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Volume :5 Issue : 17 1985      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Non-segmental Structure in Foreign accent

Auther : Fares Mousa Mitleb

Typological studies have shown that "voicing" contrast for obstruents is more marked in syllable-final position and least marked in initial position. Also implicational universal relations suggest that fricatives are more marked than stops and voiced segments are more marked than voiceless ones. The Markedness Differential Hypothesis (MDH), whose underlying claims stem from such studies. Predicts that the syllable-final "voicing" contrast should be difficult for Germans speaking English since German neutralizes "voicing" in a marked position. MDH, also predicts more difficulty for Arabs with English /v/ than with /p/, which are absent from Arabic phonemic inventory, on the basis of markedness. A spectrographic test of English minimal paris spoken by ten Germans, however, revealed that Germans have acquired control of English "voicing" in syllable final position. Another spectrographic test of English minimal Paris spoken by eight Arabs revealed that they had considerable difficulty learning the correlated of English "voicing". These results prove that MDH can not correctly predict the relative degree of difficulty in second language acquisition. Instead we propose that non-segmental similarity and/or differences between languages play an important role in second language acquisition. Thus. Due to the similarity between English and German and the difference between English and Arabic with respect to vowel duration difference as a function of "voicing" Germans contrasted English obstructs of "voicing" but Arabs did not. (Research supported by Yarmouk University).

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