THE PRODUCTION OF VOICE ONSET TIME AND ONSET F0 IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF FRENCH
thesisposted on 03.01.2019 by Amy Hutchinson
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Voice Onset Time (VOT) and onset f0 are known correlates of voicing distinctions in stops and both contribute to the production and perception of voicing (House & Fairbanks, 1953; Abramson & Lisker, 1965; Ohde, 1984). As the values of VOT and onset f0, which correspond to voicing categories, vary cross-linguistically, a second language (L2) learner has to acquire a novel use of these acoustic cues to produce and perceive voicing in their L2. Although the acquisition of the primary voicing cue, VOT, has been studied extensively in L2 research (Flege & Eefting, 1988; Flege 1991; Birdsong et al. 2007), little is known about the acquisition of onset f0. The present study compares the use of VOT and onset f0 in French and English speech produced by American learners of French (23). The study also examines evidence for phonetic drift in L2 learners by comparing their English productions to a monolingual control group (33). Results indicate that although learners’ VOT values in French were heavily influenced by English, their onset f0 production in both English and French were on target, showing that learners are able to manipulate the two cues independently of one another. Little evidence of the effect of learners’ second language on the first language was found.
This study also examines the role of individual learning history on the realization of VOT and onset f0, determining that average number of hours speaking French and age of L2 acquisition (AOA) reported by learners shows the strongest correlation with the learner’s acoustic productions.