Farsi Language Classrooms: Varieties of English

Subject: Linguistics
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Study level: PhD

Introduction

Farsi language which is also referred to as Persian language is defined as the type of language that is commonly used by many people from Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Iranian students are taught through the use of Farsi or the Persian language in classrooms from a very young age meaning that their English pronunciation will be heavily influenced by the Farsi language (Taki, 2011). The heavy Iranian accents make it difficult for most students to pronounce most English words correctly meaning that the Farsi influence has a major role in determining the type of English pronunciation most Iranian students seek to have (Hayati, 2008). For instance, the Persian pronunciation of the word pencil is /pensel/ while the English pronunciation is /pensl/. Similarly, most Iranian are likely to pronounce the English word ‘that’ as /zat/ or /dat/ and not /ðoet/ which is the correct English pronunciation.

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English as a foreign language program has been incorporated in most educational programs in Iran where students and adults are given the opportunity to develop their English reading and writing skills. These programs also teach students on how to pronounce various English words and also communicate in English (Hayati, 2008). Iranian pronunciation during English programs is however affected by various factors some of which include environmental factors, physical factors, physiological factors and also instructional factors. Environmental factors refer to the situations or environments in which Farsi learners are taught on English pronunciation while the physical factors refer to the location of most English learning centres or schools and also whether these locations are suited for English learning (Hayati, 2008).

Psychological factors refer to the general state or well being of students during the English learning programs while instructional factors refer to the type of teachers or instructors and their level of training, qualifications for the English learning programs. These factors affect the process of learning and teaching English, which in turn affects the pronunciation of Iranian students during the English pronunciation courses. Most Iranian English learners aim for American English pronunciation when they are speaking English, but this is affected by the earlier mentioned factors (Hayati, 2008). The high preference for American English pronunciation is attributed to the fact that the variety of English taught to Iranians is mostly American English (Wakelin, 2008). Besides, American English is much simpler and they can easily pronounce compared to other varieties like British English.

The purpose of writing this essay will be to examine the various varieties of English that exist in Farsi language classrooms and also to determine the type of English language pronunciation that Iranian learners are aiming for and the interference of Farsi language in attaining the desired pronunciation levels. The focus or context of the study will be on Iranian children between the ages of 16 and 18 years who are in high school and are learning English as a Foreign Language.

The Rationale of the Study

The reason for selecting high school students lies in the fact that the teaching of English as a Foreign Language has become more prominent in Iranian high schools in the past two decades. Despite this increasing interest in learning English within educational institutions, little knowledge exists on what actually happens within Iranian EFL classrooms in most high schools in the country (Rezvani and Rasekh, 2011). It is therefore appropriate to examine the English programs in Iranian high schools.

This study will seek to address this gap by determining the varieties of English that exist in Farsi language classrooms as well the type of pronunciation that most Iranian students seek to attain. The use of metaphors during English learning lessons within Iranian schools will also be explored as metaphorical expressions have contributed significantly to the pronunciation of Farsi speakers undertaking English language lessons. The study will also address the influences of English, which have mostly been attributed to the globalization process around the world and the growing need to communicate in English (Davis, 2006).

English as an International Language (EIL) refers to how it is viewed as a global means of communicating within very many dialects and how the English language is viewed as an international language (Sharifian, 2009). As a world renown language, English mostly places importance on learning the diverse parlances and other forms of speaking, writing and reading English and it aims to provide individuals with the necessary linguistic tools which will allow them to communicate in a more global or international context (Sharifian, 2009). English as an international language is also used to develop and nurture the communication skills of various people who exist in diverse cultures around the world because it is a common language (Acar, 2006).

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Varieties of English

There are many varieties of English that are used for speaking and pronunciation purposes with the most common varieties being American English and British English (Trudgill, 2002). These two varieties are commonly used in the educational systems of countries such as Canada, Australia, Ireland, the Bahamas, Antiqua, Jamaica, Guam, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and in various countries in the European, Asian and African continent. The difference between British English and American English is mostly noticeable in the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation of various English words (Trudgill, 2002).

