Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Linguistics and Cognitive Science
© 2019 Emelia P BensonMeyer
The present study addresses language contact processes in which the phonetic systems of the languages that bilinguals speak interact. Specifically, language transfer with respect to English and German was examined, focusing on native German speakers (L1) who learned English as a second language (L2). It employed as its central method an analysis of their vowel systems, both language-specifically and cross-linguistically. Extralinguistic variables were also considered, ranging from speakers’ age of acquisition (AOA) of English to their length of residence in an English-speaking environment to their consideration of home. Results indicated statistically significant differences between speakers’ production of /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ for English and German, following a general trend of English productions as lower and more fronted than their German counterparts. Wide variability among participants produced inconsistent results, underscoring the complexity of speakers’ vowel systems as a result of their interactions with extralinguistic variables.
BensonMeyer, Emelia, "Language Transfer Between English and German: A Phonetics-Based Study of Interactions Between Speakers' Native and Second-Language Vowel Systems" (2020). Scripps Senior Theses. 1482.