There is a general perception that pupils who attend private basic schools speak better English than those in public schools, but there has not been an investigation to ascertain whether indeed there is a distinction between the English language skills of a private basic school pupil and a public basic school pupil. The present study seeks to show the English pronunciation difference between public and private basic school pupils and also to show which of them speak better English. Recordings from pupils from both categories of schools obtained from two regions of Ghana are analysed. The findings show that the pronunciation of English segments is a way to differentiate between these pupils. The English vowels / ɪ /, / ɑː /, / eɪ /, / aʊ /, / ɪə / and the voiced palato-alveolar consonant / ʒ / are the English segments that distinguish public and private basic school pupils used for the study. In all the instances where a distinction exists between them, the direction of the pronunciation of the private basic school pupils alongside their reading skills support the claim that they speak better English.
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