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LINGUIST List 18.2355

Tue Aug 07 2007

Diss: Lang Acquisition/Phonology/Psycholing: Tremblay: 'Bridging th...'

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        1.    Annie Tremblay, Bridging the Gap Between Theoretical Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in L2 Phonology: Acquisition and processing of word stress by French Canadian L2 learners of English


Message 1: Bridging the Gap Between Theoretical Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in L2 Phonology: Acquisition and processing of word stress by French Canadian L2 learners of English
Date: 31-Jul-2007
From: Annie Tremblay <atremblauiuc.edu>
Subject: Bridging the Gap Between Theoretical Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in L2 Phonology: Acquisition and processing of word stress by French Canadian L2 learners of English
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Institution: University of Hawaii
Program: Second Language Acquisition
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Annie Tremblay

Dissertation Title: Bridging the Gap Between Theoretical Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in L2 Phonology: Acquisition and processing of word stress by French Canadian L2 learners of English

Dissertation URL: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/atrembla/home/dissertation.htm

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Phonology
                            Psycholinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Robert Bley-Vroman
Heather Goad
William O'Grady
Amy J. Schafer
Bonnie D. Schwartz

Dissertation Abstract:

This study attempts to bridge the gap between theoretical linguistics and
psycholinguistics in second language (L2) phonology by investigating the
acquisition and processing of word stress by French Canadian L2 learners of
English. It assumes a constraint-based view of prosodic phonology and is
couched within the Autonomous Induction Theory (Carroll, 2001). Its purpose
is to reach a better understanding of the interaction between the
acquisition of L2 grammatical knowledge (e.g., the creation of alignment
relations between the prosodic constituents in a representation) and the
development of L2 parsing procedures (e.g., the selection of
correspondences between representations at different levels—acoustic,
prosodic, and lexical).

French Canadian L2 learners of English at three proficiency levels
(intermediate, n=29; low-advanced, n=29; high-advanced, n=18) and native
speakers of English (n=31) completed four experiments targeting the
acoustic perception of stress (AXB perception task), the acquisition of the
trochaic (i.e., stressed-unstressed) foot and the alignment of its head
with heavy (i.e., bimoraic) syllables (nonsense-word production task), the
use of stress in word recognition (cross-modal word identification task),
and the relationship between knowledge of (surface) stress placement and
use of stress in word recognition (vocabulary production task).

The results reveal that all the L2 learners could perceive stress
acoustically, and most had acquired the trochaic foot, but they generally
failed to align the head of the foot with heavy syllables. The L2 learners'
productions (nonsense-word and vocabulary production tasks) suggest that
they instead aligned the trochaic foot with the left edge of the word, in
part (it is argued) because of the overwhelming occurrence of word-initial
stress in English (Clopper, 2002). The results also show that several L2
learners were able to use stress to recognize English words, but those who
used an iambic foot in English (production task) or who produced incorrect
stress patterns (vocabulary production task) failed to do so, thereby
suggesting an implicational relationship between target-like knowledge of
foot structure and processing of stress.

These findings indicate a tight connection between the acquisition of L2
grammatical knowledge and the development of L2 parsing procedures, with
the former being necessary for (but not guaranteeing) the latter.





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