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A study on the effects of using phoneme grapheme correspondence method on sound recognition ability of efl 10th grade students at quoc oai high school and their attitudes

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

NGUYỄN THỊ THƠM

A STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF USING PHONEME-GRAPHEME
CORRESPONDENCE METHOD ON SOUND RECOGNITION
ABILITY OF EFL 10TH-GRADE STUDENTS AT QUOC OAI HIGH
SCHOOL AND THEIR ATTITUDES
(Nghiên cứu hiệu quả của việc áp dụng phương pháp liên hệ giữa chữ
viết và phát âm tới khả năng nhận biết âm tương ứng trong tiếng Anh
của học sinh lớp 10 THPT Quốc Oai và thái độ của học sinh đối với
phương pháp này)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111


Hanoi, 2016


VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

NGUYỄN THỊ THƠM

A STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF USING PHONEME-GRAPHEME
CORRESPONDENCE METHOD ON SOUND RECOGNITION
ABILITY OF EFL 10TH-GRADE STUDENTS AT QUOC OAI HIGH
SCHOOL AND THEIR ATTITUDES
(Nghiên cứu hiệu quả của việc áp dụng phương pháp liên hệ giữa chữ
viết và phát âm tới khả năng nhận biết âm tương ứng trong tiếng Anh
của học sinh lớp 10 THPT Quốc Oai và thái độ của học sinh đối với
phương pháp này)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111
Supervisor: Nguyễn Đức Hoạt, Ph.D

Hanoi, 2016


DECLARATION
I hereby certify that the thesis entitled “A Study on the Effects of Using PhonemeGrapheme Correspondence Method on Sound Recognition Ability of EFL 10thGrade Students at Quoc Oai High School and Their Attitudes” is entirely the result
of my own research in the fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of
Arts at the Faculty of Post-Graduate Studies, University of Languages and
International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, and that this thesis has not
been submitted for any other degrees.
Hà nội,2016

Nguyen Thi Thom

i



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my gratitude to all that have helped me in the completion of this
thesis.
First and foremost, I am deeply indebted to my supervisor, Nguyen Duc Hoat, Ph. D,
who has given me persistent consideration, enthusiastic encouragement, and
invaluable supervision throughout the writing of the thesis.
Secondly, my thanks also go to all lecturers and the staff of Faculty of Post-Graduate
Studies, University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National
University, Hanoi for their useful lectures, materials, guidance and enthusiasm during
my course.
A special thank would also go to all the students at Quoc Oai high school who took
part in the research. Without their participation and cooperation, I would not be able to
complete this research paper.
Last but not least, my deep appreciation and gratitude to my beloved family, especially
my parents, my husband and my little daughter for their encouragement, inspiration
and unconditional love, which enormously helped me towards the completion of my
research.

ii


ABSTRACT
This minor thesis was carried out with an attempt to investigate the effects of
Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence Method on sound recognition ability of EFL
10th-grade students at Quoc Oai High School and their attitudes. The research design
used in the study was a quasi-experimental pre-test, post-test, non-equivalent group
design including one experimental group and one control group. A total of 75 10thgrade students took part in the study. The instruments used for the study were a 20multiple-choice-item test in phonetics and a questionnaire. The results obtained from
the analyzed data show that Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method had a
significant effect on the improvement in students‟ sound recognition ability.
Furthermore, students show positive attitudes towards this method.

iii


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Declaration................................................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................... ii
Abstract ...................................................................................................................... iii
Table of contents ...................................................................................................... iv
List of tables ............................................................................................................ vii
List of figures .......................................................................................................... viii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale and statement of the problem ......................................................... 1
1.2. Aims of the study .............................................................................................. 2
1.3. Research questions ........................................................................................... 2
1.4. Significance of the study .................................................................................. 2
1.5. Scope of the study ............................................................................................. 3
1.6. Research method .............................................................................................. 3
1.7. Organization of the study ................................................................................ 3

