The impact of ‘phonological characteristics of Pashto’ and ‘native English environment’ on the pronunciation of English consonants

| June 12, 2012
Title
The impact of phonological characteristics of Pashto and native English environment on the pronunciation of English consonants

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Author
Irfan Ullah
A Dissertation Submitted in Fulfilment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Master of Arts in Teaching English
to the Speakers of Other Languages
Middlesex University London, UK September, 2011

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Billy Clark

Abstract
There is a profound relationship between phonological characteristics of a language and the intelligibility of the speakers of that language. Pashtun speakers or learners of English, whether in Pakistan or in UK, consider their pronunciation to be a hindrance in smooth communication during their interaction with foreigners or among themselves. In this regard, the current study investigates the impact of phonological characteristics of Pashto and the influence of native English environment on the pronunciation of English consonants. For this purpose a sample of five Londoner Pashtuns (residing there around five or more than five years) and five Pakistani Pashtun speakers (domiciled in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province)of English participated in this study. The process of data collection included an open ended questionnaire and two readings based on two different groups of consonants inserted in fifteen sentences in each reading. Both groups of participants responded to the questionnaire and read aloud Reading 1 and Reading 2 which included specific consonants. The analysis of findings demonstrated that those consonants which were absent in Pashto language and were present in English consonant group appeared to be difficult for Pashtun speakers of English. Moreover, non-native consonants of Pashto which appeared during literature review also caused difficulties for Pashtun speakers of English. Regarding the influence of native English environment, the findings exhibited that there is considerable role of native environment and it showed reasonable improvement in the pronunciation of Pashtun speakers of English residing in London.

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Category: Thesis