Mispronunciation By Korean And Chinese English Language Essay

This paper surveies the causes of the mispronunciation of English sounds made by Chinese and Korean EFL scholars through a study offered by ”The English Language Centre in Brighton & A ; Hove ” . The survey has collected informations from 100 immature grownups, who are analyzing in Tsinghua University. The consequence explains why Chinese and Korean pupils mispronounce certain vowels and consonants severally, which hopefully can cast some visible radiation on learning English as a foreign linguistic communication.

Chapter one: Introduction

Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communicating. Now that there are 100s of linguistic communications all over the universe, it is indispensable to happen certain ways to sort them into classs in order to accomplish a better apprehension.

Today, people who speak English as a 2nd or foreign linguistic communication outnumber those who are native talkers. Peoples need to set the methodological analysiss in line with this altering form of utilizing English, in which the end of acquisition is more frequently be able to utilize English in communicating with other non-native talkers or native talkers. In order to make that, one of the most of import parts of larning English is the pronunciation.

This paper tries to happen out the causes of mispronunciation of English between Chinese and Koreans in Tsinghua University through a study offered by ”The English Language Centre in Brighton & A ; Hove ” . This paper tries to propose several solutions to better the English pronunciation which benefit both the EFL scholars and instructors.

This thesis is an analysis of the causes of English mispronunciation by Chinese and Korean EFL scholars through the consequence of the study. There are basically two countries to analyze when sing mispronunciation. First off, the phonological systems of Korean and Chinese are different from the English system. Second, dealingss and similarities between the Sounds and their corresponding English opposite numbers are overlooked despite being a reasonably of import factor for explicating the pronunciation of some English sounds. If they are pointed out and explained by instructors, it is likely that the mispronunciation of English will be reduced.

Chapter two: Literature Reappraisal

2.1 The Chinese Phonological System

The Chinese linguistic communication belongs to the Sino-Tibetan linguistic communication household. It consists of seven major dialect groups or dialect households, by and large classified as Mandarin Wu, Xiang, Gan, Min, Kejia ( Hakka ) , and Yue ( Cantonese ) ( Chen 1999, Defrancis 1984, Norman 1988, Ramsey 1987 ) . Mandarin is the base idiom of the national criterion linguistic communication Putonghua. Mandarin is based on the idiom spoken in Beijing in that the pronunciation and grammar are supposed to be the same as Beijing idiom. Nowadays Mandarin is the most widely spoken Chinese linguistic communication in China. ( Hu 1988:32 )

2.1.1 Mandarin Phonology: Phonemes, Tones and Syllable Structure

The Mandarin phoneme stock list contains 22 consonants and 6 vowels /a, O, vitamin E, I, u, Most of the letters in Chinese have appeared in the European opposite numbers, but there are several pronunciation that has noteworthy differences. For illustration, there are letters that are non pronounced like their European opposite numbers such as: “ degree Celsius ” , “ ch ” , “ J ” , “ Q ” , “ R ” , “ sh ” , “ ten ” , “ omega ” and “ zh ” . ( chui, 2005:19 )

Besides segmental components, the typical characteristic that the Mandarin syllable has are the canonical tones, which are frequently referred to as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th tone. In add-on, there is a impersonal tone, which does non hold an intrinsic pitch value. The impersonal tone is shorter than the four lexical tones and it is normally shown in grammatical morphemes such as the past tense marker ”le ” or the inquiry marker ”ma ” . The sequence /ma/ can be pronounced with 5 different tones in which each of them has a different significance, this is shown in Table 1. ( Goldsmith 1990 )

Table 1. Chinese Tones


2.2 The Korean Phonological System

The Korean linguistic communication is genetically classified as a relation of proto-Altaic or the Altaic linguistic communication household. Korean is similar to the Altaic linguistic communications in that they both lack certain grammatical elements. Some of these include articles, fissional morphology and comparative pronouns. Korean has several idioms. With Seoul as the capital metropolis of South Korea, the standard linguistic communication is based on the idiom spoken at that place. For North Korea, it is based on the Pyongyang idiom. There are some differences between the Korean Language between the two states. Despite this, most of the idioms in Korean are so similar that they are reciprocally apprehensible, intending that people can understand eachother. However, the idiom of Jeju Island is an exclusion.

