Mag.phil. Lisa Kornder
Institut für Anglistik
Forschungsprojekt: A Dynamic Systems Theory Approach to Second Language Speech Learning
Betreuerin: Univ.-Prof. PhD Ineke Mennen
The ability to attain an authentic, native-like accent in a foreign language is often seen as the most difficult aspect of second language (L2) acquisition. In fact, even when L2 learners have acquired an extended vocabulary and excellent command of L2 grammar, their speech is often characterised by a detectable foreign accent.
This research project aims at investigating the relative difficulty that Austrian German speakers face with regard to the production of L2-English sound contrasts. This aspect of speech production is considered against the background of a Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) approach which is based on the assumption that language acquisition is characterised by a complex interplay of numerous internal and external variables within a continuously changing system. Within this framework, a speaker’s L1 and L2 are regarded as two interacting systems which mutually influence each other. Therefore, a DST approach does not only entail examining possible effects of L1 speech production on L2 pronunciation, but also investigating changes in a speaker’s L1 system which might be attributed to his or her L2 learning experience. This phenomenon, referred to as L1 phonetic drift, has not been sufficiently addressed in current L1/L2 research so far, especially when it comes to the phonetic domain. Examining bi-directional influences on L1/L2 speech production is considered an essential step towards adopting a multi-dimensional perspective on language learning as proposed by the DST approach and aims at recognising that language learning is a complex process which operates on the basis of numerous interrelated factors.