The roles of distinctive and redundant features in the production of the short A and E vowel contrast by L1 German speakers of English

Joanna Leah Labov, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation examined the roles of the distinctive feature of vowel height and the nondistinctive features of duration, word-final [t] and [d], and attention to speech in promoting L1 German speakers, production of the Short A and E contrast. Short A and E are the vowels in the words bat and bet. The L1 German speakers, production of the English Short A and E contrast was also examined to determine whether the speakers had learned the phonemes Short A and E. ^ The subjects of this study are 20 L1 German speakers in Germany who had studied English for a mean of eight years. These subjects produced Short A and E words ending in /t/ and /d/ in a word list, a reading passage and a word game task. The words were recorded, judged for accuracy by native English listeners and measured for height and duration. ^ The research questions were: (1) Do L1 German speakers produce a contrast between Short A and E? (2) Does the distinctive feature of vowel height promote L1 German speakers' production of the English Short A and E contrast? and (3) Do the nondistinctive features of vowel duration, the voicing of the following segment, and attention paid to speech promote L1 German speakers' production of the English Short A and E contrast? ^ The L1 German speakers who had studied English for a mean of eight years did not produce a contrast between Short A and E in minimal pairs. The role of vowel height was affirmed in promoting the L1 German speakers, production of the Short A and E contrast. The roles of vowel duration and word-final [t] and [d] were found to promote the L1 German speakers' production of the Short A and E contrast. Attention to speech was not shown to promote the Li German speakers' production of the English Short A and E contrast. ^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

Recommended Citation

Joanna Leah Labov, "The roles of distinctive and redundant features in the production of the short A and E vowel contrast by L1 German speakers of English" (January 1, 2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI9976442.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9976442

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