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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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9 Factors influencing foreign accent 253


9 Factors influencing foreign accent Non-native speech is often described as 'accented', and a myriad of factors have been proposed to influence the development and degree of foreign accent in second language learning. These factors include maturational constraints, speaker characteristics such as motivation, gender, personality variables and oral and auditory capacities as well as the learning context and social factors. After an introduction to the concept and proposed measurements of foreign accent in section 9.1, previous studies on the influence of various factors on foreign accent are discussed in section 9.2. These comprise the factors age, length of residence, motivation, gender, type of instruction, continued L1 use and language learning aptitude. Section 9.3 is concerned with the intercorrelation and relative weight of these factors. Section 9.4 reviews Eindings on non-native speakers' ultimate phonological attainment, the presumed end-state in L2 acquisition. After a description of the method and the aim of the corpus analysis in section 9.5, the results are presented in section 9.6 and summarized and discussed in section 9.7. 9.1 Foreign accent As yet, no exact, comprehensive and universally accepted definition of foreign accent exists. There exists a broad consensus that the term refers to the deviations in pronunciation of non-native speech compared to the norms of native speech (e.g. Scovel 1969: 38). Which native language norm non-native speakers are compared to, i.e. a standard variety of the L2 or the dialect of the (resident) language learner's speech community, however, is not always made explicit in empirical studies on...

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