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Title: The pronunciation of Sicilian speakers of Maltese
Authors: Pagano Mariano, Paola
Keywords: Maltese language -- Pronunciation by foreign speakers
Glottalization (Phonetics)
Grammar, Comparative and general -- Phonology
Italian language -- Dialects -- Italy -- Sicily -- Phonetics
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Pagano Mariano, P. (2018). The pronunciation of Sicilian speakers of Maltese (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: This dissertation examines the pronunciation of Sicilian speakers of Maltese, focusing on the realisation of the glottal fricative /h/ and glottal stop /ʔ/. A brief description of the Sicilian dialect of Italian and of contact with Maltese is provided as a means to setting the scene and motivating this study. A review of the relevant literature on Second Language Acquisition and a description of the segmental phonologies of Maltese and Sicilian are then provided with a view to homing in on the specific elements investigated in this study. A brief outline of the articulatory and acoustic properties of the two sounds /h/ and /ʔ/ is also given. The literature review is followed by an outline of the methodology used. Two Sicilian speakers of Maltese aged 21 (Speaker B) and 23 (Speaker A), were involved in this study, Speaker B started learning Maltese at a younger age than Speaker A and has a more advanced level of proficiency in the language. A dominant speaker of Standard Maltese (DM) also took part in the study, data from this speaker serving as a baseline for comparison of the patterns of pronunciation exhibited by the two Sicilian speakers. Three main tasks were used as a means of collecting data: a map task, a read text task and a carrier sentence task. No map task data were collected from DM. The material incorporated in the three tasks included target words containing the target sounds /h/ and /ʔ/ in four contexts or word-positions: word-initial, word-medial, word-final and in clusters. The map task data were recorded first (the two Sicilians only). Each speaker then did the read task and the carrier sentence task in this order. It was hypothesised that the two Sicilian speakers might have difficulties pronouncing the Maltese phonemes /h/ and /ʔ/, neither of which occur in Sicilian. The results of the auditory analysis show that none of the speakers ever omitted /h/ and /ʔ/ except, in a few cases in clusters. However, differences in the durational realisation of both /h/ and /ʔ/ were observed across the three speakers. Longest durations for both sounds were noted in Speaker A while the highest variability was found in Speaker B’s pronunciation of the target sounds. The variability in the more advanced of the two Sicilian speakers can be attributed to continuing attempts, on the part of the learner, towards more native-like pronunciation of the target elements. Interestingly, although both Sicilian speakers showed differences in duration as compared to DM, target elements exhibited durations in word-initial > word-medial > clusters > word-final. Only in the case of Speaker B’s /ʔ/ data was there a deviation in this pattern, with the order being: word-medial > word-initial > clusters > word-final.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsLin - 2018

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