Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Volume.3 Number.3, 2012                                                                                                pp. 168 – 189

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Phonology and Applied Linguistics Meet in Teaching Listening

Rajaa Aquil
Georgia Institute of Technology
School of Modern Languages


This paper discusses connected speech as a listening problem in foreign language pedagogy. The paper presents linguistic phonological changes that are characteristic of connected speech, which make understanding more difficult, especially for learners of foreign languages. A comparison is drawn between the phonological changes in connected speech of Colloquial Egyptian Arabic (CEA) and American English language (AE), specifically the changes that occur within words and at word boundaries. This is in order to demonstrate the similarities and differences in the phonological processes employed by each language. The paper concludes with an approach to teaching listening that capitalizes on the conducted contrastive analysis. It is an approach that dwells upon processes of listening. The proposed approach, The Listening Skill and Comprehension Approach, focuses on both comprehension and skill. It trains language learners not only to construct meaning, but also to crack the code. The approach includes pedagogical listening tasks that offer solutions to language learners’ problems in listening, some of which could be related to language transfer.

Keywords: Phonological changes, connected speech, listening pedagogy, listening tasks


Rajaa Aquil, Assistant Professor of Arabic at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Her
research and work is on psycholinguistics, specifically spoken languages. She published studies
in the Perspectives or Arabic linguistics and in the Journal of Psycholinguistic research. In
foreign language pedagogy, she focuses and works on L2 listening skill.