The purpose of this research is to identify few common pronunciation mistakes among Palestinian English major students in Hebron University and the factors that cause these problems. The paper discusses selected phonetic and phonological problems related to specific consonants and vowels besides problems related to pronunciation of consonant sequences. The participants of this study were 120 English major students from Hebron University. The researchers used a questionnaire and a recorded pronunciation test to collect the data. In addition to the previous instruments, interviews were conducted with eight students and two instructors. The findings of the study revealed that Hebron University English major students have difficulties in pronouncing English consonants that are not part of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) such as [ŋ], [p],[ɫ], [ɹ],[ʒ],[tʃ] (though some consider [ŋ],[ɫ], [ʒ],[tʃ] as allophonic variants and are used in the different dialects of Arabic), problems in consonant clusters(epenthesis), silent letters, and vowels that have more than one pronunciation. During the interviews, the interviewees pointed various reasons for their errors and suggested some solutions to some of these pronunciation problems. Among the mispronunciation reasons mentioned are: interference from Arabic and the lack of correct models, exposure to native speakers, and practice. The researchers concluded that learners' errors are caused by several linguistic factors, such as the disparity between Arabic and English sound systems, the effect of spelling on pronunciation, the influence of the first language (L1) on the second language (L2), and English vowel inconsistency. Finally, ideas to overcome some of the pronunciation problems are suggested.
Mohammed Farrah and Nadia Halahlah
Pronunciation Problems, interference, consonants, vowels, diphthongs