Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272



Two acoustic studies were carried out with L1 Polish learners of English. One study examined L1 phonetic drift, comparing learners of L2 English who were undergoing intensive L2 phonetic training with quasi-monolingual Polish speakers. The other study looked at L2 acquisition, comparing learners at two different levels of proficiency. Unlike most previous studies of Polish-English bilinguals, VOT data of both voiced and voiceless consonants were analyzed. In both experiments, an asymmetry was observed by which voiced stops were more susceptible to cross-language phonetic influence (CLI) than voiceless stops. These results build on evidence of a similar asymmetry observed in a number of other L1–L2 pairings. Predictions of competing phonological models are evaluated with regard to equivalence classification and phonetic CLI. It is shown that both traditional approaches to the phonological representation of voice contrasts fail to predict the observed asymmetry. An alternative theory, which predicts the asymmetry, is discussed.

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