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LINGUIST List 24.36

Tue Jan 08 2013

Diss: Psycholinguistics: de la Cruz Pavía: 'Chunking the Input...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 08-Jan-2013
From: Irene de la Cruz Pavía <idelacruzpaviagmail.com>
Subject: Chunking the Input: on the role of frequency and prosody in the segmentation strategies of adult bilinguals
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Institution: University of the Basque Country
Program: Masters in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Irene de la Cruz Pavía

Dissertation Title: Chunking the Input: on the role of frequency and prosody in the segmentation strategies of adult bilinguals

Dissertation URL: http://www.ehu.es/HEB/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Chunking%20the%20input.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Gorka Elordieta
Itziar Laka

Dissertation Abstract:

The present dissertation investigates the abilities of adult monolingual and
bilingual speakers to implement statistical and prosodic cues in speech
segmentation. Three are the aims of the present dissertation: (1) to examine
whether bilingual speakers deploy the prosodic and statistical segmentation
strategies that characterize their two languages, (2) to investigate the role that
statistical and prosodic cues play in adult speech segmentation, and (3) to
explore whether adult speakers make use of two types of cues that have been
proposed as potentially allowing infants to determine the basic word order patter
(OV/VO, head-initial or head-final) of the language under acquisition: the
frequency distribution of functors and content words in natural languages
(frequency-based cue) and the relative prominence within phonological phrases
(prosodic cue).

Three artificial language learning experiments were conducted, in which the
segmentation preferences of ambiguous artificial languages that contain these
frequency-based and prosodic cues by adult monolingual and bilingual speakers
were examined.

The results of the experiments showed that (1) bilingual speakers are able
to implement the frequency-based segmentation strategies that characterize
their two languages, though acquisition of the L2’s segmentation strategy
appears to be constrained, (2) statistical and prosodic cues seem to be
outranked by acoustic-phonetic cues, supporting thus a hierarchical account of
segmentation cues in which statistical and prosodic cues are the least weighed
by adult speakers, (3) frequent-initial segmentation might be the universally
preferred segmentation strategy, (4) frequency-based segmentation strategies
are available segmentation cues to adult speakers.



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