Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."



E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at https://linguistlist.org/!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at webdevlinguistlist.org***

Dissertation Information


Title: Comprehension of Labrador Inuttitut functional morphology by receptive bilinguals Add Dissertation
Author: Marina Sherkina-Lieber Update Dissertation
Institution: University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian
Director(s): Alana Johns
Ana PĂ©rez-Leroux

Abstract: This study examines knowledge of grammar by receptive bilinguals
(RBs) - heritage speakers who describe themselves as capable of
fluent comprehension in Labrador Inuttitut (an endangered dialect of
Inuktitut), but of little or no speech production in it. Despite the growing
research on incomplete acquisition, RBs have yet to be studied as a
specific population.


Participants (8 fluent bilinguals, 17 RBs, 3 low-proficiency RBs)
performed a morpheme comprehension task and a grammaticality
judgment task. General measures of their comprehension and
production abilities included a story retelling task as an overall
assessment of comprehension, a vocabulary test, an elicited imitation
task, and a production task. This data was complemented by language
behaviour interviews.


The results showed that RBs have good, though not perfect,
comprehension and basic vocabulary, but speech production is very
difficult for them. They have grammatical knowledge, but it is
incomplete: Knowledge of some structures is robust, and their
comprehension is fluent (past vs. future contrast, aspectual
morphemes); others are missing (temporal remoteness degrees); and
yet for others (case and agreement), RBs have the category and know
its position in the word structure, but have difficulty connecting the
features with the morphemes expressing them. These findings explain
the significant asymmetry between comprehension and production in
RBs: In comprehension, incomplete knowledge may result in loss of
some aspects of meaning, but in many cases it can be compensated
for by pragmatic knowledge and extralinguistic context, while in
production, it can result in the selection of an incorrect morpheme or
inability to select a morpheme.


Low-proficiency RBs have partial comprehension, small vocabulary,
and almost no production. They do not understand most functional
morphemes; however, they show knowledge of the basic properties
such as the position of the obligatory agreement marker on the verb.


This study provides data on an understudied language and an
understudied population at the extreme end of unbalanced
bilingualism. The findings have implications both for the
psycholinguistics of bilingualism and for language revitalization,
especially in the context of a language shift in indigenous language
communities, where RBs are often the last generation to have
competence in the indigenous language.