The acquisition of English pronunciation: learners' views

International Journal of Applied Linguistics

This paper aims at describing English learners’ views on the acquisition of phonetics by focusing on their awareness of the difficulty and importance of English phonetics as well as their beliefs about influential factors in the acquisition of phonetics and their attitudes towards English accents. It also aims at examining the differences in phonetic awareness, beliefs and attitudes between monolingual and bilingual learners of English. Participants were 86 university students at the University of the Basque Country and they were either bilingual (Basque and Spanish) or monolingual (Spanish). All the participants were asked to complete several questionnaires including a background questionnaire and a specific questionnaire on awareness, beliefs and attitudes. The results indicate that phonetics is a difficult and important area for all learners. It was also found that learners consider contact with native speakers as the most influential factor in the acquisition of phonetics and that this contact also exerts some influence on their attitude towards English accents. Finally some differences between monolingual and bilingual learners are described.