Individual phonological attrition in Albanian–English late bilinguals

Published in: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Volume 21, Issue 2, 278-295

“The purpose of this study was to investigate phonological attrition in 10 native Albanian speakers who acquired Standard Southern British English (SSBE) as a second language (L2) in London, United Kingdom. A contrast was examined which is phonemic in Albanian but allophonic in SSBE, namely the production of light and dark lateral approximants. Impressionistic and acoustic analyses revealed that one late bilingual completely neutralized the phonemic contrast in her native Albanian speech. Furthermore, two other bilinguals neutralized the phonemic contrast between light /l/ and dark /ɫ/ in coda position, and overall there appeared to be a stronger trend for light /l/ to become dark in coda position than for dark /ɫ/ to become light in onset position. The findings are discussed in relation to the Speech Learning Model (Flege, 1995) and indicate that phonological attrition in native speech production is possible in late L2 acquisition, although not inevitable.”

Written by: Esther De Leeuw, Aurela Tusha, Monika S. Schmid
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