We are delighted to welcome Ben Ambridge from the University of Manchester to deliver our Annual Linguistics Lecture at 6pm on the 12th of July 2022 on our city campus in Newcastle. Register here for your free ticket(s):
We are very happy to announce a new A Level (Year 12) English Language Taster Day, which will take place at our City Campus on 29 June 2022. The event is free and has limited spaces (we hope to accommodate all of you but bookings will have to be first come first served).
We’re very much looking forward to our next English Language and Linguistics seminar at 12noon on Wednesday 27th of April 2022. The speaker is Dr. Tim Wharton, from the University of Brighton, and he will be talking about Pragmatics and Emotion
We will also be streaming the talk for people who would like to attend that way. For the link to join, please email Billy Clark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research has demonstrated that second/ foreign language (L2/FL) learners often struggle with the production of consonant clusters. It is common for learners to employ various simplification strategies including, deletion, substitution, and epenthesis in the production of clusters that are either absent or more complex than those in their first language. For example, it has been reported that some Spanish learners of L2 English epenthesise (i.e. supply extra materials) to break up clusters resulting in “espain” while attempting to pronounce “Spain”. It is worth asking whether non-target like production of clusters such as the above can be attributed to difficulties in perception. In fact, L2 speech research have started to explore the notion of “perceptual illusion” where participants report perceiving “phantom” elements that are not actually present in the speech stream.
This presentation reports on a study that investigated English consonant clusters and short, unstressed vowel perception of 70 Arabic-, Mandarin-, Spanish-speaking foreign language learners and 19 native English speakers. Results from an AX-discrimination task show that participants misperceive stimuli containing consonant clusters and counterparts where clusters are broken up by epenthetic/prothetic elements. In light of these findings, we encourage a reconsideration of the balance between focusing on production and perception in pronunciation instructions. Despite advances in L2 speech research which demonstrates the close link between production and perception, materials written for popular consumption continue to rely heavily on “traditional approaches” which place a strong emphasis on “accurate production” at the expense of the perception domain.
Keywords: consonant clusters; illusory vowels and epenthesis; perceptual illusion; second language perception; short vowels and schwa