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Theoretical Background .................................................................................. 5
2.1.1. Definition of “pronunciation” ................................................................... 5
2.1.2. Role of pronunciation in language learning ............................................. 6
2.1.3. Approaches to teaching pronunciation ..................................................... 7
2.1.3.1. The intuitive-imitative approach .......................................................... 8
2.1.3.2. The analytic-linguistic approach ......................................................... 8
2.1.4. Techniques of testing pronunciation ......................................................... 9
2.1.5. Definition of “Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence” .......................... 10
2.1.6. Vietnamese – English sound systems ...................................................... 12
2.1.7. Definition of “attitude” ............................................................................ 13
2.1.8. The role of attitude in second language learning ................................... 13
2.2. Previous research works and the need for this study .................................. 14

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
iv


3.1. Research design: Quasi-experimental .......................................................... 15
3.2. Setting of the study ......................................................................................... 16
3.2.1. Background .............................................................................................. 16
3.2.2. Population of the study ............................................................................ 16
3.2.3. Sample of the study .................................................................................. 17
3.3. Data collection instruments ........................................................................... 18
3.3.1. Document research .................................................................................. 18
3.3.2. Questionnaire ........................................................................................... 20
3.3.3. Pre and post tests and test validity ........................................................... 21
3.4. Data collection procedure .............................................................................. 23
3.5. Data analysis methods .................................................................................... 24

CHAPTER FOUR: RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
4.1. Research findings ............................................................................................ 25
4.1.1. The students’ sound recognition ability .................................................. 25
4.1.1.1. Calculation between two mean scores and standard deviations ....... 25
4.1.1.2. Test of significance ............................................................................ 26
4.1.2. Students’ attitudes towards Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method 28
4.1.2.1. Part I: Students’ perceptions on sound recognition .......................... 28
4.1.2.2. Part II: Students’ attitudes towards Phoneme-Grapheme
Correspondence method .................................................................... 29
4.2. Discussion ........................................................................................................ 32
4.3. Summary of the main findings ...................................................................... 33

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
5.1. Conclusions ..................................................................................................... 34
5.2. Limitations and suggestions for further study ............................................. 34
5.3. Suggestions for teachers and students .......................................................... 35
5.3.1. For the teachers ........................................................................................ 35
5.3.2. For the students ........................................................................................ 35

REFERENCES ...................................................................................................... 37
v


APPENDICES
APPENDIX I (a): The sample of the lesson plan for the conventional method ........ I
APPENDIX I (b): The sample of the lesson plan for the Phoneme-Grapheme
Correspondence method ...................................................................................... II
APPENDIX II (a): QUESTIONNAIRE (English) .................................................. IV
APPENDIX II (b): BẢNG CÂU HỎI (Vietnamese) .............................................. VI
APPENDIX III (a): Pre-test ...................................................................................VIII
APPENDIX III (b): Post-test ................................................................................... IX
APPENDIX IV: Correlation reliability of the test ....................................................X
APPENDIX V (a): Test results of the experimental group ..................................... XI
APPENDIX V (b): Test results of the control group ............................................XIII

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LIST OF TABLES
Table 3.1. Non-randomized control-group pretest posttest design ......................... 15
Table 3.2. T-test: The pre-test mean scores of the experiment group and the control
group ................................................................................................................. 17
Table 3.3. The conventional method ....................................................................... 19
Table 3.4. The Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method ................................ 19
Table 3.5. Specifications of the pre-test .................................................................. 22
Table 3.6. Teaching procedure ................................................................................ 23
Table 4.1. The pre-test and post-test mean scores and standard deviation of students‟
scores in the experimental group and the control group ................................... 25
Table 4.2. t-Test: The post-test mean scores of the experiment group and the control
group ................................................................................................................. 27

vii


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.1. Features of English Pronunciation .......................................................... 6
Figure 4.1. The pre-test and post-test mean scores of the experiment group and the
control group ..................................................................................................... 26
Figure 4.2. Students‟ perceptions on sound recognition ......................................... 28
Figure 4.3. Students‟ general perceptions about Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence
method .............................................................................................................. 29
Figure 4.4. Students‟ feelings when being taught with Phoneme-Grapheme
Correspondence method ................................................................................... 30
Figure 4.5. Students‟ beliefs on the effects of Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence
method ............................................................................................................... 31
Figure 4.6. Students‟ expectation of the use of Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence
method ............................................................................................................... 32

viii


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
This initial chapter will introduce the rationale, the aims and the research questions,
the significance of the study, together with the scope and methodology applied in the
study. More importantly, the clearest organization of the research is also given in this
chapter.

