L2 | phonetics & phonology | research | 1996-2000

Articles 1996-2000
Guion, S., Flege, J., Liu, H., & Yeni-Komshian, G. (2000). Age of learning effects on the duration of sentences
produced in a second language.
Applied Psycholinguistics, 21, 205-228.

Munro, M., Derwing, T., & Flege, J. (1999). Canadians in Alabama: A perceptual study of dialect acquisition in
adults.
Journal of Phonetics, 27, 385-403.

Walley, A. & Flege, J. (1999). Effects of lexical status on children's and adults' perception of native and
non-native vowels.
Journal of Phonetics, 27, 307-332.
Riney, T. & Flege, J. (1998). Changes over time in global foreign accent and liquid identifiability and accuracy.
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 213-244
Meador, D., Flege, J., & MacKay, I. (2000). Factors affecting the recognition of words in a
second language.
Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 3, 55-67.
Guion, S., Flege, J., Akahane-Yamada, R. & Pruitt, J.C. (2000). An investigation of current
models of second language speech perception: The case of Japanese adults' perception
of English consonants.
J. Acoust. Soc. America, 107, 2711-2725.

Summary: The aim of this study was to evaluate the perception of English consonants by
groups of native Japanese adults differing in English language experience. Four groups
of 10 each participated. In Birmingham the authors tested English monolinguals and
native Japanese (NJ) speakers who had resided in the US for several years (Group J1,
LOR = 1.8-5.5 years, M = 3.1). They  also tested Ss in Japan who had never resided in an
English-speaking country. The members of one group (J2) all reported using English
regularly in their professional activities, which included writing in English and attending
conferences abroad. The other group (J3) consisted of university students who had no
need or reason to use English regularly

In Exp 1 the Ss identified a range of English consonants in terms of Japanese consonant
categories, and then rated the naturally produced stimuli for goodness of fit to the
Japanese category selected. As expected, both English liquids were classified as
instances of the single liquid of Japanese.

Exp 2 examined the categorial discrimination of pairs of Japanese consonants, pairs of
English consonants, and pairs made up of one Japanese and one English consonant.
Each consonant category was represented by multiple natural tokens. The discrimination
test consisted of trials in which one stimulus differed in category membership from the
other two stimuli, as well as "catch" trials in which three tokens of a single category were
presented. The correct response to the catch trials was "no odd item out" (as opposed to
selecting the serial position of the odd item out in change trials).
Although a wide range of consonants were examined, the most interesting findings in my
opinion pertained to the contrasts between the two liquids of English (for convenience
referred to here as /r/ and /l/) and the single liquid of Japanese ("R"). Discrimination
scores for English /r/-R were higher than those for English /l/-R. I recently examined the
size of the differences in discrimination scores obtained for /r/-R and /l/-R. The difference
scores obtained from the three NJ groups differed significantly,
F(2,27) = 11.24, p =
0.0003. A Tukey's test indicated that the scores for J1 and J2 were significantly greater
than those for group J1, the Japanese students with little or no conversational experience
in English.  For these latter Ss, performance was at chance both contrrasts [/r/-R,
t =
1.61, p=0.141, /l/-R,
t =1.14, p = 0.285]. Taken together with the results of other research,
these findings suggest that English /r/ is more learnable by NJ  adults than is English /l/.
Schmidt, A. & Flege, J. (1996). Speaking rate effects on stops produced by Spanish and English monolinguals
and Spanish/English bilinguals,
Phonetica, 53, 162-179.

Abstract. Four groups of 10 subjects each (English and Spanish monolinguals, and two groups of
Spanish/English bilinguals) produced Spanish or English sentences at speaking rates designated "normal",
"slow", and "fast". Voice onset time (VOT) was measured in word-initial tokens of /p/ and /t/ found in
sentence-initial, -medial, and -final words.

The four groups produced comparable changes in sentence duration across the three rates. The speaking rate
changes exerted less effect on the VOT in stops spoken by the Spanish than English monolinguals. Moreover,
whereas English monolinguals produced /p,t/ with shorter VOT at a fast than at a normal rate, many Spanish
monolinguals showed a trend in the
opposite direction.

As expected, all 10 early bilinguals produced English stops with VOT values that were similar to the English
monolinguals'. They also showed speaking rate effects on VOT that were similar to those observed for the
English monolinguals. The late bilinguals, who had begun learning English as adults, showed smaller effects of
speaking rate on VOT than did the English monolinguals. Their mean VOTvalues for English stops spanned a
wide range of values. Just three of the late bilinguals produced English stops with VOT values that fell within the
range of values observed for the English monolinguals.

Keywords: speaking rate, second language, L2, Spanish, English, monolingual, bilingual, speech production,
stop consonants, VOT, early bilinguals, late bilinguals, individual differences, native-like
Flege, J., Frieda, A., & Nozawa, T. (1997). Amount of native-language (L1) use affects the pronunciation of an
L2.
Journal of Phonetics, 25, 169-186.
Flege, J., Bohn, O-S., & Jang, S. (1997). The effect of experience on nonnative subjects’ production and
perception of English vowels.
Journal of Phonetics, 25, 437-470.

