The role of hypercorrection in the acquisition of L2 phonemic contrasts

Eckman, Fred R; Iverson, Gregory K; Song, Jae Yung
July 2013
Second Language Research;Jul2013, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p257
Academic Journal
This article reports empirical findings from an ongoing investigation into the acquisition of second-language (L2) phonemic contrasts. Specifically, we consider the status and role of the phenomenon of hypercorrection in the various stages through which L2 learners develop and internalize a target language (TL) contrast. We adopt the prevailing view in both sociolinguistics and second language acquisition studies that hypercorrection results from a certain amount of linguistic insecurity on the part of the speaker. Based on 53 Korean speakers’ production of English target phonemes, we conclude that a series of hypercorrection errors may well represent the final stage in the acquisition of a contrast, and further, that in order for hypercorrection to occur, there must be a formal connection between the TL contrast being acquired and the phonological structure of the learner’s native language.


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