15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Production of English Sounds by EFL Learners: The Case of /i/ and /ɪ/

Natalia Fullana-Rivera (1), Ian R.A. MacKay (2)

(1) Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
(2) University of Ottawa, Canada

The present study examined the production of English /i/ and /ɪ/ by 135 native speakers (NSs) of Spanish and Catalan with different starting ages of foreign language (FL) learning and degree of exposure to the FL. Subjects (Ss) were foreign language (FL) learners in a formal learning context within the first language (L1) community. Seven English-speaking listeners were asked to identify the vowels /i/ and /ɪ/ that the Ss and a control group of 13 NSs of English produced in the words
   tea and it. Results showed that learners' /i/s were identified at higher frequency rates than their /ɪ/s. As in (Flege et al., 1997), learners' /ɪ/s differed significantly from NSs' /ɪ/ identification scores, and were often misidentified as /i/. Differences among age groups' rate of correct identification for /i/ and /ɪ/ did not reach significance. Nor did the effect of experience. However, an improvement in FL learners' production /ɪ/ was observed along with an increase in exposure to the FL. Overall, the findings agree with previous research on the production of English /i/ and /ɪ/ as an L2 by Spanish and Catalan NSs and extend them to a FL learning context.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fullana-Rivera, Natalia / MacKay, Ian R.A. (2003): "Production of English sounds by EFL learners: the case of /i/ and /ɪ/", In ICPhS-15, 1525-1528.