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L2 phonological acquisition in German Learners of English (Kautzsch)

L2 phonological acquisition in German Learners of English

This project sets out to describe empirically and acoustically how native speakers of German acquire the sound system of English. One aim is to demonstrate that the common assumption of a monolithic learner English, which comprises predictable pronunciation features in all German learners of English, needs to be relativized and adjusted. To that end, approaches from variational linguistics/World Englishes and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) are integrated: Analyses of L2 English pronunciation are interpreted in the light of theoretical assumptions in SLA and complemented by influences from regional varieties of English and German. By analyzing interlanguages, it will be argued that on the phonological/phonetic level it is necessary to distinguish between different learner varieties, which display variable features along the following parameters: amount and intensity of contact with native English, amount and intensity of formal instruction, influence from regional varieties of English, transfer from regional varieties of German, transfer from Standard German, phonetic talent or aptitude, intralinguistic factors, and universal learner tendencies.

Preliminary results have been presented as follows:

"The pronunciation of English by German university students." Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Association of World Englishes (World Englishes 14), Hongkong (December 2008).

"German and English vowel spaces in German Learners of English". Paper presented at the conference "ACCENTS 2009", Lódz, Poland (December 2009).

  • Published as: Kautzsch, Alexander. 2010. "Exploring L1 transfer in German Learners of English: High front vowels, high back vowels and the BED/BAD distinction.” Research in Language (Special Issue: Proceedings of ACCENTS 2009, Lodz)  8: 63-84.

"The Pronunciation of English and German Vowels by German Native Speakers from North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria". Guest lecture given as part of the lecture series "Bilingualitat zwischen Theorie und Praxis", Initiative for Bilingual Studies (IBIS), University of Cologen, June 2010.

"Rhoticity in German Learners of English." Paper presented at at the annual conference of the International Association of World Englishes (World Englishes 16), Vancouver, Canada (July 2010).


English Pronunciation Teaching in Europe Survey (EPTiES)

Using an online questionnaire that will be launched at the end of 2010, this survey seeks to collect information about how the pronunciation of English is taught across Europe. Initialized by Alice Henderson of the Université de Savoie,Chambéry, France, it has been jointly prepared by teachers in France, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Macedonia.

The survey, among other things, focusses on the following issues: instructors' background, students' background, type and time of exposure to English inside and outside the classroom, teaching method (classroom language, IPA symbols, ear training, etc.), amount of instruction, target model (BrE / AmE), etc.

Alexander Kautzsch functions as multiplier and contact person for the German part of the survey.

Main organizer's contact details:

Dr Alice Henderson
Head, LCE Anglais
Université de Savoie

First results have been published in

Kautzsch, Alexander. 2010. "Befragung zum Lehren der Aussprache. Ein Zwischenbericht". Praxis Fremdsprachenunterricht. Sonderheft Aussprache, 17.

The international results of the project will be presented and discussed in a workshop at ACCENTS 2011 in Lodz, Poland, December 15-17, 2011.

  1. Faculty of Languages, Literature, and Cultures
  2. Department of English and American Studies