Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Carstens, Vicki

Abstract

The present study examined the pronunciation of the English post-alveolar fricative /ʒ/ and the English affricate /dʒ/ by 20 Najdi Arabic speakers learning ESL in the US. One of these sounds, /ʒ/, is not present in the Najdi phonemic inventory, while /dʒ/ is. The instrument consisted of a list of 20 words containing the investigated phonemes (10 words for each phoneme). The results for English /ʒ/ indicated that Najdi ESL speakers faced difficulties in pronouncing this sound. Specifically, final position was more difficult for the participants than medial position. Frequency of the words could have played a role since the words containing the target sound in the word-final position were less frequency than the words containing the sounds in word-medial position. On the other hand, English /dʒ/ showed few production errors, which occurred among only seven of the participants. These errors were could be described as hypercorrection errors because participants replaced a phoneme present in their L1 inventory (/dʒ/) with one that was absent from their L1 inventory (/ʒ/). In general, the result supported Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH), Markedness Differential Hypothesis (MDH), and Language Transfer Theory (LTT).

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