Simplification Strategies in the Production of English Word-final Obstruent Clusters by Iraqi EFL College Students from A Markedness Theory Perspective

Zainab S. Ahmed al-Charrakh, Mahdi I. Kareem al-Utbi

Abstract


This study investigates the phonotactics of English obstruent clusters in the word-final position from a markedness theory perspective among Iraqi EFL College Students whose native language, Arabic, prefers only two-member word-final obstruent cluster as a maximum. The markedness of clusters is measured depending on Iraqi EFL College Students’ utilization of the simplification strategies. This study tries to answer whether or not word-final obstruent clusters are marked or unmarked for Iraqi EFL College Students, and whether or not the markedness of the obstruent cluster increases as to its length. In order to answer these questions, a test has been distributed among 60 Iraqi EFL Fourth-Year College students, Department of English, College of Arts-University of Baghdad for the academic year 2017-2018 involving a list of words and sentences containing word-final obstruent clusters. The study concludes that word-final obstruent clusters are marked due to the fact that the obstruents are universally marked in the coda. The four-member obstruent clusters are more marked than the three-member obstruent clusters which are in turn more marked than the two-member obstruent clusters.

Keywords


English, Arabic, EFL, Markedness, Obstruents, Phonotactics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.6p.120

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