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Vol. 5 No. 1 (2002)

Explaining Chinese Learners' Errors in the Phonological Representations of Latinate Derivatives in English: A Psycholinguistic Perspective

  • Siok H. Lee
  • Stephen Carey
October 15, 2012


Investigations of ESL pronunciation have focused on segments, syllable structure and prosody. This study examines the phonological representations of English Latinate derivatives of 32 Cantonese speakers and 32 native speakers (NS) from the perspectives of morphophonemics and word association. The subjects (Grade 12) performed tests on listening, pronunciation and semantic rating of word pairs. The results confirmed the hypothesis that in the absence of analogous morphological and morphophonemic features in the L1, base-word pronunciation was the dominant error type for both learners and the NS subjects. As both groups showed comparable rates of recognition of the semantic association between morphologically related words, this recognition seems to account for the dominant error type of both ESL and NS groups.