1.1. Rationale and statement of the problem
It can be said that English, an effective means of international communication, has
become firmly established as the second language in Vietnam, overwhelming French
and Chinese. Especially, joining the World Trade Organization has helped Vietnam
attract a considerable number of foreign businesses; the government thus has attached
importance to teaching and learning English for communicative purposes. To
communicate effectively, accurate pronunciation is one of requirements students need
to fulfil. Pronouncing incorrectly can result in communication breakdown. Being
aware of the importance of pronunciation in communication, the authors of the new
English textbook for high-school students added pronunciation part in each unit,
beside lessons on grammar, four English macro skills, namely listening, speaking,
reading and writing.
Pronunciation parts in new English 10 textbook are about vowels and consonants.
After one year teaching English 10 at Quoc Oai high school, the researcher found out
that 10th-grade students had difficulties in recognizing English sounds because in
Vietnamese, each sound is represented by one word; whereas, each English sound can
be represented by a number of letters. They don‟t know when a letter or a combination
of letters is pronounced as this sound and when as another sound. As a result, when
doing phonetic exercises, they usually guess the answers. With the conventional
teaching techniques, teachers introduce phonemes with their phonetic symbols,
describe how to make these sounds, give some examples and then let students practice
some sentences with these sounds. With that teaching method, students can pronounce
a new word only when its phonetic transcription is provided and it is quite difficult to
guess the pronunciation of a new word.
Due to the importance of pronunciation in communication and the poor sound
recognition ability of students, the researcher decided to introduce Phoneme1


Grapheme Correspondence method to students. The present study, “A Study on the
Effects of Using Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence Method on Sound
Recognition Ability of EFL 10th-Grade Students at Quoc Oai High School and Their
Attitudes”,

is

an

attempt

to

examine

whether

using

Phoneme-Grapheme

Correspondence method leads to better sound recognition ability compared to the
conventional method or not. Furthermore, the study aimed to find out the students‟
attitudes towards using this method.

1.2. Aims of the study
This study aims to:
-

investigate the effects of using Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence Method on
sound recognition ability of 10th-grade students at Quoc Oai high school;

-

find out students‟ attitudes towards using this method.

1.3. Research questions
The study aims at answering the following questions:
- To what extent does Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method help to
improve sound recognition ability of 10th-grade students at Quoc Oai High
School?
- What are the students‟ attitudes towards Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence
method?

1.4. Significance of the study
This study provides an insight into the effects of using Phoneme-Grapheme
Correspondences method on EFL high-school students‟ sound recognition ability as
well as their attitudes towards using this method. It is hoped that the results of this
research can be regarded as a source of reference for educational administrators to
make adjustments to the content of pronunciation part. In addition, the findings can
help teachers consider whether to use Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences method to
teach pronunciation. Moreover, this study will be much beneficial to students who
wonder if using Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences method to improve their
pronunciation ability. Lastly, this paper will serve as a good reference for those who
2


want to have a clearer view of applying Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences
method.

1.5. Scope of the study
The research was carried out on the 10th-grade students at Quoc Oai high school. Due
to time constraints, the research was limited to investigating the effects of PhonemeGrapheme Correspondence method on the students‟ English vowel sound recognition
ability. Other aspects of English pronunciation such as dipthongs, consonants,
intonation would not be investigated.

1.6. Research method
The method used in this study is quasi-experimental research. According to Arikunto
(2002, as cited in Hidayat, 2014), experimental research is the way to find a causal
relationship (relationship clause) between the two factors that are deliberately caused
by the researcher by reducing or setting aside other factors that interfere; therefore, this
kind of research is suitable for this study, in which the effects of using PhonemeGrapheme Correspondence method on students‟ sound recognition ability are
investigated.

