GeneralNewsRecommendationsInstitutions and CoursesTools and MaterialsSearch

About Language and Speech
  - Elements of study
  - Speech Communication
  - Speech Production
  - Speech Perception
  - Phonology
  - Acoustic Phonetics
  - Phonetic Variation
  - 1st Language Acquisition
  - 2nd Language Acquisition
  - Communication Disorders
  - Singing
  - Methods and Tools (IPA)
  - Language Resources
  - Speech Signal Processing
  - Speech Coding
  - Speech Synthesis
  - Speech Recognition
  - Spoken Dialogue
  - Natural Language
  - Applications
Navigation Map
The Jewellers

Second Language Acquisition   

Second language (L2) acquisition is concerned with the study of the way in which an individual becomes able to use one or more languages different from his first language. This process can take place in a natural setting or through formal classroom instruction, and, although the degree of proficiency that can be attained is a controversial topic, it can start at childhood or during the adult age.

An individual who is equally fluent in two languages that have usually been acquired simultaneously can be considered a bilingual, but a dominant language can be identified most of the times; for this reason, the definition of bilingualism is another topic that has generated important controversies.

Production and perception of the sounds of a second language is mediated by the sounds of the first language, and the relationship between both abilities is still not completely understood. This influence of the first language over the second is explained by means of the notion of transfer.

One of the applications of the study of the acquisition of a second language sound system is the development of techniques to improve pronunciation and discrimination in non-native speakers.

Elements of study
Suggested Reading


Elements of study

Suggested Reading

Cross-linguistic influences in second language acquisition and use

  • Phonetic and phonological transfer
    • Cross-linguistic influence, transfer and "foreign accent"
    • The notion of "foreign accent"
    • Phonetic and phonological transfer
    • Types of transfer
  • Approaches to the study of transfer
    • Contrastive phonetics and phonology
    • Interlanguage in phonetics and phonology
    • Phonological universals in L2 acquisition
  • The acquisition of the L2 sound system
    • Interlingual identification
    • Category formation and equivalence of classification
    • Phonetic similarity and phonetic approximation
  • Factors in phonetic/phonological transfer
    • Individual factors:
      • age
      • phonetic aptitude
      • personality
      • training
    • Social factors:
      • multilingualism
      • demographic factors
      • language prestige


  • Models of bilingualism
    • Individual vs. societal bilingualism
    • Active vs. passive bilingualism
    • Co-ordinate vs. compound vs. subordinate bilingualism
  • Code switching
  • The assessment of language proficiency in bilinguals
    • Language dominance
    • The measurement of bilingualism

Speech production in a second language [see also Speech Production]

  • Basic concepts
    • Phonetic accuracy in the acquisition of non-native contrasts
    • Typology of production errors
  • Methodology
    • Corpus design
    • Subject selection: assessment of L2 level
    • Data elicitation techniques in L2
  • Speech production in a second language
  • Speech production in bilinguals

Speech perception in a second language [see also Speech Perception]

  • Basic concepts
    • The "filter hypothesis"
  • Methodology
    • Experimental paradigms
    • Effect of training and experience
  • Speech perception in a second language
  • Speech perception in bilinguals
  • Relationship between perception and production in L2 and in bilinguals

Training of non-native contrasts

  • Experimental approaches
    • Effects of training in the acquisition of non-native contrasts
    • Effect of age
  • Classroom practices
    • Articulatory methods
    • Structural methods
    • The verbo-tonal system
    • Technological aids


Suggested reading

Baetens Beardsmore, H. (1982). Bilingualism: Basic Principles. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.
Brown, Adam (Ed.) (1995). Approaches to Pronunciation Teaching. Hemel Hempstead:Phoenix ELT.
Brown, A. (Ed.) (1991). Teaching English Pronunciation. A Book of Readings. London: Routledge.
Brown, J.D. (1988). Understanding Research in Second Language Learning. A Teacher's Guide to Statistics and Research Design. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Eliasson, S. (Ed.) (1984). Theoretical Issues in Contrastive Phonology. Heidelberg: Groos.
Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Grosjean, F. (1982). Life with two languages. An introduction to bilingualism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Hatch, E. and Lazaraton, A. (1991). The Research Manual. Design and Statistics for Applied Linguistics. New York: Newbury House.
Ioup, C. and Weinberger, S.H. (eds.) (1987). Interlanguage Phonology. The Acquisition of a Second Language Sound System. New York: Newbury House.
James, A.R. (1988). The Acquisition of a Second Language Phonology: A Linguistic Theory of Developing Sound Structures. Tubingen: Narr.
James, A. and Leather, J. (eds.) (1987). Sound Patterns in Second Language Acquisition. Dordrecht: Foris.
Larsen-Freeman, D. and Long, M.H. (1991). Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research. London: Longman.
Morris-Wilson, I. (1992). English Segmental Phonetics for Finns. Helsinki: Finn Lectura.
Muņoz Liceras, J. (1992). Adquisicion de segundas lenguas, Madrid, Visor.
Seliger, H. and Shohamy, E. (1989). Second Language Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Strange, W. (Ed.) (1995). Speech Perception and Linguistic Experience: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Cross-Language Speech Research. Timonium, MD: York.


Revue de phonetique appliquee.
Second Language Acquisition.
Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Elements of Study


mounted by Gerrit Bloothooft


Please report problems to .   Version for printing Last updated: 12/17/01 10:05 AM