Improving Thai College Students’ an English Fricative Sound through Storytelling

Authors

  • Pimrawee Ruengwatthakee Sam Houston State University.

Keywords:

EFL pronunciation, Phonetics, First language interference

Abstract

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers and learners cope with many challenges with pronunciation because it is one of the most difficult areas in English skills. As a result of the differences in the phonological system in Thai and in English, Thai students frequently have difficulty and make errors when pronouncing English words. For example, the students substitute /f/ or /v/ with /b/ in the word-final position, /ɵ/ with /t/ or /d/ in the word-initial position, and omitting some sounds. The objective of this quantitative study is to investigate the effects of storytelling on the improvement of Thai college students’ English pronunciation. The target sound in this study is the final /-s/ because it plays an important role in English grammar, but /-s/ is often omitted and mispronounced by Thai students. This research employed the quasi-experimental design. Specifically, one-group pretest-posttest design was conducted with 25 participants, who are senior students enrolled in the Practical English Phonetics course at the university in central Thailand. Participants were asked to practice reading a self-selected short folktale from Southeast Asia country and did a multiple recordings. The results indicated, that following five weeks of intervention, there was a significant difference between pre and posttest from the storytelling; t(24) = -5.53 (p < 0.05). Moreover, the mean difference effect size was examined (Cohen’s d). The magnitude of the effect was considered large (d = 1.11). Two non-standard variants of /-s/ that were found include [d] and [∅]. For example, Chinese” /ˌtʃaɪˈniːz/ was pronounced as /ʃaɪˈniːd/ and “once” /wəns/ was pronounced as /wən/ respectively. These results suggested that English pronunciation should be instructed by several means of activities in the class in order to encourage EFL students to learn and to foster their intelligible pronunciation.

Author Biography

Pimrawee Ruengwatthakee, Sam Houston State University.

A doctoral student in Literacy program, School of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, Sam Houston State University.

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Published

2021-02-08