1.7. Organization of the study
The study is divided into five chapters as follows:
Chapter one, INTRODUCTION, introduces the rationale for the research, the aims,
the research questions, the significance of the study, the scope of the study, the
research method, and the organization of the study.
Chapter two, LITERATURE REVIEW, reviews the literature relevant to the study.
This chapter starts with theoretical issues on pronunciation, respectively the definition,
the role of pronunciation in language learning, approaches to teaching pronunciation
and techniques of testing pronunciation. In this chapter, the researcher also mentions
the definition of Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence and points out the differences
between English and Vietnamese in terms of sound systems. The definition of attitude
as well as the role of attitude in second language learning are also mentioned in this

3


chapter. Last but not least, the previous research works on this issue and the need for
this study are also included.
Chapter three, METHODOLOGY, describes in detail the research methodology. The
research design is shown, followed by an introduction of the settings of the research. It
also presents instruments employed in this paper to collect the data, namely
questionnaires, and pronunciation tests. In addition, this chapter is comprised of data
collection procedures and data analysis methods.
Chapter four, RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION, presents the results and
discussions of the collected data.
Chapter five, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS, provides the
conclusions, as well as presents limitations of the research. It also makes suggestions
for further research in the same field and suggestions for teachers and students.

4


CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides readers with the relevant literature of the study by presenting
some key concepts which are necessary to understand the issues mentioned in the
paper more clearly, as well as the review of the previous studies related to the topic of
the paper.

2.1. Theoretical Background
2.1.1. Definition of “pronunciation”
The notion of “pronunciation” has been defined by a number of scholars. Oxford
Advanced Learner‟s English Dictionary gives an easy-to-understand definition that
pronunciation is “the way in which a language or a particular word or sound is
pronounced”. Trask (1996) also provided a similar definition that “pronunciation” is
“the manner in which speech sounds, especially connected sequences, are articulated
by individual speakers or by speakers generally” (p. 291). Both definitions clearly
point out that pronunciation is a way of producing language, word or sound. However,
Kristina et al. (2006, as cited in Pratiwi, 2010) added an element when defining this
term. According to them, pronunciation entails not only the production but also the
reception of speech sounds and the achievement of the meaning. Murphy (2003)
shared the same idea and gave a convincing explanation that
Though most of us think in terms of speech production, the Longman Dictionary of
Applied Linguistics emphasizes “the way sounds are perceived by the hearer” to define
pronunciation (Richards, Platt, and Weber, 1992, p. 296). An emphasis on hearers‟
perceptions is especially relevant. How we pronounce words, phrases, and sentences
communicates to others considerable information about who we are, and what we are
like, as people.
(p. 112)

In conclusion, pronunciation is the way to pronounce an intelligible speech sound.
Regarding the features that constitute the production of sounds in English, Gilakjani
(2012) stated that pronunciation is comprised of features at two levels, namely
segmental (micro) one and supra-segmental (macro) one. He also provided a clear
illustration as in the following Figure.

5


Figure 1.1. Features of English Pronunciation
Gilakjani (2012:120)
In the curriculum of the textbook English 10 (basic), segmental features are the major
focus for pronunciation teaching. However, in the limitation of this study, only single
vowel sounds in English are researched.

2.1.2. Role of pronunciation in language learning
According to Kelly (2000), it is crucial that a language learner have a good
pronunciation of that language. No matter how well non-native speakers control
grammar and vocabulary of that language, they will not be able to communicate orally
if their pronunciation is not comprehensible.
Firstly, one of the factors that have strong influence on speaking ability is
pronunciation. Speakers will fail to get their message across if they mispronounce a
number of words, which may result in breakdown in communication.
On the other hand, listening ability will become worse on account of bad
pronunciation. When a learner has already stuck to the wrong way of pronouncing
particular speech sounds, it is unlikely for him/her to recognize the authentic
pronunciation of native speakers.
6


