Glocalization of English: An Analysis of the Phonological Deviations of Semivowels and Liquids in Pakistani English


  • Salma Naz Khattak National University of Medical Sciences, Rawalpindi
  • Zahir Shah National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad
  • Dr Farzana Masroor Air University, Islamabad


Being a global lingua franca, English is widely used as a medium of communication, particularly among the educated class in Pakistan. It serves not only as one of the country's official languages but also as a medium of instruction in the higher education sector. Over the years, it has evolved so much that it stands as a distinctive variety of English identified as Pakistani English (PE). Though numerous studies have briefly focused on the phonological deviation of consonants in PE, an in-depth research is needed to analyse each consonant thoroughly. In this regard, this paper aims to explore how PE speakers pronounce the selected English consonants, semivowels [w] and [j], and liquids [l] and [r]. For this purpose, a sample of 20 participants (10 males and 10 Females) enrolled in Masters in English linguistics and literature was selected from a public sector university in Islamabad. Each participant was provided with a list of preselected words for each phoneme and was asked to pronounce them individually. Firstly, we recorded the sessions, then transcribed the data phonemically, and finally, we analysed the data in comparison with the Received Pronunciation (RP) obtained from the PhoTransEdit Online application. The results were illustrated in the stacked bar graph. The findings show that PE deviates from RP in all the respective English semivowels and liquids because these phonemes were not present in their first language, Urdu. Consequently, PE speakers substitute the English phonemes with the nearest available Urdu equivalent. The study is significant because it highlights the salient features of PE in terms of its deviation from RP.

Keywords: Consonant Sounds, Liquids, Pakistani English, Received Pronunciation, Semivowels.

Author Biographies

Salma Naz Khattak, National University of Medical Sciences, Rawalpindi

Salma Naz Khattak  is Lecturer English in National University of Medical Sciences, Rawalpindi . She teaches Functional  English courses to undergraduate students at the university. Her research interests are Genre Analysis, phonology of Pakistani English , and Critical Discourse Analysis.

Zahir Shah, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad

Zahir Shah is Lecturer in English in the Department of English Undergraduate Studies, National University of Modern Languages Islamabad. His research interest includes Genre Analysis, English language teaching, and sociolinguistics.

Dr Farzana Masroor, Air University, Islamabad

Farzana Masroor is Chair Department of English, Air University, Islamabad. She teaches Discourse Analysis, Language and Power and Advanced Stylistics to postgraduate students at the university. Her research interests involve Genre Analysis, Written Argumentation, and Critical Discourse Analysis.