Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
acoustic phonetics, double coda devoicing, Serbo-Croatian, BCMS
Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian (BCMS) belong to Western South Slavic languages, which make up what was formerly known as Serbo-Croatian. According to Surdučki (1964, p. 177), BCMS has a phonotactic constraint whereby the consonants that occur in a complex coda must agree in voicing. Because devoicing of the final consonant in the double coda is a common phonological process across languages, a word such as /bægz/ is frequently produced as /bægs/. However, due to the BCMS voicing harmony, the devoicing of the final consonant within the coda calls for regressive assimilation in BCMS English. This results into BCMS speakers pronouncing /bægz/ as [bæks]. To test this hypothesis, I examine seven words containing voiced double codas produced by twenty BCMS speakers of English, comparing them to the control group consisting of five native English speakers. The text that serves as the basis for this analysis is found at The George Mason University (GMU) Speech Archive website. I also take into account GMU’s impressionistic transcriptions of the coda clusters in question. The BCMS speakers showed a tendency to substitute /dz/ and /gz/ with [ts] and [ks], respectively. The remaining clusters, including bilabial stops, alveolar nasals, and velar nasals, were less frequently devoiced. Intelligibility is mostly impaired in the case of /dz/, as the Relative Functional Load (RFL) of /d/ and /t/ is 72%. Additionally, competition which is created between lexical neighbors such as /kɪdz/ vs. /kɪts/, /bægz/ vs. /bæks/, /slæbz/ vs. /slæps/, and /θɪŋz/ vs. /θɪnks/ may interfere with intelligibility. This study informs ESL/EFL (English as a Second/Foreign Language) instructors on BCMS double coda devoicing, which can assist them in effectively teaching pronunciation to these speakers of English.
Abat, Martina, "Double Coda Devoicing in Western South Slavic Speakers’ Accented English" (2016). Culminating Projects in English. 62.