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Assignment – FP005 TP


Student full Name:

Yuri Paola Infante Tejada

Group: 2017-06
Date: June 30th/2018

Subject: FP005 – Teaching Pronunciation

Assignment – FP005 TP

Table of Contents

Two Recognizable problems of transfer between Spanish and English

1. Introduction …………………………………………………………...………page 3
2. Brinton’s variables…………………………………………………....…… 4
2.1 Learner variables
2.2 Setting variables
2.3 Institutional variables
2.4 Linguistic variables
2.5 Methodological variables
3. Segmental Problem…………………………………………………...…… 6
4. Suprasegmental Problem…………………………….……………....…… 7
5. Problems approach:
Exposure, Exercise and Explanation of the problem ……………….… 8
6. Conclusion……………………………………………………………..…… 10
7. Bibliography………………………..……………………………………… 11
8. Appendix A………………….……..……………………………………… 12
9. Appendix B………………….……..……………………………………… 13
10. Appendix C………………….……..……………………………………… 14
11. Appendix D………………….……..……………………………………… 15
12. Appendix E………………….……..……………………………………… 16
13. Appendix F………………….……..……………………………………… 17

Assignment – FP005 TP

1. Introduction.

A second language learning could be considered as a complex process depending

on the singularity of the L2 learnt. In the case of English learners whose L1 is Spanish,
this complexity involves not only mastering the major skills- Speaking, listening,
reading and writing- but understanding and grasping the grammar systems, language
phonetics, pragmatic competence, lexicon and cultural discourse (García, 2009, p.6).

Regarding this process, academics agree in how communicative effectiveness is

the key factor when learning a second language (Ehrenreich, 2010; Grosjean, 1992). In
this case the correct use and application of the communicative competence in the L2.
Since this competence implicates a constant use of two major skills –speaking and
listening- the L2 proficiency, correct pronunciation –tones and words’ stress- and the
language phonology understanding are essential aspects to bear in mind in order to
meet an efficient communication stage and a proper second language acquisition
(Ehrenreich, 2010; p. 408).

On account of the fact that L1 grammar, lexis and pronunciation may interfere with
L2 speech and productions systems; Language teachers recognize how learners
struggle with their own L1 pronunciation habits and L2 adaptation. Language students
usually are more focus on improving their speaking skill paying special attention to its
pronunciation, accent and intonation. In order to sound more native-like, learners’
process is associated with lack of confidence when speaking due to the issues or
misunderstanding poor pronunciation or language use can lead to (Jenkins, 2006).

For this reason, it is necessary to addressed language transfer problems based on

language use and students daily basis. Since learners’ daily habits and communication
rely on their L1, L2 classrooms should encourage the integration of the major skills
alongside the importance of phonetics and language correct pronunciation. Thus,
Brinton’s (1996) five variables will be explained and used in order to approach one
segmental and other suprasegmental language transfer issues and provide possible
activities to decrease this problem implication and enhance students’ language fluency.

Assignment – FP005 TP

2. Brinton’s variables.

2.1 Learner variables.

In this aspect teacher must consider learners restraints such as: age,
proficiency, linguistic and cultural background, amount and type of prior instruction
–learning style, L2 aptitudes and attitude-.
In this paper, the target population are adults –from 18 to 30 proximately- which
L1 is Spanish. It is based on an English course B1 level in a language academy
based on the European framework.

2.2 Setting variables.

As it was mention before the target population is a B1 English level course in a

country which its mother tongue is Spanish. Due to this the L2 is taught as foreign
instead of a second language. This language academy is based on PPP
methodology –Presentation, practice and production- and its syllabus depends on
72 classes divided in 10 units which their respective unit quizzes and final exams
when a level is accomplished. Furthermore, the institution counts with conversation
clubs, demo classes, intro classes and private tutorials in case students require

2.3 Institutional variables.

This institution counts with its own methodology by combining PPP –regular unit
classes- with task-based activities in their conversation club. The teachers can be
native or non-native speakers, but they must count with teaching certifications –
B.A., TESL, TEFL, DELTA, etc- and have more than 2 years of experience.
Usually the amount of students in these classes varies from 1 to 6 maximum.
Although, they are taking the same level course their process is different since each
of them are advancing at their own pace, hence each student has a different class
from their classmates. Regarding this, teachers will teach each topic from lowest
class number to the highest, involving all of the students in the presentation and
practice part, but production will be done individually by each student according to
their class number. Due to this, regardless each student’s level all of them try to
speak and participate in different topics as the class advances, allowing the teacher
to perceive and determinate which pronunciation and transfer problems students
are coping with.
2.4 Linguistic variables.

