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Abstract

This study investigates several acoustic correlates of the phonetic realizations of [θ] produced by Serbian speakers of English. The impressionistic phonetic transcriptions and aural perception accounts indicate that Serbians have difficulty pronouncing the English non-sibilant [θ] segment accurately. It is reported (Dimitrijevic-Savic & Jerotijevic, 2011; Koffi, 2015a) that they substitute [t], [f], [s], and [ts] for [θ]. The present study uses an acoustic phonetic methodology to investigate how Serbians pronounce this segment. Speech samples from seventeen native Serbian speakers are investigated. These samples are part of George Mason University Speech Accent Archive. Spectrographic and acoustic measurements are provided for 5 words from the elicitation paragraph that contain the digraph represented in the IPA by [θ]. Words containing [θ] in initial position are . The only word in text that ends with [θ] is . The acoustic correlates of intensity, duration, VOT, and COG are examined for 85 occurrences of . The results show that [θ] is substituted by the voiceless dental stop [t] 49% of the time, by the affricate [tʃ] 7%, and 1% by the flap [ɾ]. The acoustic measurements indicate that Serbian speakers rely on intensity more than duration and Center of Gravity in determining which segments to substitute for [θ]. The substitute segments are all very similar in intensity with [θ] in GAE.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Faculty Supervisor

Dr. Ettien Koffi

Author Bio

Jovana Jevremovic (maiden name Marinovic) is an MA TESL graduate from St. Cloud State University. While dedicated to teaching ESL, she has explored linguistics and took the opportunity to contribute to the research on her L1 (Serbian) speakers of English. Jovana is originally from Kragujevac, Serbia, where she has finished her BA and MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Kragujevac. She is an alumna of the Global UGRAD Exchange program which brought her to SCSU, and she has felt like she belongs to the community ever since. Therefore, she has decided to pursue doctoral studies at the same university and is currently in her second semester of Higher Education Administration Ed.D. program. She is a graduate research assistant at SCSU Online department and she teaches English online. Email: jovanamarinovic09@gmail.com

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