Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 September 2016
The data from this study investigate phrase-final vowel devoicing in Metropolitan French among L1 and L2 speakers, in terms of number of times a speaker devoices a phrase-final high vowel and percentage of the vowel that is devoiced. The goal is to assess whether experienced L2 speakers use style-based variation in response to the same factors as native speakers. Results from a set of role playing and word list tasks revealed that L2 devoicing rates matched those of the natives, but were conditioned by different factors in each group. The duration of L2 speaker devoicing, however, was found not to match native levels. Notable differences emerged in response to shifts in style: L1 speakers showed higher rates and enhanced degrees of devoicing in pragmatic contexts that favored either slower or more formal speech, while L2 speakers responded very little to pragmatic shifts within role plays, instead responding more pronouncedly to different tasks.
We wish to express our appreciation to three anonymous reviewers for their astute recommendations. We also extend our thanks to our study participants for their patience and goodwill, and to Sally Amen for her invaluable assistance.
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