Acquisition of English Phonology: Spectro-Temporal Mapping of English Mid Vowels in Pakistan
Keywords:Acoustic Analysis, English Phonology, Mid Vowels
English phonology is the overwhelming challenge in successful acquisition of English as L2 as L1 phonological system can constraint the perception, categorization, and acquisition of L2 sound inventory. The current study is aimed at tracing the acquisition of English mid vowels /e/, /ə/, /ɜː/, /ɔː/ in Pakistani English learners. The acoustic-phonetic description of the mid vowels is based on the contours of the lowest two resonant frequencies i.e. F1 and F2 and their temporal frequencies. The sample of the study comprises of 30 female learners of English at middle level from a public school in Distt. Sheikhupura, Pakistan. The target mid vowels are embedded into / hvd / syllables in the carrier phrase ‘say --- please’ as a stimuli. The data set of 600 tokens elicited from participants at the same proficiency level is analysed at FormantPro (Xu, 2013). The analysis reveals some nonlinear features of English mid vowels which have, thus far, been either unidentified or deemed inconsequential in the specification of English mid vowels. Pakistani learners articulated English central vocalic sounds (/ə/, /ɜː/) as peripheral sounds. Contrarily, the back vowel (/ɔː/) is pronounced as central vowel in the data. However, the front mid vowel /e/ is pronounced analogous to the native speakers of English language as a front mid vowel. Parallel to spectral divergences, Duration of mid vowels is also deviant from the norm of English language. The findings of the study recommend that teaching of English phonology should not be limited just to orthographic representation or explicit rule presentation rather it should be supplemented with auditory aids.
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