sound and composition of meaning.
Similarly, according to Postovsky (1975) “Listening ranges in meaning from sound discrimination ( i.e, actual understanding of the spoken language)”(p.19). A further examination of listening definitions over the past 50 years demonstrates that the basic elements included in a listening definition have not changed. Consider the following definitions:
……Listening is the selective process of attending to, hearing, understanding, and remembering aural symbols (Barker, 1971, p. 17).
..…. Listening is the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages (An ILA Definition of Listening, 1995, p. 4).
……. The listening act really consists of four connected activities – sensing, interpreting, evaluating and responding (Steil, Barker, & Watson, 1983, p. 21).
………It is not a skill, but a set of skills all marked by the fact that they involve the aural perception of oral signals. Secondly, listening is not “passive.” A person can hear something but not be listening. His or her short-term memory may completely discard certain incoming sounds but concentrate on others. This involves a dynamic interaction between perception of sounds and concentration on content. (James, 1984, pp. 129).
Listening comprehension: With regard to the term ‘listening comprehension’ in language learning, scholars have proposed number of different definitions. Chastain (1971), for example, defined listening comprehension as the ability to understand the speech of native speakers at normal speed in listening situations. Similarly, Saricoban (1999) noted that listening comprehension is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. This involves understanding a speaker’s accent or pronunciation, his or her grammar and vocabulary, and understanding the meaning conveyed. Listening comprehension can also be defined broadly as human processing which mediates between sound and construction of meaning (Morley, 1991). That is, after people receive sounds from the environment, they try to get the meaning out of sounds they hear. In a similar token, listening comprehension is described as a complex process of what people use to understand speech.
Driven and Oakeshott- Taylor (1984) suggested that those complex activities cannot be understood by simply looking at linguistic cues, or knowledge of the language, but non-linguistic cues or knowledge of the world also have to be considered in the comprehension process. A similar view is proposed by Byrnes (1984), who defined listening as complex skill in which people have to employ all types of knowledge to interpret meaning. She explained that listening comprehension is more than perception of sounds. Rather, it includes comprehension of words, phrases, clauses, sentence and connected discourse.
According to Clark and Clark (1977), Comprehension has two common senses. In its narrow sense it denotes the mental processes by which listeners take in the sounds uttered by a speaker and use them to construct an interpretation of what they think the speaker intended to convey. Comprehension in its broader sense, however, rarely ends here, for listeners normally put the interpretations they have built to work. (Clark & Clark, 1977, pp.43-44). Brown and Yule (1983) refer to listening comprehension as a person’s understanding of what he has heard, and relate listening comprehension to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context by expressing that in EFL teaching, listening is often regarded as the listener’s ability to repeat the text, despite the possibility that the listener may replicate the sound without genuine comprehension.
Pronunciation: Pronunciation is a way how sounds are articulated. It plays an important role in helping the learner become an intelligible speaker (Morley, 1999). Burgess and Spencer (2000) define pronunciation as “the practice and meaningful use of TL [target language] phonological features in speaking, supported by practice in interpreting those phonological features in TL discourse that one hears” (pp. 191-192). They remarked that, in pronunciation it is the nature of the process to practice listening and speaking by interpreting and producing phonological features respectively. So pronunciation as a skill includes both recognition and production. Pronunciation is regarded as a crucial part of communication; since the focus of language learning is communication- at least in theory-, it should be integrated in classes (Brown, A., 1991; Brown, G., 1977).
Teaching pronunciation: It refers to teach the accurate production of the sounds. Schmidt (2006) claims that, teaching pronunciation explicitly will help language learning not only in speaking and comprehending, but also in decoding and spelling. Celce-Murcia, Brinton and Goodwin (1996) also suggest several techniques and practice materials on how to teach pronunciation:
(1)Phonetic training (2) Minimal pair drills (3) Visual aids (4) Recording of learners’ production (5) Developmental approximation drills (6) Listen and imitate (7) Contextualized minimal pair (8) Tongue twister (9) Reading aloud/ recitation (10) Practice of vowel shifts and stress shifts related by affixation (pp. 8-10)
Contrastive analysis: It shows the differences between two things when we compare them. To contrast two things is to think about how they are different. Contrastive is defined as the tendency to contrast. It describes two things that contain or form a contrast. In linguistics, contrastive is the study of the congruence and differences between two languages or dialects without referencing their origins. Contrastive Analysis was used extensively in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) in the 1960s and early 1970s, as a method of explaining why some features of a target language were more difficult to acquire than others.
The theoretical foundations for what became known as the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis were formulated in Robert Lado’s Linguistics Across Cultures (1957). Lado claimed that “those elements which are similar to [the learner’s] native language will be simple for him, and those elements that are different will be difficult”. CA is a linguistic enterprise aimed at producing inverted, (i.e. contrastive, not comparative) two valued typologies. ( CA is always concerned with a pair of languages), and founded on the assumption that languages can be compared (Carl James, 1989).
This chapter presented the background of the present study, the statement of the problem, the research question, and the significance of the study. The next chapter will introduce the review of the previous literature on listening comprehension and pronunciation.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
Listening is one of the most challenging skills for EFL learners to develop as it is probably the least explicit of the four language skills (Vandergrift, 2004). Being able to listen well is an important part of communication for everyone as it is a key to all effective communications. Without this ability effectively, messages are easily misunderstood- communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated and irritated. In the field of English Language Teaching, listening has been neglected as language skill, or practiced in inadequate ways. Students often find a tremendous amount of difficulties while they are listening to the language they are learning (Sevil Ak, 2012). They are disappointed by the inability to comprehend recorded dialogues, or songs, even if the elements of stress and intonation are slowly enunciated. The time an individual is engaged in communication is devoted approximately 9 per cent to writing, 16 percent to reading, 30 per cent to speaking, and 45 percent to listening (Rivers and Tempereley 1978; Oxford 1993; Celce-Murica 1995). This neglect was even more serious in the early period of ELT when the focus was on reading and grammatical skills.
Early in the 20th century, the sole purpose of English language learning (ELL) was to understand literary works. Teaching listening was not regarded as an important component of language teaching and English language researchers and teachers focused primarily on reading and grammatical skills (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). However, by changes in approaches of English Language Teaching led to changes in classroom applications. So, despite of the importance of this skill, it is one of the most problematic areas for foreign language learners and plays an important role in language learning. For foreign language learners, developing the skill of listening comprehension is extremly important. Students with good listening comprehension skills are better able to participate effectively in class (Brown, 2001). To develop this skill, different methods and activities have been applied. Teachers use pre listening activities like free discussion on the topic by the use of included words, or writing new or unfamiliar words on board, or other activities based on the learners’ level and amount of knowledge. Nevertheless, listening has remained one of the most difficult skills due to certain reasons and should be given more attention (Rivers 1968; Widdowson 1978; Mc Carty 1991, Long 1985; Ur .1984). Listener may listen to the appropriate tape recording based on their level or they may be helped by the teacher to understand better. Although they may comprehend what has been said on tape recording, they have problem in real life communication when they miss some important details (Brown, G., 1977; Brown, J.D, 2006; Brown&Yule, 1983). Students are exposed to reduced language in the classroom and this causes they have problem in real speech (p.2) (Rosa, 2002).