Date of Award

2-13-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Dr. Krassimira Charkova

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Baertsch

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Halliday

Abstract

This study investigated the production of the English voiceless bilabial stop /p/ in three word positions (initial, medial, and final). By a group of 20 male and female ESL Saudi Arabian learners in the United States. The stimulus of this work was a list of 20 English words with an equal number of words for the three word positions initial, medial, and final. By measuring the Voice Onset Time in word initial and the duration of the release of the target phoneme /p/ in word medial and final positions this study identified several types of error in the participants’ utterances, including substitution of /p/ with /b/, approximation, and frication. The position of /p/ in words had a significant effect on the accuracy of pronunciation as the position that yielded the highest level of accuracy was the final position. The other two positions, initial and medial, showed a significantly higher number of production errors than word- final position.

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