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Effects of orthography on phonology in second language speakers of English

Learning the phonology, that is to say the sounds, of a second language is a difficult process. Often, second language speakers who want to sound native-like may retain a foreign accent they do not like. One factor that has been largely ignored by researchers until recently is the effect of orthographic input.

This three-year research project (2013-17), led by Dr Bene Bassetti (University of Warwick) and funded by the Leverhulme Trust (Research Project Grant RPG_2013-180), investigated how the orthographic forms (that is to say, the spellings) of English words affect second language phonology. Results revealed pervasive effects of orthography on the production, perception, awareness and learning of English phonology in second language speakers of English. These findings have implications for theory and practice.Leverhulme logo