February 2005 was an important date in the cyberspace when three former PayPal staff decided to leave the company and launch YouTube, a video-sharing website which offers services of uploading, watching and sharing users’ videos without any charge. Loads of new registered users soon made the site well-known; so much that it drew the attention of Google. The Internet giant then bought the website in November 2006, and the site now runs as a Google’s subsidiary.
Being an eye-catching medium of communications, YouTube has made a major contribution to education worldwide (Bonk, 2009). It has become one of the most favorite English teaching tools of educators (Duffy, 2008). According to Terantino (2011), this website offers users “fast and fun access to language and culture-based videos and instruction from all over the globe”. As a matter of fact, it urges us to change our learning ecology (Kwan et al., 2008). The website states on its press link “http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html” that it “is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages”. Among these languages is Vietnamese, for which YouTube doesn’t launch any local version. According to TechinAsia (2013), there are approximately 15 million Vietnamese who view videos online, and their most favorite site is YouTube. While the controversies over copyright infringement and explicit depictions of sexual activity and nudity of the site still exist, its enormous quantity of videos and tremendous variety of content enable YouTube to become a valuable resource for mentors to exploit.
This paper aims at exploring several points on what Vietnamese students’ beliefs towards the site are and also in which way trainers can use this resource to enhance Vietnamese students’ pronunciation. First, there will be a review of previous research, which will then be followed by a number of suggestions of applying this site in teaching pronunciation. The paper will go on with a survey conducted on Vietnamese students at university level, and initially conclude with a discussion of the results and applications, as well as recommendations for further studies.
In his intensive and comprehensive study on Vietnamese Southerners’ pronunciation, Santry (1992, 221-249) points out that when speaking English, most Southerners have problems with only a few vowels and diphthongs, but they struggle a lot with consonants. The errors with which most Southerner Vietnamese have difficulties appear in the following phonemes: /i:/, /ɔ:/, /u:/, /eɪ/, /aʊ/, /əʊ/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /ʤ/, /v/, /ɵ/, /ð/, /z/, /ʒ/, /ŋ/, /l/, /r/, and /j/. According to Santry (1992, 253), Vietnamese voicing focuses mainly on the vowel sounds, which results in Vietnamese learners having tough time learning how to pronounce the consonants correctly. Santry (1992, 250-256) suggests a variety of teaching methods to improve these Vietnamese pronunciation, including hearing their own voice, showing them “copies of...