Show Less
Restricted access

The Attainment of an English Accent

British and American Features in Advanced German Learners


Alexander Kautzsch

This book investigates inconsistencies in the accent adopted by advanced German learners of English with respect to differences between standard American and British English (rhoticity, t-voicing, the vowels in the lexical sets «bath», «lot» and «thought»). From a theoretical point of view, the volume contributes to understanding the status of L1 transfer in language learners at «ultimate attainment», a stabilized, late stage in language acquisition. Unlike in many studies in second language acquisition, the approach taken here is variationist, taking into account extra- and intra-linguistic factors as potential explanations for variability. The findings suggest that in addition to the target accent the strongest external factor is time spent abroad, while L1 accent and proficiency level seem to have minor impact only.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

5 Methodology


The present chapter surveys the methodologies adopted in this study. First, section 5.1 gives an account of the speakers analyzed. Then section 5.2 presents the German and the English reading passages on which the empirical analyses are based. The next two sections, 5.3 on rhoticity and linking and 5.4 on t-voicing, describe the methodologies applied to the examination of the consonantal features, section 5.5 explains how vowel data for BATH, LOT, THOUGHT and the corresponding German vowels were obtained, including descriptions of the technical details of vowel measurement in PRAAT (5.5.3) and plotting in R (5.5.4). Finally, 5.6 introduces the statistical procedures for testing significances of external an internal factors in the consonant analyses (5.6.1) and for establishing similarities and difference between vowels (5.6.2).

5.1 Speakers

The study at hand analyzes 40 advanced German speakers of English and 10 native speakers as a control group. The selection of the German speakers is in line with the research questions presented in chapter 4 and thus takes into account the extra-linguistic factors target accent, L1 accent region, proficiency level, and time spent abroad. Since the effect of gender on learner language is not treated here, the analyses are based on female speakers only. In order to avoid interference with other external variables, the speaker sample is controlled for the personal factors of age, AO, and educational level as well. This means that all participants are between 20 and 25 years of age, started...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.