Tanzania spoken english: error analysis of the vowel system

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
The objectives of this research are to analyse the vowel system of Tanzania Spoken English, to find out pronunciation errors and their causes, that is whether they emanate from interference, or whether they are intralingual or whether they are induced. Finally the objective has been to assess the effect of pronunciation errors on oral communication with a view to improving the standards of Spoken English which seem to be on the decline in this country. The data has been obtained mainly from form V students, the ones who have completed the course so as to assess the Four-year Secondary English Course and see if it trains our students adequately enough for effective oral communication for the goals set. At least one native speaker of each of the following tribes took part: Sukuma, Pogoro, Ndambna, Rufiji, Rangi, Makonde, Swahili, Sambaa, Nyakyusa, Hehe, Ngoni, Jita, Gwena, Chagga, Bena, Pare, Haya. Twenty students were interviewed. The test sentences were devised in such a way that they would reveal the problem vowels in the environments where pronunciation errors were very obvious and having a negative effect on oral communication. From all the evidence shown, it is evident that as far as spoken English is concerned the data from Secondary Schools in three different regions shows that the four year course in English at Secondary School level is not adequate for teaching pronunciation because certain common errors are prevalent i.e. those concerning RP/I, /2, /U/,/3/, /eI/ and /2u/. The fact that only these seven RP vowels out of twenty are problem vowels is also significant because one would expect our students whose mother tongue operates on a maximum of seven vowels to face pronunciation problems in nearly all the English vowels that are new to them. From this it can be seen that it is important to teach a good pronunciation to our students so that English may be a truly effective tool for communication between Tanzania and the English Speaking world and for the benefit of the learner himself whose higher education very much depends on his command of the English language.
English language, Pronounciation, Foreign, Phonology, Vowels
Kassulamemba, F. (1977) Tanzania spoken english: error analysis of the vowel system, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es salaam. Available at