Weber, A., Broersma, M., & Aoyagi, M. (2011). Spoken-word recognition in foreign-accented speech by L2 listeners. Journal of Phonetics,39, 479-491. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2010.12.004.
Two cross-modal priming studies investigated the recognition of English words spoken with a foreign accent. Auditory English primes were either typical of a Dutch accent or typical of a Japanese accent in English and were presented to both Dutch and Japanese L2 listeners. Lexical-decision times to subsequent visual target words revealed that foreign-accented words can facilitate word recognition for L2 listeners if at least one of two requirements is met: the foreign-accented production is in accordance with the language background of the L2 listener, or the foreign accent is perceptually confusable with the standard pronunciation for the L2 listener. If neither one of the requirements is met, no facilitatory effect of foreign accents on L2 word recognition is found. Taken together, these findings suggest that linguistic experience with a foreign accent affects the ability to recognize words carrying this accent, and there is furthermore a general benefit for L2 listeners for recognizing foreign-accented words that are perceptually confusable with the standard pronunciation.