Research Article

Proper Noun Pronunciation Inaccuracies in English by Educated Arabic Speakers



Analysis of a corpus of errors in pronouncing Proper Nouns used in English collected from the spontaneous speech of a sample of Arab informants showed that Arabic speakers have the following problems: (i) mispronouncing English vowels in Google, Moodle, Uber, Nixon, London; (ii) replacing consonants absent in L1 (p v) by their equivalents (bebsi, jafa); (iii) geminating consonants in city and country names (Peking; Venezuela, Minnesota); (iv); inserting a vowel in consonant clusters in Proper Nouns and acronyms (Zelinsky, Logansk, SNAS, GMC, ); (v) breaking words into two sub-words (Kasper+sky, Sky+pe); (vi) pronouncing words the way they are spelled (Nazi, Nike, Huawei, Hyundai, Wednesday); and (vii) transferring Arabic stress rules to English words (McDonald, Mayflower). Pronunciation errors made by Arab students are attributed to transfer from the native language, i.e., Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or the local dialect, insufficient mastery of English pronunciation rules, phonics and phone-grapheme correspondences and lack of knowledge of the differences between English and Arabic phonology. To correct pronunciation problems, the study recommends that students watch pronunciation practice videos that focus on a single error or rule at a time; raising students’ awareness of English pronunciation rules, phonics, phoneme-grapheme correspondences and comparing English and Arabic vowels, consonants, syllable structure, pause, juncture and stress rules; providing direct pronunciation instruction, graded lessons and remedial exercises. Future research needs to investigate Arab students’ pronunciation problems in assimilation, elision, and others.

Article information


British Journal of Applied Linguistics

Volume (Issue)

2 (1)





How to Cite

Al-Jarf, R. (2022). Proper Noun Pronunciation Inaccuracies in English by Educated Arabic Speakers. British Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 14–21.



English pronunciation, Proper Nouns, pronunciation problems, Arabic speakers, educated Arabs, spontaneous speech.