Pronunciation among Adult Indigenous Language Learners: the case of SENĆOŦEN /t’/




Bird, Sonya

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Journal of Second Language Pronunciation


This paper describes the features that set adult Indigenous language learning apart from other types second language learning, examining in particular the role that unique teaching and learning contexts might play in the acquisition of pronunciation. As a case study, the pronunciation of SENĆOŦEN (Coast Salish) /t’/ is compared across four groups of speakers, including two groups of adult learners. Acoustic analysis shows that /t’/, described as a weak ejective in previous work, is now consistently realized as a strong ejective, especially among learners and teachers. These findings are discussed with reference to factors relevant to language learning and teaching in general, as well as to ones relevant to Indigenous language learning and teaching in particular.


This work was conducted on the traditional territories of the W̱ SÁNEĆ Nation. HÍ,SW̱ ḴE SI,IÁM to all the speakers who participated in this research, I raise my hands to you and to your continued SENĆOŦEN language work. I am also grateful to Sarah Kell, Janet Leonard, Timothy Montler, and Tye Swallow for your support, to audience members of the 50th International Conference on Salish and Neighbouring Languages (2015) conference for your questions and comments, and to two anonymous reviewers for your thorough and thoughtful feedback. Any errors are my own.


Adult Indigenous Language Learning, SENĆOŦEN, ejectives, hyperarticulation, social identity, language revitalization


Bird, S. (2020). Pronunciation among adult Indigenous language learners: The case of SENĆOŦEN /t’/. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, 6(2), 148- 179.