Effect of proficiency on Taiwanese EFL learners’ pronunciation


Shu-Chu Chen


National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, National Chengchi University, Taiwan


Ming-Nuan Yang


Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Taiwan


In light of the concern in understanding EFL learners‘ learning difficulties in pronunciation teaching, we investigated Taiwanese EFL Learners‘ perceptions on suprasegmentals and segmentals of English. Two research questions were proposed: (1) what are learners‘ difficulties in perceiving the suprasegmentals and segmentals of American English? (2) Does learners’ proficiency influence their performance in perceiving the suprasegmental and segmental aspects of English? Using TOEFL listening test as screening, 94 students were classified into proficient and less proficient groups. The instrument was developed with reference to Focus on Pronunciation (Lane 1997) and Targeting Pronunciation (Miller 2006). The results showed that proficient learners outperformed their counterparts in overall performance on pronunciation diagnostic assessment, similar to the findings of Gardner (1980) and Rivera (1984). However, proficient learners had difficulties in the perception of focus words, phrases or compounds [e.g. hot dog], and intonation. The top five difficult categories for less proficient group were: focus words, syllables number, perception of tense/lax vowels, understanding compounds (e.g. hot dog), and perception of mid tense/lax vowels. We also found that suprasegmentals caused greater difficulties for both groups than segmental aspects of pronunciation, which was related to their L1 influence. Relevant pedagogical implications were suggested.


pronunciation difficulties; segmentals; suprasegmentals

Publication Date

December 20, 2007


Volume 1, Issue 2

Citation information

Chen, Shu-Chu, and Ming-Nuan Yang. 2007. “Effect of proficiency on Taiwanese EFL learners’ pronunciation.” Language. Text. Society 1 (2): e26-e42. https://ltsj.online/2007-01-2-chen-yang-01. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Chen, Shu-Chu and Yang, Ming-Nuan},
title = {{Effect of proficiency on Taiwanese EFL learners’ pronunciation}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2007},
volume = {1},
number = {2},
pages = {26–42},
url = {https://ltsj.online/2007-01-2-chen-yang-01/},


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