The puzzle of gender effects in L2 phonology
Gender has received scant attention in L2 phonology studies, yet evidence for a female advantage in pronunciation has appeared throughout the past several decades. Neurolinguistic research suggests that females process language differently than males. At the same time, female L2 learners may be more concerned about pronunciation accuracy than their male counterparts. No definitive explanation has yet been offered, however, about why this is so, and how it might impact long-term language acquisition. This paper explores the gender construct in terms of such neurolinguistic predispositions, as well as the L2 evidence for socio-psychological and cognitive differences in orientation to accent, including motivation and strategy use. Suggestions for future research include a closer examination of gender differences in: (a) self-concept; (b) approach to task; (c) access to relevant resources and L2 experience. In this way, gender effects may be more clearly understood as extrinsic or intrinsic in nature.
Keywords: phonology, sex differences, individual differences, second language learning, language processing, pronunciation, accent
Published online: 31 March 2016
Cited by 2 other publications
Freeborn, Lani & John Rogers
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