data which are tallied in the first place and then, some
graphs with the intention of illustrating the data.

From the tables and graphs, many conclusions have been drawn in terms
of findings. Thus, the results show that francophone learners of English face with
many difficulties when it comes to produce and discriminate respectively between
the following pairs of vowels: [i:] and [I], [u:] and [U]. However, the most
frequent problem noticed from the analysis, is at the level of the high front close
and long vowel [i:] and the lowered high front, half-open and short vowel [U].
Even if they are not the only one creating communication breakdowns, the study
is concerned those one.

The results also reveal that if the francophone beginners are taught these
sounds from the initial state of their learning process, they can improve and
pronounce them accurately without any kind of confusion. For this reason, I
recommend that those vowels pronunciation be integrated in the teaching process
by means of the minimal pair exercises.

In the end, it can be concluded that this is not the end of the story because
some other researches using a large proportion of sample and during a period
which is longer than this one can help go deeper into the analysis and come with
more insight for the teaching of oral expression to francophone speakers of
English. Another direction of the research is that the present work opens is a
contrastive analysis of the English pure vowels and those of the Diula language.
That is the language of the people of area where the school of experimentation is
located. The reason is that more than 80% of the students have it as mother

97
tongue, so knowing how that language impacts the pronunciation of the French
vowels and then, English vowels will, in our view help more teachers in the
remedial work.

98
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

These are the complete forms of the words which are abbreviated in the study.

BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation

BSc.: Bachelor of Sciences

C A : Contrastive Analysis

C B A : Competency Based Approach

C B : Competency of Basis

C E T: Curricula of English Teaching

C I: Côte d’Ivoire

C L R: Clear (speech)

C L T: Communicative Language Teaching

C N V: Conversational (speech)

C P H: Critical Period Hypothesis

CVC: consonant, vowel, consonant (words)

E A : Error Analysis

E F L : English as a Foreign Language

E S L: English as a Second Language

E L T: English Language Teaching

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Eng : English

F L: Foreign Language

Fr : French

Freq : Frequence

L1: first language

L2: second language

M A: Master of Arts

M T : Mother Tongue

NatS: Natural Stimuli

P : Participant

P1 : Participant 1

Perc. : Percentage

S D : Standard Deviation

S L A : Second Language Acquisition

S L L: Second Language Learning

S L: Second Language

SynS: Synthetized Stimuli

T L: Target Language

U F S C: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

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APPENDICES

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Appendix 1: Identification of the participants and the director of the school

N° Name & Surnames Parents’ phone numbers


1 BAMBA Ali Awa 01-37-54-20
2 DIARRA Aboubacar 05-55-73-58
3 BALLO Abdoulaye Kader 09-02-11-23
4 SAMODU Jeweratu Atoke 05-10-76-90
5 FANNY Aboubacar 05-50-83-27
6 KONE Famoro Inza 01-63-03-61

Director: Mr ANIAMBOSSOU Christian. Cel: 08-05-49-67/45-12-68-53.

Appendix 2: The corpus for the experimentations

EXPERIMENTATION 1

Task one : Please pronounce the following words :

[i:] [I] [u:] [U]


me [mi:] big [bIǥ] school [sku:l] foot [fUt]

we [wi:] six [sIx] two [tu:] book [bUk]


three [θri:] in [I] blue [blu:] classroom [kla:srUm]
meet [mi:t] city [sItI] moon [mu:n] Luke [lUk]

Task two: Please discriminate between the following sentences by pronouncing


the word in bold.

1.Look out for that sheep [ʃi:p] 1.Look out for that ship [ʃIp]
2. Stop it leaking! [li:king] 2.Stop it licking! [lIking]

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3.The bird could [ku:d] 3.The bird cooed [kUd]

4.Look a new moon [lu:k] 4. Luke a new moon [lUk]

EXPERIMENTATION 2

Task one : Please pronounce the following words :

[i:] [I] [u:] [U]

me [mi:] big [bIɡ] school foot [fUt]


[sku:l]
we [wi:] six [sIx] two [twu:] book [bUk]

three [өri:] in [In] blue [blu:] classroom [kla:srUm]

Task two: Please discriminate between the following words by pronouncing


them.

sheep [ʃi:p] ship [ʃIp]

leak [li:k] lick [lIk]

could [ku:d] cooed [kUd]

look [lu:k] Luke [lUk]

Appendix 3: The Content of the Competence Based Approach (CBA) in the


national teaching program (lesson 1, 2 and 3)

CYCLE 6ème/5ème

COMPETENCE 1 Echanger des informations oralement en anglais en


utilisant un langage simple.

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Thème: A L’ECOLE (At SCHOOL)

Leçon 1: Hello ! My name’s Susan.