Abstract: This study assessed the effect of English-language experience on nonnative speakers’ production
and perception of English vowels. Twenty speakers each of German, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean, as well
as a control group of 10 native English (NE) speakers, participated. The non-native subjects, who were first
exposed intensively to English when they arrived in the United States (mean age = 25 years), were assigned to
relatively experienced or inexperienced subgroups based on their length of residence in the US (M"7.3 vs. 0.7
years). The 90 subjects’ accuracy in producing the English vowels /i  ɪ æ ɛ/) was assessed by having native
English speaking listeners attempt to identify which vowels had been spoken, and through acoustic
measurements. The same subjects also identified the vowels in synthetic beat-bit (/i/-/ɪ/) and bat-bet (/æ/-/ɛ/)
continua. The experienced non-native subjects produced and perceived English vowels more accurately than
did the relatively inexperienced non-native subjects. The non-native subjects’ degrees of accuracy in producing
and perceiving English vowels were related. Finally, both production and perception accuracy varied as a
function of native language (L1) background in a way that appeared to depend on the perceived relation
between English vowels and vowels in the L1 inventory.

Keywords: Second language, L2, vowels, vowel perception, German, Spanish, Mandarian, Korean, phonetic
inventory, vowel quality, vowel duration, L2 experience
Flege, J., MacKay, I., & Meador, D. (1999). Native Italian speakers’ production and perception of English
vowels.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 106, 2973-2987.

Flege, J., Yeni-Komshian, G., & Liu, S. (1999). Age constraints on second language learning. Journal of
Memory and Language
, 41, 78-104.

Southwood, H., & Flege, J. (1999). The validity and reliability of scaling foreign accent. Clinical Linguistics &
Phonetics
, 13, 335-349.

Freida, E., Walley, A., Flege, J., &  Sloane, M. (1999). Adults’ perception of native and non-native vowels:
Implications for the perceptual magnet effect.
Perception & Psychophysics, 61, 561-577.

Flege, J. (1998). The phonetic study of bilingualism. Ilha do Desterro, 35, 19-28.

Flege, J., Frieda, E., Walley, A., & Randazza, L. (1998). Lexical Factors and Segmental Accuracy in Second-
language Speech Production.
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 155-188.
Frieda, E., Walley, A., Flege, J., & Sloane, M. (2000). Adults’ perception and production of the English vowel /i/.
Journal of Speech & Hearing Research, 43, 129-143.

Abstract. This study investigated the link between the perception and production of the Englsh vowel /i/ by
adult native speakers of English. Participants first produced the vowel /i/ using normal (citation) and careful
(hyperarticulated) speech, then completed a method of adjustment task in which they selected their ideal
exemplar of /i/. In this perceptual task, 24 of 35 participants had a prototype; the remaining 11 did not, but were
retained for comparison. In keeping with the hyperspace effect (K. Johnson, E. Flemming, & R. Wright, 1993),
all participants selected perceptual stimuli with F1 and F2 values that were more extreme (i.e., higher and
further forward in the vowel space) than those of their normal, citation productions. An analysis of front-back
and high-low qualities for the perceptual and production data in Euclidean space revealed that hyperarticulated
speech was closer to the perceptual data than citation speech was, but only for participants with relatively clear-
cut prototypes. The basis for such individual variation in perception-production links is discussed.

Keywords: vowel perception, vowel production, vowel protypes, perception-production link, hyperspace effect,
citation speech, clear speech, individual differences, Native Language Magnet (NLM) model, method of
adjustment
Munro, M., Flege, J., & MacKay, I. (1996). The effect of age of second-language learning on the production of
English vowels.
Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 313-334.

Flege, J., Schmidt, A., &  Wharton, G. (1996). Age of learning affects rate-dependent processing of stops in a
second language.
Phonetica, 53, 143-161.
Flege, J., Takagi, N., & Mann, V. (1996). Lexical familiarity and English-language experience affect Japanese
adults’ perception of /r/ and /l/.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 99, 1161-1173.

Abstract. This study assessed the influence of subjective lexical familiarity and English-language experience
on Japanese adults’ accuracy in identifying singleton word-initial tokens of English /r/ and /l/. The experienced
Japanese (EJ) subjects had lived in the U.S. longer than the inexperienced Japanese (IJ) had (
M = 21 vs. 2
years). The native Japanese subjects correctly identified English /r/ and /l/ tokens less often than native English
(NE) subjects did, but did not differ from the NE subjects in identifying the control consonants /w/ and /d/. The
NE subjects showed no effect of subjective lexical familiarity given that their rates of correct identification were
at ceiling. However, the relative familiarity of the two words making up the minimal pairs used as stimuli (e.g.,
rook vs. look) affected the rates of correct identifications obtained from the native Japanese (NJ) subjects. The
NJ subjects identified liquid consonants correctly more often when they initiated words more familiar than their
minimal pair than in words less familiar than the minimally paired word. The EJ subjects identified liquids more
often than the IJ subjects did, but many of them identified English liquids less often than members of the NE
group. Importantly, however, the EJ subjects managed to identify /r/ tokens at rates comparable to the NE
subjects’ in words drawn from minimal pairs consisting of equally familiar words(Experiment 1) and when
identifying /r/ tokens that had been edited out of their original word or non-word context (Experiment 2).

Keywords: English, Japanese, second language, L2, perception, liquids, consonants, /r/, /l/, experience, L2
experience, lexical familiarity, minimal pair