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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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7 Speech rhythm and vowel reduction 159


7 Speech rhythm and vowel reduction This chapter is concerned with speech rhythm and vowel reduction in non-native speech. In section 7.1, phonological models and phonetic measurements of speech rhythm are introduced and the relationship between the concept of speech rhythm and vowel reduction is discussed. Section 7.2 presents previous findings on cross-linguistic differences in speech rhythm and vowel reduction. A description of speech rhythm and vowel reduction in English and German (section 7.3) is followed by a discussion of the relationship between the measurements of speech rhythm and the linguistic factors of speech rate and speaking style (section 7.4). In section 7.5, an overview of previous findings on non-native speech rhythm and vowel reduction is given. Section 7.6 describes the aims and method of the corpus analysis, whose results are presented in section 7.7. In section 7.8, the results are summarized and discussed. 7.1 Concept and measurements of speech rhythm Rhythm is widely considered to be one of the major organising principles of speech and has attracted much research within a variety of approaches. Fundamental to most definitions of speech rhythm is the assumption that it constitutes a "structure of a sequence" (Allen and Hawkins 1980), i.e. a temporal organisation of subsequent units. Measurements of speech rhythm that have been proposed so far differ in two major ways: the localization of speech rhythm in the Prosodic Hierarchy and the underlying issue of whether distinct rhythm classes exist or not. The Prosodic Hierarchy stipulates that phonological units are organized in...

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