In L2 speech learning, lexical frequency may play a facilitative role, whereby perception and production of sounds found in high‐frequency lexical items will develop before the perception and production of the same categories found in low‐frequency lexical items (see Munro and Derwing, 2008). Orthographic information may also facilitate learning by disambiguating L2 sounds (see Erdener and Burnham, 2005), particularly in known words. This study examines the role of lexical frequency, orthographic information, and a learner’s L1 in the development of L2 speech perception and production. Thirty‐eight Mandarin and Slavic participants were asked to repeat a word list comprising ten target English vowels, each embedded in three separate monosyllabic verbs and varying in lexical frequency. Recordings of the L2 productions were obtained under three counter‐balanced conditions: (1) after hearing an auditory prompt accompanied by the written form of the word; (2) after hearing an auditory prompt with no written form provided; and (3) with no auditory prompt but the written form provided. To measure L2 performance, L1 English listeners were asked to identify the vowel they perceived in each recorded item. Results were examined to determine what influence lexical frequency and orthographic information might have had on L2 performance.