British English usually places a lot of emphasis on accentuating various English words and the English grammatical writing of these words differs from that of American English (Wakelin, 2008). For example, the word labour has a different vocabulary in both British and American English where it is written as labor in American English and labour in British. Similarly, the word encyclopaedia is written as enclyclopedia in American English and encyclopaedia in British English. This affects the pronunciation of this word and other similar ones where the pronunciation will be different based on the type of English variety used in the English as a foreign language classes (Wakelin, 2008).

The variety of English that is commonly used in most Iranian classrooms is the American English because it is simpler and students are able to take into consideration the various differences that exist in pronunciation and vocabulary between Farsi and American English (Wakelin, 2008). American English is more simplified in terms of its grammar and vocabulary and it places less emphasis on the proper pronunciation of English words when compared to British English, which places a lot of emphasis on Received Pronunciation of English words (Graddol, 1997). British English has been accepted as an educational dialect in most countries around the world, but American English offers a more simplified dialect of speaking and pronouncing English words which is the reason it is the most commonly used in Iran (Trudgill, 2002).

The British English dialect differs from American English in terms of accent, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar (Trudgill, 2002). The British dialect mostly accentuates the English grammar and pronunciation and their dialect differs from that of American English in terms of accent. The pronunciation of English words varies significantly amongst British speakers when compared to American speakers of the language. For instance, words that end with unstressed –ile, are pronounced as a syllable /l/ or reduced vowel /ɪl/ in American English while they are pronounced as a full vowel /aɪl/ in British English (Rundell and Fox, 2002). In this regard, the word hostile is pronounced as /ˈhɑst(ə)l/ in American English while it is pronounced as /ˈhɒstaɪl/ in British English (Rundell and Fox, 2002). American English, which is mostly used in many Iranian schools, incorporates differences in pronunciation and vocabulary and also the dialect (Hayati, 2008). As had been mentioned earlier, American English is much simpler and is easier to spell compared to British English hence its use in Iranian schools. However, its pronunciation is mainly affected by the heavy Farsi accent explaining why Iranian students may have good written English, but poor spoken English. The other dialects of English which are used in the various countries around the world include Burmese English, which is spoken by people from Burma in the Asian continent, Portuguese English, Australian English, European English, Caribbean English, and other forms of English (Wakelin, 2008). All these dialects may have an indirect impact on Iranian pronunciations as learners may become overwhelmed and thus confused about the correct pronunciation of a word. This is more likely to happen if students get access to learning materials from the internet as this is likely to confuse them.

While American English is used in most English learning classes in Iran, the pronunciation of the language is accompanied by a heavy Iranian accent which is mostly attributed to the fact that many Iranian students are taught to speak, read and write through the use of Farsi language (Taki, 2011). This heavily influences their English pronunciation of various words during the English classes as well as their American English accent. For instance, Iranian students are likely to pronounce word ‘that’ as /zat/ or /dat/ and not /ðoet/ which is the correct English pronunciation. The reason for this is because of the internal and external factors which affect English speaking and pronunciation amongst Farsi learners. The internal factors refer to the objectives that an individual learner has developed for themselves when learning English while the external factors refer to the teaching staff and resources (Hayati, 2008).

Many Iranian students are more interested in reading the technical aspects of English that are found in newspapers, magazines and articles instead of developing the correct pronunciation of English words. The attitudes and needs of the society are also internal factors which influence the correct pronunciation of English words where the general goal of the Iranian educational system is to teach students on how to read and translate English words (Hayati, 2008). The external factors which affect English speaking and pronunciation amongst Farsi learners in Iran include the limited amount of time that has been allocated for English classes within the school calendar. The assigned time for these classes is so short meaning that course instructors will find it difficult to complete the lessons within the allocated time. The large number of students in one class also makes it difficult for teachers to address the individual learning needs of each student during the lessons (Celce-Murcia, 2001). As a result, very little time is allocated to teaching pronunciations.

