Shannon, Anna, Ellen, Naomi & Bill on L2 phonology

Now out in Frontiers in Psychology, "Establishing new mappings between familiar phones: Neural and behavioral evidence for early automatic processing of nonnative contrasts" by alumna Shannon Barrios and co-authors Anna Namyst, Ellen Lau, Naomi Feldman, and Bill Idsardi. Part of a special issue on "Phonology in the bilingual and bidialectal lexicon," the article investigates whether advanced Spanish late-learners of English overcome native language mappings to establish new phonological relations between familiar phones, using data from both behavioral and MEG studies. The results suggest that phonological relatedness influences perceived similarity, as evidenced by the results of the native speaker groups, but may not cause persistent difficulty for advanced L2 learners. Instead, L2 learners are able to use cues that are present in their input to establish new mappings between familiar phones.