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Volume 13 Number 1, Spring 2016, Pages 1-71 PDF Download

Korean Learners' Production of English Sound Contrast: Focusing on Word-Final /∫/ and /∫i/

    Jayeon Lim & Misun Seo

This study examines Korean L2 learners' production of English sound contrast not attested in their L1, focusing on word-final /∫/ and /∫i/. L2 pronunciation error patterns such as vowel deletion and epenthesis were more frequently found in the low group than in the high group. Acoustic properties of lexical and epenthetic vowels were also different according to learners' proficiency levels. The low group's epenthetic and lexical vowels showed similar acoustic properties with respect to friction and vowel ratio and F1 and F2 midpoint values. On the other hand, the high group's epenthetic vowels exhibited longer friction ratio, shorter vowel ratio, higher F1 and lower F2 than lexical vowels. While the low group did not distinguish epenthetic vowels from lexical vowels, the high group pronounced epenthetic vowels differently from lexical vowels, possibly as transitional vowels. As for word-final [∫] from /∫/ or /∫i/, both groups showed longer friction ratio for [∫] from /∫i/ than for [∫] from /∫/. The findings suggest the use of production strategies by L2 learners is different from native speakers and is mediated by their proficiency levels.

Keywords: L2 pronunciation, vowel epenthesis, vowel deletion, English proficiency