The Causes of the Schwa Phoneme as a Fossilized Pronunciation Problem for Turks
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The articulation of the schwa phoneme, symbolized by the [e] in the IPA system, of the English language, is a serious pronunciation problem for Turkish English teachers, teacher trainees and the students of other fields of study. Because it does not take place in the Turkish vowel inventory, its articulation is managed by Turks in general. It holds a phonemic status in the English vowel inventory, and therefore it changes the grammatical category and the meaning of words, which boil down to mean that it can create breakdowns in communication. Mother tongue interference, vowel reduction, connected speech, lack of professional instruction are some of the causes that lead to the mispronunciation of the schwa phoneme by Turks. The inevitable result is that the schwa phoneme is a fossilized error of articulation for Turks. The aim of this study is to explore the causes of the constant mispronunciation of the English schwa phoneme by Turkish English teachers, teacher trainees and the students of other fields of study. Another purpose of this study is to show its importance in teacher education. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.