Acquisition of the Labio-Dental Fricative /v/ in English L2 and Jamaican Creole: A Comparative Study

Ahmed Ibrahim Mousa


This research attempts to investigate to what extent the claim that the strategies resorted to by second/foreign language learners are, more or less, the same as those used by speakers of pidgin/creole languages. To this end, the speech of two speakers of the well-known Broad Jamaican Creole is compared with the performance of Saudi learners of English, with respect to the pronunciation of the voiced labio-dental fricative /v/. It is found that the above claim is valid, in that before the fricative in question is acquired the speakers make use of another fricative as a transitory step. This behaviour is found to corroborate that of the child, which is recorded as external evidence that adds to existent literature of the logical problem of language learning. Furthermore, this strategy goes hand in hand with the norms of historical change, in that the substitute sounds are not marked. That is, although the pronunciation of [b] instead of /v/ is characteristic of the Broad Jamaican Creole, our Jamaican speakers prefer to use the bilabial fricative [?], which is exactly used by the child. Likewise, our Arab learners make use of voiceless [f] for the voiced /v/ which is more marked.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)   E-mail:

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