Wong (1993) also pointed out that pronunciation has a relationship with grammar on
the grounds that the former can convey grammatical information thanks to rhythm and
intonation.
As indicated above, it can be concluded that like grammar and vocabulary,
pronunciation is of great importance for language learning. Acquiring good
pronunciation is very helpful for those who are learning foreign languages.
The place of pronunciation teaching in the ESL/EFL classroom has changed
dramatically in various language teaching methods. According to Prator and CelceMurcia (1979, as cited in To Thu Huong, et al, 2011), in the grammar-translation
method, very little or no attention is given to pronunciation; as a result, learners
became “deaf and dumb” in the target language. In another method, namely the audiolingual method, great importance is attached to pronunciation from the beginning;
whereas, in spite of the great time and effort made to achieve native-like
pronunciation, the results were often dissatisfied. Nowadays, when the dominant
teaching method is the communicative language teaching, whose goal is to enable
learners to be “communicatively competent” (Celce-Murcia et al, 1995, as cited in To
Thu Huong, et al, 2011: 29), pronunciation becomes more and more crucial. Accurate
pronunciation is regarded as a must for language learner to communicate successfully.
As a result, teachers should pay more attention to teaching pronunciation. In contrast,
in many language courses, the teaching of pronunciation was neglected on account of a
theory that teaching pronunciation in the classroom had little influence on
pronunciation proficiency (Suter & Purcell, 1980, as cited in Varasarin, 2007). Both
teachers and learners tended to take grammar and vocabulary precedence over
pronunciation for granted. Fortunately, these days, that belief has not been popular;
teaching and learning pronunciation has undergone a considerable change to become
an indispensable element completing not only communication competence but
discourse, sociolinguistics and strategic competence as well (Morley, 1994, as cited in
Khoa Anh Viet, et al, 2010).

2.1.3. Approaches to teaching pronunciation
In the history of foreign language teaching, Kelly (1969, as cited in Khoa Anh Viet, et
al, 2010) regarded pronunciation as “the Cinderella of language teaching”. He pointed
7


out that the research of grammar and vocabulary had been paid much more attention
than that of pronunciation. Not until the early 20th century was teaching pronunciation
researched systematically.
In the field of modern language teaching, there exist two general approaches to the
teaching of pronunciation, namely intuitive-imitative approach and analytic-linguistic
approach (Celce-Murcia, et al, 1996)
2.1.3.1. The intuitive-imitative approach
The intuitive-imitative approach depends on the “learners‟ ability to listen to and
imitate the rhythms and sounds of the target language without the intervention of any
explicit information” (Celce-Murcia, et al, 1996: 2). This means that the teacher‟s
turning on and rewinding a cassette player (or any other instrument) play an important
role in the teaching of pronunciation, and the main activities in the class are listening
and repeating. Of course, in order to do this, the supply of authentic materials as well
as recording devices to use is a must during the lesson. The teacher is not responsible
for explaining how to form or produce a specific sound. Learners do their main task of
listening and imitating, and it is expected that they will gradually gain pronunciation
competence.
Jones and Evans (1995, as cited in Nguyen Thi Mo, 2008) suggested that this approach
be adopted at the beginning of teaching pronunciation for the following reasons
„Firstly, it constitutes a more holistic approach in which, from the outset, different
elements of pronunciation are seen as integrated. Secondly, it gives students a chance
to experience pronunciation on intuitive and communicative levels before moving on
to a more analytical exploration of specific elements of phonology. Finally, work in
voice quality can help students to improve their image when they speak English, and
thus increase their confidence‟ (p. 8).
2.1.3.2. The analytic-linguistic approach
In contrast, the analytic-linguistic approach “utilizes information and tools such as a
phonetic alphabet, articulator descriptions, charts of the vocal apparatus and other aids
to supplement listening, imitation, and production” (Celce-Murcia, et al, 1996: 2). This
approach directly provides information for learners and turns their attention to the
rhythms and sounds of the target language. In this approach, learners are given clear
explanations about how to form particular sounds of the target language.
8


Of the two approaches mentioned above, it is very difficult to regard which one as the
better one because each approach treats pronunciation teaching in another way.
Choosing which approach depends on specific teaching contexts and level of learners.
In this study, the researcher applied the Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method
to help students recognize sounds from letters of the words. It can be said that this
method is a part of analyzing sounds; therefore, it belongs to the analytic-linguistic
approach.

