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Developmental trends and L1 effects in early L2 learners’ onset cluster production*



This study focuses on English onset cluster production in spontaneous speech samples of 10 children aged 5;04–6;09 from Chinese and Hindi/Punjabi first language (L1) backgrounds, each with less than a year of exposure to English. The results suggest commonalities between early second language (L2) learners and both monolingual and adult L2 learners in the location of cluster repair and the sometimes-exceptional treatment of s+stop clusters. We also provide evidence that accuracy rates and repairs used in early L2 cluster production show L1 influences. We conclude that early L2 learners represent a unique learner group, whose study is crucial to the understanding of phonological development.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Anne-Michelle Tessier, Department of Linguistics, Assiniboia Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E7,


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We would like to thank the families for graciously taking the time to participate in this study and for welcoming us into their homes, and the students who assisted with data collection and transcription: Emily Cliff, Philip Dilts, Lisa Elliot, Kristyn Emmerzael, and Dorothy Pinto. We also thank three anonymous reviewers and our editor, Jürgen Meisel, for thorough feedback which substantially improved this paper. We are grateful to the following funding agencies for their financial support of this research: Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (formerly the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 200800618-2), the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (27061500), Early Child Development Support Services, Edmonton, and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research (090415INV) to Johanne Paradis, and the Office of the Vice-President, Research, University of Alberta (4A Research Award) to Anne-Michelle Tessier.



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Developmental trends and L1 effects in early L2 learners’ onset cluster production*



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