Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ruth Huntley Bahr, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Judith Becker Bryant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Catherine Rogers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Doug Nelson, Ph.D.


Second language acquisition, Bilingual, Phonology


Listener perception of accentedness has been shown to be influenced by experience with L2 (measured by length of residence in US). However, frequency of L1 use and degree of phonological difficulty (defined by the number of non-native phonetic features targeted) may provide more insight into the role of experience in the perception of accentedness.

Three groups of listeners (monolingual English and Spanish [L1] speakers divided into two groups of high and low use of English [L2]) rated the accentedness of bilingual speakers who spoke with varying degrees of accentedness. The speakers read sentences adapted from Magan (1998) to include phonological aspects likely to be difficult for native Spanish speakers.

Listeners performed similarly in rating speakers’ degree of accent. Amount of daily L1 use only influenced the ratings of the slightly accented group; the high-use bilingual group rated these speakers as more accented than the native English group, regardless of level of phonological difficulty. These results suggest that the high-use groups’ lack of L2 experience made them less perceptually sensitive to certain phonetic features of English. Because speakers did not make the predicted target errors, the listener groups may have based their ratings on features not targeted in this investigation