Assignment – FP005 TP

This specific population presents five problems in particular: Words and

sentence stress difficulties, vowel endings due to Spanish phonetics, voiceless and
week sounds recognition, consonant clusters/blends pronunciation, and vowel
length contrast. According to Walker (2001) this linguistic variables are common
difficulties in pronunciation Spanish speakers encountered when learning English
since each language phonetic sounds in English are not stated to exist in Spanish
and some differentiation in sounds are not emphasis when learning it. In order to
understand this problems and more stated by the author check appendix A-
This pronunciation problem might have emerged owing to the fact that the
program is focused on grammar topics, and then based on it the production
moment is developed by having a conversation, a piece of writing or a grammatical
exercise; concluding the topic and advancing to the next one. Thus, students show
a great use of grammar when filling exercises or answering questions based on a
specific topic. Nevertheless, there is no class moment or topic where the students
learn the IPA or practice homophones words and phrases.
The only space where listening and speaking abilities can meet fluency
expectations is in the conversation clubs which are divided into pronunciation
workshops; in which topics as consonant clusters, IPA and vowel lengths can be
differentiated. Anyhow, students still struggle with new words pronunciation and
phrases construction when speaking in B1 level, concluding that some activities
have to be carried out in order to decrease the impact of L1 language transfer
issues on English for this population.

2.5 Methodological variables.

Regarding the setting above. This institution syllabus is based on the

communicative approach, due to Colombia’s Bilingual program standards (2004).
On account of it group classes are taught using PPP and clubs relied on Task-
based activities. On the one hand Presentation, practice and production, is a
step-by-step methodology, its fundament is a communicational approach on its
production phase, while presentation may seems similar to the direct method,
according to students level depends if it is inductive or deductive, furthermore,
combines grammar method with audiolingual in its practice phase, but last two
phases are based on a real context, so the main focus is not the grammar but the
topic itself.
For example: the class tittle is about food, but its grammar base is present
perfect, students will be practicing the tense at the same time he practices food

Assignment – FP005 TP

vocabulary, and at the production state he will be able to produce either a

conversation, a text, questions, or any tasks. Anyhow, its effectiveness relies on
students’ level, since the higher the level the less challenging it is for them. Yet this
methodology can be taken as traditional but regarding its production also can be
communicative. (Harmer, 1998; Richards, 2006; Rogers, 2001). On the other hand,
Task-based as Uehara (2016) explains is a language teaching approach which
requires learners to do meaningful tasks by using language in an authentic
environment (Ellis, 2009). The participants are encouraged to collaborate in
English, and to complete a pre-challenge and post-challenge worksheet by
responding to a survey in English on learner perceptions of a certain activity.

3. Segmental problem: Blends and consonant clusters pronunciation.

Consonant clusters or blends, are the names given to two or three consonants
put together in a word. Each consonant preserves its sound when blended. In this
case cluster refers to the written form and blend to the spoken form.
Since Spanish is a language that also uses blend sounds and diphthongs,
English learners may assume that the sounds created in Spanish clusters are the
same as in English. Anyhow, each language phonology and articulation varieties
from one another.

In English phonology, for instance, /j/ is viewed as a consonant sound, however

it appears to be obstructed little more than any vowel sound. In English the
difference among the vowel sounds are caused by the distance of the tongue from
the hard palate, and part of it is raised highest. Another instance is the
pronunciation of /e/ which is produced with the tongue held midway and the front
raised. Besides, it is commonly accepted that there are 20 vowel sounds in
Standard English pronunciation (Jenkins, 2000; p. 170- 190). - See appendix B-

On the other hand affricates and fricatives sounds in English are produced a bit
different from Spanish ones. Regarding the presence of plosives, friction and with
air consonants when producing short or long diphthongs. On the contrary, in
Spanish language diphthongs are produced as well but shorter. Vowels in Spanish
represent a single and specific sound, having only 5 from the 20 sounds in the L2.
Moreover, when combining the different sounds production among consonants and
vowels the length and the phonetic space in both languages differ from each other;

Assignment – FP005 TP

becoming problematic for users to produce certain sounds that do not exist in their
L1 (Coe, 2001; p.90-100).

