VietTESOL International Convention, VietTESOL International Convention 2019

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EFL Learners’ Phonological Problems in TOEIC Listening Comprehension
Huyen Dang Thi Cuc Nguyen

Building: B
Room: B404
Date: 2019-10-11 04:35 PM – 05:05 PM
Last modified: 2019-10-07


Phonological features are important linguistic factors that affect listening comprehension of English, and this is clearly evident in TOEIC listening. In order to help learners comprehend better, teachers need to help them realize their listening problems. This paper, therefore, aimed to investigate phonological problems faced by learners in TOEIC listening comprehension and to explore the main causes of those problems by employing qualitative and quantitative research methods. Data were collected through two questionnaires with closed-ended and open-ended items - one for 169 students and one for 10 EFL teachers. In addition, a semi-structured interview was conducted with ten students to get more in-depth information. The findings showed that phonological problems such as recognizing the sounds, distinguishing similar sounds, catching up the coming sounds, different accents, stress and intonation, phonological variations (assimilation, elision, liaison, intrusion) were frequently faced by most of learners, whereas matching the word pronunciation with word formation, recognizing weak forms and contraction sometimes worried the majority of students. With regard to the possible causes of the problems, the main sources included learners’ poor English backgrounds, the lack of linguistic knowledge, and insufficient extra listening practice. These findings were subsequently followed by some recommendations which hopefully help learners to greatly improve their listening levels.


Phonological features; phonological problems; TOEIC; listening comprehension