Factors Affecting the Perception and Production of L2 Prosody: Research Results and Their Implications for the Teaching of Foreign Languages

  • Thorsten Piske
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 15)


It is often assumed that a strong degree of foreign accent has negative effects on the intelligibility and social acceptance of utterances produced by second language (L2) learners. The degree of foreign accent perceived in the speech of L2 learners is not only determined by segmental errors i.e. by errors in the production of L2 consonants and vowels but also by suprasegmental errors, i.e., by errors in the production of prosodic aspects of speech such as intonation, rhythm or word stress. A third parameter contributing to the perception of a foreign accent in L2 speech is lack of fluency represented by pause and hesitation phenomena such as silent and filled pauses, repetitions, false starts and rate of speech. This chapter will look at different aspects of the phenomenon of foreign accent. It will first discuss attitudes of both native and non-native speakers towards foreign-accented speech. Next, the relative contribution of segmental parameters, prosodic parameters and fluency to the perception of foreign accents will be explored. The third section of this chapter will refer to previous research examining subject and phonetic variables that have been claimed to have a significant influence on degree of L2 foreign accent and it will discuss three types of reasons why it is still difficult to draw any stronger conclusions about the influence some of these variables have on the accuracy with which non-native speakers pronounce an L2. The chapter will be concluded by relating the results of previous foreign accent research to the foreign language classroom.


Native Speaker Conversational Speech Foreign Accent Segmental Parameter Prosodic Parameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erlangen-Nürnberg, Lehrstuhl für, FremdsprachendidaktikFriedrich-Alexander-UniversitätNürnbergGermany

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