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ERIC Number: EJ1115042
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0015-718X
Native English Speakers' Perception of Arabic Emphatic Consonants and the Influence of Vowel Context
Hayes-Harb, Rachel; Durham, Kristie
Foreign Language Annals, v49 n3 p557-572 Fall 2016
Native English speakers experience difficulty acquiring Arabic emphatic consonants. Arabic language textbooks have suggested that learners focus on adjacent vowels for cues to these consonants; however, the utility of such a strategy has not been empirically tested. This study investigated the perception of Arabic emphatic-plain contrasts by means of cross-language vowel identification and perceptual discrimination tasks. It was found that native English speakers relied more on following vowels than on the consonants themselves when discriminating Arabic emphatic and plain consonants, and that their accuracy was greatest when the following vowel was /ae/, followed by /u/ and /i/. The cross-language vowel identification task revealed that Arabic /ae/ was identified as a systematically different English vowel (/?/) when following emphatics than when following plain consonants (/ae/), while Arabic /i/ and /u/ failed to exhibit a differential identification pattern. Together these findings indicate that following vowel quality moderates Arabic emphatic consonant perception by English speakers, who may exploit their sensitivity to the English /?/-/ae/ contrast to perceive emphatic-plain contrasts in the context of Arabic /ae/. However, such a strategy is less likely to be successful when the following vowel is /i/ or /u/. Implications and pedagogical suggestions for the teaching of Arabic to native speakers of English are offered.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A