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Vowel epenthesis in the acquisition of English /s/-clusters by Turkish speakers

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Abstract

This study reports the results of a study we conducted with data from 25 L1 Turkish speakers’ production of English #sC clusters. We compared the productions of different #sC clusters. Most notable among these was the high importance of the homorganicity when C2 was a [-continuant] (i.e. /st/ and /sn/), but not when the same consonant was a [+continuant] (i.e. /sl/). Although a low success rate (long epenthetic vowel durations) is expectedly found with the negative sonority group, /sT/ sequences, this group also had the member (/st/) with best renditions. In summary, the results seem to draw a picture like the following: combinations [-cont., +coronal] (i.e. /st/ and /sn/) are the most successful, followed by, in descending order, [-cont., -coronal] (i.e. /sm), [+cont., +coronal] (i.e. /sl/), and [-cor, -SSP] (i.e. /sp, sk). Finally, we have entertained possible explanations through word and cluster frequencies in English, but these have not yielded any coherent account for the patterns found either.

References

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