The Sound of English
: The Effect on Dutch Preschool Pupils’ Pronunciation by implementing an English Articulation Training for Teachers

  • Pia Nicholson-Hulsman

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The Dutch government encourages English at all levels of education. English is compulsory at high school and the highest classes of primary school. Pronunciation is often ignored and many pronunciation errors persist, as it is one of the most difficult features of the language. Hermans developed a computer assisted tool to teach pronunciation at Dutch high schools. He addressed pronunciation in six categories. The results were positive, but the sustainable effect thereof inconclusive, because teachers experienced lack of time to implement the tool added to the fact that there was a lack of support from school leaders. In this study we duplicated Hemans’s study with preschool teachers who experience more support from educational institutions to enhance the sustainable effect.
    The aim was to improve preschool pupils’ pronunciation by training the preschool teachers. We developed an English articulation training for Dutch preschool teachers (EATDPT) in which six pronunciation categories were taught: aspiration, linking r, th-unvoiced, th-voiced, English e, English oak.
    The participants were four preschool teachers and 50 preschool pupils. Their native language is Dutch.
    We conducted an experimental design in which two teachers with 18 pupils were in the control group and 32 pupils in the experimental group. All teachers read English literature books to the pupils, six lessons of 15 minutes each, during a period of three weeks. The objective was to increase correct English vocabulary usage. Therefore, the teachers in the experimental group joined the EATDPT to improve the pronunciation within six categories.
    Using a Switch Design, all teachers could join the EATDPT. The second round of the Switch Design is beyond the scope of this research.
    Basing our observation on pupils’ progress, a Repeated measures was carried out, using SPSS to establish the effect of EATDPT on correct pronounced English vocabulary usage within six categories. The effect of EATDPT on pronunciation within six categories of Dutch preschool pupils is significant, for the categories as a whole and on the categories aspiration, th-unvoiced, English e and English separately.
    The findings showed a significant increase in English vocabulary usage by preschool pupils after reading English books. Furthermore, we established that reading of English books by preschool teachers in combination with the training English articulation to Dutch preschool teachers (EATDPT) will lead to an increased correct English vocabulary usage by pupils. This means that EATDPT has a positive effect on Dutch preschool pupils’ pronunciation. We presented in this study that preschool pupils whose teachers followed the training English articulation to Dutch preschool teachers had more correct English vocabulary usage than those whose teachers did not.
    In conclusion, this study provides strong evidence that pupils, whose teacher participated in the EATDPT increased the correct English vocabulary usage.

    Date of AwardJul 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSaskia Brand - Gruwel (Supervisor) & Marjan Vermeulen (Examiner)


    • pronunciation
    • preschool pupils
    • articulation training
    • English vocabulary usage

    Master's Degree

    • Master Onderwijswetenschappen

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