Impact of Phonemic Transcription on Learners’ English Spelling: A Segmental Study


  • Rabia Sarwat Lecturer, National University of Modern Languages, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Arshad Mahmood Professor, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Uzair Associate Professor, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan



Phonetics and Phonology, Phonemic Transcription, Phonemes, PA, EFL, Mother Tongue, NUML


Acquiring sufficient proficiency in English pronunciation is a strenuous task for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners. Among other reasons, one primary reason is the lack of correspondence between the sounds and letters of the English language which makes English pronunciation a hard task for foreign learners. To reduce this discrepancy of sounds and spellings in order to improve the pronunciation of language learners, phonemic transcription is used quite widely by EFL/ESL teachers across the world. The phonetic/phonemic transcription is based on the internationally recognized symbols commonly referred to as IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) offered by IPA (International Phonetic Association). Despite the immense usefulness of phonemic transcription, it has the potential to negatively affect learners’ normal English spellings.  The present research aimed to explore the impact of continuous phonemic transcription on English spellings of EFL learners through a Pre experimental research design. The study participants were the students of Diploma level in the Functional Courses Department, National University of Modern Languages (henceforth NUML). A range of phonemic passages was used as a research tool to explore the impact of sounds on spellings and Cook’s classification of spelling errors was adapted as a model for the categorization of spelling errors. Findings of the study reveal various categories of sound substitution errors under the impact of consonants, vowels, and diphthongs. With continuous practice of converting phonemic transcription into normal English spelling/orthography, certain consonantal sounds like /ð/, /?/, /,/s/, /k/, /z/, /w/ and vowel sounds like /i:/, /i/, /æ/, /?/, /?/, /?//?/ show the Mother Tongue(MT) impact of sounds on spellings. While in the case of diphthongs, only two sounds /a?/, and /e?/ exhibit the impact of sounds on spellings.



Abbas, S.(2011).Identification of pronunciation problems regarding uttering centring diphthongs at elementary level in Pakistan navy model school,E-8,Islamabad.(Unpublished Master’s Thesis). National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.

Akram,M.& Qureshi,A.B.(2012) . Problems in Learning and Teaching English Pronunciation in Pakistan.

Al-Dilaimy, H. (2012). Phonetic and phonological problems encountered by Omani students of English. Journal of Al-Anbar University for Language and Literature (3), 6, 236-252.

Ali, E. M. T. (2013). Pronunciation problems: Acoustic analysis of the English vowels produced by Sudanese learners of English. International Journal of English and Literature, 4(10), 495-507.

Al-Saidat, E. M. (2010). Phonological analysis of English phonotactics: A case study of Arab learners of English. The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics, 3, 121-134.

Anwer, M.M.(2007). The problems faced by Punjabi speaking students in learning English pronunciation and their remedial measures.(Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.

Arteaga, D. (2000). Articulatory phonetics in the first year Spanish classroom.Modern Language Language Journal, 84, Journal,84, 339-354.

Brown, A. (2014). Pronunciation and phonetics: A practical guide for English language teachers. Routledge.

Dalton, D. F. (1997). Some techniques for teaching pronunciation. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1. Retrieved November 1, 2001 from the World Wide Web:¬iteslj/.

Darcy, I. (2018). Powerful and Effective Pronunciation Instruction: How Can We Achieve It?. CATESOL Journal, 30(1), 13-45.

Dufva, M., & Vauras, M. (2002). Promoting at-risk pupils' foreign language literacy learning. Precursors of functional literacy, 11, 317.

Farooq, M., & Mahmood, A. (2017). Identification of triphthongs in Pakistani English. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(1), 184-194.

Ghorbani, M. R. (2011). The impact of phonetic instruction on Iranian students’ listening ability enhancement. Asian EFL Journal, 52, 24-34.

Ghorbani, M. R. (2019). The effect of phonetic transcription on Iranian EFL students' word stress learning. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 15(2), 400–410

Gluszek, A., & Dovidio, J. F. (2010). The way they speak: A social psychological perspective on the stigma of nonnative accents in communication. Personality and social psychology review, 14(2), 214-237.

Grant, L., & Brinton, D. (2014). Pronunciation myths: Applying second language research to classroom teaching. University of Michigan Press.

Hashmi, M.A.(2011).Problems Faced by the Students of OPF in the Articulation of English Monophthongs(Unpublished Master’s Thesis). National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.

Henderson, A., Frost, D., Tergujeff, E., Kautzsch, A., Murphy, D., Kirkova-Naskova, A., & Curnick, L. (2012). The English pronunciation teaching in Europe survey: Selected results. Research in language, 10(1), 5-27.

Int. J. of Res. in Linguistics & Lexicography: INTJR-LL-1(4)-43-48 , Volume 1, Issue 4, ISSN 2226-5589 (Online) 2226-4973 (Print). Retrieved on November 29th at 02:23:45 from

Irawan, B., & Tampubolon, M. A. (2020). USING PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’ PRONUNCIATION SKILLS. Edulingua: Jurnal Linguistiks Terapan dan Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, 7(2), 1-12.

Jabeen, F. et al. (2012). Vowel epenthesis in Pakistani English. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 3(10), 224-233.

