A Comparative Study of English And Oromo Segmental Phonemes With Its Implications for Teaching English As A Foreign Language

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Addis Ababa University


The rr' ain ohi e ctive o f th is s t1] C1y was to find out the difficulties Oromo l e ar ners of f n~lish may have in p ronouncing certain Enqlish sound s . Ac c ordinq to Contr ~st i ve JI. nalysis (ell. ) hy!'othes is, in l ,=arning the p rol1unciat i Ol1 o f a second lanquaCJ0 ' :1(;, tenc' to pronounce the fore irm sounCl.s a.ccorr.i n0 to the T)honological syste m o f our mother tongue, which weans that W.:J replace them by th,~ ne arest sounds in c> u.r n a tive lanouaqe . This is so beca use, in listenin a to th e ·tarnet lanouaqe we .'le ar the fore .i.qn soune!> as i r th ~y were rat.i v e sOllOns. Ci\ c laims that a seconrl larCJlJaae learner !'lay find. his target l al1 auaae difficult or r e lativelv eas y . I n the r ea lm of phonolooy th e difEcl.l l ty of ? seconel lanqU iVTC r.iepends b oth on th.e sounds themse lve s and on thl~.i.r ab ility to combine . 'f10 verify this clairn of Cl\ em pirically, [,2 native soe akers o f f'romo ,,,ere gi v e n two tests : discrimi nation and nroductior tests. The disc rimiration t e st "ras aimed at: findi ng out the difficulties the se subjects ,"ay hilve in discriwinat: i nq cetween F.nqlish S01)nCf; i n !l1 ini nal \'lairs. '('h e oD:ie cti ve of the p roducti. on t e st ~ra G to .fil'.d out Hhether ' the slilij ects could p rod uce th" sound." \,;I'd Gh thev discrj.P1inatea a r oth"'D"i se . ~'h2 results of thi s study reveal' thai: the suJ:>jects "l p r e fmmd to b" be tte r in discrildn ation than .i.n "roduction. I' ostof thG sounds th a':: caus e d prob l e)11s for the subj rlC ts we r e categorie s that are non -existen t in OrO)11O s uch as ;8, a , n, ~ ;, diphthonos and consonant clusters. In s ome Ci".ses, sounds ~"h ich we re easily disc rimin a ted and produced .111 the initial positions were found to be trouhler.;om~ in final positions. In creneral , areas of dif f eren ces b e twe e n thp. phonemic systems of the two l anguages caused areater cifficulties for the subjects



Comparative Study of English