Based on the above, it can be stated that English learners who L1 is Spanish,
may find similarities useful when learning it, anyhow this similarities can cause a
wrong production of specific sounds that tend not to be differentiated in their native
tongue. For example the difference between /b/ and /v/, which in Spanish is not that
relevant, or sounds like /z/ and /’s/ -see appendix C- were accent plays a major
role in its differentiation. On the opposite, English does not differentiate the way
those sounds are produced; causing more difficulty when these sounds are blended
together to create clusters. According to Jenkins (2000) this is difficult to produce
for Spanish speakers because the importance of cluster in the beginning and in the
middle of words does not happen here. Furthermore, the cancellation of a
consonant from a cluster at the beginning and in the middle of a word can seriously
compromises intelligibility.

Taking this problem into account and the linguistic problems variables enounced
before, it has been noticed that this population –B1 level learners- encounters
usually with the transfer problem between the S-blends sounds and sometimes
between /θ/ and /t/. –See appendix 3- committing the transfer problems enouncing
before, such as: non-existing sounds in the L1, importance of cluster sounds in the
beginning and in the middle of the word, and fricatives production in each L2.

4. Suprasegmental problem: Sentence stress.

Jenkins (2000) emphasise the importance of producing and placing nuclear

stress in English language. In the case of sentence stress choosing the correct
word for prominence is needed because it can change the meaning of what it is
mean to communicate. Since Spanish stress production is mark by accent and
accentuations divided in three groups where the stress can be in the first, second,
and last syllable; its stress on affirmative phrases, questions and negative forms
depends on the intention rather than contractions, wh-questions, yes/questions,
words longevity and accentuation of importance as English does.
Now that stress production in Spanish is clearer, In English stress on sentences
relies on the use of function words –weak form- and content words –stressed
words- See Appendix D- which marks a nuclear stress on the phrase conveying
meaning. According to walker (2001) nuclear stress relies the message meaning, if

Assignment – FP005 TP

a speaker stress the wrong word on an utterance, the receiver will place his
attention on the wrong place, leading this to confusion and communication
In the case of Spanish speakers, conveying ideas does not rely on the kind of
word being use, it does not matter is the word is a noun or an article in order to
create stress or weak sounds forms. In Spanish language sentence stress depends
on particular words that depend on a syllable-timed production; having a
predictable meter. Due to this, learners tend to make mistakes when conveying
their own ideas, or when asking questions. Furthermore, the sentence length and
emphasis words are seen flattened in Spanish since all the words are considered
important and are not weaken by the user. Consequently, the Spanish speaker will
maybe talk, read or convey ideas in a single frequency and rhythm, instead of
following the English patterns of pitch, loudness and weak forms.

5. Exposure, Exercise and Explanation of the problem.

This two segmental and suprasegmental problems can be addressed by

following Dalton and Seidlhofer (1994) Exposure, Exercise and Explanation.
The first segmental problem exposure was noticed in the normal class basis.
Whether students have to produce speaking or reading exercises, the cluster and
blend sounds transfer problems were presented. Although, this activities purpose
was not on pronunciation, as the classes advanced and students passed to higher
levels, the irregularity on pronouncing S- blend sound was becoming more and
more common on learners. In this case in order to expose the problem to students
to be aware of their mistakes, simple activities such as tongue twisters involving
this blend sound or pieces of readings where they have to make a distinction on it
could be used. –See appendix E-
After students realized how the sounds on blend S are conceived, as is stated
by baker (1977) they will become more aware of the real pronunciation and it will
become visible for learners. So that, a phonetical exercise will be handle firstly
orally and then by listening. In that way, students may understand how the sound
/s/ blended in the beginning of a word is not pronounced as /es/ as in Spanish,
which it is done separately by combining /ɪ/ and /s/ sounds but by just blending the
sound /s/ with other consonants.
Due to this by doing the exercise and explanation in a deductive way, students
will be able to brainstorm vocabulary which they already know with the target s-

Assignment – FP005 TP

blend sound. To foster this activity, students later can work in pairs by creating a
new story or explaining a real life event that involves the use of this sound; and
every time they tell this stories they would be aware of this sounds correct
pronunciation by listening to their classmates’ anecdotes and themselves.

