L2 Acquisition and Production of the English Rhotic Pharyngeal Gesture

Sarah Harper, Louis Goldstein, Shrikanth S. Narayanan


This study is an investigation of L2 speakers’ production of the pharyngeal gesture in the English /ɹ/. Real-time MRI recordings from one L1 French/L2 English and one L1 Greek/L2 English speaker were analyzed and compared with recordings from a native English speaker to examine whether the gestural composition of the rhotic consonant(s) in a speaker’s L1, particularly the presence and location of a pharyngeal gesture, influences their production of English /ɹ/. While the L1 French speaker produced the expected high pharyngeal constriction in their production of the French rhotic, he did not appear to consistently produce an English-like low pharyngeal constriction in his production of English /ɹ/. Similarly, the native Greek speaker did not consistently produce a pharyngeal constriction of any kind in either his L1 rhotic (as expected) or in English /ɹ/. These results suggest that the acquisition and production of the pharyngeal gesture in the English rhotic approximant is particularly difficult for learners whose L1 rhotics lack an identical constriction, potentially due to a general difficulty of acquiring pharyngeal gestures that are not in the L1, the similarity of the acoustic consequences of the different components of a rhotic, or L1 transfer into the L2.


DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2016-658

Cite as

Harper, S., Goldstein, L., Narayanan, S.S. (2016) L2 Acquisition and Production of the English Rhotic Pharyngeal Gesture. Proc. Interspeech 2016, 208-212.

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Harper+2016,
author={Sarah Harper and Louis Goldstein and Shrikanth S. Narayanan},
title={L2 Acquisition and Production of the English Rhotic Pharyngeal Gesture},
year=2016,
booktitle={Interspeech 2016},
doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2016-658},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2016-658},
pages={208--212}
}