2.1.4. Techniques of testing pronunciation
In the article “Techniques of testing pronunciation”, Ahmed (2007) gave a
classification of pronunciation tests but in a broader way. According to him, there are
two kinds to test learners‟ pronunciation proficiency, namely sound production tests
and sound recognition ones.
Sound production tests
According to Ahmed (2007), “sound production is the testing of pupil‟s ability to
distinguish between contrastive sounds but it does not mean testing his ability to
pronounce English accurately.” (p. 16)
Sound production tests are composed of scored interviews, highly structured speech
samples and paper-and-pencil tests of pronunciation. (Ahmed, 2007: 17)
Sound recognition tests
Ahmed (2007) stated that teachers can use some techniques, such as sound to
phonemic symbols, minimal pairs of words, and sound to pictures to test their
students‟ ability to recognize the sound segments. (p. 20)
Celce-Murcia, et al (1996) said that testing pronunciation has been given little
attention. One reason for that issue is that “pronunciation involves not only the
application of relevant rules (e.g., when –s endings are pronounced /s/, /z/, or /ɪz/; or
when word-internal palatalization of stops and fricatives occurs) but also perception
and production” (p. 341). These authors also mentioned three techniques which can be
employed to evaluate pronunciation.
The first technique, Diagnostic evaluation, is composed of diagnosing perception and
diagnosing production in the classroom. This kind of technique can serve as a means
of determining a learner‟s level of pronunciation proficiency, which is usually useful
9


when teachers want to determine whether a learner can undertake a certain task or
place a learner in the class which is suitable for his level of pronunciation proficiency.
With this technique, learners will do such exercises as distinguishing vowels /
consonants or identifying word stress.
The second technique is called Ongoing evaluation with feedback. The purposes of
this technique are to enable teachers to determine the progress students are making to
make any changes in their curriculum or methodology if necessary as well as to give
feedback on learners‟ progress. There are two forms of this technique, namely selfmonitoring and correction.
Classroom testing is also a popular kind of evaluating pronunciation proficiency. This
assessment can be carried out in different period of time during the pronunciation
course to evaluate the progress learners make in a specific issue which has just been
taught. Like the first technique, classroom testing includes perception test and
production test.
In high schools in Vietnam, students‟ pronunciation is usually assessed with sound
recognition paper-tests. These tests focus on the students‟ ability to recognize the
sound segments or word stress. The most popular kind of pronunciation tests is in form
of multiple choice in which there are four options in each question. Regarding
phonetic part, students are asked to find the word whose underlined part is pronounced
differently from that of the others.
2.1.5. Definition of “Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence”
To have a better understanding of this term, at first, it is necessary to be aware of the
elements that constitute this correspondence, namely grapheme and phoneme.
A phoneme refers to a linguistic unit within the spoken language. Phonemes can
represent a group of sounds or one single unit of speech which constructs a single
abstract unit opposed to a physical unit (Yonas et al, 1981). According to John and
Nancy (2011), a phoneme “does not carry meaning on its own, but different phonemes
alter the meaning of a word.” (p. 350) For example, if we change the first phoneme in
the word wall from /w/ to /t/, the meaning of the word, as well as its part of speech,
changes completely.

