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Non-native Speech

A Corpus-based Analysis of Phonological and Phonetic Properties of L2 English and German


Ulrike Gut

Based on an innovative corpus-based approach, this book offers a comprehensive survey of the phonological and phonetic properties of L2 speech in English and German. The first part of the book critically examines current theoretical models and research methodologies in the field of second language acquisition of phonology and describes the advances that have been made in corpus linguistics over the past few years – in particular, the development of phonological learner corpora. It furthermore presents the first learner corpus of L2 English and L2 German that is fully aligned and has extensive phonological annotations: the LeaP corpus. The second part of the book describes the results of the quantitative and qualitative corpus analyses in the following areas of non-native speech: fluency, final consonant cluster realisation, vowel reduction and speech rhythm, intonation and general foreign accent. In addition, the influence of many non-linguistic factors, including instruction and a stay abroad, on the phonological properties of non-native speech is explored.


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2 Theories of L2 phonological acquisition 21


2 Theories of L2 phonological acquisition The objective of research on non-native speech is to describe and explain the pronunciation patterns of second language learners. The common direction of all approaches from the first models developed in the 1950s to current theories has been to show that non-native speech and the acquisition of an L2 phonology are constrained by linguistic and other principles. Models and theories of second language phonology differ in their basic tenets concerning the linguistic and cognitive ability of humans and the relative importance they attribute to factors influencing the process of L2 phonological acquisition. This chapter presents the major theoretical models that have been proposed to explain and predict second language acquisition of phonology in the past 50 years. These include early models that explain properties of non-native speech on the basis of native language influence (section 2.1) and approaches that stress the role of universal processes in L2 phonological acquisition, such as markedness theory (section 2.2), the theory of Universal Grammar (section 2.3) and Natural Phonology (section 2.4). A model of L2 phonological acquisition within the framework of Optimality Theory is presented in section 2.5, before the scope, predictive value and explanatory power of all approaches are compared and discussed in section 2.6. 2.1 Ll as an explanation for the structure and acquisition of non-native speech The question of the influence of the L2 learner's L 1 on both the course and result of second language acquisition has long been considered the most central issue...

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