AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

The Perception of lax-tense contrasts in English by Polish, Italian, Spanish L1 speakers residing in Australia

by Katarzyna Dorota Zaorska

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Enska
Record ID: 1222258
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/20981


The aim of this study was to examine the strategies used by L2 learners of Australian English for discriminating between the members of English contrasts that are absent in their L1 and to assess the effect of time of residence and level of education. Three different contrasts /o:/ - /ɔ/ ( caught - cot), /i:/ - /ɪ/ (leave – live ), /ɐ:/ - /ɐ/ (Bart - but) were tested. A group of 18 Poles, 17 Italian and 15 Spanish speakers living in Australia participated in the study. Three different language groups were chosen in order to examine whether all of the informants use the same strategies for vowel identification when discriminating between the members of the tested contrasts. The study revealed that while generally all of the informants seem to add different phonetic cues when perceiving the lax-tense contrasts, they also tend to rely more on the durational cue rather than spectral property. When compared by language groups, the participants could be seen to apply different strategies. Moreover, those strategies differed in a particular language group in different tasks, which indicated that the participants’ L2 perception system is still dynamic and has not stabilized. Furthermore, the results show that while the level of education has a positive effect on the discriminative ability between members of the tested contrasts, the time of residence does not have a great impact. This suggests that there must be other essential factors for L2 phonology acquisition which have not been explored in this study.