I'm a writer, and I want to write a poem about how one's native language can interfere with the acquisition of a second language. I understand that this is studied in the field of second-language phonology and am looking for an elementary text on the subject, one that is not too difficult for a layperson to understand. Thank you.

  • 2
    You need to understand phonology before you can understand second-language phonology. Like you need ordinary calculus before you get to differential equations. Take a look at the English tense/lax vowel sets: sheep/ship, lace/less, row/raw, lewd/wood, for instance; speakers of Spanish (and many other languages) have trouble with words containing these vowels, both in hearing them and in pronouncing them. Because English has a dozen vowels (at least), while Spanish has only five.
    – jlawler
    Jul 17, 2015 at 15:46
  • Possible duplicate of Common problems in second language pronunciation Jan 30, 2017 at 15:46
  • @jknappen It is not an exact duplicate because the question your linked to asks about difficulties in pronounciation, while this question asks about phonology (which would include, e.g., difficulties in perceiving and mapping differences between sounds that your L1 does not contrast).
    – lemontree
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:07


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