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LINGUIST List 19.2720

Mon Sep 08 2008

Diss: Lang Acq/Ling Theories/Phonetics/Phonology: Yildiz: 'Age ...'

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        1.    Yasemin Yildiz, Age Effects in the Acquisition of English Onset Clusters by Turkish Learners: An optimality-theoretic approach


Message 1: Age Effects in the Acquisition of English Onset Clusters by Turkish Learners: An optimality-theoretic approach
Date: 06-Sep-2008
From: Yasemin Yildiz <yyildizyeditepe.edu.tr>
Subject: Age Effects in the Acquisition of English Onset Clusters by Turkish Learners: An optimality-theoretic approach
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Institution: University of Essex
Program: MPhil/PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Yasemin Yildiz

Dissertation Title: Age Effects in the Acquisition of English Onset Clusters by Turkish Learners: An optimality-theoretic approach

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Linguistic Theories
                            Phonetics
                            Phonology

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Turkish (tur)

Dissertation Director:
Wyn Johnson

Dissertation Abstract:

The purpose of this dissertation is two-fold. Firstly, to provide an
account of the acquisition of English onset clusters by Turkish learners.
Secondly, to investigate age effects in L2 phonology. Unlike previous
research, this current study will examine 'developmental paths', rather
than the 'end-state' of acquisition. This in turn yields insightful data
bearing on both acquisitional and phonological theory. The L2 data I
present here will be accounted for within a constraint-based framework
known as Optimality Theory.

The current L2 data demonstrates an asymmetrical development between
/s/-clusters and non-/s/-clusters. This asymmetry is attributed to the
differing structural representation of /s/-clusters. The child L2 data, in
particular, provides compelling evidence for the supposition that /s/+stop
clusters are stored as a complex segment, while all other /s/-clusters and
non-/s/-clusters are claimed to be stored as true branching onset clusters.
The developmental paths for each onset cluster also contribute to our
understanding of the markedness hierarchy of onset clusters.

In respect to age effects, the findings also show asymmetrical
developmental paths between pre-pubertal and post-pubertal L2 learners.
They demonstrate that pre-pubertal learners' phonological grammar is
considerably variable since they employ a wider range of developmental
paths and their phonological grammar follows the common traits of L1
acquisition, while post-pubertal learners' phonological grammar is
constrained by L1 transfer. The findings also reveal that pre-pubertal
learners outperform post-pubertal learners within the perceptual level.
This finding confirms that children's ability to perceive is far in advance
of their ability to produce (e.g. Smith 1973, Edwards 1974). Finally, I
argue that *COMPLEX-ONSET is lowly-ranked in Present-Day Turkish phonology,
based on the evidence that post-pubertal learners are more advanced within
the prosodic level, and this may therefore be considered as a reflection of
Present-Day Turkish phonology.



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