First-language-specific orthographic effects in second-language speech

A comparison of Korean–English and Farsi–English bilinguals


  • Yasaman Rafat Western University
  • Veronica Whitford University of New Brunswick
  • Marc F. Joanisse Western University
  • Natasha Swiderski Western University
  • Sarah Cornwell Western University
  • Mercedeh Mohaghegh Western University
  • Celina Valdivia Western University
  • Nasim Fakoornia Western University
  • Parastoo Nasrollahzadeh Western University
  • Leila Habibi Western University



L2 speech learning, phonology, bilingualism, orthography, reading, script, Korean, Farsi, English


We investigated first-language (L1) orthographic effects on second-language (L2) speech production in Korean–English and Farsi–English bilinguals, as compared to English monolinguals. We used a word-reading and word-naming task to compare the production of the single grapheme (letter) (e.g, ) with the digraph (e.g., ). An acoustic analysis of 600 tokens in Praat revealed that Korean–English bilinguals exhibited significantly longer [m:] productions compared to English monolinguals, but that the Farsi–English bilinguals did not. Longer/geminate [m:] productions are attributed to orthography-induced L1 transfer. We concluded that orthography does affect L2 word-reading and phonological mental representations, even when the L1 and L2 may have different scripts. We recommend that L2 speech learning be treated as a multi-modal event.


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How to Cite

Rafat, Yasaman, Veronica Whitford, Marc F. Joanisse, Natasha Swiderski, Sarah Cornwell, Mercedeh Mohaghegh, Celina Valdivia, Nasim Fakoornia, Parastoo Nasrollahzadeh, and Leila Habibi. 2021. “First-Language-Specific Orthographic Effects in Second-Language Speech: A Comparison of Korean–English and Farsi–English Bilinguals”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 3 (1):102–122.