Javed, M. & Ahmad, A. Assessing ESL students’ pronunciation in the Pakistani context. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 10(1), 19–30

Kelly, L. G. (1969). 25 centuries of language teaching. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Khan,S.(2009).Problematic sounds of English for the Pakhto (Pashto)speakers. A case study of Yousafzai dialect.(Unpublished Master’s Thesis). National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.

Khansir, A. A., & Tajeri, M. (2015). The relationship between spelling and pronunciation in English language. Language in India, 15(12), 57-69.

Liang, E. (2014). Pronunciation of English Consonants and Vowels and Diphthongs of Mandarin- Chinese Speakers. Studies in Literature and Language, 8(1), 62-65.

Lintunen, P. P. (2004). Pronunciation and phonemic transcription: A study of advanced Finnish learners of English.

?odzikowski, K. (2021). Association between allophonic transcription tool use and phonological awareness level.

Mompean, J. A. (2015). Phonetic notation in foreign language teaching and learning: Potential advantages and learners’ views. Research in Language, 13(3), 292-314.

Nadeem, M., & Rahman, A. (2013). Stress out of stress: Stressing unaccented syllables’ dilemma.

O’Connor, J. D. (2003). Better English pronunciation (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ocal, T., & Ehri, L. C. (2017). Spelling pronunciations help college students remember how to spell difficult words. Reading and Writing, 30(5), 947-967.

Pennington, M. C., & Rogerson-Revell, P. (2019). English pronunciation teaching and research. Londres: Palgrave Macmillan, 10, 978-988.

Pennington, M. C., & Rogerson-Revell, P. (2019). Using technology for pronunciation teaching, learning, and assessment. In English pronunciation teaching and research (pp. 235-286). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Piske,T, MacKay, I.,&Flege J.(2001). Factors affecting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review. Journal of Phonetics, 29, 191-215.

Pourhosein Gilakjani, D. (2018). Teaching pronunciation of English with computer technology: A qualitative study. International Journal of Research in English Education, 3(2), 94-114.

Raza, W. (2008). Patterns of Pakistani English pronunciation and pedagogic priorities. Market Forces, 4(3).

Reid, E. (2016). Teaching English pronunciation to different age groups. Retrieved on August 8, 2020,from _PRONUNCIATIO N_TO_DIFFERENT_AGE_GROUPS

Riaz, M (2021) Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(1) (2021) 493–511

Riaz, M. (2015). Pakistani English: Deviant pronunciation of English words by uneducated native Punjabi speakers. Journal of Second and Multiple Language Acquisition-JSMULA, 3(2), 23-33.

Riaz, M. (2021). Deviation from the Standard Pronunciation of English: 350 Words in Pakistani English. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(1).

Roach, P. (2009). English phonetics and phonology: a practical course (4th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Robinson, P. (2011). Task-based language learning (Vol. 5). John Wiley & Sons.

Shabbir, S. I. et al. (2013). Consonants of Pakistani English: A study of /?/ & /Ð/. Academic Research International, 4(6), 114-122.

Sheikh, Q. A. (2012). An analysis of the vowel sounds of Pakistani English. Bulletin of Education and Research, 34(1), 1-18.

Skandera, P., & Burleigh, P. (2005). A manual of English phonetics and phonology: twelve lessons with an integrated course in phonetic transcription. Gunter Narr Verlag.

Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C. (2011). Evidence?based interventions for reading and language difficulties: Creating a virtuous circle. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(1), 1-23.

Suomi, K., Toivanen, J., & Ylitalo, R. (2008). On the phonological interpretation of the quantity opposition. In Finnish sound structure: Phonetics, phonology, phonotactics, and prosody (Vol. 9, pp. 39-42). University of Oulu Oulu, Finland.

Syed, N. A., Ansari, S., & Gopang, I. B. (2017). Perception and Production of Consonants of English by Pakistani Speakers. International Journal of English Linguistics, 7(3), 201-214. doi:10.5539/ijel.v7n3p201

Tominaga, Y. (2011). An Analysis of English Pronunciation of Japanese Learners: From the Viewpoint of EIL. Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 15(2), 45- 57.

Waniek-Klimczak, E., Rojczyk, A., & Porzuczek, A. (2015). ‘Polglish’in Polish Eyes: What English Studies Majors Think about Their Pronunciation in English. In Teaching and Researching the Pronunciation of English (pp. 23-34). Springer, Cham.

Werfel, K. L. (2017). Phonetic transcription training improves adults’ explicit phonemic awareness: Evidence from undergraduate students. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 39(1), 281-287.

Yates, L. (2016). The Handbook of English Pronunciation. Marnie Reed and John M. Levis,(Eds.). Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, 2(2), 289-292.

Yürük, N. (2020). Using Kahoot as a skill improvement technique in pronunciation. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 16(1), 137-153.

Zhang, Y. (2009). Reading to Speak: Integrating Oral Communication Skills. In English Teaching Forum (Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 32-34). US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037.

Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: a psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological bulletin, 131(1), 3.




How to Cite

Sarwat, R., Mahmood, A., & Uzair, M. (2023). Impact of Phonemic Transcription on Learners’ English Spelling: A Segmental Study. Journal of Languages, Culture and Civilization, 5(1), 1-15.