Speech Disfluencies and Mispronunciations in English Oral Communication among Malaysian Undergraduates

Sarah Yong Enxhi, Tan Bee Hoon, Yong Mei Fung

Abstract


The common perception of Malaysians is that they are unable to speak fluently and communicate effectively in the English language as most Malaysians do not speak English as their first language. In a country that is full of diversity in terms of race and culture, it is only natural for Malaysians to be influenced by their first language when using English as their second language. This, however, creates a problem for undergraduates who are looking for job opportunities in both local and international companies because a potential employee’s ability to communicate smoothly in English is an important criteria used by employers. This study intends to shed light on the occurrence of speech disfluencies and mispronunciations among undergraduates of a Malaysian university as well as to provide an explanation for those mispronunciations by comparing the phonetic system of the English language with the Malay and Mandarin language. With the results of this study, it is hoped that actions and measures can be taken by the academic authorities and other relevant parties to gradually improve the oral proficiency skills of undergraduates and help them to be more marketable in the future.

Keywords: Speech disfluencies, mispronunciations, oral communication, second-language acquisition


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