About the suprasegmental problem exposure can be done by using activities

that involves homophone sounds used in the same sentences. With this students
will understand how the meaning of two words that are pronounced the same,
depends on the syllable stress and context. In this way students attention will be
drawn to language context and how word stress affects the way they convey their
ideas in the L2. Regarding language context importance in students’ exposure of
the problem, Dalton & Seidlhofer (1994) stated:
Spoken language occurs contingently in the context of some task or other
activities which motivates the use of language (…) the assumption is that
because the use of language is motivated by some communicative purpose,
sounds will be heard as significantly and will be learnt as such. (p. 73).
When exposing students to the real rhythm and frequency of English, their
motivation will increased for making themselves more understandable to native
speakers and avoid intelligibility issues. Afterwards, an exercise about identifying
the content words, the stressed syllables, the weak sounds and contractions will be
carried out by learners. As they identify this by listening, the teacher then will
explain the meaning of each of these concepts and emphasis which words are
stressed, weaken and emphasis in each situation. The closing- activity involve
again homophone words in different sentences in which they have to pronounce to
others stressing the words correctly according to the teachers explanation. –See
Appendix F-

6. Conclusion.
After exploring the common problems in pronunciation made by Spanish
speakers when learning English. It can be stated that the teaching implication
on focusing on this kind of activities by following Brinton’s five variables
alongside the three Es problem approaching; would foster students
pronunciation and assist them on acquiring a better and more standardized

Assignment – FP005 TP

intelligible pronunciation. However, a difference between the importance of the

segmental and suprasegmental problems have to be done based on students’
level. In this way communication purpose will be clearer.

On the other hand, based on linguistic variable good pronunciation on

B1 students is considered as vital for students to communicate without any
awkward difficulties. Hence, teachers should take more time on planning their
lessons, and making them more integrated to provide students with a more
blissful basis on pronunciation. So that pronunciation in the teaching context
should be regarded as a tool that raise students’ awareness on detecting
different English accents from native and non-natives equally. As Jenkins (2006)
points out depending on the country’s education system and policies a
framework is develop to standardize the English language as international,
unifying different language structure models and realistic pronunciation target

7. Bibliography.
Baker, A. (1977): Ship or Sheep. An intermediate pronunciation course. Cambridge
University Press. Cambridge

Celce- Murcia M., Brinton, D. M., & Goodwin, J. M. (1996). Teaching pronunciation: A
reference for teachers of English speakers of languages. New York.

Coe, N. (2001). Speakers of Spanish and Catalan. In M. Swan & B. Smith (Authors),
Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference and Other Problems
(Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers, pp. 90-112). Cambridge:

Assignment – FP005 TP

Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511667121.008

Dalton, C. & Seidlhofer, B. (1994). Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2006). Second Language Acquisition. Oxford Introductions to Language

Study. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

García, O. (2009) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. West
Sussex: Blackwell publishing.

Grosjean, F. (1992). Another view of bilingualism. Amsterdam: North-Holland

Harmer, J. (1998) How to teach English? Pearson Longman publisher: England.

Ministerio de Educación Nacional de Colombia (2004). El programa nacional de

bilingüismo. Recuperado de: www.mineducació

Ministerio de Educación Nacional. (2006). Estándares básicos de competencias en

lenguas extranjeras: inglés; formar en lenguas extranjeras: el reto. Primera
edición. Disponible en:

Richards, J. C. (2006) Communicative Language Teaching Today. Cambridge

university press: Cambridge, New York.

Rogers, T. (2001) Language teaching methodology, online resource

(, Sep. 2001.

Roach, P. (1991) English Phonetics and Phonology, (2nd Ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Jenkins, J. (2000). The Phonology of English as an International Language, Oxford:

Oxford University Press

Jenkins, J. (2006). Current perspectives on teaching World Englishes and English as a

Lingua Franca. TESOL Quarterly.

