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 the Saudi students' production and perception of English CVC words to see whether or not they pronounce and perceive the vowels in these words correctly - as native speakers do - as a cue to the voicing of the following consonant. The present paper investigates this feature in several vowel environments that differ in tenseness, height, and backness before stops at three places of articulation. Saudi participants' pronunciation is analyzed as compared to a group of three native speakers of English. Two groups of subjects were involved in this study. A group of 12 Saudi ESL learners at SIUC University who have stayed in the U.S. more than one year composed the first group. They were asked to read a list of ten CVC minimal pairs. Additionally, they answered a perception task which consists of 10 multiple-choice items and which examined their perception of word-final consonant voicing. Age, gender, and level of proficiency were controlled. The second group's members are three native English speakers. The results revealed that Saudi ESL learners' pronunciation of CVC words showed no effect of final stops' voicing on the preceding vowel duration. The results revealed that Saudis found difficulty perceiving final bilabial stop voicing contrast /p-b/. The results showed that Saudis experienced difficulty in the perception and production of the English vowels /ɛ/ and /ɑ/.

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