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LINGUIST List 18.1413

Wed May 09 2007

Diss: Applied Ling/Lang Acq/Phonology/Pragmatics: Raiser: 'Prosodie...'

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        1.    Laurent Rasier, Prosodie en vreemdetaalverwerving: Accentdistributie in het Frans en Nederlands als vreemde taal

Message 1: Prosodie en vreemdetaalverwerving: Accentdistributie in het Frans en Nederlands als vreemde taal
Date: 09-May-2007
From: Laurent Rasier <rasierlige.ucl.ac.be>
Subject: Prosodie en vreemdetaalverwerving: Accentdistributie in het Frans en Nederlands als vreemde taal

Institution: Catholic University of Louvain
Program: Doctorat en Langues et Littératures germaniques - PhD in Germanic languages and litterature
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Laurent Rasier

Dissertation Title: Prosodie en vreemdetaalverwerving: Accentdistributie in het Frans en Nederlands als vreemde taal

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): Dutch (nld)
                            French (fra)

Dissertation Director:
Philippe Hiligsmann

Dissertation Abstract:

In recent years quite a lot of attention has been paid to the
suprasegmental features of speech. In the field of second language
acquisition, by contrast, the study of prosodic systems suffers from a
considerable under-representation. Situated in the double theoretical
framework of contrastive linguistics and interlanguage analysis, this study
investigates the strategies underlying the distribution of pitch accents in
L2 Dutch and French as well as the factors influencing them. The
'Integrated Contrastive Model' used in this research involves four types of
comparisons: Dutch (L1) - French (L1), Dutch (L1) - Dutch (L2), French (L1)
- French (L2), Dutch (L2) - French (L2).

Looking at Dutch and French L1 data, it appears that structural factors
have a much stronger influence on the distribution of pitch accents in
French than in Dutch, where their position in the utterance is mainly
governed by semantic-pragmatic principles. Crucially, this contrast between
the learners' L1 and L2 constitutes a major point of interference in their
inter-language system. This is reflected by the use of a structurally
motivated default pattern in L2 Dutch, whereas Dutch-speaking L2 learners
of French have a clear preference for accent patterns reflecting the
contextual news value of sentence elements. The systematic use of the
French 'arc accentuel' in L2 Dutch results in a relatively high number of
contextually infelicitous accent distributions (negative transfer), whereas
the use of the pragmatic accent rules of Dutch in L2 French gives rise
relatively few accentuation errors. This leads to a significant over- and
underuse of some accent distributions instead.

Besides those differences, there are also similarities between the two
interlanguage varieties under investigation. In both cases, the relative
correctness of the accentuation proves to be correlated with the overall
quality of the segmentation of the utterance: the more accurate the
learners' pausing strategies, the higher the probability that they also
produce a contextually adequate accent distribution. Also, marked L1 accent
patterns appear not to be transferred to the learners' L2 speech. Finally,
mastering both the L2 pausing strategies and the typologically marked
accent patterns of the target language emerges as an important step towards
nativelike use of the L2 accent system.

In the general conclusions, both the theoretical and pedagogical
implications of the research results are discussed.

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