Aishwarya Falke :A Phonological Basis of a Foreign Accent: A hypothesis

By – Jamie Emil Flege  TESOL quarterly Vol 15, No 5 (Dec 1981) pp 443 – 455 Published by – Teachers of English to speakers of other languages Source –

Main Argument:

Flege primarily argues here that the acquisition of a foreign language is really an age related dimension. Does the level of acquisition of a foreign accent decreases with the increasing age?

Existing studies of L2 pronunciation, however, do not seem to support the claim that there is some fundamental difference between children and adults in phonetic learning ability.(Flege 443)

When as an adult it becomes hard to get the perfect foreign accent. “Never seem capable of ridding themselves entirely of foreign accent” (Scovel 1969:245) whereas on the other hand children learn to recognize the accent with an ease their speech lacks any trace of the foreign accent of people who learn the language later. This results into a comparative study of Critical Period Hypothesis. It occurs due to the biological terms as neurophysiological maturation where the brain membrane gets matured with the growing of age. The adult brain undergoes reorganization during puberty and therefore the Second Language Learning (SLL) accent is hampered.

Sub argument:

Foreign language pronunciation from various perspectives and the living environment….

  • There is a discussion of dimension of foreign accent which has occurred from the acoustic basis.
  • Children and adults capacity of acquiring a phonetic language differs fundamentally.


A foreign accent is acquired due to differences in the pronunciation by native and non native speakers. This leads to the foreign accent mispronunciations, “French I sink so and Arabic I park my car in the barking lot” ( Felge 445)


However not necessary that the perception of a foreign accent is based on overtly detectable mispronunciation of sound, there are also other biological factors to it. The rest of the articles deals with the different types of accent acquisition and also the articulation for the perfect accent sounds.


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