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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Non-native Comprehension of Intonation Patterns in Portuguese and in English Add Dissertation
Author: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Manchester, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 1983
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Alan Cruttenden

Abstract: The thesis reports an investigation of non-native comprehension of intonation in (European) Portuguese and (British) English by native speakers of English and Portuguese, respectively.

Chapter 1 presents the basic assumptions about intonational form and meaning adopted in the thesis.

Chapter 2 presents the intonational framework adopted for the analysis of Portuguese and English, based on the British 'nuclear' approach to intonational form. A first description of intonational forms and meanings is proposed for Portuguese. The purpose of this chapter is to compare the intonational resources of Portuguese and English, highlighting differences which might raise difficulties for non-native users of each language.

Chapter 3 reviews studies on the perception of speech and on the role of intonation in speech comprehension, arguing that speech events are best characterized at the perceptual/cognitive level rather than at the level of physically measurable events.

Chapter 4 reviews previous experiments on non-native intonational proficiency, both productive and perceptual, and assesses the relevance of the methods and materials used in these studies for the experiment reported in chapter 5.

Chapter 5 presents the theoretical background, design and procedure of the experiment carried out. Thirty native speakers of each of the languages were presented with thirty minimally paired sentences differing in intonation only in each language, spoken on tape by a native speaker of each language (one cassette containing the sentence pairs is given as Appendix to the thesis). The informants had first to decide whether the sentences in each pair had the same or a different meaning and then, according to this first decision, to match each sentence (or both) in the pair with one of two meaning glosses proposed for each pair. Each of the native groups was also asked to provide answers for the sentences in their native tongue, in order to use the results as control values for statistical treatment of the non-native data.
Chapters 6 and 7 present the analysis of the results, according to the meanings and the forms, respectively, of the intonation patterns used.

Chapter 6 gives an extensive characterization of the intonational and grammatical features of each sentence pair, according to (i) meaning contrasts conveyed by the same intonational means in both languages, (ii) meaning contrasts conveyed by different intonational means, and (iii) meaning contrasts exemplified in one of the languages only.

Chapter 7 analyses the non-native replies under the headings of 'tonality,' 'tonicity' and 'tone,' for each language.

Chapter 8 discusses the adequacy of the experimental method used for the assessment of non-native intonational competence. In particular, the use of two parallel groups of non-native listeners enabled the finding of systematic trends underlying both sets of replies. Non-natives seem to follow systematic reasonings in listening for intonational meaning in a foreign language. Accordingly, a set of 'non-native interpretive strategies' is proposed, to account for such reasonings. It is suggested that these strategies operate not only under experimental conditions but also in everyday communication situations.