Macquarie University
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Exploring English pronunciation teaching in Vietnam: time for a new approach?

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posted on 2022-03-29, 02:17 authored by Hai Yen Vu
This thesis explores the issue of Vietnamese learners’ pronunciation of English and why, despite great effort, it seems such an intractable problem. The study is inspired by the argument made by Saraceni (2015) that takes a critical approach to World Englishes and the central dilemma of reconciling language as system with language as social practice. Because the examination system in Vietnam’s public education sector favours written over spoken work, English speaking skills, including English pronunciation, have become marginalised in the school curriculum. Paradoxically, driven by globalisation, there has been an increasing need for Vietnamese to be able to function (i.e. communicate) in English with a variety of English speakers from around the world. To meet the demand for learning communicative English, the private sector in Vietnam has created hundreds of ‘English Language Centres’ (ELCs) nation-wide. These centres have become crucial sites for the teaching and learning of English speaking and pronunciation, however, virtually none has been investigated as a site of research into teaching and learning practices. This thesis is a case study that investigates the teaching and learning of English pronunciation at one ELC in Hanoi. Rather than add to the already substantial existing literature on comparative phonology between English and Vietnamese, (i.e. language as system) (such as Cunningham, 2009, 2010; Tweedy, 2012; Nguyen, 2015; Nguyen, 2007; Ha, 2007 etc.), the study focuses on social, psychological and cultural aspects impacting Vietnamese learners of English (i.e. language as social practice). A mixed-methods qualitative approach is followed investigating attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of three key stakeholder groups: learners, teachers and ELC administrators. The findings show how the language as system versus language as social practice dilemma plays out in conflicted responses regarding goals, difficulties and possible solutions.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Review of the literature -- Chapter 3. Research methodology -- Chapter 4. Data analysis -- Chapter 5. Discussion -- Chapter 6. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 73-80 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Stephen H. Moore


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