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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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6 Syllabification and cluster reduction 113


6 Syllabification and cluster reduction This chapter is concerned with two syllable-based processes in non-native speech: syllabification, i.e. the distribution of consonants into syllable positions in connected speech, and the realization of syllable-final consonant clusters. After a description of syllabification (section 6.1) and final consonant cluster reduction (section 6.2) in English and German, previous findings on non-native syllabification and non-native final consonant cluster reduction are reviewed in sections 6.3 and 6.4 respectively. The aims and method of the corpus analysis are presented in section 6.5, which is followed by a presentation of the results (section 6.6) and a summary and discussion (section 6.7). 6.1 Syllabification and resyllabification in English and German Although there is no universal agreement on the existence of the prosodic domain of the syllable in phonological theory, most researchers subscribe to the view that it plays an important role in prosody (e.g. Blevins 1995). This conviction is based on the fact that a number of phonological processes and constraints that take the syllable as their domain of application have been identified in various languages. These include processes such as final devoicing, stress, tone and speech errors (e.g. Nespor and Vogel 1986, see Turk 2003 for an overview). The universal in all languages in the world is assumed to be binary (see Figure 6.1): a syllable consists of an onset and a rhyme, which in turn can be divided into a nucleus and a coda. 6 onset rhyme nucleus coda Figure 6.1: Universal syllable-internal structure Languages vary considerably...

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