Distinguishing Marked Vs. Unmarked Sounds by Persian Children

Mehdi Dehghayedi, Firooz Sadighi


The present study aimed at categorizing the two allophones (/v/ and /u/) of morpheme /و/ as marked and unmarked. To do so, thirty- two male students from an elementary school who have just passed the first grade were selected. They were all Persian speakers, learning Farsi as their first language. The elicitation instruments used for data collection was a list of words with /v/ or /u/ sounds with the single written form of /و/ in Persian to which the students have not yet come across (at least in their text books). The participants were required to read aloud the words on the list while their voice was being recorded by the researchers. The data collected were then transcribed based on IPA phonetic features and were analyzed by the descriptive statistics Chi Square to find the frequency with which /v/ or /u/ was pronounced. Results revealed that the difference between the expected and observed frequencies of participants’ pronouncing /و / letter as /v/ or /u/ is quite significant which depicts Persian children’s meaningful tendency towards pronouncing/و/ letter as /u/ rather than /v/. To double check the findings, the data was examined against a number of markedness descriptors. Finally, it was concluded that /u/ and /v/ were distinguished as unmarked and marked respectively.


marked/unmarked items, child language, allophones, Persian language

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