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A grapheme is the physical representation of a phoneme presented in written or
printed format (John & Nancy, 2011). In English, a grapheme may be a single letter or
a combination of letters. For example, in the word book, the grapheme b represents the
phoneme /b/, oo for /ʊ/ and k for /k/.
Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence is “the relationship between a grapheme and
the phoneme(s) it represents.” (John & Nancy, 2011:350) For example, the grapheme s
represents the phoneme /s/ in the word sea and the phoneme /ʃ/ in the word sugar. This
correspondence is often referred to as a knowledge of the alphabetic principle and is
defined as distinctive graphical representation of letters used to symbolize each
phoneme or speech sound in oral language (Yonas et al, 1981).
Daria and Alan (1996) stated that
Learning the Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences necessary to begin to phonetically
decode words involves at least three distinct skills: the ability to (a) recognize and
distinguish between letters, (b) process phonological information, and (c) associate specific
letters with specific sounds. (p. 259)

According to Adams (1994), “phonics is the system of teaching reading that builds on
the alphabetic principle, a system of which a central component is the teaching of
correspondences between letter or groups of letters and their pronunciations” (p.50);
therefore, Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence is a vital constituent of phonics
method in particular and in pronunciation learning in general.
Regarding the advantages of learning phonics, many studies of the National Reading
Panel (as cited in Johnson, 2011) found out that this method improved students‟ wordreading ability. Beginning readers learning reading through phonics would have
phonemic awareness and showed an increased ability to sound out words with regular
spelling. Moreover, phonics can give a starting point to improve students‟ spelling
ability because they can use phonics instructions to break down a word in their mind
when they prepare to write it (Pancare, 2011). Davis (2011) also concluded that
phonics helped students become more familiar with syllable structure. For example,
students will be aware that a closed syllable will end in a consonant and have a short
vowel, while an open syllable will end in a vowel that makes a long sound. Lastly,
phonics provides students a useful tool to recognize and sound out unfamiliar words,
therefore helping build students‟ confidence (Pancare, 2011).
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On the contrary, there exist some disadvantages of phonics method. Firstly, a study
conducted by Marsha et al (2003, as cited in Johnson, 2011) gave a conclusion that an
overemphasis on phonics could have a negative impact on students‟ understanding
words as well as texts. Thanks to phonics method, students were able to correctly
pronounce words but had no idea what those words or the text itself meant.
2.1.6. Vietnamese – English sound systems
It is obvious that almost all learners have problems in learning a foreign language. In
this case, many of English foreign learners have difficulties in pronunciation learning
process on account of some factors. In the book “Teaching English pronunciation”,
Kenworthy (1987) pointed out that there were six factors that had influence on one‟s
pronunciation learning, namely native language, age, amount of exposure, phonetic
ability, attitude and identity, and motivation and concern for good pronunciation.
As a result, it can be said that mother tongue is an important factor in learning to
pronounce a foreign language. Avery and Ehrlich (1992) claimed that “the nature of a
foreign accent is determined to a large extent by a learner‟s native language” (p. xv).
They also gave a clear explanation of how the sound system of the native language
influences learners‟ pronunciation of a foreign language. First of all, learners may have
trouble when they encounter sounds in English that are not part of the sound inventory
of the learners‟ native language. Secondly, learners will find it difficult when the rules
for combining sounds into words are different in their native language. Lastly, learners
can transfer the patterns of stress and intonation, which determine the overall rhythm
and melody of a language from the native language into the second language. In brief,
the more different the native language and the foreign one are, the more difficult it is
for learners to learn pronunciation.
For many Vietnamese students, learning English pronunciation is considered to be
hard work. One of the reasons for that matter is that there are a lot of differences in
sound system between Vietnamese and English. Among those differences is that “the
Vietnamese alphabet is phonetic, with a one-to-one correspondence of sound to letter
or letter combination” (Center for Applied Linguistics, 1981:2) while in English, this
correspondence can be “one-to-many” (Trevor, 2013: 210). Take the following
grapheme “a” as an illustration: it can be pronounced as /æ/ in “back”, /e/ in “many” or
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/ǝ/ in “arrive” and so on. To solve this problem, some linguists proposed a list of
Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence rules to help learners who study English as a
foreign language, especially those at beginner level.
2.1.7. Definition of “attitude”
Ajzan (1988) stated that attitude is “a disposition to respond favorably or unfavorably
to an object, person, institution, or event”. (p. 3)
According to Allport (1954), “an attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness,
organized through experience, exerting as directive or dynamic influence upon the
individual‟s response to all objects and situations with which it is related”. (p. 45)
Wenden (1991, as cited in Atef & Munir, 2009:33) gave a broader definition of the
concept “attitudes”. He states that the term “attitudes” includes three components
namely, cognitive, affective and behavioural. A cognitive component is comprised of
the beliefs and ideas or opinions about the object of the attitude. The affective one is
made up of the feelings and emotions that one has towards an object, 'likes' or
'dislikes', 'with' or 'against'. Finally, the behavioural component refers to one's
consisting actions or behavioural intentions, indicating the expectation of future
behavior towards an object.
To sum up, attitude is a mental and neural state, expressing the individual‟s responses
to an object, a person, a thing or an event.
The questionnaire for this study deals with on all of the three components of attitude. It
related to students‟ perceptions of sound recognition as well as their feelings and
beliefs of phoneme-grapheme correspondence method. It also helped to find out
students‟ expectations of the use of this new method in the future.

