Factors affecting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review

Academic Article

Abstract

  • This article had two aims: to provide a thorough review of the existing literature examining overall degree of foreign accent in a second language (L2), and to present a new foreign accent experiment. The literature review suggested that a wide variety of variables influence degree of foreign accent. These variables include age of L2 learning, length of residence in an L2-speaking country, gender, formal instruction, motivation, language learning aptitude and amount of native language (L1) use. Age of L2 learning appears to be the most important predictor of degree of foreign accent. However, the relative importance of the other variables is uncertain. This is because many variables relating to subject characteristics tend to be confounded, and because of lack of adequate experimental control in some studies. The experiment presented here examined the influence of Italian-English bilinguals' age of L2 learning, length of residence in an L2-speaking environment (Canada), gender, amount of continued L1 (Italian) use and self-estimated L1 ability on degree of L2 foreign accent. As expected from the literature review, both age of L2 learning and amount of continued L1 use were found to affect degree of foreign accent. Gender, length of residence in an L2-speaking country and self-estimated L1 ability, on the other hand, were not found to have a significant, independent effect on overall L2 pronunciation accuracy. © 2001 Academic Press.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Piske T; MacKay IRA; Flege JE
  • Start Page

  • 191
  • End Page

  • 215
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 2