Non-native pronunciations of English result from the common linguistic phenomenon in which non-native speakers of any language tend to transfer the intonation, phonological processes and pronunciation rules of their first language into their English speech. They may also create innovative pronunciations not found in the speaker's native language.


Non-native English speakers may pronounce words differently due to not having fully mastered English pronunciation. This can happen either because they apply the speech rules of their mother tongue to English ("interference") or through implementing strategies similar to those used in first language acquisition.[1] They may also create innovative pronunciations for English sounds not found in the speaker's first language.[1]

The extent to which native speakers can identify a non-native accent is linked to the age at which individuals begin to immerse themselves in a language. Scholars disagree on the precise nature of this link, which might be influenced by a combination of factors, including: neurological plasticity, cognitive development, motivation, psychosocial states, formal instruction, language learning aptitude, and the usage of their first (L1) and second (L2) languages.[2]

English is unusual in that speakers rarely produce an audible release between consonant clusters and often overlap constriction times. Speaking English with a timing pattern that is dramatically different may lead to speech that is difficult to understand.[3]

Phonological differences between a speaker's native language and English often lead to neutralization of distinctions in their English.[4] Moreover, differences in sound inventory or distribution can result in difficult English sounds being substituted or dropped entirely.[5] This is more common when the distinction is subtle between English sounds or between a sound of English and of a speaker's native language. While there is no evidence to suggest that a simple absence of a sound or sequence in one language's phonological inventory makes it difficult to learn,[6] several theoretical models have presumed that non-native speech perceptions reflect both the abstract phonological properties and phonetic details of the native language.[7]

Non-native speech patterns can be passed on to the children of learners, who will then exhibit some of the same characteristics despite being native speakers themselves.[8] For example, this process has resulted in many of the distinctive qualities of Irish English and Highland English which were heavily influenced by a Goidelic substratum.[9]



See also: Arabic phonology, Egyptian Arabic phonology, Hejazi Arabic phonology, Levantine Arabic phonology, and Tunisian Arabic phonology

General features among most or all Arabic speakers:


See also: Catalan phonology

E.g. phase can be pronounced like face (even though Catalan has both /s/ and /z/ phonemes).[14]
E.g. stop being pronounced estop.[15]
E.g. instant being pronounced instan[15]
E.g. the blackbird vs. the black bird.[13]
E.g. with sugar or without sugar? (the second sugar is more heavily stressed)[13]


Main article: Hong Kong English


See also: Czech phonology

These are the most common characteristics of the Czech pronunciation of English:[20]


See also: Dutch phonology

These are some of the most significant errors a Dutch speaker might have:

Pronunciation of consonants
Pronunciation of vowels


See also: French phonology

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


See also: German phonology § Loanwords from English

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


See also: Modern Greek phonology and Ethnolect § Greek Australian English (Greek ethnolect)


See also: Modern Hebrew phonology

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


See also: Hungarian phonology

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


See also: Italian phonology

Studies on Italian speakers' pronunciation of English revealed the following characteristics:[47][48]

In addition, Italians learning English have a tendency to pronounce words as they are spelled, so that walk is [walk], guide is [ɡwid̪], and boiled is [ˈbɔilɛd]. This is also true for loanwords borrowed from English as water (water closet), which is pronounced [ˈvat̪ɛr] instead of [ˈwɔːtə(r)].


See also: Japanese phonology, Engrish, and Perception of English /r/ and /l/ by Japanese speakers

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


See also: Portuguese phonology

Brazilian speakers of English as a second language are likely to make several pronunciation mistakes, including:[54]

Pronunciation of vowels
Pronunciation of consonants


See also: Russian phonology

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2016)


An excerpt of J.D. Salinger's ''The Catcher in the Rye'' as read in English by a person whose mother tongue is Spanish

See also: Spanglish and Spanish phonology

E.g. the blackbird. vs. the black bird.[13]
E.g. with sugar or without sugar?
(the second sugar is more heavily stressed)[13]


See also: Vietnamese phonology

Note: There are three main dialects of Vietnamese, a northern one centered on Hanoi, a central one centered on Huế, and a southern one centered on Ho Chi Minh City.

