Dictionary as a Major Resource for EFL Course in Pronunciation

Al-Sadig Ezza, Zeina Saadeh


Most if not all EFL syllabi at tertiary level in the Middle East include a number of phonetic courses that intend to improve learners’ pronunciation of English. A variety of titles are used to name these courses: English Phonology, English Phonetics, Phonetics, Phonetics and Phonology, etc. As to the resources for these courses, many EFL departments fall back on textbooks such as Roach (2005), Gimson (1989), etc. This paper argues that the content of these textbooks is irrelevant to the training needs of most EFL learners per se at the beginning of their study of English Pronunciation.  What these resources do is provide learners with phonetic information that ranges between sound production and perception. Thus, by the end of the course, most students become knowledgeable about phonetic theories, phonetic rules, criteria of sound classification and the like. Of course, little time is reserved for practicing phonetic transcription. Thus, instead of improving learners’ pronunciation of English, these courses produce phoneticians who could not sometimes pronounce English even “approximatively”. This paper proposes a phonetic course that focuses more on pronunciation practice and less on phonetic information in order to help students overcome their pronunciation difficulties. Thus, rather than using these textbooks as basic resources for a first course in English phonetics, the paper argues that only learners’ dictionaries can provide such practice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v1n1p63

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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