Farsi Language in Iranian Classroom

In their analysis of how Farsi or Persian language is used in the classroom setting, Tucker and Corson (1997) noted that the type of tasks students were involved in during class time varied significantly in Farsi speakers that were studying English as a foreign language. Varieties in English grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary were mostly notable in direct translations, visual descriptions and grammatical explanations. This requires an adequate measure of language competency that is able to capture progress in each one of these aspects. In this regard, Majd (2008) emphasized the need to for an accurate measurement of inter-language competency to take into account different conditions and stages of English speaking and learning within Farsi language classrooms.

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The strategic competence of Iranian students when it comes to inter-language use was explored by Yarmohamadi and Seif (1992) where they set out to determine the communicative ability of these students in handling problematic English concepts. Iranian students that were studying English at the various levels and stages of high school were assessed based on their placement of primary stress and emphasis on English words and the use of morphological, syntactic and phonological hierarchies to determine the complexity of English words (Yarmohamadi and Seif, 1992). The results of their assessment demonstrated that the use of such measures was able to determine the communication proficiency of many of the students as well as their pronunciation of the varieties of English that were used during classroom instruction (Yarmohamadi and Seif, 1992).

With regards to the varieties of English within Iranian classrooms, Taki (2011) conducted an assessment where two groups of Persian and English language teachers were selected to provide some correspondence for metaphorical equivalents based on their use of both Farsi and English languages during the instruction of students. The criteria used by Taki (2011) was whether they taught the high school students with their native language, their familiarity with metaphorical languages, expressions and the basic knowledge that they had of concepts or figures of speech. A total of 40 animal terms were selected for comparison between English and Persian languages to determine the metaphorical variety that existed between the two languages. The purpose of conducting this study was to determine whether the use of metaphorical expressions aided Iranian students in their English learning activities (Taki, 2011). The results of Taki’s study revealed that the metaphorical expressions used in both languages were 20% similar for animal terms that were presented to the respondents. This corroborated the idea many linguists have developed on the partial mappings or metaphorical expressions that exist between the same source of information and the target domains of both the Farsi and English languages. The results also revealed that 50% of the metaphorical expressions used to describe animal images were similar for both the English and Farsi languages and they also differed in separate ways. This meant that the metaphors worked in different ways for both languages when they were used in different contexts as they elicited different meanings from both languages (Taki, 2011). The results of the study pointed to the various similarities and differences that existed between both languages especially when used within the school context. Metaphors played a great role in enabling the Iranian students to better understand what was being communicated to them in the English lessons. They heightened the comprehension abilities of the students while at the same time enhancing their understanding of the English language. Taki’s study was useful for Iranian pronunciation of English words because the metaphorical expressions allowed the students to understand the meaning of the English words and also translate them based on certain contexts which would eventually allow them to pronounce the words correctly. By gaining an understanding of the English words, they were in a better position to pronounce them correctly (Taki, 2011)

Rezvani and Rasekh (2011) conducted a study to determine the teaching patterns of four Iranian EFL teachers when it came to language alternation and Farsi speaking language within the classroom setting. The results of their study demonstrated that the four EFL teachers used word switching tendencies during classroom interaction sections and also in the discipline of students, which was otherwise known as classroom management. The authors viewed word switching to be an important activity for many Iranian teachers as it enabled them to successfully interact with their students who were mostly Iranian native speakers (Rezvani and Rasekh, 2011). Most of the teaching language used by these Iranian teachers was Farsi or Persian language and therefore teaching students without any word switching strategies proved to be difficult in relaying the proper pronunciation, grammatical representation and vocabulary of certain words (Nilep 2006: Myers-Scotton, 1997).

