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Academic Paper

Title: Comprehension of focus-to-accentuation mapping in sentences with only by advanced Cantonese learners and Dutch learners of English
Author: Haoyan Ge
Author: Aoju Chen
Author: Virginia Yip
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Chinese, Yue
Abstract: This study investigates L2 comprehension of focus-to-accentuation mapping in English sentences with focus particle only by advanced learners of English whose L1 was either Cantonese or Dutch. Two experiments were conducted to examine (a) whether L2 learners could map accentuation to focus; and (b) whether they could perceive accentuation in English sentences. Results show that accentuation played little role in Cantonese learners’ comprehension of focus, whereas it affected how accurately and quickly Dutch learners and native controls comprehended focus. Dutch learners were even more efficient than native controls in comprehending focus-to-accentuation mapping. Furthermore, both L2 groups could successfully perceive accentuation in English sentences. These findings suggest that multiple interfaces might not be equally problematic for L2 learners with different L1s, and convergence at multiple interfaces in L2 is possible. The comprehension difficulty observed in Cantonese learners can be attributed to their less detailed representation of focus-to-accentuation mapping in L2.


This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 43, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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