Arabic Name Pronunciations Essay

Length: 8 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Communication - Language Type: Essay Paper: #2530695 Related Topics: Linguistics, English Language Learners, English Second Language, Second Language
Excerpt from Essay :

Arabic Consonants

Phonology is one of the numerous apparatus of Linguistics (Linguistics, which, is a methodical study of the way in which languages function) and it transacts with the way in which speech sounds go around in a language. We are aware of that the variety of English we are talking about and recounting in these speeches is a range or dialect of British English (instead of American English, Canadian English, Australian English, etc.) We are also aware of the fact that in this dialect of English there are 44 speech sounds 20 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds. How does this vernacular of English sort out these 44 speech sounds to create words? That is one of the aspects of Phonology. I will now demonstrate this point with a few examples (Miller & Volaitis, 2006).

English phonology permits two consonants to embark on words, with no a vowel connecting them. There are languages in which words start with just one consonant. Arabic is one of them. For instance, the word please begins with the 2 consonants / p / and / l/; the word pray starts with the two consonants / p / and / r/; the word pure starts with the two consonants / p / and / j/. In accordance with English phonological rules, if two consonants start a word and if the first consonant is / p/, the second consonant has to be / l/, / r / or / j/. None of the other 21 consonants can come together with / p / originally in a word.

Literature Review

The sounds / p /, / b/, / k / and / ? / can come together with / l / at the starting of words, as established by the words gratify ( / p / and / l / coming together with each other), blue ( / b / and / l / shaping a cluster, class ( / k / and / l / clustering with each other and glad ( / ? / and / l / type of cluster. However the sounds / t / and / d / never form a cluster with / l / at the commencement of English words. No English word can start with / t/and / l/or with / d / and / l / (Best, 2003).

/p / and / s / can never begin an English word (bear in mind that the letter < p > is NOT elucidated in words like psalm and psychology), however these two sounds can cluster together at the end of words, as demonstrated by the words cups and lips.

The sound that starts the English word pain NEVER starts an Arabic word. The phonology of Arabic does not allow this .Therefore; Arabic speakers have the propensity to articulate words like pain, petrol, Pepsi, pen, pear, etc., with a / b/. This then, is an instance of the phonology of one's mother tongue controlling the phonology of a different language they are learning. In teaching pronunciation, we need to do more than simply teach rules and use mechanical drills (Miller & Volaitis, 2006). We need to emphasize the musical aspects of pronunciation in addition to individual sounds. We also need to use authentic materials and a wide range of techniques (Donna, 2010).

'Would you like some Bebsi?'

'Teacher, I do not have a bencil.'

'I was not on time because the bolice stopped me.'

Do these situations look familiar? How frequently do you see these uncomfortable spellings? If you are a professor in the Middle East or in parts of North Africa, you are most definitely going to listen to and see these mistakes quite often from learners for the reason that they are mainly native Arabic speakers. In an attempt to help rectify your student's articulation you might come back, "Zain, it's Pepsi not Bebsi" and keep repeating it until you believe he recognizes the distinction. He may say, "I understand teacher. That is what I said. Bebsi." You quickly understand that...


As a result, you search for more solutions until eventually you think there is nothing more you can do. This part of the paper attempts to present one more resolution to help solve this linguistic problem (Nabelek & Donahue, 2004).

The Study

Part of helping to solve the problem is in getting to the root of it. Why do Arab learners frequently make this error? To appreciate why, we must first look into and analyze the problem within the background of the student's local language. In Arabic, there are just about 28 letters and of those 28 letters none of them stand for the linguistic configuration of the English letter / p / which in linguistic terms is an unspoken bilabial stop. The letter / p / is 'unvoiced' ('voiceless') for the reason that the vocal cords do not quiver upon pronunciation, 'bilabial' because it can only be spoken by bringing the two lips jointly, and a 'stop' because pronouncing this letter briefly 'stops' the flow of air into the mouth. The adjoining letters which imitate the English letter / p / is the Arabic letter ?, which is frequently transliterated in texts into the English letter / b/. A similar Arabic equivalent is akin in all features of the English / p / not including the Arabic letter ? is 'voiced'. Fundamentally, Arab learners have trouble pronouncing and listening to the English letter / p / since it does not exist in their language so they pronounce and construe the closest letter to it which exists in their language, which is the ?, time and again transliterated as / b / (Donna, 2010).

Most non-native subjects examined in the vowel production studies just cited had never lived in an English-speaking country, or else had done so for less than 8 years. The results of two recent studies suggest that certain vowel errors persist in the speech of highly experienced L2 learners. Munro (1993) found that many English vowels spoken by native Arabic subjects who had lived in the United States for over 15 years were judged to be foreign-accented. The Arabic subjects greatly exaggerated the duration differences between tense/lax English vowel pairs, as if they were Arabic-like long vs. short contrasts. It is, therefore, possible that use of non-English feature specifications was responsible for foreign accent in the Arabic subjects' English vowels (James, 1995).

It is obvious from the data composed that Saudi students did not have great difficulties acquiring the selected IPA codes and the idea of phonetic transcriptions. This is clear from the results of the tests that were agreed upon. The students tried to get most of the consonant codes well and above 40% with the exception of for / p / and / b/. This is because of the fact that the consonant letters'sounds for example / z/, / s/, / ?/, / d / and / k / survive in the Arabic language alphabet and are marked in the same way in the Arabic words (Blachman, 1994). Therefore, the greater part of the students did not have immense difficulties classify these codes or pronouncing words full of these consonants in the approved manner. Even though the / g / letter's sound is not present in the Arabic alphabet, it seems that does not resemble (to L1 Arabic speakers) any other letter's sound and consequently the students managed to be on familiar terms with and pronounce it correctly. An additional reason for this is that the students were educated some rules regarding the differences between / ? / letter's sound and / g / (e.g. words beginning with letter "g" and pursue the vowel "o" have the IPA phonetic symbol / g / ). The biggest difficulty the students faced was the alternations of letters "P" and B?. Just about 50% of the students were not able to differentiate between these two letters in writing, enunciating (words having ?P' or ?B' in them) and yet in transcribing them.

Yet again that may well be traced back to the reality that Arabic language does not contain the sound / p / - (Kenworthy, 1987) and consequently approximated to the nearest Arabic letter ?B' which is allophonic to "P." Preceding this study, the students who took part in this study (not including ten students), had little to no knowledge of phonetic dictation and its practice in the monolingual (English - English) dictionaries. Even when the students were both given a copy of the (LDCE, 2005) and were taught to interpret (or try to put in plain words the purpose of ) the IPA codes that followed the words in the vocabulary . No satisfactory answer or explanation was known. When they were well-versed that they will be taught some of these IPA codes soon, a few of them were…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Donna Brinton, Marianne Celce-Murcia, Janet M. Goodwin. Teaching Pronunciation: A COURSE BOOK AND REFERENCE GUIDE. Cambridge University Press, 2010

James Emil Flege, Second Language Speech Learning Theory, Findings, and Problems. Timonium, MD: York Press, 1995.

Best, C. 2003. Emergence of Language-Specific Constraints in Perception of Non-Native Speech: A Window on Early Phonological Development. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Nabelek, A., and Donahue, A. 2004. Perception of Consonants in Reverberation by Native and Non-Native Listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 75:632-34.

Cite this Document:

"Arabic Name Pronunciations" (2014, December 12) Retrieved January 17, 2022, from

"Arabic Name Pronunciations" 12 December 2014. Web.17 January. 2022. <>

"Arabic Name Pronunciations", 12 December 2014, Accessed.17 January. 2022,

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