Discerning /e/ and /æ/. A Challenging Task or Not?
Keywords:English vowels, acoustic properties, acoustic analysis, vowel formants, vowel length, English learners
Disproportion between Serbian and English vowel systems often causes problems in the articulation of English vowels in adult EFL learners. Their inability to adequately recognize and pronounce numerous vowels that the Serbian vowel system does not contain is particularly obvious in cases of vowels of the mid and low vowel space area. A typical example of this phenomenon is the case of /e/ and /æ/. This paper presents the findings of a research of the acoustic properties of the two vowels in Serbian EFL senior students. The study comprised both qualitative and quantitative characteristics of vowels in the articulation of ten female and five male participants in a reading task. The acoustic measurements of the vowels included frequency values of the formants F1 and F2 and their length. The results obtained verify the claim that the distinction between the two vowels represents one of the most difficult tasks for Serbian EFL learners.
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