Foot duration and polysyllabic shortening among Arab speakers of English




Polysyllabic shortening, timing patterns, rhythm, Arabic, English as a second language


This study investigates a neglected aspect of second language acquisition. It compares the timing patterns adopted by speakers of English as a foreign language with those of English native speakers. The paper aims to explore the extent to which Arab speakers, whose L1 is not as stress-timed as English is, can acquire the mechanisms of polysyllabic shortening in English. Three groups (English native speakers and two groups of Jordanian speakers of English) were requested to read three sets of monosyllabic, disyllabic and trisyllabic words in a carrier sentence. The total length of the word and the vowel duration in all the words were measured. Clear differences between the native speaker group and the non-native speaker groups were attested. Results show that isochronous foot duration and polysyllabic shortening are a tendency in English speech timing, rather than a fundamental process. Furthermore, acquiring the timing patterns of the stress-timed English rhythm is challenging to Arab speakers.


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How to Cite

Abu Guba, M. N. (2023). Foot duration and polysyllabic shortening among Arab speakers of English. Loquens, 9(1-2), e091.