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Investigating the perception and production of the Arabic pharyngealised sounds by L2 learners of Arabic

Binasfour, H. S. M. (2018) Investigating the perception and production of the Arabic pharyngealised sounds by L2 learners of Arabic. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Pronunciation has received relatively little attention within the field of Arabic second language teaching and learning, particularly with respect to the more prominent areas of morphology, syntax, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics. In the field of phonetics and phonology, it has been argued that Arabic pharyngealised sounds are distinctive and unique to Arabic and they are considered the most difficult sounds to acquire by L2 learners of Arabic. This research included two experiments that focused on examining the ability of a group of Arabic L2 learners from different L1 backgrounds to perceive and produce the fricative sounds /z/, /θ/, /f/, /ʃ/, /ħ/, /h/, /χ/, /ɣ/, /ʕ/, /sˤ/, /ðˤ/, /s/, /ð/, and the emphatic sounds /sˤ/, /ðˤ/, /dˤ/, and /tˤ/ in contrast with nonpharyngealised variants /s/, /ð/, /d/ and /t/. The aims were to investigate which aspects of acquisition were difficult and to examine the effects of technology-based instruction and traditional-based instruction to find an appropriate pronunciation teaching method to facilitate the perception and production of fricatives and emphatics. The technology-based method used in this study was adapted from Olson (2014) and Offerman and Olson (2016) to investigate the extent to which using speech analysis technology (Praat) can help in visualising the difference between pharyngealised and non-pharyngealised sounds in order to aid production and perception learning. The traditional-based method used in this study included repetition, practicing minimal pairs, and reading aloud techniques. Data were collected from forced-choice identification tasks and recordings taken during pre- and post-test conditions. The results revealed that the some of the fricatives and all the emphatic sounds posed perception and production difficulty to some L2 learners of Arabic, which is likely to be due to the absence of these sounds from the learners’ L1s. The results also showed significant improvements among all participants after the traditional and technology training courses. However, no significant difference was observed between L2 learners who received the traditional-based method and those who received the technology-based method. Both methods have increased students’ awareness and understanding of the features of the sounds under investigation. The contribution of the current study is to show how Arabic fricative and emphatic sounds can be effectively taught using form-focused instruction involving different traditional and technological techniques. This research has implications for the implementation of both techniques for language teachers and researchers as it shows how both approaches can be used to enhance students’ perceptive and productive skills.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Setter, J.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:84813

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