24 June 2011

TEFL FORUM: Teaching English /r/ and /l/ to EFL learners: a lexical approach (parts 1-3 final)


Teaching English /r/ and /l/ to EFL learners: a lexical approach (parts 1-3 final)
Charles Jannuzi
University of Fukui, Japan



English /r/, /l/ and contrasts across these two categories of sounds are often cited as pronunciation and listening perception problems for a variety of EFL learners, most from E. Asia. The language backgrounds most often associated with these problems are Japanese, Korean, Chinese and some languages of SE Asia (e.g., Thai but also Cantonese Chinese). Other language speakers have also expressed an interest in improving their pronunciation of English /r/ and /l/, including Russian and German EFL learners.

Perhaps the most well-known group to have a problem with the two categories of sounds is Japanese EFL learners. This could be because their native language background creates the most difficult problems to overcome, both in terms of listening perception and spoken production. It could also be because Japan attained affluence before most of the rest of Asia and hired native speakers of English to help teach and model the language. So a lot of information based on knowledge and experience of Japanese and Japanese learners of EFL has been exchanged and discussed in 'global ELT'.

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