L2 Speech Rhythm Development in New Immigrants

Donald White, Peggy Mok

In a longitudinal study, English second-language (L2) speech rhythm development of five Hong Kong students is investigated during their first year after immigration to Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, respectively. Students were recorded reading a variety of English passages at three time points: before emigration, and then at approximately six months after, and one year after immigration. Identical utterances from the three recordings were isolated and segmented for analysis with durational rhythmic metrics in Praat. As well, the students were surveyed on the quantity and quality of interactions during their first year outside of Hong Kong. Although all five subjects displayed some degree of significant rhythmic development in the expected direction (i.e. greater stress timing), the strongest changes were evident in the student with the least amount of communication in Cantonese, and the highest amount of interaction with native English (L1) speakers while living in her new environment. These findings suggest that the effect of language experience is more robust than length of residence as a predictor for acquisition of L2 prosody.

 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-169

Cite as: White, D., Mok, P. (2018) L2 Speech Rhythm Development in New Immigrants. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 838-842, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-169.

  author={Donald White and Peggy Mok},
  title={L2 Speech Rhythm Development in New Immigrants},
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},