Testing the role of the L1 in L2 connected speech production
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Description: Given previous evidence of crosslinguistic influence (CLI) of the L1 in L2 speech, this study tested the explanatory power of the L1 in accounting for L2 connected speech. Comparing late L2 learners of English from an L1 Mandarin background with L1 English speakers, we examined production of three types of word boundaries in spontaneous connected English speech (nasal-to-vowel, lateral-to-vowel, vowel-to-vowel), perceptually coding each boundary for connectedness and following prominence. Results showed no clear CLI from Mandarin in learners’ connected speech, suggesting that, at least at more advanced stages of L2 development, the L1 plays little to no role in L2 connected speech: disparities between L1 and L2 speakers that would follow from CLI do not occur, while disparities that do occur cannot be explained by CLI. These findings thus highlight the limitations of an L1-based approach and, consequently, the need to engage other explanations for L2 connected speech production.