How Are British English Vowels Perceived? Evidence from Yemeni EFL Learners

Mohammed Hezam S. Naji, Ahmed Yahya Almakrob


The current study examines the perception of the British English (BE) vowels by Yemeni EFL undergraduate learners. Specifically, all the BE vowels (except schwa) were investigated to explore the most misperceived English vowels by 67 EFL learners at different proficiency levels- beginners, intermediate and advanced. A perception test, which measured the learners’ perception of the of BE vowels, and a questionnaire, which mainly measured participants’ level of difficulty they experience in perceiving these English sounds, were used to collect data from the learners. Overall, the results revealed that the vowels of BE present a serious problem to Yemeni EFL learners as they could not identify these non-native speech sounds with high rates of correct perceptions. More specifically, it was found that lower- and higher-level learners showed similar misperception patterns of the BE vowels whereby they had the greatest difficulty in perceiving /eə, / æ/, /e /, / ɒ /, and /ʌ. Generally, in addition to the learning context, the teaching aids and the perceptual training, the misperceptions of BE vowels might also be due to the closeness and similarity existing among these English vowel segments.

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

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