2.2.2 Korean Phonology

There are 21 consonants and 10 vowels in the Korean sound system. For the 10 vowels, it could be classified in to three places formed by the vocal variety meats. The first is the tallness of the lingua, the 2nd is the forepart or the dorsum of the lingua and the 3rd is the form of the lips. Elaborate each place

Harmonizing to Lee in the book of ”An Introduction to the Korean Language ” , the Korean consonants depend on the place inside the oral cavity. It could be divided into five chief groups: velars, dental consonants, bilabials, alveolar consonants and glottal. When the dorsum of the lingua meets the upper back the pharynx, the consonants ” ( g ) , ” ( gg ) , ” ( K ) are formed as velars. When the tip of the lingua meets the forepart of the roof of the oral cavity known as the alveolar ridge, the alveolar consonants ” ( n ) , ” ( vitamin D ) , ” ( T ) , ” ( cubic decimeter ) , ” ( Doctor of Divinity ) are formed. Dental consonants where the lingua is positioned against the upper dentitions are consonants such as ” ( s ) , ” ( J ) , ” ( ch ) , ” ( US Secret Service ) , ” ( jj ) . Bilabial means where the lips come together and are released when they are pronounced, ” ( m ) , ” ( B ) , ” ( P ) , ” ( BB ) .Glottal consontants are produced when the air flow in the vocal piece of land like ” ( I ) or ” ( H ) .

Each vowel has different a length of differentiation ( define ) In Korean, there are eight different vowels. In the yesteryear, there were two more vowels, ( IPA: / ” / , hangul: ” ) and the close forepart rounded vowel ( IPA: /y/ , hangul: ” ) , but nowadays it has been replaced by the diphthongs [ we ] and [ wi ] . The linguists had made a study in 2003 of 350 talkers from Seoul as the mark and they have found out that about 90 % pronounced the vowel ‘ ” ‘ as [ wi ] without length differentiation. Some younger talkers can non separate between /e/ and / ? / , so these two vowels have besides become a decreasing component. Harmonizing to Korean writing system, it is difficult to change over a consonant into vowels because talkers normally follow consonants in initial place in a word. /j/ and /w/ , glides are non considered as separate consonant phonemes, alternatively it is considered to be elements of diphthongs.

Chapter Three: Data Collection and Analysis

Table 3. The harmonic phonemes found in most idioms of English

Topographic point of



Experiment Target

The intent of this study was to happen out the analysis of stuffs on mispronunciation of English by questioning 50 Korean and 50 Chinese Tsinghua University pupils.

The ground that I have chosen the pupils in Tsinghua University is because most of the pupils have learned English for at least three old ages and have a basic cognition of English. Second, I chose Tsinghua University because it is a synthesize university, where it has diverse major and assortment of pupils from all over the universe.

Experiment Materials

– Recorder

– Pencil and paper

– One hundred study documents made by ”The English Language Centre in Brighton & A ; Hove ”

Common Mistakes in English by Chinese Background


Common Mistakes in English by Korean Background


The study chose words that Korean and Chinese pupils normally mispronounce and investigated whether the pupils can articulate them accurately. In this thesis I have chosen /z/ , /l/ , / ” / and / ” / as the object of analysis.

Methods of Testing

This research was done by taking 50 Korean pupils and fifty Chinese pupils in Tsinghua University. Their pronunciation of the words was recorded the in the order that they were given in the study.

