L2 Acquisition and Production of the English Rhotic by L1 Greek-Cypriot Speakers: The Effect of L1 Articulatory Routines and Phonetic Context
Keywords:L2 rhotic production, SLM, phonetic category assimilation, phonetic category dissimilation, L1-L2 interaction, Greek-Cypriot learners of English
This study investigates the production of the English rhotic by Greek-Cypriot speakers, whose L1 typically involves a tap realisation. It also compares the productions of Greek-Cypriot learners that attended English-speaking schools with the productions of students that attended Greek-speaking schools during their secondary education. Participants were university students whose age of arrival in the UK was 17-21 years old, length of residence 1-4 years and age range 18-24 years. Six native speakers of English comprised the control group. Participants were recorded producing a Greek and an English wordlist with the rhotic in word-initial and intervocalic position, and in Cr and rC clusters. Manner of articulation, duration and formant frequencies were investigated. The results suggest that learners from English-speaking schools are more successful in the production of the English approximant than learners from Greek- speaking schools, although neither group reaches native-like values in all contexts in either duration or formant frequencies. Effects of the L1 phonetic system on L2 rhotic production are also found. This study provides insights on a subject that has received limited attention in the context of Cyprus, as well as a basis for future research that may lead to improvements in English language learning and teaching in Cyprus and other countries with similar phonetic inventories.
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