Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume.7 Number.3 September, 2016                                    Pp.  463-478

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Enhancing the Saudi EFL Students’ Pronunciation of the English Phoneme /v/ via Immersion in Virtual Platforms 


 Shafi S. Alqahtani
Department of English Language & Translation
College of Languages & Translation
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

This study provides findings about Saudi English as a foreign language )EFL( learners’ pronunciation of the English phoneme /v/. Since the Arabic phonological system does not distinctly differentiate between /f/ and /v/, some Saudi  (EFL) learners occasionally and unintentionally overlap these phonemes. One of the tools in the virtual platforms is online games such as the massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) that offer English as the medium of instruction. Saudi families buy nearly three million PlayStation or X-Box sets per year to play MMORPGs. Generally, almost every family in Saudi Arabia Arabia owns an average of one set. Therefore, this study generally aims at investigating the effect of these online games, namely MMORPGs in enhancing pronunciation of the English phonemes /v/ by the Saudi EFL students at King Saud University-College of Languages & Translation (KSU-COLT). This study attempts to answer the two questions. First, will the incidence of EFL Saudi students’ substitution of the NL /f/ for the TL /v/ be greater at the initial, medial or final positions while being immersed in MMORPGs? Second, will the incidences of error decline at ascending weeks of immersion in these virtual platforms? The findings showed that the students’ overlapping of the /f/and /v/ phonemes varied according to the position of these phonemes in the English words (whether initial, middle, or final) and by their co-occurrence with other phonemes (whether vowels or consonants). Furthermore, Saudi EFL students’ communication in English via immersion in MMORPGs have generally shown an ascending improvement through out the four weeks of experiment regarding their pronunciation of the English phoneme /v/ in all positions.
Key words: Constructivistism, MMORPGs, phonology, virtual worlds

Cite as: Alqahtani, S. S. (2016). Enhancing the Saudi EFL Students’ Pronunciation of the English Phoneme /v/ via Immersion in Virtual Platforms. Arab World English Journal, 7(3).


Alqahtani, Shafi Saad S has more than 15 years experience in translation and teaching English.
He is an editorial manager of an English magazine for more than one year. He is currently an
English language instructor, a chair of the Developing Skills Unit in the College of Languages
and Translation at King Saud University and a member of KSU-QMS Board of Assessors.
Alqahtani has B.A. in English, M.A. in Applied Linguistics and currently Ph.D candidate in
Applied Linguistics.