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LINGUIST List 19.3161

Fri Oct 17 2008

Diss: Lang Acq/Phonetics: Jiang: 'Effect of L2 Phonetic Learning on...'

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        1.    Haisheng Jiang, Effect of L2 Phonetic Learning on L1 Vowels


Message 1: Effect of L2 Phonetic Learning on L1 Vowels
Date: 17-Oct-2008
From: Haisheng Jiang <hjiangdgmail.com>
Subject: Effect of L2 Phonetic Learning on L1 Vowels
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Institution: Simon Fraser University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Haisheng Jiang

Dissertation Title: Effect of L2 Phonetic Learning on L1 Vowels

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Phonetics

Dissertation Director:
Zita McRobbie
Yue Wang
Murray Munro

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines the effect of L2 phonetic learning on L1 vowel
production. Mandarin-English bilinguals differing in amount of L1 use
produced Mandarin and English vowels. An acoustic analysis showed that both
the Mandarin-English bilinguals of high L1 use and those of low L1 use
deviated from the norm of Mandarin vowel /i/. The Mandarin-English
bilinguals of low L1 use who successfully acquired English vowel /aj/
deviated from the norm of Mandarin vowel /aj/, indicating a carry-over
effect of L2 vowel on L1 vowel production.

In a perception test, Mandarin vowel production by the Mandarin-English
bilinguals was presented to Mandarin as well as English listeners for
goodness rating. The results showed that both Mandarin-English bilinguals
of high L1 use and those of low L1 use differed significantly from Mandarin
monolinguals in the production of /y/, a vowel with no counterpart in
English. An analysis of inter-speaker variability indicated that some
individual Mandarin-English bilinguals, including both speakers of high L1
use and low L1 use, were accented in the production of /y/, /aj/ and /aU/.
Possible acoustic properties contributing to their accentedness included
lower second formant frequency, larger first or second formant frequency
movement, extremely short or long duration, and tone deviation. L2 English
learning led to some Mandarin-English bilinguals carrying some English
characteristics in their L1 Mandarin vowel production.

In a follow-up perception test, the correlation between the ratings
assigned to the Mandarin-English bilinguals' production of Mandarin vowel
/y/ and the ratings assigned to their production of English vowel /I/ and
/E/ was examined. No inverse correlation was revealed, indicating that good
L2 vowel production does not necessarily lead to poor L1 vowel production,
and vice versa.

This research suggests that the L1 phonetic system established in childhood
does not remain static; instead, it may undergo reorganization when the L1
and L2 phonetic systems coexisting in a common phonological space interact.



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