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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: Typologizing native language influence on intonation in a second language: Three transfer phenomena in Japanese EFL learners Add Dissertation
Author: Aaron Albin Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2015
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Kenneth de Jong
Isabelle Darcy
Yoshihisa Kitagawa
Markus Dickinson

Abstract: While a substantial body of research has accumulated regarding how intonation is acquired in a second language (L2), the topic has historically received relatively little attention from mainstream models of L2 phonology. As such, a unified theoretical framework suited to address unique acquisitional challenges specific to this domain of L2 knowledge (such as form-function mapping) has been lacking. The theoretical component of the dissertation makes progress on this front by taking up the issue of crosslinguistic transfer in L2 intonation. Using Mennen's (2015) L2 Intonation Learning theory as a point of departure, the available empirical studies are synthesized into a typology of the different possible ways two languages' intonation systems can mismatch as well as the concomitant implications for transfer.

Next, the methodological component of the dissertation presents a framework for overcoming challenges in the analysis of L2 learners' intonation production due to the interlanguage mixing of their native and L2 systems. The proposed method involves first creating a stylization of the learner's intonation contour and then running queries to extract phonologically-relevant features of interest for a particular research question. A novel approach to stylization is also introduced that not only allows for transitions between adjacent pitch targets to have a nonlinear shape but also explicitly parametrizes and stores this nonlinearity for analysis.

Finally, these two strands are integrated in a third, empirical component to the dissertation. Three kinds of intonation transfer, representing nodes from different branches of the typology, are examined in Japanese learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). For each kind of transfer, fourteen sentences were selected from a large L2 speech corpus (English Speech Database Read by Japanese Students), and productions of each sentence by approximately 20-30 learners were analyzed using the proposed method. Results suggest that the three examined kinds of transfer are stratified into a hierarchy of relative frequency, with some phenomena occurring much more pervasively than others.

Together as a whole, the present dissertation lays the groundwork for future research on L2 intonation by not only generating empirical predictions to be tested but also providing the analytical tools for doing so.

For the full text of the dissertation, see:

For the linguistic annotations that the analyses are based upon, see:

For the R code used to conduct these analyses, see: