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The perception and production of British English vowels and consonants by Arabic learners of English

Evans, BG; Alshangiti, W; (2018) The perception and production of British English vowels and consonants by Arabic learners of English. Journal of Phonetics , 68 pp. 15-31. 10.1016/j.wocn.2018.01.002. Green open access

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Abstract

This study investigated the perception of British English vowels and consonants by native Saudi Arabic learners of English from a range of proficiency levels. Twenty-six participants completed consonant and vowel identification tasks in quiet and noise. To investigate if predicted difficulties with vowel perception were also present in production, participants also recorded vowels embedded in words and read a short story. The results demonstrated that all learners were better able to identify consonants than vowels in quiet and noise, with more experienced learners outperforming early learners. Although learners were likely able to rely on mapping non-native to native categories when identifying consonants, there was some evidence that they had started to establish new vowel targets. This appeared to start early in learning but even highly experienced learners continued to find vowels with no direct Arabic counterpart difficult. Additionally, there was some evidence for a link between perception and production: vowel perception was better in those who had more accurate production. Overall, the results shed light on problematic phonemic contrasts for Arabic learners, and suggest that though learners may be able to establish new phonetic categories early in learning, other contrasts continue to remain difficult even for highly experienced learners.

Type: Article
Title: The perception and production of British English vowels and consonants by Arabic learners of English
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.wocn.2018.01.002
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2018.01.002
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Second language learning, Speech production, Speech perception
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044993
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