Exemple de situation : A la fin de la première leçon d’Anglais le professeur


demande aux élèves de se saluer et de se présenter
les uns aux autres en anglais.

HABILETES CONTENUS
Connaître - les mots, les expressions et les formules liés aux civilités ;
- les structures grammaticales appropriées pour :
• se présenter et demander les noms des personnes ;
• demander et donner les origines des personnes ;
• identifier les personnes.
Prononcer - les mots, les expressions et les formules liés aux civilités

Utiliser - l’intonation correcte


Construire - des phrases interrogatives pour demander les noms et les
origines des personnes ;
- des phrases affirmatives pour donner les noms et les origines
des personnes.
Echanger - les civilités

Leçon 2: What’s this?

Situation : Les élèves se posent des questions pour identifier leurs


fournitures scolaires et chaque objet dans la classe.

HABILETES CONTENUS
Connaître - le nom de chaque objet dans la classe ;
- le nom de chaque fourniture scolaire ;
- les pronoms démonstratifs siguliers (this/that)
- la structures grammaticales pour identifier chaque fourniture
scolaire et chaque objet dans la classe.
Prononcer - le nom de chaque objet dans la classe ;
- le nom de chaque fourniture scolaire ;
- - les pronoms démonstratifs siguliers (this/that)
Utiliser - l’intonation correcte
Construire - des phrases interrogatives pour demander la nature des

111
objets ;
- des phrases affirmatives pour nommer des objets
Echanger - des informations relatives aux fournitures scolaires et à
chaque objet dans la classe.

Leçon 3: What are these ?

Situation : Les élèves se posent des questions pour vérifier s’ils ont
toutes leurs fournitures scolaires.

HABILETES CONTENUS
Connaître - le pluriel des noms
- les noms des objets dans la classe ;
- les noms des fournitures scolaires ;
-les pronoms démonstratifs pluriels (these/those) ;
- les nombres de 0 à 20 ;
- la conjugaison to be (verbe être) au présent de l’indicatif ;
- les pronoms personnels sujets ;
- les structures grammaticales
• identifier les objets dans la classe ;
• les fournitures scolaires ;
Prononcer - les noms des objets dans la classe
- les nombres de 0 à 20 ;
- les pronoms personnels sujets ;
- les nombres de 0 à 20 ;
- le verbe to be aux différentes personnes du présent de
l’indicatif.
Utiliser - l’intonation correcte ;
- les nombres (0 à 20) pour compter les objets en anglais ;
Construire - des phrases interrogatives pour demander la nature des objets ;
- des phrases affirmatives pour nommer des objets
Echanger - des informations relatives aux fournitures scolaires et aux
objets dans la classe.

112
ABSTRACT

The issue of communication breakdowns by the francophone beginner


learners of English seems to be solved with the integration in the teaching of the
English cardinal or pure vowels. This solution has been possible through an
experimental approach to which a sample of six participants randomly selected in
a secondary school at the initial level of the English language learning process in
Bouake (Côte d’Ivoire) have taken part. The corpus is composed of two pair of
vowels [i:] and [I], [u:] and [U]. Thus, with the methodological approach based on
techniques of Errors Analysis these results have been found. Finally, the findings
reveal that the teaching can permit the francophone beginner learners to reduce
the production of the communication breakdowns. However, the production of the
vowel [U] is likely to be acquired with more training. The results also show the
impact of the participants’ mother tongue (Diula) on the English production. By
the way, the distinction between long and short vowels has been successful by the
practice of minimal pair exercises.

Keywords: communication breakdowns, francophone beginner learners, Error


Analysis, English pure vowels, minimal pair.

RESUMÉ

Le problème des ruptures dans la communication par les apprenants


francophones surtout les débutants semble trouver une solution avec l’intégration
de l’enseignement des voyelles cardinales ou pures de l’Anglais. Cette solution a
pu voir le jour à travers une approche expérimentale à laquelle a participé un
échantillon de six participants sélectionnés par hasard dans une école de
l’enseignement secondaire du niveau initial de l’apprentissage de la langue
anglaise de Bouake (Côte d’Ivoire). Le corpus est basé sur deux paires de
voyelles :[i :] et [I], [u :] et [U]. Ainsi, avec l’application de la théorie de
l’Analyse des Erreurs, ces résultats ont pu être trouvés. Enfin, les résultats ont
révélé que cette façon d’enseigner peut permettre aux débutants francophones de
réduire les ruptures lors des communications. Cependant, la production de la
voyelle [U] requiert beaucoup plus d’entrainement de la part des apprenants. Dans
la même logique, la distinction entre les courtes et longues voyelles s’est résolue
par la pratique des exercices de paires minimales.

Mots-clés : rupture de la communication, les apprenants débutants francophones,


l’analyse des erreurs les voyelles pure d’anglais, la paire minimale.