Individual differences in second language phoneme acquisition and first language phoneme processing.
This research set out to examine individual differences in second language acquisition abilities. In particular, it investigated whether first language phoneme processing skills can account for individual differences in second language phoneme learning. This was done by testing native Dutch speakers on the difficult non-native English /æ/-/ɛ/ contrast, by means of several behavioral tests and an electrophysiological (MisMatch Negativity, MMN) oddball paradigm with native and non-native contrasts. Outcomes of all tests were correlated to see which skills correlated best and could possibly explain the individual variability. No significant results were found. Only the correlation between the amplitude of the MMNs to Dutch and English contrasts showed a strong trend. With more statistical power, there is a good chance that a relation between first and second language phoneme processing skills could be found.
Faculteit der Letteren