Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor's Name

Mehmet Yavas

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole

Third Advisor's Name

Tometro Hopkins

Keywords

consonant clusters, L2 acquisition, markedness, sonorotiy, SSP, interlanguage, IL, OPM, phonology, input frequency, L1 transfer

Date of Defense

3-28-2014

Abstract

Production errors made by second language (L2) learners of English have been attributed to markedness, L1 transfer or input frequency (cf. Major, 2001; Edwards & Zampini, 2008; Baptista, Rauber, & Watkins, 2009). This thesis examines the production of 17 English initial consonant clusters (e.g., /pr/ in “pray”) in a markedness relationship, whereby clusters with greater sonority distance between the first and second consonants are unmarked and clusters with smaller sonority distance between the first and second consonants are marked, by two groups of Saudi Arabian L2 English learners. It also explores the effect of input frequency and L1 transfer. Participants were asked to read 60 sentences and their reading was recorded for acoustic analysis. Analysis showed that “prothesis” was always used to simplify the clusters, and that, the duration of the prothetic vowel tended to get longer when clusters become more marked. Intermediate participants had greater degree of difficulty in producing the clusters and tended to insert a longer prothetic vowel in general. Markedness explained the performance on #sC clusters; however, performance on non #sC clusters was best explained by L1 transfer. Results further indicated that input frequency was irrelevant to this study.

Identifier

FI14040872

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