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Choose one of the following L1 groups: Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Arabic or Korean. This can be the same L1 group you covered in Assessment 1 or a different one. Include a section each on (a), (b) and (c), with the option of (d). Present (e) as a separate section.
Note: You must use phonemic script. This can be accessed from www.phonemicchart.com If you have chosen Mandarin, please do not use the Pinyin system of romanisation for Chinese phonemes. This is only partly phonetic.
Notes to assist with Part 2 (Evaluation):
Consider the resource's benefits and limitations in terms of language and learning. Do not simply describe, but analyse/evaluate. Some of the following prompts may help. Choose what is relevant for your resource and include other aspects if you wish.
1) Structure of Task 3
Most students will draw upon Learner English (Swan & Smith, 2001). There are two important points to bear in mind when using this resource.
(i) Swan and Smith (2001) is an edited volume. Each language appears as a separate chapter with a different author. When you cite that book in-text, you must refer to the author of the particular chapter you have selected, rather than Swan and Smith, who are the editors.
(ii) All tasks will be submitted via Turnitin. However, Learner English has not been included in the Turnitin database, so any matches between it and your assignment will not show. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you follow correct procedures for paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting.
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The L1 chosen for the present study is Arabic. L2 is given as English. Since both English and Arabic have a large number of dialects, which can have a lot of differences even at the phonological level, for the purpose of this report, I plan to take into consideration Standard American English and Modern Standard Arabic to minimize variation and to present a consistent phonemic analysis.
Arabic is a Semitic language from the Afro-Asiatic Language Family, whereas English is a West Germanic language from the Indo-European Language family. Inevitably, these languages show many differences at the phonological level. Of course, they are also strikingly different at the level of orthography, lexemes, morphology, syntax, etc.
While studying the sound system of a language at a segmental level, we differentiate between two kinds of speech sounds, i.e. consonants and vowels. Consonants and vowels can be distinguished on the basis of their articulatory, acoustic and auditory properties.
Consonants are those sounds during the production of which there is partial or complete constriction somewhere in the vocal tract. Consonants are distinguished on the basis of the manner of occurrence of this constriction, the place in the vocal tract where this happens, and whether the sound production involves vibration in the vocal cords leading to voicing (Roach 1983).
Vowels, on the other hand, are those sounds during the production of which it is comparatively little or no constriction, leading to an open configuration of the vocal tract. Vowels are classified mainly on the basis of height (high and low), place (front and back) and rounding of lips (rounded and unrounded), however, length of the vowels (short and long) and vowel quality are also important criteria for their classification. Then there are cases where the boundaries of the definitions of consonants and vowels blur, as in the case of liquids and semi-vowels (Pennington 1996). The phonemic analysis of a language involves examining of these individual phonemes or speech sounds and the way in which they combine with other phonemes within the words of a language (morpho-phonetics) or across word boundaries during actual speech.
Arabic sound system comprises a total of thirty-two consonants, while that of English has only twenty-four. There are quite a number of common consonant sounds in both languages. However, there is also a considerable set of consonants restricted to each language.
The roots of Arabic words are nothing but a sequence of vowel-less consonants (they are, thus, also referred to as consonantal roots). Arabic words are formed from vowel infixes between such a sequence of consonants. Difference vowel infixes can lead to a change in meaning. This also means Arabic words can only begin with consonants (Watson 2002). However, in English, this is not the case. The roots of English words generally have both consonants and vowels together as syllables. Also, English words can begin with either consonants or vowels. In a way, consonants are more important than vowels in Arabic sound system. A consequence of that is consonants are emphasized in Arabic, but this does not necessarily happen in English.
Another major difference is, Arabic does not differentiate between a lot of voiceless and voiced sound pairs like /p/, /b/, /g/, /k/ (plosives or stops) and /f/, /v/ (fricatives). Unlike English, they are not distinct phonemes but allophones in Arabic. The phenomenon of rhoticity in English and Arabic is also different. Although English dialects vary greatly in the use of rhotic consonants, the /r/ is preserved in the Standard variety. Arabic learners, however, make it a voiced flap. Next, the approximation of English /h/ sound is harsh and highly aspirated in Arabic. The velar nasal sound /ŋ/ is absent in Arabic but is common in English (Smith 2011).