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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.

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Language Learning is a field which bridges the gap between the research conducted within Psycholinguistics and the applied research within Foreign Language Didactics. For a long time, these two fields were regarded as separate disciplines, and the emphasis lay on their differences. However, just as there has been a gradual convergence between the concepts of language acquisition and language learning, over the past few years Psycholinguistics and Foreign Language Didactics have also been moving closer together. While Psycholinguistics is taking a growing interest in the classroom context in which language learning takes place, Foreign Language Didactics have fully embraced empirical research which sheds light on the linguistic phenomena found in the interactions within the classroom.

The series Inquiries in Language Learning (Forschungen zu Psycholinguistik und Fremdsprachendidaktik) aims to reflect this development. Since the areas of intersection between these two research fields have a high level of interdisciplinarity, the contributions to this series are relevant in many different ways for educators and researchers who are concerned with language learning. On the one hand, good foreign language or second language teaching requires teachers whose methodological and pedagogical decisions are based on a sound knowledge of language acquisition theory. Furthermore, foreign language textbooks should have a solid empirical foundation. On the other hand, the interpretation of linguistic data requires familiarity with the types of classroom activities and rituals that shape the various learning processes. After all, psycholinguistic research design must attend to the technicalities of classroom teaching and learning...

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