Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Committee Chair

Xiangying Jiang

Committee Co-Chair

Susan Braidi

Committee Member

Susan Braidi

Committee Member

Sandra Stjepanovic


A considerable amount of research has been conducted on the influence of first languages’ phonological features in pronunciation of a second language. While it has been accepted that pronunciation is one of the most significant aspects in the acquisition of a second language, many studies have not considered whether explicit phonetic training in pronunciation would help English as Second language Learners to improve their pronunciation on particular English sounds that can be confused due to L1 influence. The present study will explore whether Korean ESL learners are able to perceive the particular pairs of the different phonetic sounds (i.e., /p/-/f/, /b/-/v/, /s/-/ ʃ/ , and /r/-/l/) and whether giving Korean ESL learners explicit phonetic training in pronunciation would lead to more accurate perception and production on the targets sounds.

A group of twelve Korean ESL learners took a pre/post-test to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, an explicit phonetic training. The phonetics class taught the phonological features of the particular pairs of L1-related difficult sounds of English for two hours by emphasizing the characteristics of each sound in terms of place of articulation, manner of articulation, and voicing. The results showed that there is no significant difference between pre-test and post-test. Thus, the explicit phonetic training was not an effective means of improving pronunciation of ESL learners.