Analysis and Data Collection

The English Language Center was founded in 1962 and is a non-profit devising charitable educational foundation. ( Brighton & A ; Hove, 1962 ) The intent of doing this study was to supply quality English linguistic communication learning to international pupils, since many English instructors are looking for better instruction methods. My study of the 100 pupils in Tsinghua University is based off the study from the English Language Center. While pupils read the words on the paper aloud, I recorded their pronunciation on a cassette tape. The following are the study and the consequences of the experiment:

Chinese Students in Tsinghua Univeresity

Mispronunciation of English

There are many grounds for misspeaking English. First, it could be the differences between the linguistic communication system of Korean, Chinese and English. ( what differences? )

Second, it could be the learning method of English. The manner school Teachs phoneme and allophone affect the pronunciation of the pupils who learns English. Third, the female parent linguistic communication is the cause of mispronunciation. If pupils retain their civilization and langue, so it would be easier for pupils to place the mainstream civilization and larning the mainstream linguistic communication of the society. But if the pupils Don ” Ts have a strong base of their female parent lingua, of course it would be hard for pupils to larn English.

Jim Cummins stated that the degree of development of kids ” s mother lingua has a important influence for the kids to larn their 2nd linguistic communication. The kid who has a solid foundation in their female parent lingua learns faster and develops stronger literacy abilities than the childs who are weak in their female parent lingua. For illustration, if the parents pass more clip with the kids when they are at place by stating narratives or discourse issues with them, in a manner that they can enlarge their vocabulary and constructs, so the kids will be well-prepared to larn the linguistic communication at school and win educationally. The manner that the childs transfer across linguistic communications is from the female parent lingua they have learned in place to the school linguistic communication that they are larning, which is the 2nd linguistic communication. Children ” s cognition and accomplishments of larning two linguistic communications are mutualist. In shirt, when the educational environment allows kids entree to both linguistic communications, they nurture each other. ( Cummins 2000:52 )

Through the experiment, I found out that there are many sounds that Koreans and Chinese can ” t pronounce right due to different phonological system. Among 50 Korean pupils 40 of them couldn ” T pronounce missive ”z ” .

Koreans: /z/

Harmonizing to the study, the most hard pronunciation for the Koreans would be continuant, a sissing sound like s, or omega, because there is no such a tone in Korea. Z becomes a brace with S, which is an alveolar. This modulation topographic point in the vocal cords and it vibrates. In Korean consonant sound, there is no job jointing S sound, which is same with the / ” / sound in Korean alphabet. There is an alphabet / ” / in Korea, which is palato-alveolar, similar to ”z ” . But there is no /z/ sound in Korea, so it is difficult for Koreans to articulate ”z ” words. ( Ex. Zoo )

Chinese: /l/

The consequence of the study shows that the Chinese pupils particularly the Southern Chinese Don ” Ts like to distinguish tones and pitch, in a manner that Northern Chinese do. Ex ) ? ( falling lifting ) , which means bargain, ? ( falling ) , which means sell. Learning in English, it is more hard for Southern Chinese to articulate English words. The most typical pronunciation that the Southern Chinese are holding problem with is /l/ and /r/ . From the consequence of the experiment, it shows that most of the Southern Chinese can ” t differentiate ”raw ” and ”law ” . The allophone of /r/ , which exists in Chinese sound becomes /l/ concluding place. It is highly rare in China to place the missive /l/ at the word ” s initial, therefore, it is reciprocally confounding for Chinese to articulate initial /l/ and /r/ . When the Korea /r/ is overlapped as in natural, the missive /r/ sounds like the English /l/ sound, articulating the word as jurisprudence. In English really there are two clearly distinguishable allophones for missive /l/ , mentioning as clear and dark /l/ . The clear /l/ is the sound we make when /l/ precedes a front vowel or when it is followed by /y/ . It possesses the quality or vibrates the forepart vowel. It is made with the back lingua higher in the oral cavity, when the /l/ is in the median place before an unstressed vowel, in the concluding place, when it precedes a back vowel or when it is syllabic the sound. It possesses the quality or vibrates the back vowel. Therefore, it is troublesome for Southern Chinese to articulate the words as in full, autumn, kid, mike etc.

