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Abstract

This paper analyzes two specific instances of English consonant-cluster production among native Arabic speakers of English. We analyze the onset cluster /pl/ and the coda cluster /ŋz/. These clusters are of interest because the first segment in each cluster does not exist in Arabic but the second is shared by both Arabic and English. Five Arabic-speaking subjects were selected based on a number of shared features, including a shared city of origin, beginning their acquisition of English after the critical period, and having spent no more than one year in an English-speaking environment at the time of the recordings. The findings give us the opportunity to assess the participants’ pronunciations of these clusters in light of the two syllable phonotactic constraints: Sonority Sequencing Principle (SSP) and the Minimal Sonority Distance Parameter (MSDP). Other issues investigated have to do with the segmental transfer hierarchy and ranking.

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.

Phillip Klopfenstein is currently an ESL instructor at St. Louis University in his native Missouri. Phillip earned his MA in Teaching English as a Second Language at St. Cloud State University in 2017. Before that, he completed his CELTA certification in 2013 and has been engaging with tutoring and teaching ELLs in various capacities since the beginning of his undergraduate career. In the future, Phillip hopes to teach ESL at the university level in an Arabic-speaking country. He can be reached at klopfenstein.phillip@gmail.com.

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