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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of research on the phonetic changes that occur in one’s native language (L1) due to recent experience in another language (L2), a phenomenon known as phonetic drift. Through a survey of empirical findings on segmental and suprasegmental acoustic properties, the chapter examines the features of the L1 that are subject to phonetic drift, the cognitive mechanism(s) behind phonetic drift, and the various factors that influence the likelihood of phonetic drift. In short, virtually all aspects of L1 speech are subject to drift, but different aspects do not drift in the same manner, possibly due to multiple routes of L2 influence coexisting at different levels of L1 phonological structure. In addition to the timescale of these changes, the chapter discusses the relationship between phonetic drift and attrition as well as some of the enduring questions in this area.

Keywords: cross-linguistic influence, language transfer, language change, recent experience, voice onset time, fundamental frequency, vowel formants, natural class, vowel system, ambient exposure

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