2.1.8. The role of attitude in second language learning
Attitudes and learning go hand in hand. According to Ismet (2005), attitude is one of
“the determinants of success in EFL learning” (p. 29).
In fact, attitudes play an important role in students‟ second language learning.
Depending on the learners‟ attitudes, learning language can be a source of enrichment
or a sourse of resentment (Lightbrown & Spada, 1999). Positive attitudes towards
second language is beneficial to second language learners because positive attitudes
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help to create motivation to achieve success in acquiring that language (Holmes,
1992:345); whereas, negative attitudes towards the foreign language and group, which
often comes from stereotypes, can impede the learning of that language. (Brown,
2000)
From the studies into learners‟ attitudes to second language learning, it can be
concluded that learners‟ attitudes are of importance in second language
acquisition. Consequently, second language teachers need to take learners‟ attitudes
into consideration.

2.2. Previous research works and the need for this study
There have been a small number of researchers conducting research into PhonemeGrapheme Correspondence up to now.
Christensen and Bowey (2005) carried out a research to compare the efficacy of two
decoding skill-based programs, namely explicit orthographic and grapheme-phoneme
correspondence, to an implicit phonics program. They drew out the conclusion that
children in the grapheme-phoneme correspondence program consistently spelled
transfer words better than children in the implicit phonics one; moreover, the former
consistently read words more quickly than the latter.
After doing a research into the effects of computer-assisted Phoneme-Grapheme
Correspondence training in the deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children, Mentzer (et
al., 2013) concluded that for some DHH children, phonological processing skills were
boosted relatively more by Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence training.
However, no other research, to the best of the researcher‟s knowledge, has attempted
to find out the effects of using Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence on EFL high
school students‟ sound recognition ability.

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CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
In the following part, the researcher provides a detailed description of the research
methodology. Details of the research design, the settings, the instruments employed in
this paper, the procedures of data collection and data analysis are given below.

3.1. Research design: Quasi-experimental
The current study adopts the quasi-experimental research design, which is specifically
known as pretest-posttest non-equivalent group design. Concerning this kind of
research, Singh and Bajpai (2008) described that “this design is often used in
classroom experiments when experimental and control groups are such naturally
assembled groups as intact classes, which may be similar” (p. 284). The researcher did
the real-time experiment for the present study, where it was difficult to use
randomization for the selection of samples for experimentation; as a result, the
researcher took the help of the quasi-experimental design study instead of trueexperimental one.
To carry out the study, two classes which the researcher was in charge of teaching
English were selected. One class was assigned to serve as an experimental group
(Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method) and the other class as a control group
(conventional method). The experimental design of the present study is presented as
follows.
Groups
Group 1

Pretest

Treatment

Posttest

01

X

02

01

-

02

Experimental group
Group 2
Control group
Table 3.1. Non-randomized control-group pretest posttest design
Symbols:
01 – pre-test

02 – post-test

X – treatment

- – no treatment

The mentioned design was followed in the process of experiment with the aim of
studying the effects of using Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence method on sound
recognition ability. Pretests were administered before the application of the
experimental and control treatments and posttests at the end of the treatment period.
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