15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Foreign Accent in English Words Produced by Japanese Children and Adults

Katsura Aoyama (1), James E. Flege (2), Susan G. Guion (3), Reiko Akahane-Yamada (4), Tsuneo Yamada (5)

(1) Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, USA
(2) University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
(3) University of Oregon, USA
(4) ATR-HIS, Japan
(5) National Institute of Multimedia Education, Japan

This study examined the pronunciation of English words produced by 16 native Japanese (NJ) adults and 16 NJ children living in the United States and groups of age-matched native English (NE) controls (16 each). Recordings were made twice, one year apart (Time 1, Time 2). The NJ participants had lived in the United States for 0.5 years at Time 1. Words produced by the four groups were rated for overall degree of foreign accent using a scale ranging from 1 ("strongest foreign accent") to 9 ("least foreign accent"). The NJ children's pronunciation of English, but not that of the NJ adults, was found to have improved significantly over the 1-year study interval. However, the results suggested that the rate at which children's pronunciation of a second language improves is not as rapid as is commonly believed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Aoyama, Katsura / Flege, James E. / Guion, Susan G. / Akahane-Yamada, Reiko / Yamada, Tsuneo (2003): "Foreign accent in English words produced by Japanese children and adults", In ICPhS-15, 3201-3204.