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Volume :9 Issue : 33 1989      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Perception and Interpretation of English Intonation by Arabs

Auther : Fares Mitleb

This paper outlines an experiment designed to assess Arab’s perception and interpretation of English intonation. Subjects were 30 native Arabic speakers majoning in English. Test material was a set of 21 minimally paired sentences, differing in intonation only, or presenting the same intonation pattern twice, spoken on a tape by a native English speaker. The task was to decide whether the two sentences in each pair have the “same” or “different” intonation pattern and to assign meaning (s) of the provided glosses according to the previous judgment. The analysis of the responses indicates a clear hesitation in perceiving intonation and in assigning meaning to intonation patterns tested in this study. This hesitation, however, is not attributed to intonation interference; rather, it seems to be a result of faulty instructional process. English pronunciation is usually taught to second language learners with great emphasis on the language segmental units. Language learners usually preserve this knowledge when they are moved into suprasegmental situations. We thus propose that English pronunciation is to be introduced in suprasegmental units instead of segmental units.

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