To fully acquire a language, especially its phonology, children need linguistic input from native speakers early on. When interaction with native speakers is not always possible – e.g. for children learning a second language that is not the societal language – audios are commonly used as an affordable substitute. But does such non-interactive input work? Two experiments evaluated the usefulness of audio storybooks in acquiring a more native-like second-language accent. Young children, first- and second-graders in Hong Kong whose native language was Cantonese Chinese, were given take-home listening assignments in a second language, either English or Putonghua Chinese. Accent ratings of the children's story reading revealed measurable benefits of non-interactive input from native speakers. The benefits were far more robust for Putonghua than English. Implications for second-language accent acquisition are discussed. Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
Second Language Learners