14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Age and L1 Use Effects on Degree of Foreign Accent in English

Thorsten Piske (1), Ian R. A. MacKay (2)

(1) The University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
(2) University of Ottawa, Canada

This study assessed the relation between nonnative subjects' age of learning English, self-reported amount of L1 (Italian) use, and overall degree of perceived foreign accent in the L2 (English). Native English listeners evaluated English sentences spoken by English monolinguals and Italian/English bilinguals. The native Italian subjects were assigned to one of two groups of early bilinguals who differed according to their percentage use of Italian, or to one of two groups of late bilinguals differing in the same way. Both early and late bilinguals who spoke Italian frequently had significantly stronger accents in English than agematched bilinguals who spoke Italian infrequently. This suggests that the degree of activation of the L1 affects L2 production accuracy regardless of a bilingual's age of L2 acquisition.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Piske, Thorsten / MacKay, Ian R. A. (1999): "Age and L1 use effects on degree of foreign accent in English", In ICPhS-14, 1433-1436.