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ERIC Number: EJ777437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 26
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0272-2631
Acquiring /[alveolar approximant]/ in Context
Colantoni, Laura; Steele, Jeffrey
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, v29 n3 p381-406 Sep 2007
This article seeks to illuminate the degree of position-based variation observed in the acquisition of new segments in a second language and to explain such variability as the consequence of phonetic constraints; this approach contrasts with much previous research that has used typological markedness to the same end. Specifically, it is proposed that learners will have the least difficulty acquiring sounds that involve novel combinations of voicing and manner in positions that favor the phonetic implementation of these sounds. Moreover, on the assumption that not all parameters can be mastered simultaneously, it is predicted that learners will first acquire aspects of a segment's articulation that are perceptually salient and articulatorily easier. The data come from a study of the acquisition of French by 20 intermediate- and advanced-proficiency English-speaking learners of French. Acoustic analysis of the data reveals asymmetries that favor accuracy with manner in onsets versus more targetlike realization of voicing in codas, in which devoicing exists in the input. Beyond demonstrating the role of phonetic principles in determining position-based variation, the findings contribute to our understanding of the acquisition of new consonantal contrasts by providing empirical evidence from a non-Germanic language to bear on this line of inquiry.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A