Document Type



Master of Arts


Department of English

First Advisor's Name

Mehmet Yavaş

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major professor

Second Advisor's Name

Feryal Yavaş

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committe Member

Third Advisor's Name

Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Date of Defense



This research examines the error patterns of two member /s/ + consonant clusters (sC) in word initial position by native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese learning English. Previous research has found that not all sC clusters are modified at the same rate and studies involving native Brazilian Portuguese speakers have produced conflicting findings (Cardoso, 2008; Major, 1996; Rebello & Baptista, 2006; Rauber, 2006). The current study aims to clarify which markedness relationships influence the frequency of prothesis in sC clusters and test the opposing predictions made by two phonological principles, Sonority Sequencing and Obligatory Contour Principle for [continuant] (OCP [cont]), to determine which most accurately accounts for the productions observed. It will also address the possible contributions of native language transfer and effect of input frequency. Participants (n=32) completed two tasks, a sentence reading and a picture-based task, and their productions were recorded for acoustic analysis. Error rates were examined using traditional transcription methods and duration of prothetic vowels were measured. Analysis showed that frequency of prothesis contradicted predictions of sonority; /s/+sonorant clusters were modified significantly more often than /s/+obstruent clusters. However, high rates of voicing on /s/ due to native language transfer may have mediated the relative influence of sonority. Results based on vowel duration indicated prothetic vowels tended to get longer when clusters became more marked. Vowel duration was longest on /sl/ and may indicate markedness effects of the OCP [cont].



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