Lexical encoding of L2 tones : the role of L1 stress, pitch accent and intonation

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2014
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Galts, Tobias
Kabak, Barış
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Native language prosodic structure is known to modulate the processing of non-native suprasegmental information. It has been shown that native speakers of French, a language without lexical stress, have difficulties storing non-native stress contrasts. We investigated whether the ability to store lexical tone (as in Mandarin Chinese) also depends on the first language (L1) prosodic structure and, if so, how. We tested participants from a stress language (German), a language without word stress (French), a language with restricted lexical tonal contrasts (Japanese), and Mandarin Chinese controls. Furthermore, German has a rich intonational structure, while French and Japanese dispose of fewer utterance-level pitch contrasts. The participants learnt associations between disyllabic non-words (4 tonal contrasts) and objects and indicated whether picture–word pairs matched with what they had learnt (complete match, segmental or tonal mismatch conditions). In the tonal mismatch condition, the Mandarin Chinese controls had the highest sensitivity, followed by the German participants. The French and Japanese participants showed no sensitivity towards these tonal contrasts. Utterance-level prosody is hence better able to predict success in second language (L2) tone learning than word prosody.

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400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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ISO 690BRAUN, Bettina, Tobias GALTS, Barış KABAK, 2014. Lexical encoding of L2 tones : the role of L1 stress, pitch accent and intonation. In: Second Language Research. 2014, 30(3), pp. 323-350. ISSN 0267-6583. eISSN 1477-0326. Available under: doi: 10.1177/0267658313510926
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@article{Braun2014Lexic-28816,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1177/0267658313510926},
  title={Lexical encoding of L2 tones : the role of L1 stress, pitch accent and intonation},
  number={3},
  volume={30},
  issn={0267-6583},
  journal={Second Language Research},
  pages={323--350},
  author={Braun, Bettina and Galts, Tobias and Kabak, Barış}
}
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