Tutor profile: Jennita R.
Subject: English as a Second Language
What role does phonology play in the correct pronunciation of a target language?
One of the greatest difficulties hindering language learners from achieving proficiency is incorrect pronunciation (Odisho, 2016). According to Uribe-Enciso et al. (2019), “mispronunciation…errors are the most common types of interference between the mother tongue and the target language” (para 2). Because of this persistent influence of their native language, English language learners need a solid understanding of the language to be comfortable and to thrive in a situation where they are expected to demonstrate listening and speaking skills comparable to a native English speaker. Due to each language’s unique phonology, the acquisition of another language is a complex skill that requires proficiency in four key areas: grammar, lexicon (vocabulary), discourse, and phonology (Bran, 2018; Uribe-Enciso et al., 2019). As one of the essential areas of language learning, phonology is necessary to the language learning process because it forms the foundation of correct pronunciation. In the study of phonology, the language learner not only identifies the correct sounds produced by each letter or cluster of the alphabet, but also the differences in meaning that can be caused by even a slight change in pronunciation (Shabani & Ghasemian, 2017). A lack of mastery in vowel sounds can lead the speaker to confuse the pronunciation of “butte” and “boot” or of “set” and “sat.” A poor grasp of the consonants and diphthongs may blur the sounds of “bad” and “bat” or of “think” and “sink.” A loose pronunciation of both vowels and consonants can lead to serious difficulty in effective communication and create a high risk of misunderstanding. This explains why the proper enunciation of individual phonemes is necessary for the correct pronunciation of words and the accurate transfer of meaning between the speaker and listener (Lima, 2017). References Bran, R. (2018). The relation between the phonological competence and orthography in the acquisition of Spanish (l2) by Romanian students. Research and Science Today, 16(2), 134-142. Lima, R. M. (2017). The influence of metalinguistic knowledge of segmental phonology on the production of English vowels by Brazilian undergraduate students. Ilha do Desterro, 70(3), 117-130. https://doi.org/10.5007/2175-8026.2017v70n3p117 Odisho, E. (2016). The weight of phonological vs. phonetic accent in teaching pronunciation: Implications and applications. Linguarum Arena, 7(a7), 31-48. Shabani, K., & Ghasemian, A. (2017). Teacher's personality type and techniques of teaching pronunciation. Cogent Education, 4(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2017.1313560 Uribe-Enciso, O. L., Fuentes Hernandez, S. S., Vargas Pita, K. L., & Rey Pabón, A. S. (2019). Problematic phonemes for Spanish-speakers’ learners of English. GIST Education and Learning Research Journal, (19), 215-238. https://doi:10.26817/16925777.701
Why does English have so many words that are similar in meaning such as see, look, watch, stare, peer, glance?
English is an ancient language and one of the richest in vocabulary. Some claim that its origins date as far back as the fifth century while modern English began to spread in the seventeenth century (Short, 2007, p. 193). Its vast vocabulary can be traced to three main sources. English is composite language which was influenced by other languages during its development such as French, German, Norse, Irish, Latin, and Greek (Nezami, 2011; Sayers, 2016). Thus, many of its words are borrowed the other languages which influenced its development (Domnich, 2016). Also, over the centuries many words changed in meaning over time (Grieve et al., 2017). Lastly, English is a world language spoken in many geographical areas; therefore, its vocabulary needs to be broad enough to meet the needs of all its speakers. This array of vocabulary may at first confound the English learner. There are many words that describe a similar concept. The words see, look, watch, stare, peer, glance all involved an action with the eyes of a living creature. Yet, these words are not synonyms; using them interchangeably would result in a very awkward sentence. Each word has a unique connotation that is specific to a certain circumstance. This grouping of similar words is referred to as a semantic field or gradient (Greenwood et al., 2007; Larsen-Freeman & Celce-Murcia, 2016, p. 47). Take for example the color blue. An evening sunset has gradient or range of color; there are many different shades, but they are all blue. Instead of merely describing the color in the scene as blue, a witness who wants to create vivid image may use words like lavender, azure, or navy which communicates a greater level of detail. Likewise, there are word groups that have a gradient, not of color, but of meaning. The gradient may be a scale of intensity, formality, or generality. If one were to plot the English adjectives which describe positive feelings on a scale of intensity, content and satisfied would be low on the scale since they have the connotation of a passive positivity. On the high end of the scale would enthusiastic and ecstatic which convey an exuberant and passionate positivity. References Domnich, O. V. (2016). Etymologic features and peculiarities of the process of indigenous vocabulary borrowing in American English. Respectus Philologicus, 29(34)(29(34)), 130-138. doi:10.15388/RESPECTUS.2016.29.34.13 Greenwood, S. C., & Flanigan, K. (2007). Overlapping vocabulary and comprehension: Context clues complement semantic gradients. The Reading Teacher, 61(3), 249-251,253-254. Grieve, J., Nini, A., & Guo, D. (2017). Analyzing lexical emergence in modern American English online. English Language and Linguistics, 21(1), 99-127. DOI:10.1017/S1360674316000113 Short, I. (2007). A companion to the Anglo-Norman world. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. Larsen-Freeman, D., & Celce-Murcia, M. (2016). The grammar book: Form, meaning and use for English language teachers. Heinle. Nezami, S. (2011). Panacea of vocabulary: the formation of words is a growth from within and an integral part of English etymology. Language in India., 11(12). Sayers, W. (2016). English etymologies from the popular register (I). Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis, 133(3), 171-181. DOI:10.4467/20834624SL.16.012.5681
What is assessment in education and why is it important?
The true value of any object, person, or program cannot be determined without a consistent standard by which to measure that value. Assessment is the process by which educators evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum, learning activities, and teaching methods, as well as student achievement. Assessment is an essential part of education because it provides necessary data to inform educational policies and to ensure accessible education for all students.
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