L1-English tense-lax vowel system influence on L2-Arabic

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The current study investigates the production and perception of Arabic short and long vowels by two groups of adult L1-English/L2-Arabic learners who differ in their length of exposure to Arabic. An ABX discrimination task and a production task, followed by a native judgment task, were conducted to assess perception and production. The results show that discrimination performance is better than production overall, and also that the learners transfer their L1-English tense-lax phonological system to produce Arabic short-long vowels. We also observe that the transfer involves not only duration, but also spectral aspects of the L1. Lastly, our analyses suggest that more than appropriate durations are involved in pronouncing Arabic short and long vowels correctly.


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