First Advisor

Naguib A. F. Greis

Term of Graduation

Summer 1977

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in English






English language -- Study and teaching -- Japanese speakers, English language -- Phonetics, Japanese language -- Phonetics, English language -- Pronunciation by foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 62 pages)


Every Japanese high school student studies English for at least six years. However, the results of this study, especially in speaking, are poor. In the present study, educational, sociocultural, and linguistic obstacles to learning for the Japanese student are considered.

An educational system oriented toward passing college and university entrance examinations has distorted English curriculum. Furthermore, English teachers in Japan lack proficiency in the language. The teaching staffs and materials of language schools are poorly regulated.

Concern with relative status, group identification, and loss of face acts as a deterrent to learning. For many learners the wrong type of motivation may exist.

Consideration of phonological obstacles was limited to the area of rhythm (speed, stress, word grouping, pausing). An error analysis of the speech of twenty-five Japanese students of college age was carried out using recordings of an accent inventory. Speech was recorded both aurally and visually. No comparison of English and Japanese rhythm was made either aurally or visually. The students' speech was also rated by three native speakers for the amount of foreign accent in the area of rhythm. Three possible causes of errors were considered: language transfer, intralingual interference, and the universal hierarchy of difficulty. The source of the majority of errors was found to be due to interference. The Japanese were found to have problems in segmentation and stressing due primarily to the fact that English is a stress-timed language and Japanese is a syllable-timed one. The number of types of errors and total phonation and pause time correlated with the foreign accent rating.

The best solution to the educational obstacles facing the Japanese English learner would be the divorcement of English from the entrance examinations and a reeducation of English teachers. Native-speaking English teachers should be made aware of the cultural constraints which limit the Japanese student's learning. Future teaching programs and materials should place more emphasis on intonation and rhythm for the Japanese English learner, particularly in the grouping of words.


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