The Instrumental Study of L2 Speech Production: Some Methodological Considerations

Academic Article


  • This article discusses the design and interpretation of instrumental phonetic studies of L2 speech production. The notion phonetic norm plays a crucial role in many recent studies that examine acoustic dimensions such as the frequencies of F1‐F3, vowel duration, or voice‐onset time (VOT). The speech of L2 learners is evaluated to determine to what extent it diverges from the differing phonetic norms of L1 and L2, which are estimated from the speech of a small number of native speakers, it is advisable to use monolinguals to establish the L1 norms because L2 learning has been shown to affect L1 production. In initial stages of learning, L2 learners often produce words in L2 with L1 sounds: they do not modify phonetic dimensions when producing corresponding sounds in L1 and L2 phonetic norm. L2 learners with relatively greater experience in L2, on the other hand, generally approximate the phonetic norm of L2: the values of the phonetic dimensions being measured generally fall between the mean values representing the phonetic norms of L1 and L2. © 1987 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Flege JE
  • Start Page

  • 285
  • End Page

  • 296
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 2