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Abstract

This study is an acoustic phonetic analysis of Brazilian Portuguese English (BPE) vowels produced by seven Brazilian students. The research was carried out in the Spring of 2016 when the participants, mostly exchange students, were in their last semester of study in the United States after an average length of residency (LOR) of 19.71 months at St. Cloud State University. They were recorded producing the 11 vowel phonemes of American English. The main findings are that four vowels in particular – [ ɪ, æ, ʌ, ʊ] – interfere with intelligibility the most. The participants’ inability to produce these vowels intelligibly has a cascading masking effect on their entire L2 English vowel system, thereby affecting the intelligibility of other vowels. The corpus on which the findings are based consists of 1,386 tokens. Even though six acoustic correlates –F0, F1, F2, F3, Intensity, Duration –were investigated, only F1 and F2 were used to assess intelligibility and to build comparative acoustic vowel spaces.

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.

Author Bio

Ettien Koffi, Ph.D., is a professor of Linguistics at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA, specializing in acoustic phonetics (Speech Intelligibility). His research interests center around sociophonetic variations in Central Minnesota English, acoustic phonetic accounts of intelligibility in L2 English, and acoustic phonetic and general description of Anyi, a West African Language spoken in Cote d'Ivoire. He is the author of four books and numerous papers covering topics as varied as syntax, translation, language planning and policy, orthography, and indigenous literacy training manuals. He can be reached at enkoffi@stcloudstate.edu.

Lillian Duarte Ribeiro, graduated from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA, with a BA in English (Linguistic emphasis), and a minor in Spanish. She works as a PortugueseEnglish and English-Portuguese translator/interpreter in Minnesota. Her future plans include going to graduate school for acoustic phonetics and/or phonology. She can be reached at lillianribeiro@hotmail.com.

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