The Production of English Affricates by Yemeni EFL Learners of English

Abstract

The production of English sounds by non-native speakers of English has been extensively discussed in the phonetic literature, particularly in the areas of second language speech production and pronunciation instruction. The current study aims to explore the production of the English affricates /ʧ/ and /dʒ/ by Yemeni EFL learners of English. The production data involved 36 isolated tokens containing the two target sounds embedded in word-initial, word-medial and word-final positions. The elicited materials were gathered from two male Yemeni students in Universiti Utara Malaysia. Both speak Arabic as their first language. The speakers were asked to repeat the randomised tokens three times. The spoken data were analysed auditorily by four raters and then acoustically inspected via Praat by the researchers. The findings show that the Yemeni EFL speakers of English face some difficulties in producing the English affricates, particularly for the voiceless affricate /dʒ/ in comparison to its voiced counterpart /ʧ/. Word position appears to be a factor that greatly affects the accuracy of the speakers’ production of the two target sounds. Deaffrication occurs in the production of /ʧ/ for both speakers, while palatalisation for /dʒ/ is speaker-specific (one of the speakers only) and also environment-specific (word-medial and word-final positions only). The results provide experimental confirmation for the effect of first language on the production of non-native sounds and they accord well with the Language Transfer Theory’s prediction. The findings of this study have potential contributions in the pronunciation teaching and learning of English, particularly among EFL learners of English.



Author Information
Mohd Hilmi Hamzah, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
Najah Ahmed Khamis Bin Hadjah, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
Abdul Halim Abdullah, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Linguistics

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