Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

‘Gem’ or ‘Jam’? - Perception and Production of American English Vowel Contrasts by Brazilian Portuguese ESL Speakers
by Souza Farias, Luciene, M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2012, 169; 1517347
Abstract (Summary)

This study focuses on understanding how Brazilian Portuguese speakers (BP) perceive and produce contrastive vowels in American English, namely /i/-/I/, /ϵ/-/æ/ and the same vowels in a nasalized environment. Four experiments were utilized in this study. Two related to perception, (an image identification task and a forced-choice task) and two related to production (a wordlist reading task and an elicited production task). Sixteen Brazilian Portuguese speakers and eleven American English speakers participated in this study. Based on Second Language Acquisition theory, this study analyzed how: a) BP speakers map the contrastive vowels in comparison to American English speakers from the Midwest; and b) what influence age of arrival in the US, gender, and proficiency level have over participants' perception and production. Results indicate that proficiency level is the variable that influences the most on how BP perceive and produce the contrastive vowels, whereas gender and age of arrival do not present significant alteration on how BP speakers perceive and produce the contrastive vowels. In addition, nasal vowels play an important role in how participants perceive and produce them but to a lesser or greater extent depending on the vowel quality. Lastly, the contrast /i/-/I/ is harder to perceive and easier to produce whereas the contrast /ϵ/-/æ/ is easier to perceive and harder to produce for Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hildebrandt, Kristine
Commitee:
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Language arts, Bilingual education, Linguistics
Keywords:
Publication Number: 1517347
ISBN: 9781267471598
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