Teaching english pronunciation of a vowel combination ou in comparison with the kazakh one

Yekibayeva Ninel Amanturlievna *
Kussepova Gulzat Tungushbaevna**

candidate *
student **
Associate Professor L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Kazakhstan, Astana

Абстракт: В статье рассматривается роман Эмили Джейн Бронте «Грозовой пере-вал», анализируется сочетание гласных букв в английском и русском языках. Слова сгруппированы согласно их написания и произношения. Сходство и разнообразие языков рассматриваются по произношению. И различие проводится согласно их произношения, как в английском, так и в қазахском языке. В конце эксперимента планируется разработать методологическое руководство произношения.

Ключевые слова: коммуникативная компетентность, звуки, артикуляторные, акустическая, фонема, гласные звуки.

Библиографическое описание: Yekibayeva N.A., Kussepova G.T. TEACHING ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION OF A VOWEL COMBINATION OU IN COMPARISON WITH THE KAZAKH ONE [Текст] // Теоретические и практические проблемы развития современной науки: сборник материалов 12-й международной науч.-практ. конф., (г. Махачкала, 27 ноября, 2016 г.) - Махачкала: Издательство «Апробация», 2016 – С.80-83

Actually, one of the main problems in teaching English pronunciation is using inappropriate methods at the initial stage. Communicational function of language is based on correctly supplied pronunciation of sounds. According to the methodology of linguistic, the initial stage of mastering the foreign language is involved with some difficulties, in particular the limited communication with the native speakers and the limited use of conversation skills out of the auditorium.

To some extent of learning language is demanded on teaching imitation of native speaker’s sounds. Productive teaching phonetics requires the knowledge of the speech apparatus structure of the learner, which represents the complicated methodological task. To acquire the structure they need time, and also effort of the teacher and learner.

It is important to emphasize that to know properly practiced minimal material is helpful to ensure motivational level and certain base of forming speech in foreign language.

In our study we have adopted two ways of characterization of significant sounds reassured by Dalton and Seidlhoffer to testing and analyzing sounds.

First, sound is used as part of a code of a particular language. According to its significance we can distinguish and determine sounds of English, French, Chinese, and other languages. In this sense pronunciation is the production and repetition of sounds of speech.

Second, sound is used to achieve meaning in contexts of use. Here other factors and the code combine to make communication possible. In this sense pronunciation is the reference of speaking acts. [1]

There is no simple relationship between spellings and sounds in English. English is a «stress-timed» language – words and sentences have strong and weak parts. This is different to many other languages throughout the world where parts of words and words themselves may be given the same stress in a sentence. The English language may have 26 letters of the alphabet, but it has double that number of sounds. Knowing and recognizing the sounds will help students acquire the good pronunciation.

Morley rightly assumes, “intelligible pronunciation is an essential component of communication competence”. Consequently, it is so crucial speak English as much as they can outside the classroom. Students can be expected to do well in the pronunciation of English if pronunciation becomes integral part of communication. Morley states there are three important dimensions the teacher should catered for in any pronunciation programme; the learner's intellectual involvement, affective involvement, and physical involvement. The learner's involvement in the learning process has been noted as one of the best techniques for developing learner strategies, that is, the measures used by the learner to develop his language learning [2].

To bridge the gap in our hypothesis, we require knowledge about acquiring good pronunciation, because bad pronunciation habits are not easily corrected. We should shift attention to a range of phonemes, vowel combination and also consonants.

Pronunciation problems may occur because of the language interference, that is, the influence of pronunciation peculiarities of native language on the foreign language.

Here, we attempt to construe a model of perceiving English as Kazakh. There are several factors of the influence to the English pronunciation. First, Kazakh learners use sounds that are in Kazakh language, but may not exist in English. Second, when reading or speaking Kazakh students apply the rule of first syllable prominence which is not presented in English. Lastly, Kazakh learners do not distinguish between the written and spoken form as in the Kazakh the written and spoken forms resemble and this goes hand in hand with pronouncing the silent letters e.g. the word water is usually pronounced as /'wɔːter/ instead of /'wɔːtə/ by Kazakh learners.

In this sense we have conducted an attempt to find out the importance of Pronunciation in teaching and learning language by comparing similar sounds of the Kazakh and English languages.

We have used the novel of Emily Jane Bronte “Wuthering heights” to compare and establish similarities of two languages. We’d like to dwell upon the vowel sound combination ou with different pronunciations.

In setting up the pronunciation of diphthong /ou/ is necessary to consider the common patterns and contrast with the Kazakh similar sounds. The difference between Kazakh and English is that each vowel in English can have from one to five pronouncing options. Vowels depend on preceding or following adjacent letters.

After analyzing the novel we have found 207 words with vowel combination /ou/. Having scrutinized the words we can state that the combination ou has 11 pronouncing options.