Rezvani and Rasekh’s study was useful for Iranian pronunciation of English words because it enabled the students to have clearer meaning of the English words they were being taught by their instructors. Code switching allowed the teachers to foster useful interactions with their students which would allow them to teach the student’s how they could properly announce the English words (Rezvani and Rasekh, 2011). Code switching therefore proved to be important in fostering English interaction and pronunciation activities during the learning programs (Rezvani and Rasekh, 2011).

Another study conducted by Gholamain and Geva (1999) examined the extent to which basic reading skills in both the Farsi language and American English could be understood by students after considering their underlying cognitive processes and also understanding the unique characteristics of the alphabets between the two language systems. Farsi or the Persian language makes extensive use of sound symbol correspondences during the pronunciation of Persian words, e.g. ب (âb) – which means water, اسب (asb) – refers to a horse, when compared to the English language, which makes limited use of sound-symbols (Hayati, 2008).

Gholamain and Geva (1999) examined Persian students who were enrolled in school systems where the language of instruction was English. Gholamain and Geva (1999) noted that the students performed better in measures of English reading and cognitive capabilities when compared to Farsi reading and understanding of the Persian language. Gholamain and Geva (1999) attributed this result to the apparent increased interest among Iranian youths to master English as a second language.

Iranian Pronunciation in the English Language

To gain a contextual background of Iranian pronunciation during English as a foreign language program amongst Farsi speaking high school students in Iran, it is important to learn about the historical background and language composition of the Farsi (Mace, 2002). Farsi or the Persian language has been the main tool that is used for literacy and scientific contributions in the eastern part of the Islamic and Muslim world (Spencer, 2004).

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Farsi language is spoken in three dialects: Iranian Persian or Farsi, Afghan Persian and Tajiki. The heavy influence of the Persian language from the classical period has greatly influenced the way Iranians pronounce English words. Educated people from most of the Middle Eastern countries are able to comprehend each other with an elevated level of clearness but the differences are only noticeable in their vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation which are still not standard. This has been termed by many linguistic scholars to be similar to the same differences in vocabulary or pronunciation that exist between British English and American English (Megerdoomian, 2000). This comprehension in the Farsi language plays an important role when it comes to the learning of English as it determines whether Farsi speakers taught in American English are able to understand and pronounce English words correctly.

Since the Farsi language is part of the Indo-European languages, most of the words between English and Persian are similar (Spencer, 2004) for example the English name of daughter in Persian is pronounced dokhtar, mother in English is pronounced as madar in Persian while the English name of brother is pronounced as baradar in Persian. This demonstrates that many words that are of Persian origin have been incorporated into the English language. Most of the English vocabulary has been influenced by the Persian language and the Persian language has also had most of its grammar and pronunciation influenced by the English (Majd, 2008). The sound ‘a’ and ‘u’ in daughter are silent but due to the Iranian accent the two sounds are pronounced as ‘kh’.

Understanding the morphological composition of Farsi language is important for English learners as it will enable them to gain a useful background of English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation thereby allowing them to understand the language and also communicate appropriately (Mace, 2002). Gaining a background on Farsi language will also be important because it will allow Iranian students to be able to differentiate between Persian and English words. The background on Farsi language also caters for the reinforcement of communicative competency amongst English learners allowing them to acquire linguistic competencies when speaking English (Hayati, 2008), hence, improving their pronunciation.

In addressing the question of English pronunciation amongst Iranian high school students, Hayati (2010) notes that the pronunciation of Iranian high school students should be based on their ability to accurately and correctly pronounce different words of the English language correctly as well as hold proper dialogues with their peers. Shomoossi and Marzban (2010) note that while the pronunciation of most Iranian high school students is poor because the heavy Iranian accent is still evident. But it can be improved further by sensitizing on the importance of proper pronunciation for effective communication in the language. Most Iranian students as well as Iranian EFL learners aim to have “proper’’ English dialect. English pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, which have been evidenced by the growing number of EFL learners within the country (Hayati, 2008).

