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You are here: Home / News & Events / Amanda Eads (Penn State) - An Articulatory Investigation of Arabic Emphatics and Gutturals Using Ultrasound

Amanda Eads (Penn State) - An Articulatory Investigation of Arabic Emphatics and Gutturals Using Ultrasound

When Mar 06, 2020
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Moore 127
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An Articulatory Investigation of Arabic Emphatics and Gutturals Using Ultrasound

This study investigates the articulation of Arabic emphatics and gutturals among fifteen second language students, five heritage students, and five native Lebanese Arabic speakers. The second language and heritage students were enrolled in various levels of Arabic instruction at a major university in the American South. The motivation for this study stems from two key issues: the small amount of literature discussing phonological acquisition of Arabic among adult second language learners and the need for more technical articulatory feedback to address students’ pronunciation errors (Ryding 2013). Many of the student participants struggle with the Arabic emphatic and guttural phones. For several participants these sounds were extremely challenging, and participants were not able to differentiate between their articulations of these phones. This coincides with Odisho’s claim (2005) that Arabic emphatics and gutturals are most difficult for beginning English L1 students because these are unfamiliar sounds. There are three categories of Arabic gutturals: glottals, pharyngeals, and uvulars, as discussed by Al Solami (2013). Arabic has four emphatics that add a secondary articulation to /s d t ð/. However, there is debate concerning whether the articulation of gutturals and the secondary articulation of emphatics involves the retraction of the tongue body or the tongue root (Ali and Daniloff 1972, Ghazeli 1977, Al Solami 2017). Therefore, this ultrasound study provides a detailed analysis concerning how L2 Arabic students are articulating these phones, at what level students are typically able to differentiate their articulation of the target phones, and in what order this occurs. Furthermore, examining native Arabic speakers compared to the literature and the student participants, contributes to the literature debate and provides insight into the student participants' articulatory struggles.