Table_1_Lexical and Phonetic Influences on the Phonolexical Encoding of Difficult Second-Language Contrasts: Insights From Nonword Rejection.DOCX (661.47 kB)
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Table_1_Lexical and Phonetic Influences on the Phonolexical Encoding of Difficult Second-Language Contrasts: Insights From Nonword Rejection.DOCX

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posted on 31.05.2021, 04:51 by Miquel Llompart

Establishing phonologically robust lexical representations in a second language (L2) is challenging, and even more so for words containing phones in phonological contrasts that are not part of the native language. This study presents a series of additional analyses of lexical decision data assessing the phonolexical encoding of English /ε/ and /æ/ by German learners of English (/æ/ does not exist in German) in order to examine the influence of lexical frequency, phonological neighborhood density and the acoustics of the particular vowels on learners’ ability to reject nonwords differing from real words in the confusable L2 phones only (e.g., *l[æ]mon, *dr[ε]gon). Results showed that both the lexical properties of the target items and the acoustics of the critical vowels affected nonword rejection, albeit differently for items with /æ/ → [ε] and /ε/ → [æ] mispronunciations: For the former, lower lexical frequencies and higher neighborhood densities led to more accurate performance. For the latter, it was only the acoustics of the vowel (i.e., how distinctly [æ]-like the mispronunciation was) that had a significant impact on learners’ accuracy. This suggests that the encoding of /ε/ and /æ/ may not only be asymmetric in that /ε/ is generally more robustly represented in the lexicon than /æ/, as previously reported, but also in the way in which this encoding takes place. Mainly, the encoding of /æ/ appears to be more dependent on the characteristics of the L2 vocabulary and on one’s experience with the L2 than that of its more dominant counterpart (/ε/).

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