ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

4pSP39. Perception of Arabic and English vowels by Arabs.

Fares Mitleb

English Dept., Yarmouk Univ., Irbid, Jordan

This study intends to investigate the effects of experience in L[sub 2] sound patterns and interference on the perception of English vowels. Thus natural vowel stimuli of both Arabic and English vowels were generated for the purpose of this study. Arabic stimuli were presented to native Arabic speakers who showed highly significant identification scores. The English test material was presented to two groups of Arabs learning English: (1) relatively inexperienced in English; and (2) experienced group. The two groups of listeners performed very well in the identification task of Arabic-like English vowels whereas they differed significantly in their perceptual task of the non-Arabic-like ones. Yet, in the final analysis of the results both groups fell short of the native norm in the identification of the non-Arabic-like vowel stimuli. Confusion of non-native-like vowels with other non-native-like ones but not with Arabic-like ones is found in the responses of the two groups. This implies that non-Arabic-like stimuli are not identified with Arabic-like ones as is assumed by contrastive analysts. Thus a new vowel segment is not easy to acquire since vowel phonemes are composed of complex auditory, acoustic, and perceptual features. [Research supported by Yarmouk University.]

Precis presentations will be held in the Kresge Little Theatre from 12:55 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. followed by poster displays in Kresge Rehearsal Room B. Posters will be on display and all authors will be at their posters from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.