8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Jeju Island, Korea
October 4-8, 2004

What Makes a Non-native Accent?: A Study of Korean English

Jong-mi Kim (1), Suzanne Flynn (2)

(1) Kangwon National University, Korea
(2) MIT, USA

We report a set of results that are a part of a much larger study of the second language (L2) acquisition of English phonology by first language (L1) speakers of Korean. Specifically, we focus on significant differences isolated between L2 speakers' production of isolated words in English and their production of these same words in sentence phrasal contexts. Results indicate significantly more acoustically accurate production of words in isolation than in the production of these same words in phrasal contexts. The particular phonological phenomena focused on concern both stress reduction and placement. We also consider several other aspects of segmental phonology. We argue that the discrepancy in results observed between tasks may account for many of the seemingly disparate results indicated in other studies of L2 phonology. We discuss several possible explanations for these data in terms of which production task most closely provides a measurement of developing linguistic competence and which might reflect the role of either general learning strategies (overgeneralization) or reversion back to the L1 grammar under conditions of stress or when the L2 grammar is not fully developed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Jong-mi / Flynn, Suzanne (2004): "What makes a non-native accent?: a study of Korean English", In INTERSPEECH-2004, 1845-1848.