Problems of both Koreans and Chinese

Through the study I have found out that the chief job in the pronunciation of single words lies in the reproduction of consonants. Several English consonant sounds do non be in Korean and Chinese. Out of nine spirants of English, / ” / and / ” / as the interdental spirants do non happen in Korean and Chinese linguistic communication ” which is pronounced between upper dentitions and lower dentitions. / ” / is the unvoiced dental spirant, / ” / is the sonant dental spirant. Therefore, it is easy to foretell that the Korean and Chinese scholars of English find much trouble in English spirants. Ex ) this and thing

There are some consonant that bear a phonemic relationship to each other such as / ” / and / ” / , where most of the words in English starts with ”th ” have / ” / and besides about all freshly created words. However, there are besides some words that are pronounced / ” / , such as ” the ” that we often use. There are different forms and regulations for utilizing two pronunciations: other than map words, in initial place we normally use / ” / , in median place we use / ” / and excepting verbs, in concluding place we use / ” / . A more elaborate account follows.

Initial place

* Almost all words get downing with a dental spirant have / ” / .

* The words that begin with / ” / are following:

* 5 demonstratives: the, this, that, these, those

* 2 personal pronouns each with four signifiers: 1000, thee, thy, thine ; they, them, their, theirs

* 7 adverbs and concurrences: at that place, so, than, therefore, though, thence, thither ( though some talkers pronounce thence and thither with initial / ” / )

* Assorted compound adverbs based on the above words: hence, thereupon, thereby, thenceforth, thenceforth, etc.

Medial place

* Most native words with median? Thursday? have / ” / .

* A few native words have median / ” / :

* The adjectival postfix -y usually leaves terminal / ” / unchanged: crude, healthy, sententious, furtive, affluent ; but worthy and dark-skinned have / ” / .

* Compound words in which the first component ends or the 2nd component begins with? Thursday? often have / ” / , as these elements would in isolation: bathroom, Southampton ; anything, everything, nil, something.

* The lone other native words with median / ” / would look to be brothel and Ethel.

Concluding place

* Nouns and adjectives

* Nouns and adjectives stoping in a dental continuant normally have / ” / : bath, breath, fabric, froth, wellness, fireplace, loath, sheath, sooth, tooth/teeth, breadth, garland.

* Exceptions are normally marked in the spelling with? -the? : tithe, lathe, lithe with / ” / .

* blythe, booth, scythe, smooth have either / ” / or / ” / .

* Verbs

* Verbs stoping in a dental continuant normally have / ” / , and are often spelled? -the? : bathe, breathe, clothe, loathe, damage, scythe, seethe, sheathe, soothe, teethe, tithe, wreathe, writhe. Spelled without? vitamin E? : oral cavity ( verb ) nevertheless has / ” / .

* froth has either / ” / or / ” / as a verb, but / ” / merely as a noun.

* The verb terminations -s, -ing, -ed do non alter the pronunciation of a? Thursday? in the concluding place in the root: bathe has / ” / , hence so make bathed, bathing, bathes ; foaming with either / ” / or / ” / . Likewise vesture used as a noun, scathing as an adjectival etc.

