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We investigate the social network and the acoustic vowel space of a Mandarin Chinese speaker of English. Our goal is to test Krashen’s Input Hypothesis, and determine whether or not the quality and quantity of input that our participant receives within his social network can help him to improve his pronunciation of English vowels. First, we did an audit of his vowels to find out which ones of the 11 monophthong vowels of English he can produce intelligibly and which ones he cannot. The informant was recorded producing these 11 phonemic vowels. The F1 and F2 correlates of these vowels are compared to those of General American English (GAE), as described by Peterson and Barney (1952). The acoustic thresholds used in Speech Intelligibility research are used to assess the informant’s vowels that may interfere with intelligibility. The findings are used to suggest the appropriate course of action that the participant can follow to improve his pronunciation.

Faculty Supervisor

Dr. Ettien Koffi

Author Bio

Martina Abat is a graduate student in the MA TESL program and Introduction to Linguistics Teaching Assistant at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. She was born and raised in Montenegro, Europe. At the University of Montenegro, she earned her BA in English language and Literature. Martina spent her second year of college as an exchange student at St. Cloud State University, where her interest in linguistics and laboratory phonetics intensified. This was the reason behind her decision to come back to St. Cloud State University for her MA.

Ettien Koffi is a professor of Linguistics. He teaches the linguistics courses in the TESL/Applied Linguistics MA program in the English Department at Saint Cloud State University, MN. He has written three linguistic books: Language Society in Biblical Times (1996), Paradigm Shift in Language Planning and Policy: Game Theoretic Solutions (2012), and Applied English Syntax (2015). He is the author of many peer-reviewed articles on various topics in linguistics. His primary area of specialization is at the interface between acoustic phonetics and phonology. He has extensive experience in emergent orthographies and in the acoustic phonetic and phonological description of dialect variation. He can be reached via email at:



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