Seidlhofer, B. (2001). A concept of international English and related issues: From 'real
English' to 'realistic English'? University of Vienna; Strasbourg

Walker, R. (2001) Pronunciation for International Intelligibility. English Teaching

Professional. Issue 21

Appendix A. Walker (2001) Spanish speakers common mistakes in

English chart.

1. /i:/ and /I/ confused and a vowel more like /i:/ used for both (HP)
2. /Q/ and /E/ confused and /E/ used for both (HP)
3. /Q,√,A:/ confused, a sound like /√/being used, except where ‘r’ occurs in the spelling,
when /A:/ is replaced by vowel + /r/ (HP)

Assignment – FP005 TP

4. /Å/, /´U/ and /ç:/ confused (if there is no ‘r’ in the spelling), a vowel intermediate
between /Å/ and /ç:/ being used. Where ‘r’ occurs in the spelling /ç:/ is replaced by vowel + /r/
5. /u:/ and /U/ confused with a vowel similar to /u:/used for both
6. /Œ:/ is replaced by the vowel + /r/
7. /´/ is usually replaced by the vowel suggested by the spelling (HP)
8. /eI/ and /E/ confused (HP)
9. /I´/, /E´/ and /U´/ are replaced by the vowel + /r/
10. No length variation - all vowels generally have the same length as the English short
vowels, so long vowels seem too short (HP)
1. Confusion between /b/ and /v/ - /B/ tends to be used for both; sometimes /b/ is used for
/v/ (HP)
2. /t/ is very dental in Spanish
3. /d/ and /D/are confused and often used interchangeably (HP)
4. /g/ is often replaced by a similar friction sound (/F /)
5. /s/ and /z/ confused - /s/ used for both (HP)
6. /S/ does not occur in Spanish - /s/ used instead (HP)
7. /Z/ does not occur in Spanish - /s/ used instead
8. /dZ/ and /tS/ confused - /tS/ used for both, or the sound in the Spanish ‘yo’ is used instead
9. /j/ does not occur - the sound in ‘yo’ is used instead (HP)
10. /h/ does not occur and is either deleted or substituted by /x/(HP)
11. /N/ does not occur and is substituted by /n/ (HP in some cases)
12. /l/ is always clear in Spanish
13. /r/ in Spanish is a tongue-tip flap or roll
14. /w/ does not occur and is substituted by /b/or /B/, or by /g/ if /w/ comes before /U/
15. /p, t, k/ are not aspirated in Spanish (HP for /p/ and /t/)
1. /e/ is inserted before /s+C/ or /s+C1+C2/ clusters
2. Learners tend to add /s/ for plurals: ‘pens’ sounds like ‘pence’
3. /s + C + s/ clusters difficult, with one of the /s/ being deleted
4. /s/ sometimes deleted when final in a word-final cluster
5. Final clusters with /t/ or /d/ are problematic, with deletion of /t, d/
or the insertion of a vowel
Stress, rhythm and intonation
1. Incorrect stress of compound words and ‘adj + noun’ combinations
2. Speakers have an over-even rhythm. Stressed syllables occur, but each syllable has
approximately the same length
3. There are no weak forms in Spanish
4. There is no equivalent system in Spanish to the system of nuclear stress of English
5. Pitch range is too narrow and lacks high falls and rises
6. Final falling pitch may not sound low enough
The rise-fall seems difficult

Appendix B. English vowels.

Assignment – FP005 TP

Adapted from: Baker, A. (1977): Ship or Sheep. An intermediate pronunciation course.

Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. (p. 70 to 100)

Assignment – FP005 TP

Appendix C. Difference in /b/ to /v/ sound. Difference in /s/ to /z/ sound.

Baker (1977) p. 78 Baker (1977) p. 120

Baker (1977) p. 97 Baker (1977) p. 100

Appendix D. Content and function words stress.

Assignment – FP005 TP

Adapted from: Kenneth Beare. Content and function words. Updated on: November 22,
2017. Retrieved from:

Assignment – FP005 TP

Appendix E. S blend sounds texts. Activities retrieved from Carl (2012):

Assignment – FP005 TP

Appendix F. Homophones example activities. Activities retrieved from:

Stress activities examples. Activities retrieved from: