Determinants of English accents

Martijn Wieling, Jelke Bloem, R. Harald Baayen, John Nerbonne

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In this study we investigate which factors affect the degree of non-native accent of L2 speakers of English who learned English in school and mostly lived for some time in an anglophone setting. We use data from the Speech Accent Archive containing over 700 speakers speaking almost 160 different native languages. We show that besides several important predictors, including the age of English onset and length of anglophone residence, the linguistic distance between the speaker's native language and English is a significant predictor of the degree of non-native accent in pronunciation. This study extends an earlier study (Schepens et al., 2013) which only focused on Indo-European L2 learners of Dutch and used a general speaking proficiency measure.

Proceedings of QITL-6, Tübingen, November 4-6, 2015