L2 | phonetics & phonology | research | 2001-present

Articles 2001 - present
Flege, J., Birdsong, D., Bialystok, E., Mack. M., Sung, H., & Tsukada, K. (2006). Degree
of foreign accent in English sentences produced by Korean children and adults.
Journal of Phonetics, 34, 153-175.

Hojen, A. & Flege, J. (2006). Early learners’ discrimination of second-language (L2)
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 119, 3072-3084.
MacKay, I., Flege, J., Piske, & Schirru, C. (2001). Category restructuring during second-language (L2) speech
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 110, 516-528.
Roberts, P., MacKay, I., & Flege, J. (2002) Lexical and syntactic errors in translation by Italian/English
Brain and Cognition, 48, 513-516.

Flege, J., MacKay, I., & Piske, T. (2002). Assessing bilingual dominance. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 567-598.

Piske, T., Flege, J., MacKay, I., & Meador, D. (2002). The production of English vowels by fluent early and late
Italian-English bilinguals.
Phonetica, 59, 49-71.

Flege, J. & Liu, S. (2001). The effect of experience on adults’ acquisition of a second language. Studies in
Second Language Acquisition
, 23, 527-552.

Piske, T., MacKay, I., & Flege, J. (2001). Factors affecting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review. Journal
of Phonetics
, 29, 191-215.

Yeni-Komshian, G., Robbins, M., & Flege, J. (2001). Effects of word class differences on L2 pronunciation
Applied Psycholinguistics, 22, 283-299
Oh, G., Guion-Anderson, S., Aoyama, K., Flege, J.E., Akahane-Yamada, R., & Yamada,
T. (2011) A one-year longitutinal study of English and Japanese vowel production by
Japanese adults and children in an English-speaking setting.
Journal of Phonetics, 39,
Aoyama, K., Flege, J., Guion, S., Yamada, T., & Akahane-Yamada, R. (2004). Perceived phonetic dissimilarity
and L2 speech learning: The case of Japanese /r/ and English /r/ and /l/.
Journal of Phonetics, 23, 233-250.
Aoyama, K., Guion, S., Flege, J.E., Yamada, T., & Akahane-Yamada, R. (2008). The
first years in an L2-speaking environment: A comparison of Japanese children and
adults learning American English.
International Review of Applied Linguistics in
Language Teaching (IRAL)
, 46, 61-90.
Baker, W., Trofimovich,  P., Flege, J.E., Mack, M., & Halter, R. (2008). Child-adult
differences in second-language phonological learning: The role of cross-language
Language & Speech, 51, 316-341.
MacKay, I. & Flege, J. (2004). Effects of the age of second-language (L2) learning on the duration of L1 and L2
sentences: The role of suppression.
Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 373-396.
Tsukada, K., Birdsong, D., Bialystok, E., Mack, M., Sung, H., & Flege, J. (2005). A developmental study of
English vowel production and perception by native English adjults and children.
Journal of Phonetics, 33, 263-

Imai, S., Walley, A., & Flege, J. (2005). Lexical frequency and neighborhood density effects on the recognition
of native and Spanish-accented by native English and Spanish listeners.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of
, 117, 896-907.

Tsukada, K., Birdsong, D., Mack, M., Sung, H., Bialystok, E., & Flege, J. (2004). Release bursts in English word-
final voiceless stops: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study of Korean adults’ and children’s speech
Phonetica, 61, 67-83.
Aoyama, K. & Flege, J.E. (2011) Effects of L2 experience on perception of English /r/
and /l/ by native Japanese speakers.
Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan, 15(3),

Summary: This study examined 50 Japanese adults who had all arrived in the U.S.
after the age of 18 years and had been living there for an average of 3.7 years (LOR
range = 0.1 to 24.6 years). The aim of the study was to determine if English-language
experience, as indexed by Length of Residence, would predict degree of perceived
cross-language dissimilarity between Japanese and English sounds, classification of
English sounds in terms of Japanese categories, and categorial discrimination.

The stimuli in Exp. 1 were multiple natural tokens of English /r/, /l/, /w/ and Japanese /r/
and /w/ (all spoken in a CV context). The perceived similarity of tokens of the five
phonetic categories to Japanese /r/ was assessed using a 7-point interval scale. Once
the ratings had been obtained the participants classified the same stimuli in terms of
four different Japanese categories (/r/, /w/, /rj/, /v/). As expected, both the English /r/
and /l/ tokens were usually classified in terms of a single Japanese category, the
so-called "/r/". but with slightly greater dissimilarity for English /r/ than /ll. There was also
a slightly stronger correlation between LOR and  the dissimilarity ratings obtained for
English /r/ than /l/.
Flege, J., Birdsong, D., Bialystok, E., Mack. M., Sung, H., & Tsukada, K. (2006). Degree
of foreign accent in English sentences produced by Korean children and adults.
Journal of Phonetics, 34, 153-175.
MacKay, I., Meador, D., & Flege, J. (2001). The identification of English consonants by native speakers of
Phonetica, 58, 103-125.

