Keywords

vowels, phonological development, lexical factors

Abstract

This study examined how two segmental or sound-related factors (crosslanguage perceptual similarity, syllabic context) as well as two lexical or wordrelated factors (word frequency, subjective word familiarity) influenced the production of eight English vowels by 40 Korean children and adults exposed to English in the U.S. for an average of 1 and 7 years. Results of two experiments revealed that lexical factors affected adults’ second language (L2) production more than children’s and depended (at least for adults) on amount of L2 experience. Lexical influences on L2 production were obtained when segmental influences were particularly strong (for dissimilar L2 vowels or vowels in “difficult” syllabic contexts) and when learners lacked extensive experience with the L2 (within 1 year of L2 experience). These findings suggested that learners’ experience with the L2 lexicon (becoming familiar with more words, perhaps through frequent exposure to them) may help learners overcome native language constraints on L2 phonological learning. These findings are relevant to conceptualizations of phonological development and have implications for L2 acquisition by children and adults.

Original Publication Citation

Baker, W, & Trofimovich, P. (2008). Lexical and segmental influences on child and adult learners’ production of second language vowels. COPAL, 1, 3-15.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2008

Publisher

Copal

Language

English

College

Humanities

Department

Linguistics

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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