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Title: Knowledge and performance: an examination of the role of explicit linguistic knowledge in L2 phonological acquisition
Authors: Mah, Jennifer
Keywords: Linguistics;Language acquisition;Phonology;Second language acquisition
Issue Date: Sep-2002
Publisher: University of Calgary
Citation: Mah, J. (2002). Knowledge and performance: an examination of the role of explicit linguistic knowledge in L2 phonological acquisition. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 24(Fall), 76-128.
Abstract: A major challenge facing adults acquiring a second language is the mastery of the second language (L2) phonology. Previous work by Han (1992) shows that even advanced students who have been deemed by native speakers to be fluent in their second language may have failed to completely master the L2 phonological system, resulting in an audible non-native accent. The present paper explores a possibility suggested by Han (1992): that explicit knowledge of the L2 phonology is required to successfully establish the appropriate phonological representations and achieve native-like performance with respect to the L2 phonology. Japanese utterances produced by a native speaker of English were recorded after four months of classroom exposure and examined for accuracy in timing control and spectral accuracy of long and short vowels, and timing control of geminate and singleton consonants. The results were then presented to the subject, and a second sample of utterances was recorded after a further two months of classroom exposure. Although the subject showed evidence of having established separate phonological representations for the Japanese length distinctions (as indicated by t tests), her performance was still distinct from that of a native speaker. Furthermore, the subject was not able to make use of the explicit knowledge gained from the results of the first round of recording, as the subject's performance did not show any significant change in the second round of recording. These results suggest that the knowledge of Japanese length contrasts may have been useful to the learner in establishing the appropriate phonological representations, but not in gaining control over the finer articulatory details of these in six months.
ISSN: 2371-2643
Appears in Collections:Volume 24, Fall 2002

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