Speech intelligibility problems of Sudanese learners of English. An experimental approach
This dissertation aims at discussing the nature and the linguistic factors assumed responsible for speech intelligibility problems of Sudanese learners of English.
- Ezzeldin Mohammud Tajeldin Ali
- 19 April 2011
- Full text in Leiden University Repository
The primary focus of this study is speech intelligibility problems of Sudanese learners of English. Investigation aims at discussing the nature and the linguistic factors assumed responsible for these problems.
Series of experimental tasks were carried out which targeted segmental analysis of vowels, singleton and cluster consonants of English and SPIN sentences. Experimental work measured receptive and productive intelligibility of Sudanese EFL learners to native English. Written questionnaires were also involved which provided impressionistic views about the topic at issue. The construction of intelligibility tests was based on the Modified Rhyme Test (MRT). Other procedures such as Praat software and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), etc., were also used for the acoustic analysis of the speech sounds. Participants involved in the experiments included Sudanese and British listeners/speakers of English. American and Dutch recruitments participated as listeners only.
Results provided strong evidence of intelligibility problems experienced by Sudanese EFL learners. Data indicated that vowels of English form the most difficult learning area for the learners. In comparison to native speech, there are lucid variations in the acoustic and phonetic performance of the learners. The causes of these problems included filter of the learners’ L1 (Arabic), wrong implementation of L2 rule, partial learning, etc.
The dissertation is of relevance to linguists and language teachers specifically those interested in the study of intelligibility problems arising due to phonetic and phonological differences across languages and paucity of explicit knowledge of L2.