English Weak Forms – a Challenge for Bulgarian Learners of English? A Pedagogical Perspective
Keywords:English, Bulgarian, weak forms, stress, L2 learners, production
The aim of this study is to determine whether it is problematic for Bulgarian language learners of English to acquire and produce the reduced forms of English function words correctly. What I also note is how Bulgarian learners incorporate weak forms in relation to the distribution of stresses in the flow of their Bulgarian English speech compared to the distribution of stresses and weak forms in the speech of a native English speaker. The study relies on empirical evidence collected in a class environment from a homogenous group of 20 Bulgarian learners of English, who are first-year university students in English and American Studies at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. I investigate their production of weak forms in a very well-known connected speech diagnostic passage which contains a sufficient number of common weak form words. All of the participants have been studying English as a foreign language for 4 or more years. The acquisition and the production of English weak forms is a problematic area for native speakers of Bulgarian and their perception and production need further investigation.
Best, C. T. and M. D. Tyler. 2007. Nonnative and second-language speech perception: Commonalities and complementarities. In M. J. Munro & O.-S. Bohn (eds.) Language Experience in Second Language Speech Learning: In honor of James Emil Flege. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 13–34.
Cruttenden, A. 2014. Gimson’s Pronunciation of English. 8th edition. Oxon: Routledge. Danchev,
A. 1988. Kam opisanieto na “balgarskiya anglijski mezhdinen ezik,” (Towards the description of the Bulgarian English interlanguage). In S. Peycheva (ed.) Problemi na ovladyavaneto na chuzhd ezik (Problems of foreign language acquisition). Sofia: Narodna Prosveta, 93–109.
Dimitrova, S. 2003. English Pronunciation for Bulgarians. Sofia: Vezni-4.
Flege, J. E. 1995. Second language speech learning: Theory, findings and problems. In W.Strange (ed.) Speech Perception and Linguistic Experience: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Cross-Language Speech Research. Timonium: York Press, 233–272.
Giegerich, H. J. 1992. English phonology: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kelly, G. 2000. How to teach pronunciation. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited.
Ladefoged, P. and K. Johnson. 2011. A Course in Phonetics. 6th edition. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
Makino, T. 2012. Pronunciations in connected speech: a survey of weak forms in a spoken corpus of American English. In T. Paunović & B. Čubrović (eds.) Exploring English Phonetics. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 57–71.
Obendorfer, R. 1998. Weak Forms in Present-Day English. Oslo: Novus Press.
Roach, P. 2009. English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course. 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.