14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Xhosa L2 Speech Intelligibility: Ejectives, Implosives and Clicks

Philip Lewis, Justus C. Roux

Research Unit for Experimental Phonology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

This paper reports on a study involving the production and perception of 72 consonants and 7 vowels of the Xhosa language by two groups of beginner-learners from disparate linguistic backgrounds. In particular this presentation examines the nature of ejective, implosive and click sounds when produced by 8 adult native English and native Afrikaans speakers learning Xhosa whilst being adjudicated by 10 Xhosa native (L1) listeners. The Xhosa L2 findings are related to findings obtained from 8 Xhosa L1 speakers who also participated in the study in an attempt to make useful comparative analyses between L1 speakers and L2 learners' intelligibility scores. It is shown that L2 learners experience great difficulties with all three sound classes investigated. The nature and extent of “correctly” identified sounds is discussed cursorily after which a hierarchical ordering of sound classes is introduced demonstrating which classes of sounds seem to be more detrimental to intelligibility than others.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lewis, Philip / Roux, Justus C. (1999): "Xhosa L2 speech intelligibility: ejectives, implosives and clicks", In ICPhS-14, 1149-1152.