Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number1 March 2020                                                   Pp. 29-43

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Phonological Problems of Omani EFL Learners: Pedagogical Perspectives and

  Vijay Singh Thakur
  Department of English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Applied Sciences, Dhofar University
Salalah, Sultanate of Oman




Like many non-native learners, English is a Foreign Language to Omani learners; therefore, Spoken English turns out to be difficult and often problematic. Non-native learners of English face several phonological problems mainly because most languages follow specific, predictable rules of pronunciation, but English does not. There are native and non-native varieties of English, which differ not only in terms of vocabulary and grammar but also in pronunciation. In the backdrop of phonological differences between varieties of English and ensuing pronunciation problems, this action research was conducted to investigate the phonological problems that Omani learners at school level encounter. The study was based on focused observation using the diary as a tool for data collection for six months each in one (1) class of grade seven (7) and one (1) class of grade nine (9) in two Omani public schools. The total sample size was 100. The collected phonological data were coded and organized in terms of marked thematic categories. The recurrent problems which surfaced in the Spoken English of Omani learners involved in this study were pure vowel substitution for diphthongs «U and  eI, replacement of p by bsound, insertion of the vowel sound I while pluralizing the words, syllabification of initial and final consonant clusters, deletion ofs sound occurring as the final element from consonant clusters, the alternation between /dZand /g,  /Zand /dZ/,   /tS / and  /S /  sounds, replacement of  /tby /t5/ sound,  lengthening of certain vowel sounds, pronouncing ‘r’ in all phonetic environments, irregularities in the use of weak forms, and not following the rules of aspiration. Based on the emerging phonological problems, certain remedial activities were planned and used with the students, which helped improve their phonological problems considerably. These remedial activities are proposed and recommended as measures of pedagogical intervention.
Keywords: alternation of sounds, aspiration, consonant clusters, non-native varieties, Omani learners, phonetic environment, phonological problems, predictable rules, syllabification

Cite as: Thakur, V. S. (2020). Phonological Problems of Omani EFL Learners: Pedagogical Perspectives and Implications. Arab World English Journal11 (1) 29-43.


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Dr. Vijay Singh Thakur, Associate Professor of English, is currently the Assistant Dean of the
College of Arts and Applied Sciences at Dhofar University, Salalah, Oman. He holds a doctorate
degree in Applied Sociolinguistics. His academic contributions include 2 books, 2 jointly edited
books, 30 research papers, and 20 presentations at international conferences in the fields of TESOL
Pedagogy, Discourse Stylistics and Cross-Cultural Pragmatics.