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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Segmenting/Parsing Unit in Cairene Arabic Spoken Language Add Dissertation
Author: Rajaa Aquil Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Georgetown University, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics; Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Egyptian
Director(s): Alfonso Morales-Front
Cristina Sanz
Andrea Tyler

Abstract: Connected speech does not have reliable cues to indicate where spoken words
begin or end. Segmentation is the process listeners of a language
sometimes resort to, to locate spoken words boundaries. Spoken language
segmentation literature demonstrates that languages may differ in regard to
the segmentation unit they tend to rely on more in parsing spoken language.
In spite of the role segmentation may have in listening comprehension,
research in L2 connected speech and listening comprehension is scare. This
dissertation looks into a learning problem Cairene Arabic learners often
have, which is segmenting English connected speech. The dissertation
reports on four experiments conducted to investigate prosodic units
employed in segmenting connected spoken language of L1 and L2. Experiment
(1) studies Cairene Arabic (CA) listeners' reliance on vowel epenthesis as
syllable repair strategy to break consonant clusters in the syllables of
English connected speech. Experiments (2), and (3), are replication
studies of Mehler et al. (1981) and Cutler & Norris (1988), investigating
the syllable and stress as potential prosodic cues employed in segmenting
CA spoken language. Experiment (4) is also a replication study of Cutler &
Norris, (1988), looking into whether CA listeners would transfer CA
prosodic strategies and use CA segmentation unit in segmenting English
connected speech. Results of experiment one indicate that CA listeners in
the present study transfer the L1 prosodic strategy of epenthesis to repair
syllables in L2 (English), and seem to rely more on stressed syllables to
segment L1 connected speech as demonstrated by the results of experiment
two. Although the results of experiment three shows that CA listeners use
a stressed syllable in segmenting CA connected speech, they do not transfer
this metrical strategy while segmenting English connected speech. This in
spite of the fact that English listeners rely on stress as a segmentation
strategy in connected English spoken language (Cutler & Norris, 1988).
Finally, pedagogical implications of the studies are discussed and a
solution, the Signal Based Approach (Field, 2003) is presented as a
solution to the learning problem.