Exploring Elision of Schwa of /ə/ in English Utterances by C & U English Majors

HUAI-ZHOU MAO, HUA-YING CHEN

Abstract


An acoustic study on the elision of schwa [ʃwɑ:] of /ə/ in English utterances produced by a native speaker of English, a Han Chinese learner of English major, [C] and a Uyghur learner of English  majors [U] presented in this paper. With Praat software, three acoustic parameters-fundamental frequencies [F0], the first formant [F1] and the second formant [F2]-are measured with two tiers (syllables and words). The results show that the Uyghur learner of English major produces the elision (omission) of schwa in the same way as the native speaker of English does, while the Han Chinese learner of English major produces schwa of /ə/ in English poorly. The paper indicates that the Elision of Schwa in English produced by learners is influenced by the transfer of their mother tongues. Thus, it enlightens that the second [L2] or third language [L3] speech acquisition is restricted by phonological system of their mother languages, and the contrastive study of the phonological system of the native tongue and the second or third language will give us scaffolding in our phonetic instruction, especially in the teaching of Schwa /ə/ and others in English utterances of Chinese and Uyghur English majors.

 


Keywords


Elision, Schwa, First formant, Second formant

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.2n.1p.117

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