particularly important for speakers of other languages whose stress rules are more regular and/or different (Celce-Murcia et al, 1996) and thus interfere with comprehensibility. Effective word stress teaching therefore plays a non-negligible role in learners? instruction. Stressing words appropriately also improves vowel quality, or at least prevents it from being distorted, as may result with incorrectly stressed words.
Due to the complexity of the English word stress rules, there have been varied approaches to teaching them. Avery & Ehrlich (1992) argue that there are no hard and fast rules for English word stress and that stress patterns should be learned at the same time as new vocabulary, but they still provide a few general rules about word stress based on suffixes. Chomsky and Halle (1968) propose complex phonological rules which are not accessible to non-linguists, and therefore, not easily adaptable to teaching materials. Simpler rules rely on patterns of word affixation, which accounts for most English lexical word stresses (Teschner & Whitley, 2004; Fudge, 1984.) For example, all words ending with the suffix -ion will be stressed on the penultimate syllable. This approach consists of looking for stress rules specific to the type of prefix or suffix. These rules have the potential for being more easily learned and assimilated by learners of English than the phonological rules proposed by Chomsky and Halle. The current literature on word stress rules based on affixation is either addressed to linguists (Burzio, 1994; Fudge, 1984; Halle & Keyser, 1971; Teschner & Whitley, 2004), which usually presents extensive rules not easily accessible to English learners, or addressed to teachers (Celce-Murcia et al, 1996; Laroy, 1995), and it seldom provides more than a few activities to increase students? awareness about word stress and a few affixation word stress rules. This creative project bridges the gap between the two by providing students and/or teachers with accessible and sufficient word stress rules so that students can learn to predict where the primary stress falls in a very large number of English words.
Andrea Tyler (1987) conducted the acquisition of English derivational morphology; from this study confirm our expectation that different aspects of knowledge about suffixes are acquired at different times. Although our results do not allow us to specify a particular age at which each aspect of knowledge is acquired, they are consistent with the hypothesis that children first acquire basic lexical-semantic knowledge of derived forms, that knowledge of syntactic properties of suffixes may develop more slowly, and that knowledge of distributional constraints on suffixes reflects the most sophisticated level of knowledge, and is the last to be acquired.
Regardless to what mentioned in this chapter, it is necessary to be said that there isn’t any study about the awareness of pronunciation neutral and non-neutral suffixes, so it is why this topic and its variables concerned and measured in this thesis.
The present chapter considers the methodology used in this study. Six major parts are: a) review of research questions, b) research design, c) instrument which includes the reliability and validity of the questionnaire, e) data collection and f) data analysis.
3-2 Research questions
1. Is there any relationship between teachers’ gender and their pronunciation of the neutral and non-neutral suffixes?
2. Is there any relationship between teachers’ academic degree and their pronunciation of the neutral and non-neutral suffixes?
3. Is there any difference between high school teachers and institute teachers in pronouncing the neutral and non-neutral suffixes?
4. Is there any relationship between teachers’ experience and their pronunciation of the neutral and non-neutral suffixes?
3-3 Research design
This study is a descriptive survey. Surveys are a method of gathering information from individuals. Surveys have a variety of purposes, and can be conducted in many ways. Surveys may be conducted to gather information through a printed questionnaire, over the telephone, by mail, in person, by diskette, or on the web. This information is collected through use of standardized procedures so that every participant is asked the same questions in the same way. It involves asking people for information in some structured format. Depending on what is being analyzed, the participants being surveyed may be representing themselves, their employer, or some organization to which they belong (Shaughnessy, J.; Zechmeister, E.; Jeanne, Z. 2011). It showed the effects that different variables such as gender, academic degree, experience of teaching and place of teaching that could have on the way of pronouncing neutral and non neutral suffixes. This study is of a quantitative research design. In sociology, quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical, mathematical or numerical data or computational techniques (Given, Lisa M. 2008). The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. Quantitative data is any data that is in numerical form such as statistics, percentages, etc. In layman’s terms, this means that the quantitative researcher asks a specific, narrow question and collects a sample of numerical data from participants to answer the question. The researcher analyzes the data with the help of statistics. The researcher is hoping the numbers will yield an unbiased result that can be generalized to some larger population.
40 Iranian EFL teachers teaching English at different high schools and institutes in Ilam were asked to participate in this study (20 females and 20 males). None of teachers studied in English speaking countries. Table 3-1 gives background information about the forty teacher participants.
Table 3-1 Background information about participants of the study
As Table 3-1 shows, 17males and 5 females held B.A. degree in TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language), and 18 others (3 males and 15 females) held a M.A. degree. They were classified into two groups male and female with B.A. and M.A. degree who taught at different schools and institutes. In this research, 40 teachers in Ilam school and institute were asked to participate and they had at least one year of foreign language teaching experience.
Figure 3-1 Background information about participants of the study
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the gender, experience, academic degree and the teaching place of English teachers on the pronunciation of the neutral and non-neutral suffixes. Based upon research questions and hypotheses in this study, both dependant and independent variables are employed. The dependant variable is neutral and non-neutral suffixes. Independent variables are gender, academic degree, teaching experience and the teaching place. Accordingly, a questionnaire was designed and that was the major research instrument.
Questionnaire included 30 items, each with two sentences, the first sentence with the root and the second sentence with the derivative word of that root. We used neutral and non neutral suffixes randomly with 10 neutral and 20 non neutral suffixes. Afterward, the subjects were asked to read sentences while their voices are recorded. This was the procedure for the rest of the sentences in the lists. Each part had 2 answers, correct and incorrect, that scored according to the changes due to the presence of non neutral suffixes. These changes were of three types: the stress placement, vowel changes and changes of roots.
3-5-2 Reliability and Validity
Reliability is the degree to which a questionnaire will produce the same result if administered again, or the “test-retest” concept. It is also a measure of the degree to which a questionnaire can reflect a true change (Kit Howard, Kestrel Consultants, Inc. 2008). To measure the reliability, Alpha Cronbach was run using sample of 40 teachers. It comes out to be .85% which is within the acceptable range of reliability.
There are a number of different facets to validity (Kit Howard, Kestrel Consultants, Inc. 2008). Validity refers to whether the questionnaire or survey measures what it intends to measure. The validity of the questionnaire was proved by referring to three experts in the field.
3-6 Data collection procedures
First of all, by using “Word of Words” by Margaret Ann Richek (1993), a questionnaire was designed. It included 30 items, each with two sentences, root and derivative words which included neutral and non neutral suffixes randomly. During April, May and June 2014, researcher went to the different schools and institutes in Ilam and requested teachers to participate in this survey and asked them to read the included sentences. To collect as much clear data as possible, we go to another class with very low noises. With scores that they received for each part, the frequencies and mean scores were calculated for each teacher. It was tried to record exactly the