This study sought to investigate the self-perceived factors that led adult language learners, who acquired L2 after the critical period, to acquire native like pronunciation in their second language. Given the impact of accent and pronunciation on perceptions of a speaker's status, intelligence and/or competence, there exists a need for thoughtful and comprehensive research into why adult second language learners reach different outcomes in pronunciation attainment. A qualitative phenomenological design was employed to recruit adults who began learning English as an L2 after 12 years old but attained a native-like English accent. Participants recorded vocal samples that were presented with native speaker control-recordings to three native speaking judges. Two participants were judged to be native-like and then were invited to separate semi-structured interviews. These interviews collected data on the nature of the participants' language acquisition experience. Results revealed common experiences, supported by previous research, of a.) Interest in L2 beyond academics, b.) L2 and identity construction, and c.) cultivation of L2 social networks in target speaking countries. Results also revealed experiences that diverged from previous research relating to d.) use of metacognitive strategies and e.) attitudes toward pronunciation in the L2. These findings expand on the limited scholarship exploring the development of exceptional pronunciation in adults and provide a model of a targeted qualitative methodology for future research to continue investigating the unique experience of these exceptional learners.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Losavio, Antonio, "Late Starts Leading to Native-Like Pronunciation In Second Language Acquisition" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1805.