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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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Academic Paper

Title: A naturalness bias in learning stress
Author: Angela C. Carpenter
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Wellesley College
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Recent research on the acquisition of natural vs. unnatural phonological processes provides some support for the idea that learning a natural process is easier than learning an unnatural one (Wilson , , Pycha et al. , Pater & Tessier ). This study extends those findings by comparing the acquisition of two stress patterns that are identical except in naturalness. Learners were native speakers of English, a language with variable stress, and French, a fixed stress language. Both English and French speakers learned the natural pattern significantly better than the unnatural. The artificial languages specifically neutralised the phonetic cues that might have given a perceptual advantage to the natural language. The findings suggest that a naturalness bias aids in the distinguishing and learning of a phonological pattern. To explain the results, I argue for an interaction between a general and a language-specific cognitive mechanism.


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 27, Issue 3.

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