Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Second language acquisition often involves the acquisition of stable patterns in a target language. Here we investigate how the acquisition of a variable pronunciation pattern, viz. the pronunciation of the semisuffix in professional names in English (e.g. , ) is related to the lexical frequency of the words concerned. The pronunciation of this suffix varies between a full vowel and a reduced one in a lexically unpredictable manner (i.e. some words with tend to have schwa, others a full vowel, and still others vary between the two). To test how the pronunciation of such words is acquired in a second language, we carried out a picture naming experiment in which Chinese subjects were asked to pronounce them. The results show that the pronunciation of this semisuffix is especially related to the educational status of subjects (major vs. non-major).


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bates, Douglas, Martin Mächler, Ben Bolker & Steve Walker
    2015 “Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4.” Journal of Statistical Software67 (1): 1–48. 10.18637/jss.v067.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01 [Google Scholar]
  2. Boersma, Paul & David Weenink
    2017 “Praat: Doing phonetics by computer.” https://www.fon.hum.uva.nl/praat/
  3. Bybee, Joan
    2008 “Usage-based grammar and second language acquisition.” Handbook of cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition, ed. byPeter Robinson and Nick C. Ellis. 216–236. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Corpus of Contemporary American English
    Corpus of Contemporary American English 2015 “COCA (1990–2015, 520 million words).” corpus.byu.edu/coca/
  5. Crossley, Scott A., Tom Salsbury, Ashley Titak & Danielle McNamara
    2014 “Frequency effects and second language lexical acquisition: Word types, word tokens, and word production.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics19 (3): 301–332. 10.1075/ijcl.19.3.01cro
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.19.3.01cro [Google Scholar]
  6. Crossley, Scott A., Stephen Skalicky, Kristopher Kyle & Katia Monteiro
    2019 “Absolute frequency effects in second language lexical acquisition.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition41 (4): 721–744. 10.1017/S0272263118000268
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263118000268 [Google Scholar]
  7. Denhovska, Nadiia, Ludovica Serratrice & John Payne
    2016 “Acquisition of second language grammar under incidental learning conditions: The role of frequency and working memory.” Language Learning66 (1): 159–190. 10.1111/lang.12142
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12142 [Google Scholar]
  8. Ellis, Nick C.
    2002 “Frequency effects in language processing: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition24 (2): 143–188. 10.1017/S0272263102002024
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263102002024 [Google Scholar]
  9. Ellis, Nick C. & Laura Collins
    2009 “Input and second language acquisition: The roles of frequency, form, and function introduction to the special issue.” The Modern Language Journal93 (3): 329–335. 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2009.00893.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00893.x [Google Scholar]
  10. Gass, Susan M. & Alison Mackey
    2002 “Frequency effects and second language acquisition: A complex picture?” Studies in Second Language Acquisition24 (2): 249–260. 10.1017/S0272263102002097
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263102002097 [Google Scholar]
  11. Jones, Daniel, Peter Roach, Jane Setter & John Esling
    2011Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary, 18th edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Lee, Wai-Sum & Eric Zee
    2003 “Illustrations of the IPA: Standard Chinese (Beijing).” Journal of the International Phonetic Association33 (1): 109–112. 10.1017/S0025100303001208
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025100303001208 [Google Scholar]
  13. Meunier, Fanny & Céline Gouverneur
    2009 “New types of corpora for new educational challenges: Collecting, annotating and exploiting a corpus of textbook material.” Corpora and language teaching (Studies in Corpus Linguistics 33) ed. byKarin Aijmer. 179–202. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/scl.33.16meu
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.33.16meu [Google Scholar]
  14. Peitsara, Kirsti
    2006 “MAN-Compounds in English.” Selected Proceedings of the 2005 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX), ed. byR. W. McConchie, Olga Timofeeva, Heli Tissari and Tanja Säily. 113–22. Somerville, Mass.: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. R Core Development Team
    R Core Development Team 2017R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. The British National Corpus
    The British National Corpus, version 3 (BNC XML Edition) 2007 Distributed by Oxford University Computing Services on behalf of the BNC Consortium. www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/
  17. van de Weijer, Jeroen, Marjoleine Sloos & Weiyun Wei
    2019 “Vowel reduction in English -man compounds.” The Linguistic Review36 (4): 675–687. 10.1515/tlr‑2019‑2040
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2019-2040 [Google Scholar]
  18. Wells, John C.
    2008Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 3rd edn. London: Pearson Education.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): English compounds; second language acquisition; variation; word frequency
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error