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Algerian intonational proficiency in English: An empirical study

Benrabah, Nadia; (1990) Algerian intonational proficiency in English: An empirical study. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Rather than a thorough analysis, the present work should be regarded as a contribution to the study of intonation. More particularly, it concentrates on the intonational proficiency of a sample of Algerian speakers of English (ASE). The investigation consisted mainly of two experiments. The first one was a Production Test and aimed at gathering a speech sample of ASE, as well as a sample of native speech to be used as a control. So a test was designed and submitted to twenty ASE (ten males and ten females) and five native speakers (two males and three females). The test consisted of ten units. The first four were highly controllable and also analysed instrumentally; whereas the remaining ones were increasingly less controllable. The second experiment was a Perception Test and aimed at evaluating the data by an audience of 160 native English listeners. Here, due to the large number of utterances, only the first four units were considered. From the outset, a number of questions were raised, the most important of which are as follows. How successful do ASE manage to be in manipulating intonation so as to convey specific meanings? What are the major errors and how can they be categorized? How do ASE make Halliday's three dimensional decisions (i.e. 'tonality', 'tonicity' and 'tone')? Despite numerous errors, most Algerian utterances were correctly understood. ASE tend to divide their speech into far more intonation groups than natives do. 'Tonicity' and 'tone' errors did also occur. While attempting to answer those questions, further observations were made. The speech rhythm of the ASE tends to be syllable-timed. Rhythmic errors took place, e.g. failure to use weak forms. Short vowels tend to be lengthened. Another peculiar finding is the existence of falling and rising 'gestures' independent of nuclei. Equally peculiar is the existence of fall-level and rise- fall-level tones. Finally, the error causing the most serious communication breakdown is wrong placement of stress.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Algerian intonational proficiency in English: An empirical study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121651
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