Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Winter 2009

School

School of Communication

Major

TESL

Primary Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

Abstract

The complex process of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is a challenge for linguists to explain. One perspective, the Markedness Principle, states that certain language characteristics are not as common cross-linguistically. For example, the coda position in syllables occurs less universally in languages. Linking this with the well-known difficulty that native Korean speakers typically face with the English phonemes /l/ and /r/, the hypothesis states that pronouncing these sounds is most challenging in the coda. An experiment is designed to embed nonsense words containing /l/ and /r/ in a story, which is recorded as the subjects read aloud. The hypothesis is borne out, leading to the suggestion of helpful pedagogical strategies for those who teach English to speakers of other languages.

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