An acoustic study of English vowels produced by French learners

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Like every late L2 - learner, French native speakers are characterized by a foreign accent. The literature emphasizes that the vowels / ɪ /, / ʌ / and / æ / in particular are pronounced ‘‘à la française’’. This study presents the acoustic parameters of the English vowels / ɪ /, /i:/, / æ /, / ʌ / and / ɑ: / produced by 38 native English speakers and 48 French learners of English compared to those of the French vowels / a /, / e /, / i / et / œ / produced by the same learners. The results first show more variability in the L2 compared to L1 productions. Furthermore, we observe a great confusion between categories in L2 for the /i: - ɪ / contrast and the opposite effect in the region of the [a]. We show that L2 learners did produce duration contrasts but not to the same extent as the natives . Finally, the formant dynamic analysis of / i: / and / i / may suggest that the English native speakers do not all produce a diphthongal / i: /.

Journées d’Etudes sur la Parole, JEP 2018