This study examined the relative importance of several social, experiential and psychological factors on the pronunciation of a second language (L2) dialect. Because few studies have examined the influence of sociological factors on L2 pronunciation, this study first established this connection. In particular, native child Spanish speakers were asked to produce words that contained features unique to Utah English (tense to lax vowel mergers before /l/). Learners were asked to rate their overall attitudes towards learning English in Utah and speaking Spanish as well as to list their social networks. The results of this analysis suggested that having negative attitudes towards Utah actually led to having more features of Utah English (more instances of tense vowels merging to lax before /l/). In addition, participants performed several tasks testing working and phonological memory capacity and ability to imitate and they documented their amount of daily English use, age of acquisition, and length of Utah residence. A linear step-wise multiple dimensional analysis was performed that determined that of these factors, working memory capacity and attitudes toward Utah English played the most important role in whether learners acquired features of Utah English. These findings suggest the interplay between both social and psychological factors in child L2 learners' acquisition of L2 production.
Selected Proceedings of the 2007 Second Language Research Forum
edited by Melissa Bowles, Rebecca Foote, Silvia Perpiñán, and Rakesh Bhatt
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