In phonetic terms triphthong /aʊə/ is found in only 5 words assourly /ˈsaʊə(r)li/, devour /dɪˈvaʊə(r)/, scour /ˈskaʊə(r)/ and 2 more words;

In phonetic terms diphthong:

/au/ is found in words announce /əˈnaʊns/, compound /ˈkɒmpaʊnd/, house /haʊs/ and 72 more words;

/əʊ/ is found in words though /ðəʊ/, shouldering /ˈʃəʊldə(r) ɪŋ/, mould /məʊld/ and 3 more words;

/ʊə/ is found only in one word dour /dʊə(r)/.

In phonetic terms:

Short vowel sound /ʌ/ is found in words trouble /ˈtrʌb(ə)l/, country /ˈkʌntri/, couple /ˈkʌp(ə)l/ and 17 more words;

Short vowel sound /ə/ is found in words jealous /ˈdʒeləs/, neighbour /ˈneɪbə(r)/, Honour /ˈɒnə(r)/ and 2 more words;

Short vowel sound /ɒ/ is found in only 2 words as cough /kɒf/ and horse-trough /hɔː(r)s trɒf/;

Short vowel sound /u/ is found in only 4 words as could /kʊd/, should /ʃʊd/, would /wʊd/ and You /jʊ/;

Long vowel sound /ɜː/ is found in only 3 words as in journey /ˈdʒɜː(r)ni/, adjourn /əˈdʒɜː(r)n/ and courtesy /ˈkɜː(r)təsi/;

Long vowel sound /u:/ is found in words youth /juːθ/, through /θruː/, ghoulish /ˈɡuːlɪʃ/ and 4 more words;

Long vowel sound /ɔː/ is found in words thought /θɔːt/, Court /kɔː(r)t/, Mourn /mɔː(r)n/ and 18 more words.

Furthermore to ideate the English pronunciation we have made comparison analyzes of two languages, which is set out to provide the actual table of similar sounds of two languages.


As our observations indicate, there is ample evidence to suggest that the Kazakh language has similar sounds to English. Logically, almost all vowels in English have more or less similar couples in the Kazakh language.

We agree with previously published works of other scientists compared the Kazakh and English sounds. These estimates confirm our hypothesis. So, in the system of English vowel is marked more contrasts than in the Kazakh. Thus, the features of vowel sounds are similar: the front and mixed back row; long and short; monophthong and diphthong. However sounds /ɜː/, /u:/ and /ɔː/ are different from the Kazakh vowels. In this case teacher should show and ask the students imitate sounds.

- /ɜ:/ is similar to /ə/, but it is longer pronounced.

- /u:/ is similar to /y/ followed by /u/.

- /ɔː/ is similar to / ɔ / followed by brief /w/


Table 1.

Comparative analysis of sounds in English and Kazakh.

No Combination /ou/ English Kazakh
1 /aʊə/ Devour /dɪˈvaʊə(r)/ Майлауы (oiling)
2 /au/ compound /ˈkɒmpaʊnd/ Сайлау (vote; election)
3 /əʊ/ Soul /səʊl/ Сәулесі (beam)
4 /ʊə/ Dour /dʊə(r)/ суы (water of)
5 /ʌ/ Couple /ˈkʌp(ə)l/ Капитал (fund)
6 /ə/ Neighbour /ˈneɪbə(r)/ Енді (and now)
7 /ɒ/ cough /kɒf/ Ата (grandfather)
8 /u/ Would /wʊd/ Қу (sly)
9 /ɜː/ Courtesy /ˈkɜː(r)təsi/ -
10 /u:/ Group /ɡruːp/ -
11 /ɔː/ Resource /rɪˈzɔː(r)s/ -


In other words, the correct English pronunciation is only achieved when the teacher shows the examples in native language similar to foreign language. Expression of communicative type of sentences in two languages is not only the tone, but also lexical and grammatical as well as the formal and grammatical means. But whatever the methods may have taken part in terms of the communicative type of proposal and its emotional and volitional coloration, the presence of intonation is always necessary, and its role in communication is very important [3].

As exemplified by our study of the Kazakh and English languages we have made the following claims. Assimilation is typical for the Kazakh language. Meaningful teaching of vowels is possible due to the comparative study of them in two languages. Students should maintain awareness of the linguistic features of foreign speech to the development of skills.



1. Christiane Dalton and Barbara Seidlhofer Pronunciation. Language Teaching: A Scheme for Teacher Education /Oxford University Press, 1994.

2. Morley J. The Pronunciation Component in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages /TESOL Quarterly 25/1, 1991. – p.488-506.

3. Zh.K. Kaliyev Some problems of foreign language teaching methods/ Kazakhstan school journal №8, 1962. – p.5.

4. Emily Jane Bronte “Wuthering heights”, 2010 p.292

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