This study investigates the effect of consonant place on VOT acquisition by L2 learners of English. Data indicate that learners experience difficulty acquiring native-like VOT for bilabial [p]. According to Element Theory, there are structural differences between bilabials and other segments: unlike alveolars and velars, the 'place' element |U| in bilabials is structurally headed; furthermore, the noise element |H| marking VOT in English (aspiration) is also headed. The double headedness resulting from headed |U| and |H| creates an expression which is grammatical in English but too complex in the phonology of Japanese, hindering the L2 learning process for Japanese speakers.
Selected Proceedings of the 2008 Second Language Research Forum: Exploring SLA Perspectives, Positions, and Practices
edited by Matthew T. Prior, Yukiko Watanabe, and Sang-Ki Lee
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