See also


  1. ^ a b MacDonald (1989:224)
  2. ^ Munro & Mann (2005:311)
  3. ^ Zsiga (2003:400–401)
  4. ^ a b Jeffers & Lehiste (1979:140)
  5. ^ a b c Goldstein, Fabiano & Washington (2005:203)
  6. ^ MacDonald (1989:223)
  7. ^ See the overview at Hallé, Best & Levitt (1999:283)
  8. ^ MacDonald (1989:215)
  9. ^ McEwan-Fujita, Emily. "Gaelic and English". Experience an Emerald Adventure.
  10. ^ a b Al Saqqaf & Vaddapalli (2012), p. 48.
  11. ^ Hago & Khan (2015)
  12. ^ Khattab (2002:101)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Swan 2001, p. 91.
  14. ^ a b c d Swan 2001, p. 93.
  15. ^ a b c d Swan 2001, p. 94.
  16. ^ a b Swan 2001, pp. 91, 96.
  17. ^ Sewell, Andrew (2009). "World Englishes, English as a Lingua Franca, and the case of Hong Kong English". English Today. 25 (1): 37–43. doi:10.1017/S0266078409000066. S2CID 54170922.
  18. ^ Deterding, D., Wong J., & Kirkpatrick, A. (2008). The pronunciation of Hong Kong English. English World-Wide, 29, 148–149.
  19. ^ Sewell, Andrew (2017). "Pronunciation Assessment in Asia's World City: Implications of a Lingua Franca Approach in Hong Kong". In Isaacs T.; Trofimovich P. (eds.). Second Language Pronunciation Assessment: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Vol. 107. Bristol: Multilingual Matters / Channel View Publications. pp. 237–255. ISBN 9781783096848. JSTOR 10.21832/j.ctt1xp3wcc.17.
  20. ^ Melen (2010:71–75)
  21. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. 11, 286.
  22. ^ a b c d e Collins & Mees 2003, p. 286.
  23. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. 285–286.
  24. ^ a b c d Collins & Mees 2003, p. 285.
  25. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. 285-286.
  26. ^ a b Collins & Mees 2003, p. 287.
  27. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. 10, 288.
  28. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. 10.
  29. ^ a b c d e Collins & Mees 2003, p. 289.
  30. ^ a b Collins & Mees 2003, p. 288.
  31. ^ Collins & Mees 2003, p. ?.
  32. ^ Hallé, Best & Levitt (1999:294)
  33. ^ Paradis & LaCharité (2001:257), citing LaCharité & Prévost (1999)
  34. ^ a b "French Speakers' English Pronunciation Errors". 2013-12-06.
  35. ^ Paradis & LaCharité 2012.
  36. ^ Gut (2009)
  37. ^ a b c d "10 English Pronunciation Errors by German Speakers - Pronunciation Studio". 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  38. ^ a b Hickey, Raymond (October 2014). "German pronunciations of English" (PDF). University of Duisburg-Essen.
  39. ^ Shoebottom, Paul. "Language differences: English - German". Archived from the original on 2017-05-15. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  40. ^ a b c d e Cheung (2015).
  41. ^ Georgiou, Georgios P. (2019-03-01). "Bit and beat are heard as the same: Mapping the vowel perceptual patterns of Greek-English bilingual children". Language Sciences. 72: 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2018.12.001. ISSN 0388-0001. S2CID 150229377.
  42. ^ a b c d e Shoebottom (2007)
  43. ^ Nádasdy (2006)
  44. ^ Kovács & Siptár (2006:?)
  45. ^ Michael., Vago, Robert (1980). The sound pattern of Hungarian. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-177-6. OCLC 1171902116.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ "CUBE: dropped". Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  47. ^ Martin Russell, Analysis of Italian children's English pronunciation Archived 2007-05-27 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2007-07-12.
  48. ^ "Italian Speakers' English Pronunciation Errors". 22 November 2013.
  49. ^ "Italian Speakers' English Pronunciation Errors". 22 November 2013.
  50. ^ "Italian Speakers' English Pronunciation Errors". 22 November 2013.
  51. ^ "Italian Speakers' English Pronunciation Errors". 22 November 2013.
  52. ^ Goto (1971:?)
  53. ^ Hallé, Best & Levitt (1999:284)
  54. ^ "Pronunciation problems for Brazilian students of English". Archived from the original on 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  55. ^ Palatalization in Brazilian Portuguese/English interphonology
  56. ^ Preceding phonological context effects on palatalization in Brazilian Portuguese/English interphonology Page 68.
  57. ^ Thompson (1991)
  58. ^ Zsiga (2003:400–401, 423)
  59. ^ a b c d e f g h i "LanguageLink TEFL clinic - Pronunciation".
  60. ^ Sukmawijaya, Jeri, Sutiono Mahdi, and Susi Yuliawati (2020). "AN ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS OF VOICELESS ALVEOLAR PLOSIVE/t/IN SUNDANESE, INDONESIAN, AND ENGLISH BY SUNDANESE SPEAKERS." Metahumaniora 10.1: 1-13.
  61. ^ a b "О характерных ошибках в произношении при изучении английского языка". 2017-10-20.
  62. ^ a b c "Как исправить или улучшить свое произношение?".
  63. ^ a b c d e f MacDonald (1989:219)
  64. ^ Jeffers & Lehiste (1979:139)
  65. ^ Hwa-Froelich, Hodson & Edwards (2003:269)
  66. ^ a b Hwa-Froelich, Hodson & Edwards (2003:267)
  67. ^ a b Hwa-Froelich, Hodson & Edwards (2003:271)
  68. ^ Hwa-Froelich, Hodson & Edwards (2003:265)


Further reading