Funding success for project into second-language acquisition

Published: 10 March 2015 at 13:29

Bettina Beinhoff

Dr Bettina Beinhoff (Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics) has won an award of £10,000 from the British Academy for her research into second language acquisition.

Bettina will explore how learners of English as a second language develop their abilities to understand different accents. Her research will focus in particular on German and Spanish learners of English at different levels of proficiency.

The funding was awarded to explore these learner abilities within the scope of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which plays a central role in second language education and assessment across Europe, but also increasingly worldwide. It subdivides second language acquisition into developmental stages that apply to all linguistic skills.

However, the descriptions of these stages are particularly under-developed for speech perception. Bettina's research will therefore contribute to an advancement of these CEFR descriptions and benefit English language teaching and language policy in Europe. It is hoped the results will lead to a greater understanding of the way speech perception develops in a second language.