Phonetic convergence across dialect boundaries in first and second language speakers

Ksenia Gnevsheva*, Anita Szakay, Sandra Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study asks whether first and second language speakers would converge equally across dialect boundaries. To investigate this we ran a shadowing task in which first (American and Australian) and second (Russian) language speakers of English repeated isolated words after an American and Australian model talker. These realizations were compared to the participants’ baseline productions in a word reading task. We found that second language speakers’ baseline production generally fell between the two native-speaking groups. Second language speakers converged across more variables than did first language speakers, and all accommodated more to the American model. There was a minimal effect of speaker exposure to dialect, which was conceptualized as residence experience in America and Australia. We argue that these findings speak to second language speakers’ relative convergence flexibility in comparison with first language speakers. We explain other model, variable, and exposure effects through relative status differences between the two language varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101110
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • accommodation
  • phonetic convergence
  • second language speakers
  • shadowing task
  • bilingualism


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