ERIC Number: ED352836
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
A Comparative Study of English and Spanish Vowel Systems: Theoretical and Practical Implications for Teaching Pronunciation.
Odisho, Edward Y.
A study examines two major types of vowel systems in languages, centripetal and centrifugal. English is associated with the centripetal system, in which vowel quality and quantity (rhythm) are heavily influenced by stress. In this system, vowels have a strong tendency to move toward the center of the vowel area. Spanish is associated with the centrifugal system, which has a syllable-timed rhythm. In Spanish, vowels are located near the periphery of the vowel area and resist any movement to the center. These diametrically opposed vowel systems are subject to dynamics that further differentiate them. However, analysis of these patterns in these two languages and in others suggests that the systems are not mutually exclusive but occur on a continuum from centripetal to centrifugal. It is argued that the constraints and dynamics operating in the different systems are often neglected in the teaching and learning of pronunciation. The findings have the following implications for classroom practice: (1) production of sounds should be preceded in instruction by training in sound perception and recognition; (2) dynamics of the sound system may need to be learned before phonological units are learned; and (3) pronunciation instruction should include visual and tactile elements along with aural stimuli. (Contains 25 references.) (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A