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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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4 The LeaP corpus 63


4 The LeaP corpus This chapter presents the LeaP corpus, on which the analysis of the different features of non-native speech, presented in the subsequent chapters, is based. After a brief description of the project in which the corpus was collected (section 4.1) the corpus is described according to its type and size (section 4.2), its design (section 4.3), annotation (section 4.4) and data format (section 4.5) as well as possible ways of corpus analysis (section 4.6). Section 4.7 gives a brief summary. 4.1 The LeaP corpus: background The LeaP corpus was collected at the University of Bielefeld between May 2001 and July 2003 in the course of the LeaP (Learning Prosody in a Foreign Language) project, which was funded by the Ministry of Education, Research and Science of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. The project investigated the acquisition of prosody by second language learners of German and English with special focus on three areas of prosody: stress assignment on both the word level and the utterance level, intonation and speech rhythm. The LeaP project had two main research aims. The first goal was to provide a detailed description of non- native prosody within the latest theoretical frameworks and to supply a sufficiently large basis for a comparison with native speakers' prosody. The second line of research was concerned with the question of whether and how prosodic aspects of a foreign language can be learned. The project investigated non-linguistic factors such as speaker variables (for instance the native language, age at the...

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