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LINGUIST List 21.493

Sat Jan 30 2010

Books: Lang Acquisition/Phonology/Ling Theories: Halicki

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Ulrich Lueders, Learner Knowledge of Target Phonotactics: Halicki

Message 1: Learner Knowledge of Target Phonotactics: Halicki
Date: 25-Jan-2010
From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de>
Subject: Learner Knowledge of Target Phonotactics: Halicki
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Title: Learner Knowledge of Target Phonotactics
Subtitle: Judgements of French Word Transformations
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 27
Published: 2010
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Author: Shannon D. Halicki
Paperback: ISBN: 9783895867408 Pages: 234 Price: Europe EURO 62.60

This study seeks to determine the extent to which inter-language phonology
is channeled by Universal Grammar constraints. It is well attested that
second language phonology is rarely native-like. The majority of previous
work in L2 phonology has attempted to explain this difference. By contrast,
I investigate the degree to which adult L2 learners do acquire the
phonotactic constraints operative at abstract levels in the phonology of
the target language. The empirical research entails a study testing English
native L2 learners of French in their knowledge of three structural
features: 1) maximum consonant cluster limits in French; 2) sonorancy
assimilation at morpheme boundaries; 3) similarity avoidance at morpheme

The experiment investigates whether adult learners of French and native
French speakers exhibit similar well-formedness judgments of novel French
word-like items. In both cases, native-like adult L2 judgments should
implicate access to UG for three reasons. First, a parametric difference
between French and English regarding consonant clusters allowed in syllable
clusters, meaning that L1 transfer cannot be a source of knowledge about
target language parameters. Second, rules concerning cluster limits and
derived environment constraints are not taught in the French classroom,
which indicates a learning paradox, if not a classic case of poverty of the
stimulus. Third, the evidence in the target language input is degenerate
and misleading, meaning that superficially, it appears that French grammar
allows the same super-heavy syllable structures that occur in English. The
data show that beginning learners did not exhibit significant preferences
for the experimental items. However, the two other learner groups
recognized both well-formedness and phonotactic violations in French. They
appear to possess knowledge of French phonotactics that parallels native
speaker knowledge with responses patterning like those of the native
speaker control group for the criteria studied. It is concluded that adult
L2 knowledge reflects a high sensitivity to L2 phonological grammar. The
results are found to be incompatible with statistically-based phonological
frameworks, as well as theories of acquisition that make predictions based
on markedness implications. A full transfer/full access account of
acquisition is offered to account for the learner preferences.

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Linguistic Theories

Written In: English (eng )

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