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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
The Use Minimal Pairs by Computer Applications in Promoting Pronunciation Teaching in The Departments of English Language Education
Mehmet DEMİREZEN
Hacettepe University
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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
The Use Minimal Pairs by Computer Applications in Promoting Pronunciation Teaching in The Departments of English Language Education
Mehmet DEMİREZEN
Hacettepe University
Abstract :

Minimal pairs are one of the most commonly utilized forms in teacher education and foreign language teaching to demonstrate phonemic categories in any language since they concretely establish the meaning distinguishing segments and suprasegments of language by means of phonemic contrasts. They have been methodologically useful and therefore they are “a mainstay for teaching pronunciation through their use in pronunciation diagnostic assessment, spoken language production practice, and listening comprehension material (Levis and Cortes, 2008: 197). They are very commonly preferred for diagnostic assessments in teaching pronunciation. The structure and function of the phoneme in the target language are very important.

Minimal pairs are two words that diff er only by one phoneme as a phonemic contrast, or the smallest part sound that makes a diff erence in the meaning between words. They don’t need to be members of the same lexical category. This presentation argues, by opposing to the ideas of Brown (1995) who claims that minimal pairs do merit a great deal of attention and insistently states that there are other aspects of pronunciation which are of greater importance, and there are other ways of teaching vowel and consonant pronunciation. Communicative practice is the best way to teach pronunciation in the background of which minimal pairs function as the backbone of the teaching of vowel, consonant, semi-vowel, and approximant sounds in ESL pronunciation texts. The analysis of the structure and function of the phoneme in relation to procedures for determining contrastive properties of sound systems through evaluation of minimal word pairs is a very beneficial area. There is nothing harmful with minimal pair treatment in teaching foreign languages because they enhance the quality of communication. But as Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin (1996: 1) indicate that successful communication cannot take place without correct pronunciation. Minimal pairs are the most familiar linguistic elements in basic pronunciation teaching courses establish the meaningful building block elements of language.

Therefore, they play an important role. One assumption underlying the use of minimal pairs is that mispronunciations in these words are likely to lead to misunderstandings, which can create communication breakdowns. So, they can serve for diagnostic instruments to identify the specific areas of pronunciation application knowledge and awareness of non-native learners in developing their pronunciation and correcting their fossilized pronunciation. This research examines the use of minimal pairs in English pronunciation teaching materials and pronunciation courses in order to examine their beneficial or negative eff ects over pronunciation studies. To do this, a Likert test will be administrated to 54 freshmen of the Department of English Language Education at Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education and their attitudes to minimal pairs in pronunciation development and correction will be rated.

Keywords : minimal pair, pronunciation error, fossilized error, accuracy, intelligibility
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