The Impact of L1 Negative Phonological Transfer on L2 Word Identification and Production

Jiang Fan, Liu Yongbing


30 intermediate Chinese English learners participated in two experiments which address the issue of first language negative phonological transfer on second language word identification and production. In Experiment 1, the subjects performed an auditory priming task. In Experiment 2, the subjects completed a pronunciation task, in which they were asked to read words containing “th” and some filler words. Results showed that the subjects assimilated the English phonemes /s/, /θ/ and /d/, /ð/ into the Chinese phonemic categories of (s) and (d) respectively and used (s) and (d) to substitute /s/, /θ/ and /d/, /ð/ in word identification and production. The result partly confirmed the Speech Learning Model and the abstractionist model of speech perception and the researchers argued that the negative phonological transfer resulted in false phonological representations of L2 words in the learners’ mental lexicon. 

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