Cross-dialectal convergence in L1 and L2 speakers

This study asks whether first and second language speakers would converge equally across dialect boundaries. To investigate this I ran a shadowing task in which first (American and Australian) and second (Russian) language speakers of English repeated isolated words after an American and Australian model talker. These realizations were compared to the participants’ baseline productions in a word reading task. I found that second language speakers’ baseline production generally fell between the two native-speaking groups. Second language speakers converged across more variables than did first language speakers, and all accommodated more to the American model. There was a minimal effect of speaker exposure to dialect, which was conceptualized as residence experience in America and Australia. I argue that these findings speak to second language speakers’ relative convergence flexibility in comparison with first language speakers. A follow-up study with additional participants in another location provided more evidence to the difference between L1 and L2 speakers being due to L2 speakers’ non-native status. Additionally, accommodation to the American model was found in the second location, suggesting that it is due to a status differential as opposed to location.

Dr Ksenia Gnevsheva
Lecturer in Linguistics in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU

Date & time

Fri 03 Mar 2023, 3.30pm


BPB W303, Baldessin Precinct Building, 110 Ellery Crescent, ACTON


Dr Ksenia Gnevsheva


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