Not Vowel Epenthesis: Mandarin and Japanese ESL learners’ production of English consonant clusters

Akitsugu Nogita, Yanan Fan

Abstract


The present study is based on Funatsu et al.’s (2008) experimental study about Japanese ESL learners’ perception and production of vowel insertion. To further investigate the process of second language vowel insertion, the present study employed a reading task and a repetition task. A syllabification task was also conducted after each task. Both Japanese and Mandarin ESL participants were involved to explore the effect of language experience. The results showed that both Mandarin and Japanese ESL learners with a relatively short length of residence in Canada only occasionally inserted a short vowel in English consonant clusters when they immediately repeated sound stimuli. The between-group difference was that Mandarin speakers with correct phonological representations often attempted to produce consonant clusters without vowel epenthesis but occasionally failed in gestural coordination which resulted in a schwa-like vowel, while Japanese speakers mostly had incorrectly stored English consonant clusters with extra vowel phonemes in their interlanguage mental lexicon but they phonetically deleted or weakened such vowels when they imitated native English speakers’ production.


Keywords


vowel epenthesis; vowel intrusion; vowel weakening; vowel deletion; interlanguage phonological representation

Full Text:

PDF




Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle

EISSN: 1920-440X
ISSN: 1200-3344

University of Victoria