Perception and Production of Geminate Consonants by English Speakers and Kuwaiti Arabic Speakers
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By comparing the ability of English speakers and Kuwaiti Arabic speakers to perceive and reproduce a novel length contrast encoded in new words, the present study aimed to determine the implications of phonemic status of consonant length on perception and production. In a condition where long consonants were derived from singletons and paired with their natural counterparts (Natural S condition) English speakers were able to perceive the length contrast encoded in the stimuli some of the time. They did not, however, reproduce a length contrast. Kuwaiti Arabic speakers were able to discriminate the length contrast in the Natural S condition most of the time. In a condition where short consonants were derived from natural geminates and paired with their natural counterparts (Natural G condition), Kuwaiti Arabic speakers were able to discriminate the contrast almost all of the time. Kuwaiti Arabic speakers reproduced a length contrast in both conditions. Furthermore, for the Kuwaiti Arabic speakers, perceptual ability predicted the magnitude ofG:S duration ratio reproduced by the speaker.