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Research Article

Academia Journal of Educational Research 9(11): 202-221, November 2021
DOI: 10.15413/ajer.2021.0125
ISSN 2315-7704
2021 Academia Publishing



Simple graphical “wave addition” model for L2 acquisition order of initial obstruents


Accepted 20th August, 2021

Michael C. Faudree


There has been a wide body of research and models that aim to describe acquisition order of obstruent phonemes in the second language and how it follows that of the first language and universal grammar. This research proposes a new and simple graphical “wave addition” model based on Wode’s notion that the L2 is “filtered through the grid” of the learner’s repertoire to obtain the interlanguage (IL), that is, L2 obstruent acquisition order. Analysis shows that when a “UG Wave” is constructed for the L2 with peak height for each obstruent approximating relative markedness, is superimposed with percent correct data used as the “grid”, the L2 obstruent order for a given L1 to L2 pair (“L1L2” Wave) can be obtained. The model was able to successfully represent three cross-sectional studies examined: Korean to English, Icelandic to English, and Cantonese to French. These studies are: five beginning level Korean speakers of English living in the US for 6 months reading an English word list and text containing initial obstruents voiced: /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, /z/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/ and // and voiceless /p/, /f/, /k/, /t/, /s/, /ʃ/, /tʃ/ and /θ/; and two other studies from the literature of an Icelandic child learning English, and Cantonese speakers of French. Picturing L2 acquisition process as a filter, results showed L1 elements in the L2 mostly transferred (went through) easily, while those not in the L2 filtered according to other factors such as markedness, similarity, or tones. Initial obstruents, as opposed to medial and final were examined since they are the first ones learned by children. This study is applied to a small corpus of 5 Korean speakers of English; however, chi-squared per cell was 0.73, within statistical reliability range below 1.5, and it clearly demonstrates that a workable model is possible to obtain L2 acquisition order of linguistic elements for individuals, small groups, and other language pairs. This is with the aim of contributing to phonological research and language education.

Key words: Linguistics, second language acquisition, phonology, obstruents, Korean, English, language education, pronunciation.

This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 

Cite this article as:

Faudree MC (2021). Simple graphical “wave addition” model for L2 acquisition order of initial obstruents. Acad. J. Educ. Res. (11): 202-221.

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