Phonological Variation of Intervocalic /t/ among Thai learners

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Suthinee Promkandorn


This paper aims at investigating an English phonological variable of /t/ which can be realized as an aspirated t [tʰ] and a flap t [ɾ] across three speech styles, including Interview, Reading Passage, and Wordlist. Forty English major students from four universities in Chiang Mai participated in the study by using a purposive random sampling method. Different realizations of /t/ from the three tasks were judged by a native English speaker and categorized under the feature of RP (Received Pronunciation) or GA (General American), which can lead to a discussion of which accent is preferable among Thai learners. The analysis confirmed once again by the researcher for credibility. Sounds that were still in ambiguity was further analyzed by using a speech analyzer program called “PRAAT” to view their spectral content.  The results indicate that the realization of intervocalic /t/ as [tʰ] which belongs to the Received Pronunciation is widely practiced among students in different institutes. It is, therefore, regarded as a prestigious feature that the students would like to adopt. The preference towards the [tʰ] sound is also supported by the considerably higher percentage of [tʰ] in the wordlist, which is the most formal style, than in other instruments. The Chi-square test also confirmed that the pronunciation awareness of /t/ is significantly correlated with the speech styles (χ2 = 17.11, df = 2,  p<.01).


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Promkandorn, S. (2020). Phonological Variation of Intervocalic /t/ among Thai learners. Journal of Human Sciences, 21(1), 96-115. Retrieved from
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