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Foreign language learning motivation: Phonetic chill or Latin lover effect? Does sound structure or social stereotyping drive FLL?

Reiterer, Susanne M. and Kogan, Vita and Seither-Preisler, Annemarie and Pesek, Gašper (2020) Foreign language learning motivation: Phonetic chill or Latin lover effect? Does sound structure or social stereotyping drive FLL? In: Federmeier, Kara D. and Huang, Hsu-Wen, eds. Adult and Second Language Learning. Psychology of Learning and Motivation . Elsevier, pp. 165-205. ISBN 978-0-12-820377-4. (doi:10.1016/bs.plm.2020.02.003) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:81522)

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An increasing number of people (e.g., polyglots) report studying foreign languages out of pure pleasure derived from sound or melody. The Romance languages, particularly French, Italian, and Spanish, take the lead when people talk about attractive or sexy-sounding languages/accents (Burchette, 2014), while languages like German and Arabic are often considered harsh/unattractive due to their use of consonant clusters (Quora, 2015). Despite wide public agreement on language attractiveness stereotypes, surprisingly little empirical research can be found on this topic, be it in the fields of psychology, (socio)linguistics, or neuroesthetics. We filled this gap by exploring whether international sociocultural stereotypes (Latin lover effect) or inherent phonetic/acoustic universals drive these effects. In a rating study, Central European participants listened to 16 auditorily presented European languages and reported their perceptions in terms of 22 binary characteristics (e.g., beautiful—ugly, fun—boring), while also indicating their language familiarities, L1 and L2 backgrounds, demographics, musicality levels, and how much they (dis)liked the speakers' voices. We observed that all factors in complex interplay explain people's esthetic preferences, including, in descending order of prominence, the “polyglot factor” (i.e., familiarity with the languages, foreign language learning [FLL] abilities, and expertise); speaker voice characteristics, characterization (e.g., sonority, vocalic shares, timing properties, CV patterning); and finally the musical expertise of the listener. Although language sound preferences do seem to be influenced by societal and individual cognitive factors, universal phonetic factors also seem to affect this complex phenomenon.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/bs.plm.2020.02.003
Uncontrolled keywords: Second language acquisition, Foreign language learning, Individual differences, Phonesthetics, Language attitudes, Language education, Psychoacoustics
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Vita Kogan
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2020 11:03 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2020 10:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Kogan, Vita:
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