My first language is the Western Pennsylvanian dialect, within the Midlands dialects of American English. I have added features common in the “standard” American English dialect, but my reduced vowel inventory remains from the common /ɔ/-/ɑ/ merger.
Second Language Learning
Outcomes of adult language learning varies. Factors, such as learning context, learning goal, identity, influence the learner’s proficiency. The following list of my second language learning experiences includes some context for the language learning which likely points to areas of strength (and weakness) in my language proficiency.
Spanish – I learned Spanish as a foreign language in high school. There was more emphasis on grammar and reading than communicative competence. I was not part of a Spanish-speaking community.
Japanese – I took one semester of Japanese in college. I loved it, but I didn’t pursue it after a change in major.
American Sign Language – I took two years of ASL while in graduate school. There was an emphasis in communicative competence and encouragement to join the Deaf community. ASL may be my strongest L2. (There are regional differences to ASL, just like English.)
German – I took two semesters of German to fulfill a requirement for my PhD program. The course was taught with a grammar-translation method (as it was geared mainly to philosophy majors who wanted to read papers in the original German.)
Italian – I am currently learning Italian via Duolingo. I’ve been studying for over two years. I plan on strengthening my Italian language skills by learning German “as an Italian speaker” via Duolingo.