Rhythm and Stress at Practice: Rhythmic Anomalies of Foreign Speakers of English : A Case Study of Mostaganem University Students

DERRAZ, Amel (2011) Rhythm and Stress at Practice: Rhythmic Anomalies of Foreign Speakers of English : A Case Study of Mostaganem University Students. In: 1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’11), 5-7 May 2011, Sarajevo.

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Abstract

Today, more than ever, languages are becoming more and more an essential means for the human kind to get in touch with each other and/or to improve his professional situation. Indeed, learning has always been basic for the shaping of social life and so have foreign languages. Knowing a foreign language implies speaking and being understood by others who know that language. Learning a foreign language implies learning a foreign culture, a foreign way of thinking, a foreign grammatical structure, a foreign phonological system. However, knowing the phonological sound system of a language includes knowing more than the phonemic inventory of sounds, it includes knowing which sound start the word, end a word and the possible consonant clusters, the syllable structure, etc. Most foreign language learners of English aim at achieving a perfect native-like pronunciation as well as displaying a certain degree of fluency and naturalness as they speak English. The great majority of foreign learners centre their attention on the actualization of individual segments that is achieved by a tedious repetition of sounds/ phonemes of the target language in isolation or within simple words. However, a relative mastery of the English pronunciation lies in mastering what the American phoneticians call: supra-segmental features, and the British call: the prosodic features. As a way of illustrating, one can mention stress, intonation and rhythm. The latter is said to be of significant importance in the sense that it procures a native touch to the speech of a foreign learner of English. That was stressed by a number of phoneticians and specialists, as Peter Roach, who states clearly that « rhythm is not an optional extra; it is all part of the prosodic package of being native speaker in English ». Indeed, the ignorance or the neglect of such a prosodic feature which shows to be of a significant importance seems to be at the roots of the difficulties foreign learners face while speaking English. In this respect, two main questions are addressed in this paper. What are, then, the main problems learners of English face while learning and / or acquiring English rhythm (knowing and mastering English rhythm will be brought to the fore in this paper). Furthermore, in this paper, rhythmic structure of Arabic and English will be compared to try to explore the possibilities of finding the reasons lying beneath the mispronunciation or the mis-reproduction of English rhythm by Arabic speakers. Although Arabic and English rhythmic modes are said to be similar to each other, Arabic speakers of English tend to miss the amount of reduction in duration (of unstressed syllables) and thus seem somehow unable to master the English rhythm fully and achieve thus a native like pronunciation. Put differently, although English and Arabic are said to be stress- timed languages, the Arabic learners of English still have difficulties in reproducing correct English rhythm. It should be interesting to explore further the sources lying beneath that incompetency.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arabic rhythm, English rhythm, stress-timed, stress
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Users 4 not found.
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2012 12:14
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2012 08:46
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/695

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