Perception of Foreign Accent in Spontaneous L2 English Speech

Jiahong Yuan, University of Pennsylvania
Yue Jiang, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Ziang Song, University of Pennsylvania

This study compared English and Mandarin Chinese listeners’ assessments of foreign accent in spontaneous English spoken by speakers of eight L1 languages. Mandarin Chinese listeners perceived lower degree of foreign accent than native listeners, and were less sensitive to Mandarin and Cantonese accents than to the other accents, especially French, Spanish, and Russian. Acoustic analysis suggests that English and Mandarin Chinese listeners relied on different cues in the perception of Foreign Accent in L2 English. Index Terms: Foreign Accent, Perception, Prosody, L1 effect