Cross-Linguistic Influence On The Acquisition Of English Pronunciation By Tunisian EFL Learners

  • Nadia Bouchhioua Faculté des Lettres, des Arts et des Humanités, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia


While acquiring English as a second language (L2) has received substantial research, learning English as a third language (L3) especially in complex sociolinguistic contexts has not received as much attention. Various factors including typological similarity between L2 and L3 are believed to affect the process and the product of learning a third language. Typological similarity is said to facilitate learning at the lexcio-semantic level. However, its effects on the learning of L3 phonology is not always as such. In this study, cross-linguistic influence on the acquisition of English (as L3) pronunciation in the Tunisian context which is characterized by multilingualism involving Tunisian Arabic (TA) as mother tongue, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as the first language learnt at school, and French as L2 is investigated. The production of two pronunciation features is tested. These features are the sounds existing in English-French cognates such as information, syntax, important, and stress placement in polysyllabic words. The methodology consisted in having English major university students and their teachers produce these features in read and spontaneous speech. Phonetic analysis and statistical tests revealed significant linguistic transfer from French in the pronunciation of the target features. The participants produced the French nasalized vowel [ɛ̃] in the syllables in English-French cognate vocabulary instead of the correct English pronunciation and placed stress on final syllables according to French stress patterns in their production of English polysyllabic words that should be stressed elsewhere.


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How to Cite
Bouchhioua, N. (2016). Cross-Linguistic Influence On The Acquisition Of English Pronunciation By Tunisian EFL Learners. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 12(5), 260.