Author(s): Sarab Kadir Mugair and Tengku Sepora Tengku Mahadi

Scholars like Roach (1992) and Abdul-Rauf (1977) state that sounds are generally classified into consonants and vowels. A consonant is identified as a speech sound which blocks the air flow through the vocal tract. While a vowel is seen as the class of sound which makes the least blocks to the air flow. Vowels are nearly ever located at the centre of a syllable, and it uncommon to locate any sound other than a vowel which is able to stand alone as a whole syllable (Roach, 1992). Each vowel has a number of features that realizes it from other vowel sounds. These comprise; the shape of the lips, which could be rounded, neutral, or spread. The second feature is the position of the tongue, which may be front, middle, or back. Finally, the tongue may be raised giving different vowel qualities. In fact, there are similarities and differences in distribution the vowel sounds in both English and Arabic languages. They differ in number; English has more vowels than Arabic, i.e., Arabic has far fewer vowels and diphthongs than English and articulation is more stressed than English. There is also the use of glottal stops before initial vowels. These languages are also different in distribution; English words can start with vowels, whereas Arabic words can only start with consonants. Both languages have several joint vowels, but in the same respect, there are some vowel sounds that are limited to each one of them. However, many theoretical and practical contrastive researches have been done on different levels of language by scholars, linguists and psycholinguists in the field of Contrastive Analysis. There are mainly three levels which are made use of in CA studies: 1) lexis 2) grammar 3) phonology. From these three level the level of phonology and in particular the sound systems of English and Arabic are compared and contrasted in the current study. Virtually, this study juxtaposed the vowels of English and Arabic and supplied examples from both languages to draw out the similarities and difference. It also debates the difficulties that Arabs learning English face when learning English. The research will be focused on the comparison between standard American English and standard Arabic which is called Modern Literary Arabic as it is the language of publications in all the Arab states, as well as the oral language of formal occasions. Keywords: Introduction, Vowels in Standard Arabic, Characterization of Arabic Vowels, Vowels in Standard American English, and Specific comparison and potential problems