Hayati in his 2008 and 2010 case study of how Iranian EFL high school students were taught on English pronunciation focused on various factors that influenced the pronunciation of most of the EFL learners within the Iranian classroom context. Hayati (2008; 2010) divided the factors into direct and indirect factors where he identified the direct factors to be those that influenced the correct pronunciation of English words. These factors included the English proficiency of the English teacher and the English proficiency of the Iranian learners. In most Iranian high schools, students were usually advised by their EFL instructors to read and translate English words that were mostly found in magazines, academic books, journals and article (Windfuhr, 1994). This was done to enable them collect important information which they would use for specific areas of interest during their English lessons. Since English is viewed by most Iranians as a second language, the EFL programs in many of the high schools have directed their efforts towards teaching students how they can read and translate English words (Odlin, 1989).

A lower emphasis has therefore been placed on the accurate pronunciation of English words, for example, pronouncing the word daughter correctly as opposed to dakhter. This has in turn registered a low proficiency for EFL learners (Shomoossi and Marzban, 2010). This further underlines the importance of understanding the English words that need to be pronounced as proper pronunciation ensures that the learner is able to understand the meaning of the words (Shomoossi and Marzban, 2010). To counter this, English teachers in Iran need to concentrate on the language proficiency of their students by involving the use of language proficiency tests and English learning material that is meant to aide in the English pronunciation of the students (Spencer, 2004).

With regards to the indirect factors, Hayati (2008: 2010) focused on aspects such as the time assigned for English classes which was usually limited for most EFL classes taking place in Iranian high schools. The limited amount of time made it difficult for most EFL instructors to be able to complete the outlined English learning objectives in time which meant that most EFL learners emerged from these classes without the full knowledge of English language. Hayati (2010) also identified another indirect factor which affected the pronunciation of high school students to be that of large numbers of students in one classroom session. The high number of students in most high school classrooms in Iran which ranges from 60 to 70 made it difficult for teachers to effectively monitor and control the performance of students during pronunciation exercises. The large numbers also made it difficult for most teachers to follow their lesson plans properly which meant that certain parts of the EFL course were omitted (Hayati, 2008).

Yarmohammadi (2000) conducted a study on the English pronunciation of Iranian students by examining their level of context free sentences, where he assessed the phonological elements of the student’s native language (L1) and the elements of the English language (L2). He was able to make the observation that student’s were able to learn the proper pronunciation of English words because of the similarities and differences that existed between their native language (L1) and the English language (L2). The pronunciation efficiency of these students was measured by using contextualization abilities. Contextualization during most EFL lessons involves integrating pronunciation instructions into other important elements of instruction that will enable the student or learner to grasp the meaning of the word in various contexts (Sadeghi, 2009). Yarmohammadi (2000) was able to note that contextualization allowed teachers and students to be able to deal with different pronunciation problems that were presented through the use of different techniques and that story telling enabled many of the EFL learners to contextualize their English pronunciation thereby improving their proficient communication of the language.

Challenges of EFL Learning in Iran

Despite the use of various EFL learning techniques, researchers such as Brown (2001) and Rifkin (2003) have noted that while some Iranian learners might acquire proficiency in the English language, many Iranian EFL learners will still be unable to acquire an accent free command of the language because of the limited amount of pressure that has been placed on speaking the language. The two authors noted that young English learners would be able to acquire as many foreign language skills as they could but they would find it difficult to shed off their Iranian accents which would be made more difficult if they understood certain English concepts in their native languages. Rifkin (2003) recommended that for students especially those in high school to be able to acquire the proper pronunciation of the language, parents had to begin teaching their children the language during their early or formative years. This would ensure that they did not have an accent when it came to speaking or pronouncing in English during their EFL lessons in Iranian high schools. This is because they get to learn to speak in English from an early age without being influenced with their Iranian dialect. This meant that learners avoid communicating in their native tongue as much as possible so that they don’t acquire the heavy Iranian accent.

