Date of Award

12-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Baertsch, Karen

Abstract

The present study aims to investigate whether or not Saudi ESL learners have difficulty pronouncing and perceiving the final consonant clusters of English words in the coda position. The focus is on two points. The first is identifying the most difficult sound cluster in the word-final position, whether it is two or three consonants, and second is to examine the repairs employed by Saudi learners. Eleven participants were recruited for this study. Their participation was elicited using production and perception. The production task consisted of pronouncing 14 words to elicit their pronunciation of the final consonants of English words. Those words were divided into two groups, eight for a coda of two consonants and six for a coda of three consonants. In the perception task the participants listened to a recording of their pronunciation. Using the multiple choice technique, they looked at the words that they pronounced orthographically along with the pronunciation options in transcription and chose the one they think they pronounced. The study concluded that markedness plays a key role in pronouncing word-final consonant clusters, particularly tri-literals. Therefore, the speech learning model (SLM) indicates that non-exiting sounds in the Arabic language pose difficulties in pronouncing and perceiving word-final consonant clusters.

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