Foreign accentedness in third language acquisition

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Research on the phonological acquisition of a third language (L3) is still in its infancy; therefore, the present contribution is intended to further investigate the area by focusing on the phenomenon of foreign accentedness and the widely disputed sources of cross-linguistic influence in L3 phonology. The study employs the technique of perceptual judgement of a foreign accent in a third language. It aims to determine whether trilingual speakers of typologically unrelated languages (i.e. L1 Polish, L2 French and L3 English) have a tendency toward L1- or L2-accented speech in L3 performance and whether this tendency is subject to change with respect to different L3 proficiency levels. The results, based on the raters’ identification of the subjects’ first language, point to the prevailing influence of the L1 Polish on the L3 English phonology irrespective of the level of L3 language proficiency, although some impact of the L2 French was also identified. Further research involving different language combinations is necessary to corroborate the directions and strength of the combined native and non-native cross-linguistic influence in the process of the acquisition of L3 phonology.


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