Based on his research, Ansari (2011) was able to note that a major challenge for most English learners in Iranian classrooms was their inability of most learners to properly express themselves through the English language. This is mostly attributed to their heavy use of their native language as a means for communication. This means that they cannot properly communicate in English within the classroom setting which has been attributed to the kind of instruction given to these children, the type of textbooks used for instruction, the procedures and techniques used by most instructors when teaching English and the poorly defined objectives that make it difficult for students to overcome English language learning problems. The learning objectives set by the EFL teachers are not defined clearly. This resulted in students not knowing what their learning outcomes from the EFL lessons should be (Hayati, 2008).

The challenge that continues to face most Iranian English learning classes is the focus on the traditional method of teaching foreign languages where students are required to write out the pronunciation of English words in their own language rather than speaking the language itself (Shomoossi and Marzban, 2010: Hayati, 2008).This has contributed to the poor pronunciation skills that many high school students have of the language. In pronouncing various English words; p, t and k are voiceless in Farsi language and they are commonly replaced with the words b and g in pronunciations that require the use of p, t, and k. Other words that Farsi speakers are unable to pronounce properly include t, f, s, z, h and d which are also voiceless. These words are usually substituted with words such as n, m, b, and g because Farsi speakers find it easier to pronounce these words within sentences and also during speech exercises (Hall, 2007).

An example of English words that use p, t and k and are voiceless in Farsi language include pin, tin, kin. The first letters are plosive meaning that they cannot be voiced therefore most Farsi learners resort to replacing these words with b and g (bin and gin). Examples of English words that incorporate f, s, z, h and d which are also voiceless in Farsi include fin, sin, zoo, hit and dust. The first consonants in these words are silent in the Farsi language meaning that Iranian learners will be unable to pronounce them because they are voiceless in Farsi (Hall, 2007).

Ferguson and Donno (2003) have recommended that in-service classes (classes where tutors teach and learn at the same time) have to be introduced in many ESL (English as a Second Language) programs to ensure that English tutors in Iran are able to collect the theoretical and practical information of the English language which will enable them communicate appropriate course materials to their students. Apart from these classes, textbooks can also play an important role in improving the English language proficiency of many Iranian EFL students. Textbooks allow instructors to be knowledgeable on the material design of the course where they are able to refer to English textbooks as core resources during their instruction and also as supplemental materials that can be used to support the pronunciation activities of students within the programs (Sadeghi, 2009).

Influences of English Speaking on EFL Learners

The major factor that has influenced the increasing number of high school students in Iran to take part in EFL lessons is globalisation and the changing cultural world where more and more young people are becoming ethnically diverse in their language background (Shomoossi and Marzban, 2010). Many English learners in Iran are influenced by the increasing globalisation that is taking place in the world. According to Shomoossi and Marzban (2010) globalisation has played a major role in influencing the English learning of most Farsi speakers in Iran. Many people in the country have begun to embrace other international cultures in the world forcing them to adopt and communicate in a language that is acceptable to all. The internationalization of many of the countries activities has also increased the need for most people in Iran especially school students to engage in English learning (Thackston, 1993))The country has in the recent past held foreign trade exhibitions and international book fairs that have seen the participation of many countries. Such events have influenced the need for learning English as a second language after Farsi in Iran (Spencer, 2004).

More young people are now taking time to experience different cultures while at the same time learning new languages that will enable them communicate with people from different cultures around the world (Odlin, 1989)Since most young people in Iran communicate in Farsi languages, the introduction of EFL programs within school systems in Iran has provided them with an opportunity to communicate in another language that is different from their native language (Hayati, 2010). The increasing internationalization of many activities performed within various countries around the world, for instance, Egypt, has also played a major role in influencing the English learning activities of many students and adults in Iran as it has had an impact in determining how well they will learn to read, speak and write the English language ( Taleghani, 2008)Internationalizing activities means that individuals have to adopt a more global communication language meaning that they have to speak and pronounce words the same way that other countries do internationally (Taki, 2011).