* Others

* with has either / ” / or / ” / as make its compounds: within, without, outwith, withdraw, withhold, withstand, wherewithal, etc. ( Brostein, 1960 )

Kim the author of the book ”English Phoneticss ” provinces that they are made with the tongue-tip in contact with the interior surface of the upper dentition or with the tongue-tip between the upper and lower incisors. For illustration, the word ”third ” and ”three ” . The Koreans and Chinese are non used to put the lingua in the place for the Thursday sound, so they will neglect to let clip for the devising of a fricative Thursday sound, ensuing in a hushing /s/ sound or a dentally made /t/ or /d/ sound. Some Chinese pronounce / ” / as /d/ , /s/ or /d/ . Koreans pronounce / ” / as / ” , ” , ” , ” , ”/ and / ” / pronounce as / ” , ” , ” , ”/ . Differences in syllable construction between the three linguistic communications may take to the add-on of a short vowel sound to the terminal of English words that terminate with a consonant or within words incorporating harmonic bunchs. ( Kim 1973: 53 )


In Korean linguistic communication single word emphasis is undistinguished since it is a syllable timed linguistic communication. Korean syllables normally don ” Ts have onset/rime construction alternatively it has a body/coda construction. These consequences contrast aggressively with those of old researches utilizing English syllables and are consistent with the position that the construction of syllables and their function in perceptual experience and production of address may change from linguistic communication to linguistic communication. If we consider the complexness of syllables, the difference in syllable construction between Korean and English may be explained. Syllables in Korean are simple compared with English.

Apart from holding tones, the composing of its syllables besides contributes to sounds in Chinese. The makeup of syllable ( syllable construction ) fundamentally refers to the sounds in a linguistic communication and their agreement within the frame. There are two typical characters doing Chinese syllables alone. The first of import fact about the Chinese syllable is that no harmonic bunch is allowed. In contrast, English may hold up to three consonants in a row. For case, the words such as splash, spring, facts, helped demo some illustrations of three consonants together ; bunchs with two consonants are even more common: drama, pray, floor, base, hint, kept are but a few illustrations. In other words, the beginning of a syllable may be inconsistent with the terminal of a syllable. Many sounds happening at the beginning of a syllable can non take topographic point at the terminal of a syllable. This is non rather the same manner we see in English. [ fifty ] can happen at the terminal of syllables merely as easy occurred at the beginning of syllables. Although Chinese has both [ s ] and [ cubic decimeter ] , they can merely happen at the beginning of syllables.

Chapter Five: Decision

The contrasts in phonemics entirely between English, Korean and Chinese apart from the differences in lexis, sentence structure, cultural forms and history, the most important job to work out is the suitableness and value of the pronunciation. In this survey I have attempted to foretell the jobs of pronunciation that frequently arise because of the phonic differences between the three linguistic communications.

The ensuing comparing shows non merely there are differences between the three linguistic communications, but besides how they are perceived and acquired by the Korean and Chinese scholars of English.

In Korean there are 21 harmonic phonemes, while there ” s 24 in English. 14 English phonemes such as B, vitamin D, g, J, degree Fahrenheit, do non be in Korea. In Chinese there are 22 consonants, but ”l ” , ” degree Celsius ” , “ ch ” , “ J ” , “ Q ” , “ R ” , “ sh ” , “ ten ” , “ omega ” and “ zh ” are non pronounced in the same manner as English. I have presented the jobs of pronunciation originating from these differences between two sound systems. Learning these differences occurs more easy, and trouble with them is more relentless.

I hope this survey will be much helpful to the Korean and Chinese scholars of English who try to foretell the jobs of pronunciation that will originate in this country and to run into them more intelligently. The presently available supply of stuffs of English, tape, Cadmium, textbook tend to reassign the Chinese and Korean pupils ” native address wonts straight into pronunciation of English. In order to run into the demands of the pupils who are larning English, English instructors in Korea and China should bring forth the recordings and a command of spoken English. A premier demand is a suited recorded pronunciation drills and a text book which it merely arranges English phonemics, including harmonic sound, method of pronunciation, length of sound and modulation.

Any instructor who exhaustively understands the complexnesss between their female parent linguistic communication and English will hold a renewed regard for the challenges that pupils have when they are larning English. If they do so, they would cognize the countries that the pupils are holding problem with and the cause of troubles, concentrating specifically on the countries where pupils need the most support.

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