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LINGUIST List 20.2693

Wed Aug 05 2009

Diss: Phonetics/Psycholing: Bundgaard-Nielsen: 'The Role of L2...'

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        1.    Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen, The Role of L2 Vocabulary Expansion in the Perception and Production of Australian English Vowels by Adult Native Speakers of Japanese

Message 1: The Role of L2 Vocabulary Expansion in the Perception and Production of Australian English Vowels by Adult Native Speakers of Japanese
Date: 04-Aug-2009
From: Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen <r.bundgaardnielsenuws.edu.au>
Subject: The Role of L2 Vocabulary Expansion in the Perception and Production of Australian English Vowels by Adult Native Speakers of Japanese
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Institution: University of Western Sydney
Program: PhD
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Rikke L. Bundgaard-Nielsen

Dissertation Title: The Role of L2 Vocabulary Expansion in the Perception and Production of Australian English Vowels by Adult Native Speakers of Japanese

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
                            Psycholinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Catherine T. Best
Satomi Kawaguchi
Christian Kroos
Michael D. Tyler

Dissertation Abstract:

Research indicates that adult Second Language (L2) learners typically do
not become native-like in their perception or production of their L2,
likely as a result of interference from their native language (L1).
Research also indicates that L2 perception and production nonetheless
improves with increased experience with the L2. Until recently, however,
theories of L2 acquisition (e.g., SLM: Flege, 1995; PAM: Best, 1994) have
been vague in their account of the processes underlying this improvement.
The recent PAM-L2 (Best & Tyler, 2007), however, opens up new ways to
understand experiential change in L2 perception and production. Centrally,
PAM-L2 suggests that a large L2 vocabulary curtails change in L2 perception
and production because it forces the learner to settle on an accented
version of the L2 phonology.

The present thesis introduces the Vocabulary-Tuning Model of L2
Rephonologisation (Vocab Model). This model extends PAM-L2 by highlighting
the facilitating effect of L2 vocabulary expansion, in early L2 immersion
when the L2 vocabulary is still small, on the perception and production of
an L2. It is further argued that the processes underpinning this
improvement are analogous to those that underpin L1 acquisition in infants
and toddlers. The thesis tests the Vocab Model in a series of studies
(cross-sectional as well as longitudinal) of the perception and production
of Australian English vowels by native speakers of Japanese, who have
recently arrived in Australia for the purpose of acquiring English. The
results show that L2 vocabulary size is indeed associated with L2 vowel
perception and production and thus support the predictions of the Vocab
Model. The thesis examines the usefulness of different criteria for L2-L1
vowel assimilation and discusses the findings in relation to results from
L1-vowel perception research. The research design also pioneers a 'whole
system' approach to cross-language vowel perception research that allows
the learners to use all native vowels and all native vowel combinations
(all three thesis studies), and to apply them to the full inventory of L2
vowels (Study 1). It is argued that results from such an approach more
appropriately reflect the actual perceptual flexibility of the learners in
a natural L2-immersion context than would a smaller subset of L1 and/or L2
vowels. This 'whole system' approach further suggests that L1 phonotactics
is worthwhile to consider in future studies of L2 segmental perception and
production.



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