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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: The relationship between vowel production and perception: native speakers' perception of nativeness in LOT and THOUGHT vowels in Received Pronunciation
Author: Jussi Wikström
Institution: University of Cambridge
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The fact that differences in vowel articulation are important in distinguishing accents of English is well established (Wells, 1982; Cruttenden, 2008; Ng, Chen & Sadaka, 2008; Park, 2009a, 2009b). It is also the case that speakers' production of a particular vowel varies for an individual speaker and between speakers of the ‘same’ accent (Rose, 2002; Cruttenden, 2008). In terms of perception, it is evident that L1 speakers, i.e. speakers for whom the language is the first language or one of the first languages acquired, are often able to recognise vowel articulations which deviate from the norm in their accent, even when the difference in vowel production is not significant enough to be mapped onto another L1 phoneme category, i.e. where the use of the alternative vowel quality could potentially change the meaning of the word (Park, 2009a). It should be acknowledged that any such norms are likely to vary in accordance with generational changes to a particular variety. But studies seeking to establish the degree of interrelatedness of vowel production and speakers' perceived ideal realisation have had mixed results. For example, Hoopingarner (2004) found that L1 speakers' production and preferred realisation were relatively similar, while Ainsworth & Paliwal (1984) and Frieda, Walley, Flege & Sloane (2000) failed to demonstrate such a correlation.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 30, Issue 1.

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