The aims of this study are twofold: descriptive and theoretical. The study contains a detailed description of the laryngeal systems of Belgian Dutch and of (British) English by focusing on patterns of voice assimilation across word boundaries and a comparison of both these systems, thus embedding the study in contrastive phonology. Furthermore a detailed description of the laryngeal system (again focusing on patterns of voice assimilation across word boundaries) of (Belgian) Dutch Learner English, which can be considered a phonological “interlanguage” (a term coined by Selinker in 1969), i.e. “the proposal that L2 learners have internalized a mental grammar, a natural language system that can be described in terms of linguistic rules and principles” (p. 10). Consequently an interlanguage is shaped by three main influences, i.e. the target language, the source language (and transfer from the source language), and universal principles of markedness.
By investigating the laryngeal system of this interlanguage, i.e. Dutch Learner English or DLE, the study is situated in both acquisition research and laryngeal phonology, and aims to shed light on:
- the nature of certain assimilation processes
- the nature of transfer
- the universal principles on markedness in acquisition.
At the same time the study aims at providing information on the laryngeal representations and/or grammars in L1 Dutch and L1 English.