Analysis of Phonetic and Phonological Constraints of Saudi EFL Learners

  •  Atalah Mohammad Al-Rubaat    
  •  Hammad Ali Alshammari    


This study explores the pronunciation difficulties experienced by Saudi EFL learners at Jouf University (JU) in the north of Saudi Arabia. To achieve this purpose, two main instruments were implemented: an experiment of pronunciation sensitivity response and two interview formats. The sample of this study was selected randomly and consisted of (n=20) students studying English major in their sixth level at JU, and (n=10) English language instructors from the same institution. A mixed-method approach was employed to find out the phonetic and phonological difficulties that participants encountered during the implementation of the experiment of pronunciation sensitivity response, and to interpret participant's responses to the interview formats. The findings revealed that EFL learners experienced six phonetic and phonological problematic patterns related to mispronunciation of: initial consonant cluster, final consonant cluster, multi-syllabic words, unfamiliar sounds, vowels, and voiced or voiceless phonemes. It was also found that EFL learners and instructors had different views regarding these phonetic and phonological issues. The limited time for practice, the lack of authentic materials and tasks, and the need for immersion classes, and effective instruction and learning were all found to be responsible about the phonetic and phonological problems EFL learners encountered and at the same time they were found to be the motives for overcoming these issues. It is believed that the implications and recommendations included in this study would improve the performance of Saudi EFL speaking abilities once they are incorporated effectively in their English learning settings.

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