Absract. This study examined the identification of English consonants presented in noise by native speakers of
English and Italian. The effect of the age of the Italian Ss' first exposure to English was evaluated by comparing
three groups of Ss who continued to use Italian relatively often but differed according to age of arrival (AOA) in
Canada from Italy (Early-7 years, Mid-14, Late-19). Ss in the Late group made more errors identifying
word-initial consonants than Ss in the Early group did; however, the effect of AOA was non-significant for
word-final stops. The effect of self-reported use of the L1 (Italian) was evaluated by comparing two groups of
early bilinguals who were matched for AOA (
M = 7 years) but differed according to self-reported percentage
use of Italian (Early: 32%, Early-low: 8%). The early bilinguals who continued using Italian relatively often
(Early) made significantly more errors identifying word-initial and word-final consonants than the native English
(NE) Ss did, whereas the Ss in Early-low, who used Italian relatively seldom, did not differ from the NE Ss. In an
attempt to better understand individual differences in L2 perception, we assessed phonological short-term
memory (PSTM) by having Ss repeat non-words made up of Italian syllables. The PSTM measure accounted for
8% and 15% of the variance in the Italian Ss' identification of word-initial and -final English consonants after
variation in AOA, L1 use and LOR (length of residence in Canada) were factored out.

Keywords: L2,  second language, consonant identification, word-initial, word-final, position sensitive, Italian,
English, AOA, language use, percent L1 use, LOR, speech in noise, individual differences, PSTM, phonological
short-term memory,
MacKay, I., Flege, J., & Imai, S. (2006). Evaluating the effects of chronological age and sentence duration on
degree of perceived foreign accent.
Applied Psycholinguistics. 27, 157-183.

Abstract. Immigrants’ age of arrival (AOA) in a country where a second language (L2) must be learned has
consistently been shown to affect overall degree of perceived foreign accent (FA) in the L2. Although the AOA
effect seems to b e quite strong, its interpretation is clouded by the fact that it is typically confounded with other
variables that might themselves influence degree of perceived FA. This study examined the pronunciation of
English by native Italian immigrants to Canada who differed in AOA. As in previous research, those who arrived
as young adults (late learners) were somewhat older at the time of testing, and produced somewhat longer
English sentences, than those who arrived in Canada when they were children (early learners). The results of
Exp. 1 showed the confound between AOA and chronological age was not responsible for the late learners’
stronger FAs. The results of Exp. 2 suggested that the late learners’ longer L2 sentences were not responsible
for the stronger FAs observed for late than early learners. A principle components analysis revealed that
variation in AOA and language use, but not chronological age or sentence duration, accounted for a significant
amount of variance in the FA ratings. The findings of the study were interpreted to mean that AOA effects on
FA are due to the development of the native language (L1) phonetic system rather than to maturational
constraints on L2 speech learning.

Keywords: speaking rate, sentence duration, second language, foreign accent, early learners, late learner,
confounds, AOA, chronological age, L1, development, maturational constraints.
Flege, J. & MacKay, I. (2004). Perceiving vowels in a second language. Studies in Second Language
, 26, 1-34.

This study examined the perception of English vowels by native Italian (NI) seakers. In two preliminary
experiments NI students who had lived in Canada for 3 mos had diffIculty discriminating /ɑ/-/˄/, /ɛ/-/æ/ and /i/-/ɪ/
because they tended to identify both members of the contrast as instances of a single Italian vowel. The four
groups of Ss in Exp. 3 and Exp 4 were all long-time NI residents of Canada who differed in age of arrival in
Canada (early vs. late) and continued use of Italian (relatively high  vs. low). Exp. 3 focused on the
discrimination of /ɑ/-/˄/, /ɛ/-/æ/ and /i/-/ɪ/ whereas Exp 4 used an error detection task to examine the /i/-/ɪ/
contrast. In both experiments early learners obtained higher discrimination scores than late learners did, and
low-L1 use Ss obtained higher scores than high-L1 use Ss did. Importantly, the early learners who continued to
use Italian often (early high) but not the early learners who used Italian seldom (early low) differed from native
English (NE) speaker in perceiving English vowels. The results suggest that learning an L2 in childhood does
not guarantee a native-tike perception of L2 vowels, nor does establishing a sound system for the L 1 preclude
a functionally native-like perception of L2 vowels. Another important finding was that although the late learners
generally perceived English vowels less accurately than the early learners did, some perceived them as well as
NE speakers.
McAllister, R., Flege, J., & Piske, T. (2002). The influence of the L1 on the acquisition of Swedish vowel quantity
by native speakers of Spanish, English and Estonian.
Journal of Phonetics, 30, 229-258.
Flege, J., Schirru, C., & MacKay, I. (2003). Interaction between the native and second language phonetic
Speech Communication, 40, 467-491.

Abstract. This study examined the production of 11 English vowels by native English (NE) speakers and native
Italian (NI) speakers who were long-time resident of Canada. The NI Ss were assigned to four orthogonal
groups based on age of arrival (AOA) in Canada from Italy (Early vs. Late) and self-reported continued use of
Italian (High use vs. Low use). The English vowels, elicited by delayed repetition in two conditions, were
evaluated auditorily by native speakers of Canadian English. A subset of the vowels were also transcribed
phonetically. As in previous research and in the companion paper dealing with vowel perception (Flege &
MacKay 2004, see above), both AOA and percent use of the L1 (Italian) exerted strong effects on L2 vowel
production accuracy.

Acoustic analysis of L2 vowel production focused on amount of formant movement in English /ei/, which exhibits
far more  movement than Italian /e/ does. Early bilinguals who seldom used Italian (Early-low) produced /ei/ with
significantly more formant movement than the NE speakers did. However, both groups of late bilinguals
(Late-low, Late-high) produced /ei/ with less movement than the NE speakers. The exaggerated formant
movement patterns seen in /ei/ tokens produced by members of the Early-low group was attributed to the
dissimilation of a phonetic category they established for English /ei/ from the phonetic category they
established as children for Italian /e/. The late learners' "undershoot" of formant movement in English /ei/, on
the other hand, was attributed to the failure by many members of these two groups to establish a new category
for English /ei/, which led to a merger of the phonetic properties of English /ei/ and Italian /e/.