Cognitive Language Transfer from Shandong Varieties to English Phonological Acquisition

Jing GAO


Freshmen of the higher vocational education pronounce English with heavy native accents. This paper investigates the reasons relying on the cognitive language transfer theory of Ausubel and Rod Ellis. Audio software and Microsoft Excel were employed to collect and analyze the data. 120 subjects were tested on their pronunciation of six plosives, three affricates, two fricatives and two vowels. The results show that for all subjects, positive transfers occur when the six plosives fall at the beginning and in the middle of the words; for subjects from districts of Weifang, Jining & Qufu, and Jinan, negative transfers occur when the same plosives falling at the end of the words, and when the subjects read other phonetic symbols, with the accuracy rates ranging from approximate 20% to 60%. Cognitive transfer theory is applied to explain the different transfers. Social and cultural factors, such as growth environment, educational background, individual discrepancy all accounts for the phenomenon. The findings are meaningful for the English teachers and educators to explore effective pedagogical strategies in the English phonological acquisition teaching. It is original that this paper explains the different transfers from cognitive perspective and underlines the social and cultural factors of the learning agents in constructing their English pronunciation.


Cognitive Language Transfer, Shandong Varieties, English Phonological Acquisition


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