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Title: Non-native perception of the English phonemes /w/ and /v/ by native Sinhalese speakers : a study exploring perceptual difficulties associated with L2 acquisition
Author: Ekanayake, Dulika
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this study was to test the abilities of native Sinhalese speakers to perceive and produce the English phonemes /w/ and Nl. It is well known that people who speak Sinhalese as their first language have difficulty in acquiring the English (L2) phoneme contrast w-v. This is commonly seen among these speakers in their L2 speech production, Experiment 1 involved native Sinhalese speakers completing language background questionnaires and carrying out an English phoneme identification task of natural speech for assessment of their L2 perception. Experiment 1 also consisted of a voice recording of the Sinhalese subjects in order to assess their L2 speech production. Experiment 2 required the native Sinhalese speakers to carry out an identification/goodness task of synthesised English phonemes and to state whether the stimuli could be assimilated to the native Sinhalese phoneme A)/. Experiment 2 also involved an identification/goodness task in which native Sinhalese bilinguals and English monolinguals assessed the synthesised stimuli for assimilations to the English phonemes /w/ and Nl. Experiment 3 was carried out by both Sinhalese and English speakers and involved a discrimination task and similarity task. The results showed that the Sinhalese bilinguals generally had a low sensitivity to perception of the English phonemes. The Sinhalese Bilinguals who had more proficient use of their second language L2 showed a high sensitivity for acoustical changes in the dimension of manner of articulation wile the English speakers were sensitive to both manner and place of articulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available