Individual variation in acquisition of voicing contrasts by classroom learners of French
The present study examines the production of voicing by English-speaking learners of French in a traditional classroom environment, focusing on the juxtaposition between group patterns and individual tendencies. Thirty-one intermediate-level learners completed word-reading production tasks in French and English, and voice onset time was measured in word-initial bilabial stops. At the group level, results demonstrated strong interference from English in participants’ French, especially in the production of voiceless stops. In contrast, voiced stops overall were more target-like, revealing an asymmetry in the acquisition of the two members of the phonological distinction. At the individual level, much variability was observed both in the relative attainment of pronunciation targets and in the alignment between participants first and second language pronunciation patterns, ultimately highlighting the need for future research to consider individual trends in order to understand L2 speech acquisition in a more comprehensive manner.
Keywords: English, French, stop voicing, second language acquisition, classroom learning, individual variability
Published online: 30 November 2021
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