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ERIC Number: ED533134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-4861-7
Markedness in the Perception of L2 English Consonant Clusters
AlMahmoud, Mahmoud S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
The central goal of this dissertation is to explore the relative perceptibility of vowel epenthesis in English onset clusters by second language learners whose native language is averse to onset clusters. The dissertation examines how audible vowel epenthesis in different onset clusters is, whether this perceptibility varies from one cluster to another, whether an auditory bias toward anaptyxis vs. prothesis, and vice versa, in the perception of vowel epenthesis location exists, and the extent to which each of these inquiries depend on cluster type as a factor. The dissertation reports on four experiments. Experiment 1 explores Saudi Arabian (SA) listeners' perception of vowel epenthesis in tautosyllabic English onset clusters. The findings suggest that SA listeners are sensitive to the type of cluster in question when perceiving vowel epenthesis, and a hierarchy of perceptual difficulty among different onset clusters is motivated empirically as well as phonetically. Experiment 2 investigates the relationship between vowel length and non-native listeners' ability to perceive vowel epenthesis in different onset clusters. It evaluates listeners' aural sensitivity to the epenthetic vowel along a 5-step duration continuum. Results indicate that duration of the epenthetic vowel as well as type of cluster have a significant effect on listeners' ability to discriminate stimuli correctly. The interaction between duration and cluster type is hardly significant, however. Experiment 3 tests the hypothesis that the choice between perceptual anaptyxis and prothesis is cluster-determined by having listeners discriminate clusters from their anaptyctic and prothetic forms. Results, however, provide partial evidence for this claim. Experiment 4 tests the perceptual hierarchy of difficulty of Experiment 1 in production. The findings suggest that, like perception, L2 learners produce onset clusters variably as a function of cluster type, suggesting a strong link between L2 perception and production of English consonant clusters. The formal analysis of the data draws on principles of the Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993) and P-map (Steriade 2009) in accounting for SA learners' vowel epenthesis perceptual patterns in onset clusters. Perceptual distinctiveness scales that reflect relative perceptibility of vowel epenthesis and its location asymmetry in onset clusters are projected into context-sensitive faithfulness constraints. It is argued that the ranking of the markedness constraint *COMPLEX[superscript Ons] relative to DEP-V/A+B, and ONSET relative to DEP-V/A_B capture zero-epenthesis and anaptyxis-prothesis asymmetries, respectively. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Saudi Arabia