Designing an English Pronunciation syllabus for the first year non - Major students at Hanoi Commercial and Tourism College

We all know that, when we learn another language, the interference between the mother tongue and the second language is unavoidable. There are two kinds of interference. The first one is positive, and the second one is negative. In this part, we would mention negative interference, especially in mastering the sound system of a language that leads to the Vietnamese students’ common errors when they learn a foreign language in general and learn English in particular. According to Nunan “The problems of acquiring the phonology of a second language present formidable challenge to any theory of second language acquisition” (Nunan, 1991: 101). In order to design an appropriate pronunciation syllabus, we would like to make a contrastive analysis to find out the similarities and differences between two languages, especially to show here some major differences that may affect the English pronunciation learning process of Vietnamese students. The first difference is that English is multisyllabic language, whereas Vietnamese is basically monosyllabic one. For Vietnamese students, this causes problems in pronunciation difficulties such as word stress, breath control and derivative words. Now it is difficult for Vietnamese students to pronounce long, multisyllabic words, and joining syllables together is more difficult for them. Because they are used to pronouncing short, simple words in Vietnamese. In other words, English has stress-timed syllables, while Vietnamese has syllable-timed syllables. As a result, our students have to be acquainted with the concept of word stress, which is much different from the concept of tone in Vietnamese. Moreover, word stress in English has no orthographic indication, the only way to remember it is to learn by heart. Because of the monosyllabic nature of Vietnamese, our students are not familiar with weakened vowels, or unstressed syllables. That is, English has stress syllables which are spoken with more effort and energy, and unstressed syllables that are pronounced with less effort. This does not happen to Vietnamese, so the mistake that students of English often make is to produce all English syllables with an even tone. In addition to this, word stress movement in related words such as photograph, photography, photographic, photographer causes our students much difficulty. The second difference between English and Vietnamese is the linking sounds. In English, the role of consonants is very important when these consonants are placed at the end of the front word and the appearance of a vowel at the beginning of the next word. The consonant and the vowel are linked together. This does not exist in Vietnamese. Therefore, Vietnamese students often produce English words and syllables separately, and it is also very difficult for them to listen to native English speakers as many linking sounds may occur in a sentence. For example, when they say: We keep all animals  We keepallanimals, and I want a tub of butter  I wanta tubof butter.

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