Foreign Accent: The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Second Language Phonology

Foreign Accent: The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Second Language Phonology

Foreign Accent: The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Second Language Phonology

Foreign Accent: The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Second Language Phonology

Synopsis

Even though second-language learners may master the grammar and vocabulary of the new languages, they almost never achieve a native phonology (accent). Scholars and professionals dealing with second-language learners would agree that this is one of the most persistent challenges they face. Now, for the first time, Roy Major's Foreign Accent covers the exploding scholarship in this area and lays out the issues specifically for audiences in the second language acquisition and applied linguistics community.

Excerpt

From my earliest recollection, human speech sounds have intrigued me. It is not a surprise that I am a linguist with a particular interest in accents, both native and nonnative. Teaching in Brazil nearly 30 years ago, I was struck by how much Portuguese phonology I could learn by carefully listening to my students speaking English. However, I was startled and puzzled that some of their nonnative substitutions could not be explained by Portuguese phonology alone. Although I did not realize it at the time, this was the birth in my interest in the interrelationship between language transfer and universals, which is the heart of this book.

There are a number of colleagues, students, and friends whose contributions are too numerous to individually credit here. Rather, I extend my wholehearted thank you to: John Archibald, Barbara Baptista, Bob Bayley, Ellen Broselow, Ferenc Bunta, Bob Carlisle, Fred Eckman, Andy Edwards, Jim Flege, David Ingram, Allan James, Marysia Johnson, Bill Labov, Jonathan Leather Björn Norström, Martha Pennington, Dennis Preston, Tom Scovel, Elly Van Gelderen, Martha Young-Scholten, and Henning Wode. In addition to these people, I want to thank the editors of the Lawrence Erlbaum series in which this work appears, Susan Gass and Jacquelyn Schachter, who gave me invaluable feedback at various stages, and the staff at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, including Bill Webber, Art Lizza and Marianna Vertullo.

Especially I would like to thank my wife, Mary Ann, who has been unfailingly supportive and encouraging. I cannot guess how many times she has cheerfully tolerated my jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to write down my thoughts.

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