Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

Factors Affecting L2 Learning across the Lifespan: Spanish Learners of English

Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology - Mehmet Yavaş

Wendy Baker-Smemoe [+-]
Brigham Young University
Wendy Baker-Smemoe is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. Her research interests include second language acquisition, speech perception and production and dialectology.


The Speech Learning Model (SLM) (1995; 2003) predicts that learners acquire accurate second language (L2) speech perception and production throughout their lifetime, but that factors like degree of first language (L1) and L2 interaction change with age of acquisition (AOA) and affect learners’ success. The current study tests which and how factors affect L2 learning across the lifespan by examining the relative importance of several factors on L2 speech learning. Seventy-six Spanish speakers who immigrated to the US at different ages (0-69) participated. The learners’ English global foreign accent and English vowel perception were compared to their scores on tasks of ability to imitate, working memory capacity, and phonological memory (cognitive factors), their attitudes towards L1 and L2 language/culture (social factors), and their age, experience, and L2 use (individual factors). Results demonstrate different factors were important for different AOAs and suggest some changes to the predictions of the SLM. Flege, J.E. (1995).Second language speech learning: theory, findings, and problems. In W.Strange (Ed.), Speech perception and linguistic experience: issues in cross language research (pp. 233–277). Timonium, MD: York Press. Flege, J.E. (2003). Assessing constraints on second-language segmental production and perception. In A. Meyer & N. Schiller (Eds.), Phonetics and phonology in language comprehension and production (pp. 319–355). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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Baker-Smemoe, Wendy. Factors Affecting L2 Learning across the Lifespan: Spanish Learners of English. Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 222-243 Jan 2017. ISBN 9781781792827. Date accessed: 30 Sep 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27349. Jan 2017

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