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Identifying Plosives in L2 English

The Case of L1 Cypriot Greek Speakers

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Elena Kkese

This volume presents the results of two tasks examining the acquisition of plosive voicing contrasts in L2 English by college students with Cypriot Greek (CG) backgrounds. The tasks focus on the different factors affecting plosive identification and the types of errors involving plosives. With respect to the first issue, the phonetic perception of plosives turns out to be better in voiceless consonants compared to their voiced counterparts, thus providing evidence for the importance of the voicing contrast factor. With respect to the second issue, the results point to the same direction since it appears that L2 users performed significantly better in voiceless plosives. It is also indicated that they were able to perceive voiced plosives but they treated such instances as a /nasal+voiced plosive/sequence (prenasalised plosives). Therefore, the overall results seem to agree mostly with the speech perception approach suggesting that voiced plosives are realised differently in CG while the difficulties of the L2 CG users with plosives seem to be attributed to VOT differences between the L1 and the L2.

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Chapter Five: Discussion

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Introduction

In the previous chapter, a detailed description of the results obtained in the present study for Research Questions 1 and 2 has been provided. It is now time to turn to the discussion of the findings18 in terms of their relation to previous empirical research, as well as to the approaches of second language phonology and speech perception in an effort to identify the source of plosive difficulties that L2 CG users face. In section 1, the emphasis is on the question regarding the different factors that affect the identification of plosives and the different weight assigned to each of them in the two identification tasks. In section 1.1, an interpretation of this difference is provided and in section 1.2 the similarity of the results to other studies in L1 and L2 acquisition fields is highlighted. In section 1.3, the focus is on the theoretical implications of the findings in terms of second language phonology and speech perception. In the second part of the chapter, section 2, the issue of error types is discussed. Specifically, in section 2.1 an interpretation of the types of errors is provided before turning to the relation of the present findings to previous research in section 2.2. In section 2.3, the theoretical implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the two approaches. In section 3, the source of the difficulties faced by L2 CG users when it comes to plosive consonants in English is identified based on the...

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