Thai Students' Production of English Coda Clusters An Experiment on Sonority with Thai University Students Taking an English Fundamental Course

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Hieu Trung Le
Atipat Boonmoh


In studies of English language learning and teaching, phonological development of second language (L2) learners has received considerable attention. Investigation of phonological acquisition, as well as problematic areas, are useful to predict difficulties that L2 speakers of English may confront when perceiving and producing particular sounds. Consequently, this research was initiated to understand how Thai students of English produce English coda clusters patterning Consonant-stops. To predict the areas of difficulty in producing such clusters, use was made of the Universal Principle (Sonority Sequencing Principle), together with the Markedness Differential Hypothesis established by Eckman (1977). This case study involved participation of 10 students who were taking a third fundamental English course at King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Thailand. The students were asked to produce target sounds in cluster elicitation tasks. The tasks required students to produce the target clusters in both formal and natural situations. Areas of difficulty in producing clusters for Thai learners of English were identified, though the hypothesis generated was not confirmed. Deletion and substitution were frequently used as ways to modify problematic clusters.


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Author Biographies

Hieu Trung Le, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi

Hieu Trung Le is a lecturer at School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi. He received a Master degree in Applied Linguistics - English Language Teaching at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand. His research interests include Phonology, Interlanguage, and World Englishes. He can be accessed at

Atipat Boonmoh, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi

Atipat Boonmoh is an assistant professor at School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching from University of Warwick, UK. His research interests include lexicography, language learning, learning strategies, and intercultural communication.  He can be reached at


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