Joseph Conrad phenomenon reconsidered. Doc. PhDr. Magdaléna Bilá, PhD. Department of English Language & Literature, Faculty of Arts , the University of Prešov. Joseph Conrad phenomenon reconsidered. Outline of the lecture: The concept of foreign accent:
Doc. PhDr. Magdaléna Bilá, PhD.
Department of English Language & Literature, Faculty of Arts, the University of Prešov
Outline of the lecture:
- production based and perceptual
-“Joseph Conrad phenomenon”
- The “Doom Hypothesis”
- The “Full Access Hypothesis”
Foreign accents – “relate to … national groups speaking the same language” (Major, 2001).
“Foreign accent - the inability of non-native language users to produce the target language with the phonetic accuracy required for acceptance by native speakers as native speech” (Major, 2001)
Perceptual foreign accent (Strange, 1995; McAllister, 1997): “Difficulty with which adult listeners perceive the majority of phonetic contrasts that are not functional in their L1”.
L2 users’ difficulties in deciphering L2 speech (Garnes and Bond, In: Celce-Murcia et al, 1996: 222-223):
Flege (Plasticity in SpeechPerception, 2005): The “Doom Hypothesis”: late/adult learners are unable to acquire the phonology of a new language in a native-like manner.
3 sources (Flege, PSP, 2005):
A/ Linguistic research: phonological grid (Trubetzkoy): L2 phonemes perceived as phonemes of L1; phonemic features not used contrastively in learners’ L1 are difficult or impossible to perceive, to learn and to produce;
Critical Period Hypothesis: Lenneberg (1969), an early advocate: two hypotheses combined:
i/ Chomsky’s LAD Hypothesis (language acquisition device, i.e. a species specific innate linguistic capacity supposed to weaken progressively with the onset of puberty)
ii/ and Penfield’s concept of cerebral dominance (lateralization, i.e. assigning of certain functions to the different hemispheres of the brain).
- incapable of perceiving L1-L2 differences;
- incapable of developing long-term memory representations for L2 sounds.
Salisbury (1962) and Sorensen (1967) report on some native communities (in Papua New Guinea and Northwest Amazon): multilingualism is common there since it is a desired and necessary skill and members of communities often learn other languages as adults and reportedly achieve target like pronunciation.
A program for 3 groups of English speaking subjects to learn Japanese, Chinese or Eskimo. Results: out of the 20 adult subjects (8 males and 12 females), 9: ratings within the range of ratings usually obtained by L1 speakers; 6: qualified as near native like speakers and 5 performed in the manner one would normally expect after such a short period of instruction.
Extremely successful speakers of English (L1: Dutch): contributingfactors: learner characteristics or training environment.
Purely biological factors may not be sufficient to account for adult performance in L2 acquisition:
Subjects: monolingual L1 English speaking adults;
Stimuli: in pairs (one uttered by a native English speaker and one by a native French speaker). Listeners’ task: choose “foreign” speaker. The results: native English adults could spot within-category differences.
Subjects: 1st year college students attending English classes taught by Spanish accented English teachers; production task: imitate Spanish accented speech (acoustic analysis proved they could spot between category differences).
Full Access Hypothesis:
Paul IVERSON, Patricia K. KUHL, Reiko AKAHANE-YAMADA, Eugen DIESCH, Yoh'ich TOHKURA, Andreas KETTERMANN, and Claudia SIEBERT: A perceptual interference account of acquisition difficulties for nonnative phonemes. In. Speech, Hearing and Language: work in progress, Volume 13: 107-118:
Infants: born with the capability of learning any language; language general pattern of perception; due to exposure to speech during childhood:
changes in perceptual processing:
These changes interfere with the acquisition of L2:
What is the core of the transition from a language-general to a language-specific pattern of perception?
This early conception of perceptual development - false:
Their ability to differentiate within-category differences for L1 phonemes diminishes.
Which levels of processing are changed by language exposure during infant L1 acquisition?
Adults: NEURALLY COMMITTED(Kuhl, 2000) to a particular network structure (underlying phonological representation – cortical representations) for decoding language, more due to this type of perceptual interference than to any maturational constraints.
A PROGRESSIVELY STRONGER NEURAL COMMITTMENT TO ONE'S NATIVE LANGUAGE (Kuhl, 2000).
Even though an adult learning a second language could be exposed to the same ACOUSTIC DISTRIBUTION of speech sounds as an infant learning the same language, the AUDITORY DISTRIBUTION of those sounds would be different for an adult due to prior perceptual changes.
Auditory distribution in
Auditory distribution in
an adult (Joseph Conrad)
“THE KEY TO THE MASTERY OF L2 SPEECH IS THE SUCCESSFUL RESTRUCTURING OF THE L1 CATEGORICAL SYSTEM AND THE RESULTING PERCEPTUAL RE-CATEGORIZATION OF THE ARRANGEMENT OF ACOUSTIC INPUT STIMULI THAT FIT THE PHONETIC CATEGORIES OF THE TARGET LANGUAGE”.
(= perceptual re-categorization);
The effect of a number of language and learner variables of the perception of non-native phonemic contrasts:
initial age of acquisition (AOA)
degree of ongoing use of L1
inherent ‘skill’ in language acquisition
the phonological status of L2 sounds in the learner’s L1 (e.g., Best, 2001)
the inherent acoustic salience of L2 sounds, (Ortega-Llebaria, Faulkner & Hazan, PSP: 2005).
2 (6-9 yrs): 6-9 words3 (10-11 yrs): impossible to interpret 4 (12-15 yrs): 4-5 words
4 – a year: 0-3 or 7-9 words
5 – several years: 8-10 words.
THE STUDIES PRESENTED AT PSP workshop (2005):
A/ THE EFFECT OF SOME LINGUISTIC, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL FACTORS ON ACQUISITION OF L2 PHONOLOGY AND
B/ POSSIBLE CAUSES OF INTERSUBJECT VARIABILITY.
Better native-language discrimination at 7.5 months predicts accelerated later language abilities, whereas better nonnative-language discrimination at 7.5 months predicts reduced later language abilities.
PSP 2005:B. G. Evans and P. Iverson (UCL): Plasticity in speech production and perception: A study of accent change in young adults. In: Speech, Hearing and Language: work in progress. Volume 14, 2002, pp.18-38; In: PSP 2005: 71.
What causes variation in individual performance?
Auditory acuity, language learning aptitude,
phonological short-term memory,
identification with L2 culture, native speaker input, total input,
musical ability, bilingual balance, language dominance,
amount of L1 use, gender, L1, anxiety, integrative motivation,
instrumental motivation, strength of concern for pronunciation,
introversion, age, mimicry ability