Essay On English Vowels

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1. INTRODUCTION

The perception of English vowels represents a learning problem for Saudi EFL learners. The problem seems to arise with most English vowels against which the learners often stop helpless. Arguably, these learners have difficulty identifying English vowels either in isolated words such as pet, pit, let, late, here, air, power, sure, etc., which learners face in their every day interactions. Actually, while listening to students' interactions, the researcher observed that they experience problems in making distinctions between English words that are assumed to occur due to the complexity of English vowels. These problems are argued to be responsible for intelligibility problems. Therefore, this study represents an outgrowth of the perception errors of English vowels that are made by Saudi EFL learners listening to native English. Previous studies refer the perception problems of English vowels to several reasons. In a wider context, most EFL learners descending from language background whose vowel inventory includes a small number of vowels; are expected to have difficulty learning English vowels. This is probably because the learners are not familiar with a big number of vowels such as that of English language (Cruttenden 2001). Linguists and those who are interested in the
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The questionnaires target both the students and teachers of English who are asked to reply to the same questions and tasks. The purpose behind these questionnaires is to collect impressions from both Saudi EFL learners and their instructors in relation to vowels' perception; (i) the types of problems argued to hinder the perception of English vowels and (ii) the reasons that both students and teachers believe to cause these problems. More, importantly, the data which questionnaires provide is impressionistic, however, it may provide some corroboration which supports the experimental evidence obtained in vowel perception

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