Another major influence that has determined the English language capabilities of students in Iran has been the increasing growth of international relations that Iran has with the rest of the world. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the government that came into office strived to foster international relations with westernised countries to ensure that Iran would be able to enjoy a beneficial relationship with many developed countries in the world (Movali, 2005). Some of the benefits that would be accrued from these relationships would be an improvement in the educational systems that within the country where subjects and course programs would be tailored to meet the international needs of the global market rather than the needs of the Iranian market (Clawson, 2004).

Farsi speakers also receive their influence from the growing interest in the technological and scientific fields within the country which has been a contributing factor to the English learning activities in many Iranian high schools. The increasing interest in science and technology has forced many Iranian learners to engage in English learning activities so that they can acquaint themselves with the various technological and scientific terms that are being used in the international world (Mace, 2002). English learners can also keep themselves informed of the latest technological advancements that are taking place in the global environment (Shomoossi and Marzban, 2010).

In Iran, English is the dominant language that is mostly used in international conferences, foreign trade affairs and in other forms of communication within the country (Odlin, 1989). The growing numbers of international book fairs and foreign trade exhibitions that have taken place in the country have also influenced the increasing number of EFL programs in most of the high schools within the country. Such events have shown that Iran is capable of maintaining international relations with the international market through the use of the English language (Movali, 2005). The cooperation of Iran with major international organizations such as the United Nations, OPEC, NATO and other regional offices around the world has increased the practicality of using English amongst the various nationals who work for these organizations. This cooperation also plays a significant role for those Iranian students who wish to work for these organizations once they complete their education (Clawson, 2004).

The influence of Farsi language plays an important role in determining how language transfer will take place during the EFL lessons and also how pronunciation exercises will influence the language outcomes of students. Katzner’s (2002) review of various studies has revealed that the differences in pronunciation of the target language can be used to measure the overall pronunciation accuracy of native speakers who use their mother tongue to communicate. Apart from transfer, other factors that influence the pronunciation of Farsi learners in high school include typological and universal factors which at times function separately from language transfer (Lambton, 1990). Typological and universal factors such as cultural backgrounds, religious affiliations and societal factors influence how the native speakers will be able to effectively utilise the target or foreign language (Katzner, 2002).

Conclusion

The focus of the study was on high school students in Iran who were undertaking English speaking lessons. By focusing on this group and analysing various research work conducted on the Farsi language, the paper was able to determine the varieties of English that are used in Farsi language classrooms with the most common being British English and American English. The study has also focused on the type of pronunciation that many Iranian students and EFL learners want to achieve which is American English. The study has also highlighted the factors or aspects that influence EFL learners to take part in English learning activities one of which being to gain a more global perspective of the world and also learn about other cultures apart from that of Iran. Many Iranian students are influenced to participate in EFL learning programs in Iran because of the increasing nature of international relations within Iran as well the changing educational systems which now require most students to be more conversant with the English language.

The study also addressed the challenges of English learning among Iranian students where one challenge of English learning was the inability of the students to properly express in the English language. Because Iranian children are raised to talk and express themselves in their mother themselves tongue, it becomes difficult for them to learn to communicate in another language apart from their own. Another challenge of English learning especially when it comes to pronunciation is that the students pronounce English words with a heavy Iranian accent. This is a challenge when communicating with proper English speakers who might find it difficult to understand what the speaker is saying. While study was able to address the pronunciation and influences of most Farsi speakers in Iranian high schools, more research needs to be conducted on Farsi and English languages to determine the similarities and differences that exist in both languages. More research also needs to be conducted on whether Farsi speakers are able to lose their accents once they start communicating in the English language.

While this discussion has been able to offer insightful information on the varieties of English that are used in Farsi classrooms as well as the type of pronunciation most Farsi learners are aiming for, it has been limited in the amount of research work that has been conducted in the field of Farsi language with particular focus on English learning amongst Iranian high school students. More research needs to be conducted to ensure that there is substantial information on the influence of Farsi on English pronunciation in Iran.

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