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Trends in Phonetics and Phonology

Studies from German-speaking Europe

Edited By Adrian Leemann, Marie-José Kolly, Stephan Schmid and Volker Dellwo

This volume was inspired by the 9th edition of the Phonetik & Phonologie conference, held in Zurich in October 2013. It includes state of the art research on phonetics and phonology in various languages and from interdisciplinary contributors. The volume is structured into the following eight sections: segmentals, suprasegmentals, articulation in spoken and sign language, perception, phonology, crowdsourcing phonetic data, second language speech, and arts (with inevitable overlap between these areas).
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“Das Haus” or “das Aus”? – How French learners produce word-initial /h/ in German



In this article we investigate the production of /h/ by French learners of German. Based on the analysis of a learner corpus, the results indicate that French speakers encounter some difficulties producing /h/ native-like. First, they do so less often than native speakers, and the strategies they use when /h/ is omitted differ from native speakers’ strategies. With advanced proficiency, /h/-production is mastered better. However, when French speakers produce /h/ it also differs from native German /h/. Acoustic measurements (based on duration and intensity ratios) show that in general, French speakers hyperarticulate /h/. The findings reported here can be used in language teaching to reduce the amount of accentuation.


Second language acquisition, interference, L2, speech production, learner corpus, German, French

*   Corresponding author:, Tel: +49 681 302 3419, Fax: +49 681 302 4684

a   Phonetics, Saarland University, Campus, C7.2, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany ← 303 | 304 →

1.0   Introduction

When adults learn a foreign language, achieving native-like proficiency is very hard. Especially pronunciation seems to be problematic to acquire after adolescence. The phonetic and phonological system of the native language interferes very often with the phonetic and phonological set up of the foreign language (e.g. among many others Flege et al., 1994; Flege, 1995; Best, 1995; Brown, 1998; Best & Tyler, 2007). Depending on the two systems in question, some segmental and suprasegmental contrasts are hard (maybe even almost impossible) to learn completely...

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