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L2 immersion causes non-native-like L1 pronunciation in German attriters

Bergmann, C and Nota, A and Sprenger, SA and Schmid, MS (2016) 'L2 immersion causes non-native-like L1 pronunciation in German attriters.' Journal of Phonetics, 58. pp. 71-86. ISSN 0095-4470

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According to Flege׳s Speech Learning Model, the speech sounds of a bilingual׳s languages are contained in one common phonological space. This predicts bidirectional influence on the articulation of these speech sounds. We investigated the influence of a late-learned second language (L2) on the first language (L1) in a group of German L1 attriters in Anglophone North America (i.e., long-term emigrants in L2 immersion). These speakers were compared to a control group of monolingual German L1 speakers in two analyses: First, L1 speech samples of both groups were rated for native-likeness. Attriters sounded less native-like to raters, with 40% of the attriters rated below the monolingual range. Native-likeness was negatively associated with length of residence abroad and positively associated with L1 use. Second, formant analyses on four speech sounds of German—/aː/, /ɛ/, /ɔ/ and /l/—were conducted for attriters and controls. For these analyses, two attriter subgroups were formed: one with speakers who sounded native-like to raters and one with speakers who did not. It was hypothesised that the formants in both groups would shift in the direction of similar L2 speech sounds and that the shift would be stronger in non-native-like attriters. The first hypothesis was partly confirmed: At least one attriter group differed from the control group on one formant of /aː/ and /l/. These differences were consistent with predictions based on the L2. The second hypothesis was not confirmed: There was no evidence that the formants of the non-native-like attriters deviated more strongly from the monolingual baseline than those of the native-like attriters. Additionally, the formant values and the ratings were found to be only weakly associated, suggesting a different source of the perceptibly non-native-like pronunciation in some attriters.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: publisher: Elsevier articletitle: L2 immersion causes non-native-like L1 pronunciation in German attriters journaltitle: Journal of Phonetics articlelink: content_type: article copyright: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Language attrition; Bilingualism; Segmental articulation; Speech Learning Model; German; English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 13:45
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:24

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